In my memory, in my heart, you’re still alive…
Shannon, I miss you!
Super delay in updating the albums of these two past weeks, mainly caused by my getaway to Zaragoza, and last days which have been quite busy socially speaking. I’m immediately sorting this out.
With the great taste left by Abandon Jalopy’s Death & Joy still in my mouth, from the previous weeks, responsible for reminding me of the constant hunger for Blind Melon stuff, I spent much time recovering and enjoyed the short yet one of the most intense and amazing discographies ever. Some months ago I talked about Soup, said to be my favorite one. But the band’s self-titled debut album introduced by the already classic video of the little fatty girl in glasses, wearing the bee costume, is also an essential in my life, and an absolute MUST HAVE, in a decent discography.
Of course I love No Rain, but to be honest, I got up tired of the famous video. That 90’s aesthetic, the saturation of the prairie and the blue sky, why not? The bee girl, and MTV constantly bombing for some time, were finally hard to endure. Guess I’m lucky not to have judged the band by the video, otherwise I might not be writing about Blind Melon.
And of course, key fact to pay attention to this band was, no doubt, the guest appearance of Shannon Hoon in Guns n’ Roses’ Don’t Cry video. It was like, “Who’s this guy?”. Now I remember that rumors at that time were that Hoon was Axl’s younger brother. And we thought it was true. it was that time when we started to hear about the singer’s childhood trauma, child abuse, his father…as news and gossip took very long to be clarified, for obvious reasons, we thought Axl and Hoon were brothers for some time, till we knew they were friends, from Lafayette.
This album contains what I consider one of my greatest personal anthems ever, a complete declaration of principles, in the shape of the beautiful Change.
When you feel your life ain’t worth living
you’ve got to stand up and
take a look around you then a look way up to the sky.
And when your deepest thoughts are broken,
keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die.
How many times have I listened to this song when low spirited? Pfff, hundreds I think, and never get tired of it, as the feeling in my belly never leaves.
Change and No Rain are fantastic tunes, but Blind Melon is more. Tones of Home, I Wonder, Dear Ol’ Dad, Deserted, Holyman…well, no song was included for filling purposes, as any is magic.
Of course, the great weight of the band was on Hoon’s voice, but the more I listen to Blind Melon’s stuff, the more I adore the band.
Despite the fact that some songs lyrics are not precisely very happy and positive, in general terms, and of course, personally speaking, this album is an upper.
Plan for Easter was to stay at my parents’ few days, to celebrate my nephew’s first anniversary, take a break to recover from the shocking news of my current working status, or better said, my imposed inactivity, and hang out with friends.
Great news was that Los Mambo Jambo were in town on Saturday night, so the plan was a WIN. My soul bro Gonzalo were definitely attending the show. Therefore, it was a great opportunity to recover their wonderful EP Sonido Jambofónico. 4 excellent instrumental tunes, ready to rock your soul. You know, the kind of 50’s inspired tunes that unavoidably set you in the right mood for party and dancing.
Their sound is sober and elegant, the perfect and solid rhythmic foundation on one hand, thanks to Kovacevic’s powerful double bass and Jarl’s awesome drum parts, the rockin’-surfin’-swingin’ work of Mario Cobo on guitar, and the unique style and distinctive mark provided by Dani Nel-lo’s Tenor Sax.
Los Mambo Jambo are the accompaniment band at Taboo, The Burlesque Barcelona Night, hosted once a month at Apolo venue. Never got the chance to attend them but hopefully this will change soon.
Glad to see they’ve decided to spread their Jambophonic sound and delight us with their performances from time to time. I’ve attended two shows and they’re definitely worth seeing, because quality and fun are guaranteed.
Oh dears, last week was absolutely insane because of the wedding of the year. That’s the reason why I didn’t post much, flew to Madrid on Wednesday and got back in town by Sunday, and in between it was nonstop. Glad to say it’s been one of the most amazing weekends in long time. Guess I’ll write a bit about it.
Despite such active days, last week was marked by the discovery of this little treasure, Death & Joy, by Brad Smith’s solo project named Abandon Jalopy, recently released. Perhaps the name of Brad Smith might not be familiar to you, so here I am to clarify this guy was (is) Blind Melon’s bass player.
