“I like, really need to get off that fucking bus.”
Those were among the final words captured on film by Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon, who perpetually filmed himself from 1990 until hours before his death in 1995. Hoon died from complications of a drug overdose at 28 years old.
The film All I Can Say, distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, captures Blind Melon’s meteoric rise to fame and eventual decline, as singer Shannon Hoon attempts to make sense of the world around him. Shannon’s estate supplied filmmakers with thousands of hours of footage from his archives that captured the innermost thoughts of a rockstar who, at times, struggled with the life he chose and the temptations that followed.
Hoon moved from a small town in Indiana to Los Angeles, where he would soon meet friends who later would become bandmates. Their journey would quickly take them to Capital Records, where they signed their record deal on top of the iconic building, all captured by Hoon’s camera.
Throughout the film, Hoon talks about his problem with alcohol and other substances, abstaining from them while the band worked on the first album.
Fans referred to the Blind Melon singer as an extra member of Guns N’ Roses. He was seen in the film spending time with frontman Axl Rose in the studio, and later, delivering a pizza to the band on stage while nude. All I Can Say is not all tragic, there were moments of bliss, often linked to the presence of his high school sweetheart, Lisa. Hoon seemed to resent the fame that followed him everywhere, later preferring the small-town life of Indiana to the hotel suitcase lifestyle he led on the road.
After the band’s breakout success with their platinum-certified eponymous debut, things quickly became complicated for Hoon. His life became compartmentalized into two different frames. Hoon’s life of excess on tour seemed to deplete his soul, while his life at home with his family and his newborn daughter seemed to be when he was at his best. By the end of the film, it became clear that Hoon was unhappy with his current situation but unable to escape a career that provided for his family.
All I Can Say provides a remarkable window into the mind of a small-town boy from Indiana thrust into a position that few people could ever understand.
This film is a cautionary tale for musicians looking to reach the highest mountain top in the entertainment industry. At one point in the movie, Hoon discusses how he spent years chasing his dream in Blind Melon, only later to learn that the result wouldn’t make him any happier.
Hoon was visibly unhappy in his later years with the band leading up to his death and seemed like a completely different person when he was with his family and daughter. The death of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, which is chronicled in the film, seemed to weigh on Shannon particularly hard.
After the band’s breakout success with their debut album, their second album ‘Soup’ failed to deliver the same success for the group. The film showed Hoon working on the band’s third and final album in New Orleans, a city he said “brings out the mental monsters”.
Shannon Hoon was later found deceased in that town. He was just 28 years old. The rock and roll lifestyle became a cliche in the 90s, often celebrated, but the tragic death of Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon reminds us that there are consequences to that lifestyle and they’re far-reaching.
This film is a window into a time where rock music ruled the world. That may never happen again.