Third Eye Blind

Ahead of their UK tour dates, the band’s front­man talks about im­age prob­lems, pol­i­tics and f**king things up.

Classic Rock - - The Dirt - The first of Third Eye Blind’s shows in the U K and Ire­land is at Lon­don’s Round­house on Septem­ber 27.

Third Eye Blind have an im­age prob­lem. In fair­ness, the prob­lem isn’t theirs – it’s ev­ery­one else’s. The San Fran­cisco band were a more com­plex propo­si­tion than the wave of MTV post‑grunge bands they were lumped in with, mix­ing up rock, pop and hip‑ hop in­flu­ences with an edgy lyri­cal slant – break­through hit Semi-Charmed Life was about crys­tal meth ad­dic­tion, while 2016 sin­gle Cop Vs Girl ad­dressed the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. Ahead of a UK tour, Stephen Jenk­ins puts some pre­con­cep­tions to rest.

You’ve said of your­self: “I’m not a legacy guy,” but you played your first al­bum from start to fin­ish on your re­cent US tour. I’m not very nos­tal­gic by na­ture. But to have an al­bum that made it to twenty is noth­ing you should be blasé about. So I said that we’d play some new mu­sic, then play that record from back to front. And the last date, a home­com­ing show at the Greek in San Fran­cisco, was the last time we did it. We won’t do it again.

Did you feel that you were mis­un­der­stood back then?

I didn’t feel like we were part of the scene we were put in. There was a kind of post‑ grunge men­tal­ity, a death cult. We were try­ing to cast that off. In­stead of this ni­hilism that was part of Nir­vana and Alice In Chains, we had a rage to live.

Your work rate slowed down in the ’00s. Did you en­joy that decade?

Yeah. Things started to pick up around 2007. I’d gone through a dif­fi­cult break‑up, and that cre­ated a lot of soul search­ing, which turned into a more whole, hap­pier self. That co­in­cided with peo­ple be­gin­ning to rediscover the band. A whole bunch of lit­tle puz­zle pieces came to­gether. In 2011 you wrote the song If Ever There Was A Time in sup­port of the Oc­cupy move­ment. Do you think the protests had much ef­fect?

Amer­ica was fleeced of a fifth of its wealth and none of the peo­ple who did it were held ac­count­able. I thought Oc­cupy was a mo­ment. But for a mo­ment to be­come a move­ment, they have to have an idea that peo­ple can get be­hind, that they can ac­tu­ally turn into a pol­icy. No­body in the Oc­cupy move­ment ever came up with that. There wasn’t some leader who arose and turned it all into a point.

Your 2016 sin­gle Cop Vs Phone Girl plugged into the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. Has rock lost its po­lit­i­cal edge?

Very much so. Our song was about a six­teen‑year‑old girl who got the shit beaten out of her by a cam­pus se­cu­rity guard who had a gun, and they wouldn’t play it on the ra­dio. Well they did, but there’s a line in the song where I say: ‘ Why is it so hard to say Black Lives Mat­ter? ’ Then peo­ple would call in say­ing: “Blue lives mat­ter”, mean­ing the po­lice. It turned into this id­i­otic thing. It was not tol­er­ated.

That re­cent US tour was named Sum­mer Gods af­ter your new EP – which never ac­tu­ally came out.

Ha! Yeah. We recorded a song called Twice As Many Tigers, which was ba­si­cally me just freestyling over some trap (south­ern hip‑hop) beats, and we chick­ened out on putting it out. It was re­ally a Stephen Jenk­ins solo song. We just didn’t get it to­gether to record the rest of the songs. That’s what we do with Third Eye Blind, we fuck things up. DE

“In­stead of the post­grunge men­tal­ity, a death cult, we had a rage to live.”

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