I’m not very good at being acquainted with band members’ solo projects, in fact I’m starting to be more aware of what’s going on around, because I’m realizing I’m missing lots of great stuff. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to cover all new releases, bands, tours…and honestly, prefer to narrow my choices, otherwise I’m ending up consuming without really enjoying. In case I’m missing something, I trust enough people close to me who would point me to the right direction.
Thanks to an interview to the artist included in last month issue of Popular 1 Rock magazine, credited to a friend of mine who is a diehard fan of Blind Melon, I heard of Abandon Jalopy for the first time. It’s amazing the influence established press can have over people, as many friends, loyal readers of the magazine, started posting this video on their FB walls.
I had to see, better said, hear it for myself, and judge. And that’s what I did.
Due to late night writing, I’m starting to listen to music with proper headphones. I’m a laptop user for the moment, and don’t have speakers, to tell the truth, it’s my entire fault the precarious conditions I’m working at. Anyway, at certain hours I’m not supposed to play music loud, and I was tired of the awful sound coming directly from the computer speakers, thus some months ago I purchased these terrific Sennheiser headphones I’m delighted with. Probably the direct impact of music right into your ears might not be the healthiest option, and sure headaches can easily bring out if you’re prone to, but you notice many arrangements and details in songs, it’d take you longer or would never been noticed otherwise.
So, last week I listened to Death & Joy through the mighty headphones and had another musical crush.
To start with, the whole work has the Blind Melon brand clearly stamped, not intending to overshadow though, but just reflecting a style which goes beyond the albums recorded with Shannon Hoon. What is out of question, once you listen to this album, is Brad Smith’s brilliant contribution to the core of Melon’s compositions.
Can’t describe my feelings with songs such as the opening Up Til Now, Black Cloud, Hold Tight, or the one featuring Shannon’s daughter Nico Blue on backing vocals, Love Has a Way, in a very objective way. Just can say I was overwhelmed in first place, and could’t erase Hoon from my mind at all. I can easily imagine him singing Death & Joy and my heart really shrinks… so evoking!
Death & Joy is this little treasure condemned to be ignored by the mass, created just for the pleasure of those where in the right place at the right time. Just hope my call is convincing enough for you to belong to this chosen minority, and enjoy this wonderful piece of cake.
Crying has been always related to the highest expression of disappointment and sadness, and considered a sign of weakness.
Do you cry? How often? I’ve always been a crying girl, don’t have any problem to admit it. Many people react with surprise when I make such an assertion, because I’m too outgoing, all the time joking, energetic and intense, and those features sometimes seem to be incompatible with crying.
Well, my closest friends know it’s just the opposite, I’m a very sensitive person, easy to feel moved and or excited, and need to express whatever I’m feeling at anytime. I always define myself as a teddy bear or a cake beyond my tough appearance and my rude way of talking. Regarding feelings, I’m incapable of cheating or disguising. I’m too plain and transparent. Thus, I will be shocked if you shock me, sad if I get the blues, and jubilant if I’m happy… better you don’t see me upset. I can be mean and a bitch for real.
Crying is hardly assumed to refer to happiness or any other positive emotions. I’m god at that too. Not only I have crying outbursts out of laughing often, but also I cry when I receive good news. How many times somebody has announced upcoming marriages or pregnancies and I’ve cried because I was delighted with the news…
How many times I’ve cried in the middle of a band live set on stage…from Blind Melon, or Alice in Chains, to Neil Young or Guns N’ Roses, you name it.
Few days ago I was, in fact, reading an article about Blind Melon at a random Starbucks, when I realized I was sobbing!!!
And believe me, I don’t feel depressed or super low, from time to time this just happens, and I can’t help it, in fact I don’t want to inhibit because it’s not socially acceptable to show feelings so raw and honest. This is the way I am, and it helps me to feel relieved.
After all this confession, and still with a purpose in my head apart from stating I’m pro crying as a way to express, for both male and female, I also have to admit, since most of the grief from the storm I passed through was released, and my personal situation more settled, with all the achievements and improvements in my own personality, I really don’t cry as often as I used to when I was supposedly happily married. I used to cry a lot, I’m serious, and now, thinking of it, I should had paid more attention to those regular episodes, because something was actually happening and I didn’t face it properly. There’s no point in wasting much time thinking of it really, but I should pay more attention in the future, be more alert to signals.
