Rock act Blind Melon will be the subject of a “Best of” CD and a live DVD this fall via Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing, and will also issue a previously unreleased concert recording to digital download services. The projects will be available Sept. 27, less than a month shy of the 10-year-anniversary of Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon’s death from a drug overdose.
The 19-track “Tones of Home: The Best of Blind Melon” will also be available in a limited-edition with a DVD featuring six music videos and a live performance of the group’s biggest hit, “No Rain.” According to guitarist Roger Stevens, its release was inspired by higher-than-expected sales for the 2002 compilation “Classic Masters.”
“That exceeded [the label’s] expectations of what they thought it was going to do,” he tells Billboard.com. “They sold through [the pressing] — it’s not that widely available anymore, so they’re going to re-do it and make it better.”
After the 1996 documentary “Letters From a Porcupine” earned a Grammy for best long form music video, Blind Melon’s surviving members were anxious to release a follow-up. But the group found it difficult to secure live performances that met their quality standards.
“There’s so much out there, in terms of what’s being passed around by fans,” explains bassist Brad Smith. “If we’re going to put our name on it and get behind a release, it has to sound really good — the playing has to be really good. It’s live, [so] it’s unpredictable. We fished through a lot of stuff that was just like everybody playing different songs basically [laughs].”
Ultimately, the group settled on a Sept. 27, 1995, show at the Metro in Chicago, from which a smattering of tracks can be previewed on “Porcupine.” The DVD will be bolstered with three acoustic songs from a performance on MuchMusic.
A Los Angeles show recorded at the Hollywood Palace three weeks after the Metro gig, and just two weeks before Hoon died, will be the digital-only release. The material was mixed by Smith and Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn at their Los Angeles studio, Wishbone. “This is the only one that’s been broken up onto 24-track tape,” Smith says, “[so it’s of] really good quality.”
Of late, Smith and Thorn have immersed themselves in producing and songwriting. “Anna Nalick — we found her and produced demos, and once she got signed, she came back and we did the record [‘Wreck of the Day’ on Columbia] in our studio,” Smith says. The pair also recorded demos with the group American Minor, helping it get signed to Jive, and produced its self-titled debut for the label, due Aug. 16.
Meanwhile, Stevens is playing in the group the Tender Trio, which features former Spacehog member Royston Langdon. The act is in the midst of a North American tour that hits Los Angeles tomorrow (July 15). “We’ll hopefully make a record this year,” he says.