Chris Thorn, center, a Dover native and guitar player for Blind Melon, is another national celebrity from Dover. The band reunited to make an album and is now back on tour. Background post: Dominick Argento at top of York County A&E hall of fame.
Of course, Chris Thorn of Blind Melon is another national celebrity from Dover.
In previous posts listing Dover-area such national newsmakers as John “Clarkie” Souza, Cate Reinart (mother of Nick and Drew Lachey), long trumpeter Bill School, Jeff Koons, Part II, Gov. George Leader, weightlifting guru Bob Hoffman, I overlooked Dover Area High School graduate Thorn.
That’s a lot of national quality action from one rural area. (Am I missing anyone else?)
Thorn’s leading the rebirth of Blind Melon, as recent York Daily Record coverage suggests:
Dover’s Chris Thorn got his first guitar, a Hondo, in his early teens. As a child, though, he often picked up and played his mother’s acoustic guitar. This picture captures 15-year-old Thorn in 1983.
From the York Daily Record, October 2007:
Band: Blind Melon
Members: Glen Graham, drums; Rogers Stevens, guitar; Christopher Thorn, guitar; Brad Smith, bass and vocals; Travis Warren, vocals. Shannon Hoon died in 1995.
Who we talked to: Thorn
I know you guys are going through a transition. What’s new? We were all doing our own things. (Smith) and I were producing records for the last 10 years or so. It never really crossed our minds to actually put the band back together. Atlantic Records said they wanted us to meet this guy and write songs with him. (Warren) reminded us of all the great lead singers we’ve known in the past. We really hit it off and . . . decided that we wanted to be in a band with him. We have been writing a record. We have a tour coming up. I never would have ever imagined it would be back on, but it’s back on in a big way.
Looking back a decade ago, what are your memories of the band like? At the beginning, it was really great and innocent and fun. At some point, it turned sort of hectic and hard. When the drug intake turned up, . . . it was hard to take. We were really dysfunctional, and it was a really tough band to be in. Having said that, it was incredible. All of our dreams came true within a couple of years. You know, you’re a boy and you’re 12 years old learning guitar and a few years later you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. It really kind of spins your head.
What are your emotions surrounding Hoon’s death and the band’s breakup? It was tough directly afterwards for sure. You build this band, which is also a company. It’s your job. When all that disappeared, it was a bit of panic mode. I immediately went into production and kind of became a workaholic probably just to deal with the stuff I was going through.
You grew up in Dover. Were there places you went out to listen to music? I remember there was a club called Swizzle’s. I don’t know if that’s still around. My first experience playing shows was at that club. Other than that, there weren’t too many choices. I was in a bunch of bands back there. For me, I knew I really wanted to give it a shot . . . and at some point, I figured out that it wasn’t going to happen in Dover.
How has the music industry changed from when you started until now? It’s such a bummer what we’ve done to the business. It couldn’t be any more different. It’s so pathetic what the guys . . . wearing the suits have done. They’ve had their head in the sand for so long as people were stealing music. They were making so much money. That’s what was going on in the early ’90s. Everyone was going out and buying their Beatles records again . . . and getting rid of their tapes and vinyl and there was a ton of money in the business. Cut to today, and record companies can’t figure out how to sell the record anymore. What it’s really hard for is a brand new band who . . . needs to get a start. It kind of breaks my heart.
Are there any new artists that you are into? I’m not one of those guys who is like, “there was only good music back in the day.” I love hearing what people are doing. I love Band of Horses and Kings of Leon. The Strokes are making great records.
What do you want to do with this new chapter of the band? I learned from the last experience that you have no idea how long it’s going to last. We really have no idea what our expiration date is. The only thing we can do is live in the moment and go have some fun. We’re smarter and not doing drugs and that’s a really positive thing.
• Dec. 16, 1968: Christopher Thorn is born in Dover
• Early 1980s: Started playing guitar
• 1986: Graduated from Dover Area High School
• 1989: Blind Melon forms in L.A.
• 1991: The band signs with Capitol Records
• Spring 1992: The band tours with York County natives Live on MTV’s 120 Minutes Tour
• Sept. 14, 1992: Blind Melon’s self-titled debut is released
• Summer 1993: “No Rain” released as single; the video, featuring a girl dancing in a bumblebee costume, gains traction on MTV
• Dec. 17, 1993: “Blind Melon” certified double platinum
• March 1, 1994: The band is nominated for two Grammy Awards — Best Rock Performance and Best New Artist
• Aug. 15, 1995: “Soup” is released
• Oct. 21, 1995: Lead singer Shannon Hoon dies of cocaine overdose
• Nov. 12, 1996: “Nico” is released
• March 4, 1999: Blind Melon officially disbands
• Fall 2006: Blind Melon announces it will record new material with a new lead singer
• Fall 2007: Revamped Blind Melon goes on tour.