All I Can Say review: A raw insight into 90s fame
James R | On 07, May 2022
Director: Colleen Hennessy, Danny Clinch, Taryn Gould
Cast: Shannon Hoon, Glen Graham, Christopher Thorn, Brad Smith, Rogers Stevens
In 1995, Shannon Hoon, the lead singer in Blind Melon, died from a cocaine-induced heart attack. The band became famous in the 1990s for their hit single No Rain and his life, much like his band’s success, was tragically short-lived. All I Can Say is a documentary made up from the video footage that he filmed in the five years before his death – and it’s a poignant, vivid and raw first-hand account of fame.
Hoon started out recording backing vocals for Guns N’ Roses and that connection ultimately got Blind Melon their break, with No Rain sending them on a sudden – and brief – road to stardom. In the era of MTV, just before the internet, his camera gives us a snapshot of 90s alt-rock culture, from near-awards success and festival crowds singing their lyrics to hotel rooms. But this isn’t a glamorous, sugar-rush of celebrity; it’s a downbeat, disorienting one, which is laced with melancholic moments, as we see Hoon going to the toilet, reacting to the death of Kurt Cobain and, ultimately, turning to drugs.
Hoon himself was a frank and comprehensive chronicler of his experiences, and that honesty is what gives directors Taryn Gould, Colleen Hennessy and Danny Clinch such unflinching material to work with. They edit and assemble that heartbreaking openness into something that’s scrappy and sometimes lacking in wider context but heartbreaking in its subjective truths, taking us right up to the arrival of his daughter, only shortly before his death.