Two decades! You’re (probably) old! But Third Eye Blind holds up. The full anniversary treatment is in order, complete with a victory-lap tour. But the punch line is that the album got so huge, and the band’s eventual split was so irreparable, that there are two bands now, and two tours.
Salazar and founding guitarist-songwriter Kevin Cadogan — who left the band in roughly 2006 and 2000, respectively, after vicious and prolonged battles with Jenkins over the holy rock-band triumvirate of money, power, and credit — are on the other one. The one not officially traveling under the Third Eye Blind banner.
Third Eye Blind’s self-titled is simultaneously one of the most joyful albums I’ve ever heard and one of the most heartbreaking. The first half of the record is stacked with infectiously catchy pop-rock songs—most of which became hit singles. The latter half is more jagged and mid-tempo, with songs that sound noticeably darker and more subdued. Half the songs wouldn’t sound out of place on a summertime party playlist. The other half are songs that ache with such profound loneliness that listening to them with a group of people almost seems sacrilegious. And, as is the trademark of frontman Stephen Jenkins, even some of the songs that sound happy are actually crushing.
Third Eye Blind is a much more complex record than I thought it was when I first heard it, and I’d reckon that something similar holds true for most people. Frankly, early on, it was easy to hear Third Eye Blind’s music as little more than catchy radio rock. In the summer of 1997, “Semi-Charmed Life” rode the infectiousness of its “doo doo doo” hook to the number one slot on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart. At six years old, I thought it was the catchiest song I’d ever heard. At 26 years old, I still think it’s the catchiest song I’ve ever heard. There might not be a single song that makes me think more of summertime than that one.
After a busy couple of summers on the road, Third Eye Blind is back with the new seven-song EP, We Are Drugs. I recently caught up with lead singer Stephan Jenkins while he was recuperating from the band’s most recent tour. We talked about the new songs, staying punk rock, and of course, that infamous show during the Republican National Convention this past July.
Third Eye Blind will release their new EP, We Are Drugs, on October 7th. The EP will have 7 songs and be released online, frontman Stephen Jenkins described the recording process:
“We also allowed ourselves freedom on We Are Drugs from any definitions or guidelines of what we were supposed to be. We just took joy in getting in a big room together and letting music happen and then chasing it around wherever it led us. It is one of the most freeing recording experiences I have had.”
You can stream the new song “Company of Strangers” below.
As the rest of the nation watched in abject disbelief, Republicans descended upon Cleveland last week for what might, in retrospect, be best described as a suicide party. The Nominee Who Must Not Be Named delivered his usual bile (you know the formula by now) and promptly scared the living shit out of anyone who dared dissect even a single component of his rhetoric. But just minutes away, Third Eye Blind had successfully injected a small but Twitter-shattering shot of truth into an otherwise bullshit-laden establishment. Though initial reports inaccurately cited that Stephan Jenkins and company had actually played at the Republican National Convention itself, a band-issued clarification (and anyone actually familiar with the band’s lyrical content) promptly confirmed otherwise. The band played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a Musicians on Call fundraising event, an event that’s unaffiliated with the Republican Party. However, given that the bulk of their audience that fateful evening were RNC attendees, the band eschewed their usual arsenal of hits for an impassioned plea to GOP faithfuls to reject the anti-LGBT and anti-science platform their party has perpetuated for decades.
This year’s Alternative Press Music Awards were moved to Columbus, Ohio because the Republican National Convention was getting started in Cleveland. Stephan Jenkins, lead singer of Third Eye Blind, played with Mayday Parade and The Maine for the awards show and, well, we’ve all read about the band’s performance the other night. I spoke with Stephan on the red carpet at the APMAs and he talked about the band putting a new EP in the next few weeks and their plans for the rest of the year.
Usually I just add “updates” to articles that I have already posted, but this was such a good story I felt like it needed its own post. To follow-up on my wondering what Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind might say on stage after hearing his band would be playing at the RNC: we have an answer. In a pretty epic troll job the band spent the night performing deeper cuts from their catalogue and proclaiming their support for LGBT rights and science.
At one point during the concert, Jenkins poked fun at controversial conservative views. “Raise your hand if you believe in science!” he reportedly taunted, drawing a series of boos from the crowd. He responded: “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherf—king artist up here.”
Third Eye Blind will be the headline performing act at the charity benefit for Musicians On Call (MOC), a nonprofit that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
In 2012 lead singer Stephan Jenkins penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post explaining why they had turned down playing a similar event:
Even the private party my band was asked to play at the RNC is not some innocuous event. Though I am happy to play for Republican fans, like my life-long Republican mom, playing the RNC convention is a tacit endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate and his party platform, and this is not my mom’s Republican Party anymore.
Reading through Jenkins’s Twitter feed makes me think this is the last place he would want to be playing. Now I’m curious what they’re going to say on stage.
The kids were struggling to get out of a rip current that had dragged them 100 yards out to sea, TMZ.com reports. Stephan and Brad paddled out to the boys and let them rest on their surfboards, before bringing them back safely to shore. Luke McNees, manager of Third Eye Blind, told the website that other than being winded and scared, the boys were uninjured and very grateful to the rockers who saved them.