Individually : Extra Virgin - 12 Stories High
1. Rubber Chin
3. Fat Laces
4. Hi-Fi Hearts
5. My Universe
6. Goin' Deep
8. Over The Hill
9. 20 Days
10. Devil Made Me Do It
11. Velvet Pills
12. Palm Reader
"...Rene came up with the name
(12 stories high) because there
are 12 songs on the record. There are all sorts of other connotations in
By Greg Prato
How did you meet Rene Lopez, and how did the current line-up come together?
Around 1997 or so, I used to go to this bar in New York that my friend owned.....the whole free drink scenario. Rene played on night and my friend introduced us. I forced him to quit what he was doing and work with me. At the time, we were looking for a singer to move on with what was left of Blind Melon (under a different name), but it seemed to work better with just the two of us. The other guys felt the same way and they carried on with their thing. Rene and I went to see Johnny Lonely when we were in LA last year. Blind Melon opened our first show for his old band, Liquid Jesus, so I've known Johnny for 10 years or so. He was involved with another band, so he couldn't do it at the time. Just after we had completely written him off, he called to say he was moving to New York and wanted to play. We met Bill Dobrow through Christopher Thorn, who was in my old band....Bill came highly recommended, so we called him. It took him a few months to come around as well, but he's in there now and it works great. Rene had know Jack Petrozelli before with some other group or something, so he came right in and knew the songs better that we did after about 3/4 of a rehearsal.
The current line-up was formed after '12 Stories High' was recorded, right? Did studio musicians play on the album?
Rene and I played a lot of the stuff on the record. The other guys weren't around yet when when we made it. We'll probably re-record stuff with them later. All of these guys have enormous rock egos, so we have to be sensitive to their needs or they go into hysterics and make irrational demands. We've also got a bunch of new songs that we've worked out. These new tunes will be recorded and all the members will be properly credited in bold letters.
Are you happy with how the album came out, how was the recording process? You've recorded in New Orleans before, right?
This is my third record to record at Kingsway in New Orleans, and it will be the last. The place is closing as of now because evidently the owner has a geniune stalker that he can't escape. This, of course, is all rumor and speculation. I think the record has some really cool things on it. One thing that I've learned is that they never come out as good as you think they will. But that's all subjective anyway. It's tough to tell. At times, I get into it, and at other times I think....What the hell were we doing!? I think it's probably two songs too long, but since there was no way any of the songs could be dropped after you averaged in everybody's opinions, it ended up the way it was.
How have the shows been thus far?
I've got no complaints about the shows. The crowds seem to be getting bigger....and these people are fun to play with. I think it's much more bombastic live than on record. It's very hard to record that, but some people seem to be able to.
For longtime Blind Melon fans, how would you describe Extra Virgin's sound?
In my mind, it flows pretty well from the old band to this one. Obviously, Shannon and Rene are very different singers, so right up front it sounds different. But I still handle my part of things in the same way, so whatever my contribution was in Blind Melon can be heard somewhat in this band. I think the music is at least in the same neighborhood....being that it's sort of all over the map, but Rene brings a whole list of influences that I never considered to the picture. Now that we're all writing together as a band, it's going to be even more varied. Johnny is very into early Scritti Politti...so that alone should at least change the course of rock history.
Are the newer songs the band's been playing in concert collaborative between all the members? Any plans of recording the new material in the near future?
I think i've answered this one.
Is a major label deal on the horizon?
Label people seem pretty interested, so we'll check that out and see where it goes. You just never know until you sign your life away.
Ex-Blind Melon members resurface
MTV News Website
Nearly four years after the death of singer Shannon Hoon, the former members of Blind Melon are resurfacing with new projects.
Guitarist Christopher Thorn told MTV News that he and bassist Brad Smith have now formed a band called Luma, while guitarist Rogers Stevens is recording under the name Extra Virgin.
The members of Blind Melon physically went their separate ways after singer Hoon's drug-related death on a tour bus in New Orleans in 1995, Thorn said. He and Smith moved to Seattle, while Stevens moved to New York and drummer Glen Graham opted to remain in New Orleans.
In mid-1996 the remaining members, who all shared equally in the band's songwriting duties, toyed briefly with the idea of regrouping under another name with another singer. They put out a call for audition tapes but eventually abandoned the plan.
Luma was born in mid-1998, Thorn said, when he was in L.A. recording material with the band Live and met Celia Green vocalist Chris Shinn. Thorn also had a project with former bandmate Smith on the back burner in Seattle. The three musicians banded together, added drummer Dave Krusen (who played on the first Pearl Jam album), and became Luma.
According to Thorn, guitarist Rogers Stevens has been working with singer-songwriter Rene Lopez in New York. The pair is recording an album as Extra Virgin under the auspices of producer Mike Napolitano, who produced and mixed tracks on Blind Melon's posthumous LP "Nico."
While Stevens is said to be looking at an independent release, Luma, who is being managed by the agency responsible for the likes of Tool and Jane's Addiction, is currently courting several major labels.
In the interim, Luma has just released a four-song EP through its Web site (www.luma.net) and is about to embark on a mini-tour of the west coast which kicks off July 29 in Olympia, Washington.