On June 8, 1993, Blind Melon released No Rain, a track that would later be called a one-hit wonder. It became a phenomenon – with its mega hit MTV video with “that girl in the bee costume.” The “Bee Girl” video put the band on the map. But, according to Capitol Records’ VP of marketing at the time, the song and its music video “borderlined on overexposure.”
Speaking of overdoing it, frontman Shannon Hoon later revealed that he was on LSD during the video shoot. And then, two years after the song was released, it was all over.
This is the story of No Rain and how Blind Melon was on their way to the top but never make it there.
The Girl in the Bee Outfit
No Rain was released in 1992 (it was rereleased in 1993 as a CD/vinyl set), and the album Number Three featured a photo of a girl in a bee outfit. That girl was Blind Melon drummer Glenn Graham’s sister, Georgia, who was 10 at the time. When it came time to make the music video for No Rain, they wanted the same character to be in it.
So, they searched for a similar-looking girl to star in it and, of course, wear the bee costume. That girl was Heather DeLoach. The young girl, as you surely remember, played a bespectacled kid who tap-dances in a bee outfit and then runs off to find her bee friends.
What Is the “Bee Girl” Up to These Days?
In Blind Melon’s heyday, the bee girl was as popular as the band was (maybe even more so). Hey, she went viral before going viral was even a thing. Fans of Pearl Jam might already know that the band wrote and recorded a song about the girl called, aptly, Bee Girl which was released in 2003.
30 years later, and people are still curious about who that “bee girl” was. Well, DeLoach (who was also in the video for Weird Al Yankovic’s Bedrock Anthem) has made her presence known on social media. She’s now 39 and, yes, still dresses up as a bee occasionally.
Braids and Chunky Glasses
DeLoach was the first to audition for the bee girl role, and since she looked so much like Graham’s sister, director Samuel Bayer (who also directed Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit) chose her. “They told me Sam didn’t look at any other tapes,” DeLoach recounted.
She went in with her hair in braids and wearing chunky glasses “because they said to look nerdy.” She remembers going with her mom to a local mall right before the audition to find the right glasses. “Sam liked them so much they’re the same ones I used in the video.”
She Was Nine and Became an Overnight Star
“I’m not one to boast,” she told MTV a while back, “but… people will recognize me.” DeLoach described how people still come up to her “all the time with stories about how I changed their childhood and got them through a tough time of not being accepted.”
She was all of nine when she starred in the music video and became an overnight star. DeLoach went on to become an actress, making appearances on ER, Reno 911, and the movies Anywhere but Here (1999) and I’ll Do Anything (1994).
The Meaning Behind the Character
In 2020, DeLoach shared a post on just how much being the bee girl has impacted her life. “The No Rain music video delivered such a powerful message. It has made an impact in so many lives and has left an everlasting impression on hearts all over the world.”
The bee girl, however, was different. She explained: “She didn’t feel accepted by others. She was laughed at until she cried off stage. She went in search of acceptance. She found her field of other bees through the beautiful gates, and she felt pure joy. She felt love and community. Her story forever changed me.”
Brad Smith Wrote No Rain About His Ex
Most of the tracks on the band’s debut album (also named Blind Melon) were finalized after the group worked on them together, but two standouts were written entirely by two separate band members before they ever formed Blind Melon. One was Hoon’s acoustic “song of hope” that he titled Change.
The other standout track was a peculiar song that Smith had wrote about the constantly depressed state of his ex- girlfriend, the one and only No Rain. “The song is about not being able to get out of bed and find excuses to face the day when you have really, in a way, nothing,” Smith explained.
No Rain: No Excuses
And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape
He had been dating a girl who was simply depressed – she would through sunny days and complain when it didn’t rain. The line about no rain, Smith explained, was about how he’s rather it be raining so he can justify lying in bed and not doing anything. “But it’s a sunny day, so go out and face it.”
Playing Guitar on the Venice Beach Boardwalk
For the longest time, he told himself he was writing the song from her perspective, only to later realize that he was also writing it about himself. He wrote it before the band formed but after he had already moved out to LA and was in a funk.
It was a time when he was fresh to California (having come from Mississippi). He was playing songs on Venice Beach for some pocket change. Smith described how he needed to come up with material during the week after working a construction job. He would get his guitar, go down to the beach, open up the guitar case, and start playing.
