All I Can Say

Shannon Hoon Documentary is Devastating

by Pete Crigler

allicansay_film_296When the opening moments of a documentary about the tragic end of Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon shows him in his hotel room talking to his girlfriend hours before he dies on a tour bus of a cocaine overdose, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride. Culled from hours of footage personally shot by Hoon over the last 10 years or so of his life before his death in 1995, the film chronicles the complete rise, fall, and demise of not only Blind Melon’s career but Hoon as a person as well.

Being such a huge Melon fan since about the age of 11, this film was the end all be all for me as it will be for thousands of other diehards. Though it’s narrated by interviews with family, friends, and associates, Hoon is the sole director of the film. It’s through his (mostly fisheye) lens that we see a struggling rock band get signed, hit the top of the charts, tour the world with the biggest names in rock, and then disappear in an instant thanks to a music landscape that was changing and passing them by. Hoon and the rest of the band show their horror at what is happening throughout the process, from almost being shut off of the cover of “Rolling Stone” to dealing with Hoon’s increasing drug habit.

Some of the most heart-wrenching things to see is Hoon’s reaction to his newborn baby daughter, with whom he had fallen in instant love with. A desire to get off the road as soon as possible to spend time with her and his girlfriend starts unravelling him and he begins to withdraw from everything that he once loved in order to get back to his biggest love. The final thing his camera captures is Hoon laying in a hotel room bed in New Orleans unable to sleep, talking to his girlfriend on the phone. Hours later, his heart gave out on the band’s bus. It’s creepy, eerie, haunting, and a perfect way to end such a heartbreakingly devastating film. There’s no promise of what could have been, but with this film, we get to see a painstakingly honest portrayal of one of the most noteworthy singers in ‘90s alt rock. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.

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