Christopher Thorn [Interview]

Hey there Everyone! Remember when we used to talk about music a lot? I know that TWS has sort of become the MTV of the blog world, as we have shifted away from the plethora of album and artist reviews we used to do. But, we are so excited about these amazing interview opportunities that have been bestowed upon us. So, how about we combine the two. How about we showcase two of the best guitarists of our generation in one week? And tell you about some new shit you need to hear? Would you like that? Well, that’s what you’re going to get!

Christopher Thorn is the real deal in the modern world of music. For almost 30 years, Thorn has been thrilling audiences and listeners alike as the man behind the guitar for some of the finest acts of the 90’s and through to the present. In fact, he was the driving force behind one of the bands that was posed to be one of the greatest of all time, had tragedy not struck them so hard. I am talking about the legendary 90’s act Blind Melon. With just two albums released, the band was hit hard with the death of their truly unique and talented lead singer Shannon Hoon, that is now widely known. It is honestly hard to tell just what sort of magic Blind Melon might have been able to create had they been able to continue on. But, life doesn’t always work that way. So, we are left with two amazing albums that we can never be taken away from us.

Thorn’s later work has always been on our radar, as he has definitely refrained from diving out of the spotlight. He has continued to work with other amazing acts, as well as releasing his own wonderful projects. But, we will let Chris tell you about them himself! Ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Thorn!

As you were growing up, when did you first decide that you wanted/needed to join the world of music? Do you have any specific memories that still stick out to this day?

By the age of 12 or 13 I knew I wanted to play music and make records for the rest of my life. Once I made that commitment I had a focus and dedication that I never knew I had. I would wake up an hour early before school every day and practice. I had an amazing music teacher at school named Jeff Snyder who would let me practice in the music room during my study halls. I practiced before, during, and after school. I was obsessed and it felt great to find my passion .

As our old friend Marc Maron might ask, Who were your guys? What bands influenced you the most when you were coming up?

My influences are all the obvious ones. Jimmy Page and Keith Richards made me want to play guitar. Once I heard Bob Dylan and Neil Young, my focus changed more so to song writing and the craft of making a song that can drop you to your knees! The Beatles were also a huge influence as far as songs and production.

Would you be able and/or willing to give a brief synopsis of the formation of your first major group, Blind Melon? What were the early days like? And could you even fathom the amount of success you guys would have in such a seemingly short period of time?

I placed an ad in the LA local music mag in 1989 looking for a bass player. I met Brad Smith through that add and about a year later he and Rogers met Shannon. Brad called and said I found an incredible singer and we are looking for another guitar player. I went over and Shannon played me a new song he wrote called ” Change ” – When I met Shannon for the first time I thought this guy is exactly like all the legendary front men I have always read about. I had never met anyone with that much charisma, charm, and talent. He fucking blew my mind from day one. The rest is history as they say.

I don’t think anyone could really fathom that sort of success. I was a country boy from a tiny town in PA and I ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone. To this day when I even hear myself say that it sounds like I’m making it up. It still feel unreal.

Blind Melon struck a chord with the audiences of its time, and for great reasons. During this time of the sort of alternative renaissance as I have heard it called, what do you believe it was that made you guys stick out of the crowd? I know why it is special to me, but what was special for you?

I think we stuck out because we were not grunge. We were lumped in with that scene but we were on our own path. I also think Shannon’s personality and stage presence was a big part of that too .

Can you tell us a bit about Unified Theory that you started with bandmate Brad Smith and fellow rock geniuses Dave Krusen and Chris Shirin?

Unified Theory was a great time. We all got along really well. Brad and I produced the record in our own studios in Seattle and it was the first time we had control over every detail when it comes to the recordings. We toured our asses off and had a blast. I am very proud of the two records we made .

I have also become aware that you spent some time as a member of another group that I consider to be one of the finest rock acts of all time, the band Live. When was your period with this band? And how was this experience unique to you?

I was asked to join the band Live in 1998. I did a short tour including the Tibetan Freedom Concert and made The Distance To Here record with them. Around that same time I met Chris Shinn and I decided I wanted to form my own band. I asked Brad Smith and Dave Krusen to join and we were off and running. My time in Live was amazing . They had sold 20 million records by then and were riding high bu,t my time with them made me realize that starting over and forming my own band was more important than taking the easy road being a side man in Live .

And lets make more with the present, and ask about Sonny Boy Thorn. What can you tell us about this project, and what can the fans of modern times expect to hear, or have been hearing for a while?

In 2012 I toured the world with Awolnation as lead guitar player. I had a blast and it was a privilege to ride the wave of another hit song that I was a part of. The song “Sail” went on to sell 10 million copies but once again, I knew that starting over… ( again) and making my own music was something I had to do. I met Davie Dennis (Singer for SBT) around that time and we started writing songs . We brought in all our friends to help record. Glen Graham from Blind Melon, Matt Flynn from Maroon 5, Hayden Scott from Awolnation, Rami Jaffee from the Foo Fighters and Jim Keltner ( John Lennon , George Harrison, Joe Cocker and a million more ). It was an incredible experience. We have 20 songs complete and are just trying to figure out the best way to release the music . I truly feel like its the best record I have made since the Soup record .

Besides your own stuff, what are you listening to these days? Do you manage to keep up with the new trends in music?

I listen to a lot of new music . My new favorite band is Mondo Cosmo from LA . I love the Arc’s record as well . Queens of The Stone Age is also a modern fav . When it comes to Hip Hop I’m really digging Post Malone who recorded at my studio last month. He is the real deal and it might sound odd but his charm and charisma reminded me so much of Shannon.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug here?

I have some really big plans for the future that I have been working on. Art projects is all I can say at this point. I think the Melon fans will be very excited when I reveal what I have been working on. I am also excited about the Danny Clinch/Shannon Hoon documentary . It is one of the most unique and intimate films I have ever seen . Shannon shot all of the footage . Its like looking at some ones private journals .

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was Nico Hoon and her mom came out to Joshua Tree to spend time with my family and we all pretty much laughed our asses off for the entire week!

Check out this amazing video for Sonny Boy Thorn’s single “Wild and Free”:

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to Christopher Thorn [Interview]

  1. Elle says:

    I’ve been reminiscing about the 90’s and listening to Blind Melon for the past week. I thought I would look up what the band members were up to and found this. I really enjoy your site. 🙂

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