Can’t Go Back to Mississippi
I’ll have it made (I’ll have it made)
And I’ll have it made (I’ll have it made)
Oh no, no
You know we’re really gonna
Really gonna have it made
You know we’ll have it made
His guitar gently wept on the Venice Beach boardwalk. He needed the change to pay for “parking and chicken teriyaki. That was my weekend.” He had bouts of depression “and the whole, ‘What am I doing out here? Am I going to go back to Mississippi? I’m never going back to Mississippi.’”
It Was Really His Own Depression
But Smith was a fighter. He bit the bullet and made a point to “stick to my guns,” he said. He knew he wanted to be a musician – to be there in California and not to go back home with his tail between his legs, so to speak.
It was lonely, though, with no one out there. “There was no family; I didn’t know a soul out here at first.” So, initially, it was (subconsciously) easier for him to write about his then-girlfriend and HER depression – about HER not being able to get out of bed.
He Played No Rain on the Beach for a Year
“It was like rock bottom,” he communicated, but he wasn’t even on drugs or drinking. “It was just a tough point in my life.” The “cool thing” about No Rain, for Smith, is that a lot of people “interpret the lyrics properly and can connect with it on that level.”
For Smith, the lyrics and the song were his inspiration. With the spirit he was in, having to come up with songs to play on the beach for change, it meant something. He played the early version of No Rain on the beach for over a year before Hoon joined and turned the song into a hit.
The Blind Melon Strat Guitar
The guitar Rogers Stevens used for No Rain (his “Blind Melon” Strat) was seen in the official video for the song, but the guitar went through an ordeal of its own. Stevens bought it in Hollywood in 1991 and recorded the entire first record with it.
Then, at a festival gig in Europe, the jack shorted out. Stevens remembers he took the guitar “and sort of dropped it” by his amp. “For reasons I will never understand, Shannon took this as an indication that I was entirely done with the guitar and would never pick it back up again.”
Does Anyone Know What Happened to His Strat?
Hoon, whom we’ll come to learn was quite a wild child, immediately picked up the Strat, smashed it, and threw it out into the “crowd of 300,000 drunken Englishmen.” Stevens, who “wasn’t really heartbroken, I guess” has often wondered what happened to his guitar and “would be happy to buy it back.”
Funnily enough, Stevens is now a lawyer. Thanks to the never-ending royalties from the song No Rain (“It was enough that I never really would have to get a job”), he could have lived comfortably for the rest of his life. But he chose to do more.
Shannon Hoon’s Raw Video Diary
All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain
And all I can do is just pour some tea for two
And speak my point of view but it’s not sane
It’s not sane
In 2019, a documentary called All I Can Say was made featuring Shannon Hoon. It’s basically a video diary which was shot by the lead singer himself. He recorded footage from his arrival in Los Angeles in 1990 to the final hours of his life, before his fatal cocaine overdose in New Orleans in 1995.
He Had a Dark Side
Originally from Lafayette, Indiana, Hoon was an obsessive guy. He recorded everything – from brushing his teeth to the birth of his daughter just months before his death. The diaries were his confessional where he revealed the side of him that was a jerk, too.
Apparently, he wasn’t always good to his long-time girlfriend and mother of his child, Lisa Crouse… or his bandmates. He had encounters with the law, like when he was arrested for indecent exposure after stripping on stage and urinating on a fan at a concert in Canada. But people paid more attention to his passion for music and performing.
The Band That Never Got to Deliver
1993, when Blind Melon was just starting to make waves, was in retrospect the beginning of the end. About a decade after the band abruptly ended in 1995 – with Hoon’s death – the surviving band members expressed regret and sadness that they never really got to deliver on their potential.
Guitarist Roger Stevens, guitarist Christopher Thorn, and bassist Brad Smith, Hoon and Graham were all from small towns, which made them stand out from the rest (they popped up around the same time as Nirvana and Pearl Jam).
From Small Town America to Big City LA
The guys were from West Point, Mississippi, Lafayette, Indiana, Dover, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Mississippi. When they started out in high school bands, Stevens explained, people were “completely baffled by what we were doing.”
Childhood friends Stevens and Smith came up with a “rock’n’roll plan.” They knew they were going to have to get out to LA. “We had big balls and little brains, and moved to Los Angeles to take our chance,” Smith said. They remember the culture shock, too, when they arrived on the West Coast in 1989.
The Aftermath of the Glam Metal Scene
Once in LA, the guys realized that the music scene was nothing like the rock magazines promised. “It was the remnants of the glam metal scene, which was ultra-sad,” Smith recalled. “I was depressed from the music scene; it was just horrible.”
