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 Individually : Unified Theory


  6. A.M RADIO
  7. FIN

Release date : August 15, 2000

Blind Melon Vets Regroup as Unified Theory

By Marian Montgomery for Rolling Stone (April 12, 2000)

Visit Unified Theory's site


Former Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith is the first to admit that his new band, Unified Theory, has some undertones reminiscent of his previous gig. As one fan noted on the band’s Web site, www.unifiedtheorymusic.com, “You can take the boys out of Blind Melon, but you can’t take Blind Melon out of the boys.”

Nevertheless, Smith says he hopes fans don’t expect the groove-driven sounds that pigeonholed Blind Melon back in the Nineties. “The music is way more ethereal,” he says. “Blind Melon fit in that same genre of new southern rock, like the Black Crowes, etc., but this stuff is more modern sounding. It has samples and some drum loops in it.  We had some Seattle symphony string players come in and play. There’s definitely some crazy epic anthem stuff we were going for in there, but then we have modern pop songs. It’s a strange blend.”

    Joining Smith and former Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn in Unified Theory are former Pearl Jam (Ten) drummer Dave Krusen, and new lead singer Chris Shinn.

    The meteoric rise of Blind Melon’s career came to an abrupt end in 1995 when lead singer Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose. The group fell apart and tried to deal with the emotional aftermath of Hoon’s untimely demise. “He was a special cat,” says Smith. “I really miss him. Shannon was a romantic folk artist, and nobody knew it. Everybody thought Shannon was Axl [Rose]’s buddy/rocker dude, but the guy could write a folk song that hit hard. He could just nail it.”

    But, don’t plan on hearing any final songs by Hoon or any Blind Melon tunes on the road. “Nico really finalized what Shannon wrote,” says Smith, referring to Blind Melon’s swan song. “Even if there was something left, it would be kind of sacred, and I wouldn’t want to fuck up his genius.”

    When Smith talked to Thorn about getting a band together, Thorn drove to Los Angeles to conduct his own personal star search. There, he discovered a copy of Shinn’s Celia Green EP, and knew he had found their guy. Smith describes Shinn’s sound as a cross between Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley. Shinn says he doesn’t feel like he’s filling anybody else’s shoes, though.

    “Hoon was one of the most amazing singers out there,” he says. “I’m not really worried about any comparisons. I’m actually kind of flattered by them.”

    The addition of Krusen completed the lineup. “[Pearl Jam] went straight downhill after he left,” says Smith, laughing.  The drummer joined Unified Theory after a stint touring with another Seattle export, Candlebox.

    Under the original name Luma, the group traveled up and down the West coast for two weeks and sold a thousand albums. Eventually, Tom Shadyac picked them up for his new label 3:33, an imprint of Universal. Shadyac is better known for directing movies than music careers. Helming such films as Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor, Shadyac has talked of directing the first video for the group.

    Smith and Thorn produced the album, which was mixed by David Bottrill (Tool, Remy Zero).
The disc’s August release date can’t come soon enough for the band. “We were running for so long from so many different things,” says Smith. “Shannon’s death, touring, and gigging. Now we’re just ready to  stand on a soapbox and say, ‘We’re back!’”

 Thanks to Matt of 12Daze for the pictures

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