My second album is Blind Melon’s Nico. Blind Melon was introduced to me in a few ways. One was the video for No Rain which was their greatest hit. The video played incessantly in the early 90s. I hated that video and the bee costumed girl. To this day, I don’t know if I have ever watched the whole video. The second was that my friend Mike was actually a fan of Blind Melon and I think he might have introduced me to them a little deeper than the video. And the third and most profound way I was introduced to them was through the CD Soup – I bought it based on the video for ‘Galaxie’ but the whole album was fantastic (‘Mouthful of Cavities warrants special attention – an opening to the song that is a rare combination of mellowness and urgency). At the time that Soup came out, Blind Melon recorded a MuchMusic Intimate and Interactive concert which was spectacular and was recorded only a few short weeks before Shannon Hoon, the lead singer’s death from an overdose.
Nico was released after Shannon Hoon’s death and was a tribute to the singer, a dedication to his newborn daughter, and a fundraiser for artists seeking treatment for drug abuse. The music itself is all over the place from frivolity to sheer angst, sometimes in the same song – there is a chaotic vibrancy undercut with raw emotion. There are two gut punches on this album. The first is ‘Soul One’, which in light of the circumstances, may be one of the more poignant songs out there. The second is the end of the album itself which is abrupt with ‘Letters from a Porcupine’ being cut off mid-song by an answering machine beep and then silence (the song was recorded over the phone by Hoon into a bandmate’s answering machine). I’ve never been able to tell if this was tacky or just an appropriate way to describe the totality of addiction. This album has always bothered me in some ways because it represents so much promise and so much finality, but most of all, it bothered me because it was so obvious that Nico Blue Hoon was going to grow up without her father and to me that was always sad.