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[EXCLUSIVE] On Tour With Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins

BY EVAN MOLINEUX

StephanJenkins_GavinMichaelBooth

Third Eye Blind is back.

After an extended hiatus from making music, one of the biggest and most influential rock and roll bands of the 90s is back on tour, with a new album. Mainly revered and celebrated for hits ‘Semi-Charmed Life’, ‘Jumper’, and ‘How’s It Going To Be’ off of their self titled 1997 debut album, the band has been a mainstay on radios and mix tapes around the world since their inception.

Their latest album Dopamine is the band’s first release in six years and comes as an appropriate reminder of how good they were and continue to be. The album is rich with the familiar qualities of classic Third Eye Blind tracks, especially through the classic, infectious quality of the songwriting.

Lead singer and songwriter Stephan Jenkins provides the kind of poppy yet incredibly rich lyrics that famously filled their early albums. Despite being definitively Third Eye Blind, the album possesses a unique, indefinable quality that can only come as a reflection of the experience garnered having traveled the world, sharing their music with fans over the past few decades.

Stephan was kind enough to take a break from the band’s current tour to answer some questions for this edition of ‘On Tour With’.

Third Eye Blind

It has been a while since the release of the last album, what inspired you guys to get back in the studio?

Stephan: That sound in my head. Sometimes I think I got to get it out of there or I will go crazy. Thank God we made the album in time!

Do you think this new album differs from your previous releases or are you still making songs the same way as you always have?

Stephan: This album is different. This one goes ‘boom boom boom’ and I really never have a clue what my process is.

Do you think being famous musicians and touring has allowed you to travel and see a different side of the world that the average traveler isn’t exposed to?

Stephan: Mostly I see the back of an amphitheater and it is amazing how much they all look the same. However, we do get out now and then and get into a museum, restaurant, gallery or discover a street. And lately we have been taking bicycles on tour and get out to ride them. That has really opened the world a lot.

Where is your favorite place to play a show?

Stephan: Kyoto, Japan

Is there anywhere that you guys haven’t been able to play that you want to?

Stephan: Israel

Dopamine runs deep. #dopamine #thirdeyeblind #3ebontheroad 📷: @hiephotography

A post shared by Third Eye Blind (@thirdeyeblind) on

Which city or country has the best food and which spots do you always have to eat at when touring through that place?

Stephan: Really depends on what you want. Nothing can beat Milwaukee if you are hankering for a bratwurst or NYC if you want a slice. The best burrito in the world remains in the Mission in San Francisco. Beyond that, people are caring more about food and there is really good locally-sourced, boutique restaurants in every city. You just have to find them.

Who is the best band you have ever toured with?

Stephan: Queens of the Stone Age on an Australian tour in 2010.

Some consider when you opened for OASIS in 1996 to be a major turning point for the band, what was that experience like? What advice would you give to young musicians today trying to make their breakthrough?

Stephan: We buried them. They were going to mail that gig in; we just ran them out of town! My advice to young musicians is that you are in this to make a difference so by all means, please do.

Many people consider Third Eye Blind to be one of the bands at the heart of the transition into the digital music age; do you guys think that transition affected your career at all either positively or negatively?

Stephan: Yes, both. It’s one absurd situation where the record companies took all of the artists’ money, replaced by an even more absurd situation where the streaming companies take all of the artists’ money. Artists haven’t figured out how to not get shafted yet but they will eventually. On the upside, more people listen to Third Eye Blind than ever and that brings more people to shows, and at some level I think we all just like it when our music gets heard.

If you could only bring one book and one movie with you on your next tour, which would they be?

Stephan: The Orphan Masters Son (book) The ripped Copy of The Martian as I have not seen it yet and I hear it is good.

What was the inspiration for the video for ‘Get Me out of Here’ and what was it like directing?

Stephan: Definitely The Rocky Horror Picture Show, perhaps the greatest film ever made. Directing is a blast; in an 11-hour shoot, I think I blinked once.

Was directing something you had any experience in before, what got you interested in doing it, and do you have any favorite directors?

Stephan: I have directed lots of videos in the past but this is my first with a narrative feel. Director Danny Boyle has a new film out, Steve Jobs, and he is one of my all-time favorites.

You guys have inspired and continue to inspire tons of musicians, which young bands or musicians today do you think more people should be listening to?

Stephan: Oh God there are so many. Chet Faker, Jake Garrett, K Flay, Spencer Barnett, and I saw Twenty One Pilots the other night. Amazing live show.

Which musicians inspired you when you first started making music?

Stephan: Bob Marley, the whole burgeoning hip-hop scene and Edith Piaf.

You guys have fans from all over the world, which of your fan bases typically goes the craziest and what is the weirdest thing you have ever seen a fan do?

Stephan: Nobody beats Japan for crazy and weird, God bless them. Regarding weirdest, we never kiss and tell. 

New Jersey, thank you for loving us! #3ebontheroad #thirdeyeblind 📷: @stacymichelle

A post shared by Third Eye Blind (@thirdeyeblind) on

What is your favorite way to relax on tour?

Stephan: My favorite way to relax on tour after shows is bringing out lawn furniture and a fire pit. Pretty much there is a bonfire every night – pretty chill.

Where is you favorite place to vacation?

Stephan: The island of Sumba Indonesia.

What does traveling mean to you?

Stephan: Great possibilities mixed with long airport corridors.

Where is the band’s next destination?

Stephan: I don’t know. I am on my tour bus now and have no idea where we are going tomorrow. North Carolina?? I know I am getting on a plane to Amsterdam shortly.

What do you think of Third Eye Blind’s new album or Stephan’s life on the road? Let us know in the comments.

Evan Molineux contributor profile

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3 Comments on “[EXCLUSIVE] On Tour With Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins”

  1. November 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    I really like the new album. Several of the songs have an 80’s cure sound along with the classic expected 3EB sound too. Saw them when they played in Tulsa and can not wait to see them again. After the show we saw the a fire pit behind the Brady and started to walk over there but decided not to. Dammit!

  2. November 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    I saw the live show in London a few weeks back. I love their enthusiam for getting everyone involved and to give it that “we’re in this together” vibe. Great show, well worth catching.

  3. November 26, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    I love the new album. This band rocks!! I wouldn’t call them a 90’s band. I would call them a solid rock bands of all time.I started listening to this band when they first put there single out from Sem-.Charmed life never stop listening to them, and now it is 2015. On Third Eye Blind tour this year I’ve gone to three amazing concerts 1 in New Jersey Stone Pony Asbury Park, the other one is in Niagara Falls, New Jersey. I love Third Eye Blind I think Stephan Jenkins is a lyrical genius.

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