Summoning Shannon Hoon

On a recent evening, as the clock approached midnight, I created a makeshift altar with a photo of late Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon, then lit a mixture of wormwood, patchouli, vervain, and Mrs. Dash, then chanted over and over, “I summon you from the other side; come to me and cross the great divide.” Soon, a familiar apparition descended upon the room…

Shannon, is that you?!?
Heyyyyyy man, what’s up?

Dude, what the hell happened to you that night in New Orleans back in ’95?

Awww, you know, I just did a couple lines too many, I guess. I feel bad that I bummed everyone out by dyin’ and all, but I pretty much get to float up here in the clouds all day, every day, and watch the puddles gather rain down where you’re at. It’s awesome!

Well, that’s good. And at least you didn’t become a total rock star cliché by overdosing at age 27 -- you waited until you were 28.
I know, dude! Hendrix and Cobain are always givin’ me crap about that.

Y’know, I was watching the “No Rain” video the other day -- you were wearing your keys outside your jeans, and now all the hipsters are doin’ that…
What can I say, man, I guess I was ahead of my time!

So, I guess you saw that Blind Melon recently got back together with a new singer -- this Travis Warren guy. They’ve been touring, and even made an album.
Yeah, I’ve been followin’ that a little bit. I was a little surprised and all, ’cause after I died, those guys said I was irreplaceable. But it’s cool, man. Although I totally lost a bet with Layne Staley -- once Alice in Chains got a new singer, he was all like, “Dude, your old band is next,” and I was like, “No way!” So yeah, I had to wear the bee costume around this joint for a couple months.

So you’re not pissed off?
Naw, man, it’s all good. I love my old bandmates, dude, and that Travis guy seems really cool. Yeah, he sounds a lot like me, but I guess he was a fan of me since he was a kid -- he’s even got this huge tattoo of me on his back, man! And he always says nice stuff about me at every show they do. It’s not like that INXS reality show thing, or Journey trollin’ YouTube for tribute-band singers to hire -- if they’d done something like that, I’d probably be mad, but it seemed like it happened pretty organically, so, yeah…it ain’t the same, but it’s not a complete joke or nothin’.

Wow, I thought you’d be more pissed off. But then again, you always had that peace-love-hippie vibe goin’. So do you realize that Heather DeLoach -- who played the “Bee Girl” -- is now almost as old as you were when you passed away?
Whoa, man, time really flies when you’re dead! Speakin’ of which, I gotta get on back…

Wait -- you were friends with Axl Rose, and you were in the Guns ’N Roses video for “Don’t Cry.” Which do you think will happen first: Blind Melon has another hit song, or Chinese Democracy comes out?
Awww man, that’s a tough one. I guess I gotta go with my boys in Blind Melon -- you can’t ever count them out! All right, gotta split… and so I wave goodbye! I’m flyin’ home!!

Tue., April 29, 7 p.m., 2008
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Michael Alan Goldberg