Nope, I don’t cry so often nowadays, the cause has to be something really moving, or my hormones on fire.
Nevertheless there’s an exception, and this is where the action is, regarding this post. I’ve noticed something really strange happening to me, and it has to do with movies. Yes, I cry when watching movies with love as their main plot, regardless. Drama or comedy, it doesn’t matter, I cry. Well, I also cry with certain scenes of the Star Wars Trilogy, but that’s not new. Thank God this love issue doesn’t happen with music, otherwise I’d be fucked. Can you imagine?
The most outrageous experience was the night I went to the movies on my own (ufff! I was lucky), to watch Jane Eyre, with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, and I literally spend half movie crying and sobbing nonstop. The story was so intense, and love so tortuous I couldn’t restrain myself. Left the cinema wiping my tears and although it was Saturday night, headed home devastated.
And this afternoon I’ve watched Crazy Stupid Love, yes, I confess it’s been all in the name of Ryan Gosling, and the last 10 minutes of the film, again…crying.
After such experiences many questions raise to my head. On one hand, this is happening to me in the very last months, is it that perhaps the need of a partner? Is it just that I’m turning very emotional and touchy to love issues? Perhaps it’s a great vehicle to release those tears I’m less often dropping… cross my heart! I don’t feel depressed, nor even lonely, at least not all the time, and I only used to cry with films with creatures or pets and cartoons, you know, E.T, Flipper, Cinderella…Am I changing? Do we react differently when growing old? Am I crazy?
I hope it’s not the case, and for the moment, rather than watching any other love story, I’m going to re-watch Die Hard, First Blood or some Schwarzenegger’s 80s blockbusters, so I won’t have to worry about handkerchiefs.
In the meantime I leave you here a very appropriate song:
*** Shannon, I miss you
I’m a consumerist. Period. I can try to deny myself, but my willpower very often succumbs to temptation, and having the world at a single click, I catch the bait more than I should. I could go to therapy, but it’d be more expensive than purchasing certain items which provide me a massive wave of pleasure. Still, same as cigarettes, I’m cutting down, not so rad, but little by little.
And what are my late main acquisitions? Books.
They are not for imminent consumption as a CD or a vinyl, I could have waited to buy them, but you know, sometimes you feel the urge to have the book, touch it and smell it, and think “I got you, babe”. Reading is slow combustion pleasure, mmmm, I love it, but the problem is that lack of time is an issue, and this wonder requires the world to top. And it’ difficult.
It’s true that I have abandoned fiction for a while, perhaps on behalf of films, thus I’m enjoying biographies overall.
These have been the latest entries at the Hellhouse, I’m really proud of.
CRONENBERG ON CRONENBERG – Edited by Chris Rodley
The Baron of Blood is one of my favorite directors. Nowadays, thanks to his last films A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, has become a more prominent and public figure, up to major consumption, however his earlier films, managed to twist sci-fi into something more insane, with great dose of science and psychological features.
This book is nothing but excerpts of interviews in which he talks about this early works, conditions related to budgets, plot concepts… basically what he had in mind when he filmed them. They Came from Within, Rabid, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome up to Crash… I read it a couple of years ago, and was fascinated by the way the Canadian talks about his work.
If you are into his filmography, this is a MUST have.
RECKLESS ROAD GUNS N’ ROSES AND THE MAKING OF APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION
Another present I bought, this time for my friend Jaume, in NY, in 2008.
Autobiographies aside, reckon this is the most valuable document of the earliest years of Guns N’ Roses, the (former) most dangerous band in the world, captured in amazing shots by their fan #1, and best friend, Marc Canter. No doubt their close relationship in that time, and his love for the band, made Reckless Road possible. Captures, press reviews, fliers… this compilation of band memorabilia is like time travelling back to Sunset Strip era, when Axl’s obsessions were still at the rear of his mind, and they used to hang out with hookers, for sex, drugs, a shower and some Night Train.
THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Despite the fact that I really love Star Wars, and I’m a diehard fan, to be honest I’ve never been an avid collector of stuff. It’s true I have posters, soap dispenser, t-shirts, toys…but I’m not obsessed by the holy saga at all.
Up to date, my most serious possession was a present I received from my ex brother-in-law, another super fan. It was The Making Of Star Wars.
I told you about my New Year’s Day tradition of starting with the holy trilogy. Well, it was then when I decided that the book revealing all the details of how my favorite movie ever was developed, had to be mine. I haven’t dived into it properly yet, but I know some hours of pleasure are guaranteed.
A DEVIL ON ONE SHOULDER AND AN ANGEL ON THE OTHER: THE STORY OF SHANNON HOON AND BLIND MELON
What can I say? I love Blind Melon and need to know more about Shannon Hoon. My friend Enric insisted I had to get it, and eventually the writer himself advised my where to purchase it…unbelievable! I still have it sealed, waiting for me to close other pending readings so I will focus on it exclusively. I’m scared of what I might find. I’m still mourning Hoon’s loss and most likely I’ll feel devastated once I really get to know him in detail. But I have to. Blind Melon are essential in my life.
WE GOT THE NEUTRON BOMB: THE UNTOLD STORY OF L.A PUNK
This was actually a Xmas present from the cake couple, and it was really a nice surprise. Just had a quick look at it, but seems it’s gonna be endless fun. Resembling in the style and format to Please Kill Me, based on quotations by personalities who were part of that story, and covering the whole punk era in L.A up to hardcore movement. Pretty interesting, to be honest.
I really can’t pile these treasures up in a shelf and forget about them till I finish my current readings, thus here they are, moving from one place to the other at the Hellhouse, waiting to be settled, and swallowed by their crazy owner some day.
My nephew is finally sleeping after a morning of nonstop activity. It’s been a blast, gotta say, but I’m exhausted!
Anyway, it’s raining, the kid is sleeping, and don’t have any plans ahead for the moment, so I’m gonna talk about Soup, the album that marked last week routine.
Last Friday was the 16th sad anniversary of Shannon Hoon’s decease, cause by cocaine overdose. I remember when I read the news, and really, it affected me. The guy with angel-like voice, native from Lafayette, and close friend of Axl Rose, was gone.
I usually listen to Blind Melon’s albums, no doubt it’s one of my all times favorite bands, but having such date marked on the calendar, made me feel like recovering the albums, especially Soup, my favorite.
This, also reminds me of another lesson learned regarding gifts to boyfriends. Never give something that it’s really meaningful to you. I bought my vinyl of Soup in Edinburgh, in 1999, on a flash trip I did by coach, just to see some friends less than 24h. The album was sealed, it was new, just cost me one pound, ridiculous, but it was my treasure…and now it’s gone for good. I don’t exactly regret having done that, but nowadays I don’t really feel that person deserved it anymore. Well, fuck it! I gotta move forward and forget about such stupid details, otherwise I’ll get in bad mood.
Anyway, let’s talk about Soup. As most of you know, this was the last complete album of Blind Melon with Shannon Hoon still alive. Just the second, amazing! Imagine for a second Hoon was still alive. Yeah! Some of us witnessed a marvelous comeback with that dude, Travis Warren, who managed to give back the Melon’s spirit, and the last album For My Friends, which was very respectable and beautiful, but you know it’s not the same. If the band delivered such awesome second album as Soup is, widely superior to their debut, I can’t imagine if been able to keep on the same track.
Thinking of the title and the artwork of the album, referring to an alphabet soup, truth is that songs differ quite much from each other, and subjects of lyrics are special, to say the least. Skinned is related to serial killer and butcher Ed Gein, New Life about Nico Blue’s birth, St. Andrew’s Fall deals with suicide… Soup is definitely a dark album.
What can I say? From top to bottom I love the 14 tracks. Positive, whenever I listen to Mouthful of Cavities, I feel a knot in me belly. That song is absolutely killing. But then there are Galaxie, 2X4, Walk…
Soup is one of those albums whenever I listen to, I feel grateful for being a music lover. And again, I see myself talking about another legendary band in the 90’s. I should go to the doctor, nostalgia is really present lately, but I won’t get tired repeating the same, this is the story of my life.