But then he met Thorn, who was like him. Thorn, who moved out there in the late ‘80s, put an ad in the Music Connection, met Smith, and the two became fast friends. Together, they figured they needed more “outsiders” from other states if they were going to create a band.
Enter Wild Child Shannon Hoon
They soon met Hoon, who was something of a wild child. Hoon had already fronted bands back in Indiana, but since he was constantly at odds with the police, he had no choice but to run out of town. Within weeks of landing in LA, he crossed paths with Stevens.
“Brad, you gotta go down, right now, to the rehearsal space and meet this guy Shannon,” Stevens said to Smith on the phone. “I’m telling you, he’s the guy, he’s amazing.” The guys liked how unpretentious and unaffected Hoon was by LA and how he was like one of them.
He Was Unpredictable and Never Shut Up
On the one hand, Hoon was clearly talented and impressed the others immediately. But he also showed them early on that he was unpredictable and volatile. “He talked a lot; he would not shut up,” Stevens recalled. “I remember that first night that we decided we were going to be in a band; we’d gotten really drunk.”
They were crashing at Stevens’ apartment and Hoon picked a fight with him because Stevens was laughing at him over something he said. Hoon had a tendency to say anything that came to his mind. On that night, though, no punches were thrown.
What’s Behind the Name Blind Melon? It’s About Hippies
The band, still unnamed, was forming and they searched for a like-minded drummer from a small town. That’s when Glen Graham, who knew Stevens from back in Mississippi, came into the picture. They asked him to come.
“He was getting ready to move to North Carolina, and he just made a left turn instead of a right turn, and drove to LA,” recalled Stevens. Now formed, all that was left was to pick a band name. It was Smith who came up with the name Blind Melon. Smith remembered a phrase his father used to call their hippy neighbours back home: “blind melon.”
Singing With Capital Records… for the Money
After recording a demo tape, and before they even played even a single show, several major labels were checking them out. It was likely Hoon’s relationship with Axl Rose. Hoon had provided backing vocals on a few Guns N’ Roses tracks for their 1991 albums, Use Your Illusion I and II, including the single Don’t Cry (where he also appeared in the music video).
Around the same time Don’t Cry was released, Blind Melon were signed to Capitol Records. The band was given a fair amount of artistic control, but Stevens admits the real reason they went with Capitol was that “they paid us more money.”
Pajama Party at the Sleepy House
It was time to start writing songs, but LA and its party scene was just too damn distracting. They tried, unsuccessfully, to record an album with Neil Young’s producer, David Briggs. After that failure, the five guys relocated to Durham, North Carolina, for some peace and quiet.
They rented a place that they called the Sleepy House, and Blind Melon got to work. “We just played music, smoked weed, and everyone was into painting at the time,” Smith said. “It was a blast. It was a very strange environment.” Hoon tin-foiled the windows to keep the place dark and lit candles. Rogers, Smith remembers, didn’t take off his pyjamas for a week.
They Had Their Sh*t Together
By early 1992, they were recording their debut album in Seattle, where an uprising of grunge bands was about to take place. Rick Parashar (who made music with Pearl Jam) was hired to produce. Aside from the drugs and squabbles, they had their “sh*t together musically.”
A few takes was all it took, and there was hardly any overdubbing. It was pretty easy, Stevens explained, which might be why they decided to take a break mid-recording. They toured around for six weeks and played every night. “I felt like we were really firing on all pistons at that point,” Thorn recalled.
Crammed in a Van Tour
Once the album came out, the guys realized just how much work was involved in releasing a record. “I think we were all under the false assumption that our record was going to come out and be a giant hit,” Thorn says. Luckily, they had Capitol, “who knew it was going to be a slow build.”
It was hard work, but according to Smith, it was “probably the most romantic period of my musical career.” They had made T-shirts that said “Crammed in a Van Tour.”
What Goes Up Must Come Down
It was around this time they shot the music video for No Rain, and, with its release, the sky was the limit. Blind Melon skyrocketed to the top of the US charts during the summer of 1993. But as their rock’n’roll dreams were coming true, shi*t was starting to hit the fan.
“Song writing issues came up, which was a bummer,” Smith admitted. He and Hoon were “duking it out” since Hoon wanted to split up the song writing, whereas Smith didn’t. While on the road, which lasted about a year and a half, Hoon let loose.
Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Workshop
“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, and Shannon took that proverb to heart,” Smith said of their time on the road. “He’d made a mess of himself on the road after a certain point,” and in hindsight Smith thinks they should have gotten off the road sooner.
While No Rain had airtime on the radio, the band was in Europe touring with Lenny Kravitz for two months. All the touring was great from a business perspective, but in terms of longevity, it wasn’t the right thing to do. Touring became the backdrop for Hoon’s cocaine use.
He Didn’t Show Up to His Own Intervention
High on success and drugs, Hoon was on a road of indulgence. But his drug use, according to Stevens “was from day one.” It was cocaine, specifically, that really brought Hoon – and the band – down. They tried to be supportive – and took him to treatment a few times.
They even held an intervention at one point and Hoon didn’t even show up. When Kurt Cobain committed suicide in April 1994, it came as somewhat of a wakeup call for Hoon.
A Real Attempt at Sobriety
It appeared as though Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April 1994 served as a wake-up call for Hoon, who took his first serious stab at sobriety around this time. But it was a brief one, and within only a few months he was back to his old habits again.
Once the band was off the road, they each settled down into new hometowns (Thorn to Seattle, Smith, Stevens, and Graham to New Orleans, and Hoon returned to Indiana). Before they started recording their second album, Blind Melon got a spot at Woodstock ’94.
Mayhem in New Orleans
Woodstock ’94 was, for Thorn at least, very overwhelming. Hoon showed up in a dress, and while Thorn was initially offput, he saw how Hoon was “just going for it, giving a hundred per cent.” After Woodstock, the guys started recording their next album in New Orleans, a town that proved too distracting for Hoon.
In fact, the whole band was in a state of “mayhem,” as Smith recalled it. “There was a lot of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana… whatever you wanted. It was at the studio all the time. It was f***ing crazy, man.”
A Total Vampire Experience
They went into the studio in the late afternoon and left by sunrise. It was “a total vampire existence,” Smith related. It amazes him that a record was even completed in the state they were in. What they had going for them was that the “band could play, and we had this crazy, unspoken telepathy.”
The resulting album, Soup, wasn’t anything like the first album. They made songs about child murderers, serial killers, heroes and a suicide jumper. Gone were the singy-songy tunes like No Rain.
With Someone to Live For
By the time Soup came out in August 1995, Hoon was fresh out of rehab, and Blind Melon was about to embark on a European tour. Now a father, he had someone to live for, but his partying ways would come back once again on the road.
This time, however, he knew to ask his bandmates to cut the tour short, and they did. A month later, they were back on a US tour. Although he wanted to be at home with his newborn, Hoon hit the road with the band, clean and sober… for now.
The Drug Use Was Rubbing Off
Once they got to LA, “some boneheads turned Shannon on to drugs,” Thorn recounted. Blind Melon’s manager hired a “caretaker” while on tour to keep an eye on Hoon. “This big, huge guy, and his job was to keep drug people away from Shannon,” Stevens recalled.
But the big guy wasn’t really doing his job. So, they fired him and hoped Hoon would get his act together soon. Eventually, the drug use rubbed off on other band members and affected their performance. Smith, for one, had enough.
Their Last Hours as a Band
“It was a secret I had between me and my now wife, that I may just slip off in the middle of the night, get a plane ticket and go home,” Smith admitted. “I was really frustrated. And I think part of that was because I didn’t use cocaine.”
Following a sloppy show in Houston in October, the band boarded their tour bus and headed towards New Orleans. Little did any of the guys know that these would be the last hours they would spend as a band together.
Hoon Never Woke Up
Hoon stayed up all night doing cocaine, and by the morning, the bus pulled into a New Orleans hotel. The rest of the band checked into their own rooms, but Hoon stayed up and roamed the streets. He then climbed onto one of the bus’s bunks.
Hoon never woke up. He died of a cocaine overdose at the age of 28. Despite the obvious addiction problems Hoon had, many people blamed his death on the group and its management. They claim that he shouldn’t have been back on the road so soon after rehab.
He Was Irreplicable
After the sudden loss, the band contemplated going on with a different lead singer. But they eventually came to the conclusion that Hoon was irreplaceable. The result was the band disbanding. Stevens collaborated with Royston Langdon (from Spacehog) in the band Sparticle.
Smith and Thorn ran a recording studio in Hollywood called Wishbone, and Graham left the music business completely and turned to painting. Come 2006, Blind Melon reunited and hired a new singer, Travis Warren, and released a third album called My Friends. In 2008, a book was written about the band called A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon.