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Blind Melon Back With New Singer, Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith says that the prospect of the band’s new album is “really strange and surreal.” But it’s definitely happening.

“For My Friends,” the fourth album from the band best known for the 1992 smash “No Rain” (and it’s “bee girl” video), is due out April 22. It’s also Blind Melon’s first set of new material since “Nico,” the 1996 set released a year after frontman Shannon Hoon died from a cocaine overdose in New Orleans.

Smith, 39 — whose wife, Kim, is from Royal Oak — says that he never expected to reactivate Blind Melon. “I was firmly entrenched in my production career out here in Hollywood” with Anna Nalick, Amy Correia and others, he says.

But finding new singer Travis Warren through those production channels convinced Smith and Blind Melon’s other three surviving members to get together again at the end of 2006.

“It was really weird and spooky how easy it was,” Smith recalls. “That chemistry was immediate and apparent. We’ve all been in bands after Blind Melon and it was grind, just overthinking everything and over-complicating it.

“This is a situation where you can relax because the chemistry is so strong. Nobody in the room gave a damn what other people thought about it; we love it, so that’s what counts. It’s nice to have that confidence backed by the chemistry.”

Blind Melon has toured twice already to introduce Warren and road test the new material. So far the group has been gratified by the response, which Smith says is generally leaving doubters in the dust.

“People are coming to our MySpace page saying they were skeptical walking into the room and leaving with the happiest moment of their life that the band was back,” Smith notes. “I mean, it’s not like we’re playing Devo music now. We still sound like us — luckily it’s the way we sound with Travis, too.

“He’s not doing a Shannon Hoon impersonation, but it’s not like an entirely different band, either.”

Blind Melon and Alex Winston & the Word Play perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (March 16) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $15. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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