Apparently I wrote a bio for Third Eye Blind back in 1995. From what I remember, or at least what Stephan Jenkins told me at the time, I was about to write the very first stateside article about the band. His band. That article ran in a short lived publication called Sound Check run by some pimply kid who lived in the Mission (WAY before it was cool) named Ed.
I’m guessing the manager asked me to write a bio to go along with the demo they were sending out…
Here you go:
THE BAND: Third Eye Blind
Stephan Jenkins — vocals & guitar
Kevin Cadogan — guitar
Arion Salazar — bass
Michael Urbano — drums
THE DEAL: What you are holding in your hand right now is paper and unless you cut yourself this paper has no feeling. It doesn’t have any color. It doesn’t have a mood or a vibe or a sound or anything like that. The best thing this piece of paper can do is transmit a couple pieces of important information. Nothing more.
So, when you set out to read this piece of paper to find out more about Third Eye Blind we both are already behind. There are really only two ways to find out more about Third Eye Blind. One way is to throw the tape in your deck and turn it up. The other is to ask them to come into your office, set up their equipment and let them play for you in person. (Side note, you could also come and see them in a club. This, of course, is optional. You know what works better.)
Anyway, the point of the matter is that the whole thing with Third Eye Blind is the music. It’s not about pretty boy good looks, it’s not about green hair (In fact, lead singer Steven Jenkins just cut all his off!), it’s not about piercings or anything like that. What Third Eye Blind is about is fresh, honest, modern-rock-alternative-velvet-organic-aggro-farm-punk. How’s that for your description list? While they take the best of the past and the present the 3EB sound has nothing to do with being retro or current… Truth be told, and without much exaggeration, 3EB’s blend of aggressive melody and style is the future.
Take a listen, see what you think. While you do, here’s a bit of information:
THE BAND: Way before there was a band, way before there was a demo, even before there was a gig, there were a bunch of songs written by Stephan Jenkins. The songs were an odd combination of aggro rhythms and ballads, which made it kind of difficult to find the right members for a band. “It was frustrating,” says Jenkins. “With the early players there was always a gap in understanding that I couldn’t get past. There was always a hole in the band.” So, he set out with engineering genius David Gleeson to record some demos by himself in the studio, but that wasn’t the real idea behind 3EB. “I wanted to be part of a band with people who would make the songs their own without needing to talk about it. Talking kills music.”
But, there he was, writing and recording a demo. Then, as these things seem to happen, came a long haired surfer looking punk with a bass cabinet and some ideas. In the Spring of 1994, just a couple of months before Third Eye Blind would make it’s stage debut, Arion Salazar busted into a recording studio in a South of Market slum and laid down a perfect bass part. The gig was his.
That demo, which Jenkins and Salazar recorded with guitarist TK and TK on drums, landed them a handful of club gigs around San Francisco. While it was close, the band just wasn’t perfect yet, but they kept playing out and making a name for themselves. One day they were playing in the club formerly known as Spikes and fate played here hand one more time. In through the door strolled guitarist Kevin Cadogan, who recognized Stephan from his days with another band by the name of Puck and Zen. After the show Kevin went up to compliment Stephan on the show, Stephan recognized Kevin from a demo he had just heard and the boys hit it off.
With that the nucleus that Stephan Jenkins was looking for was formed. Of course, they’ve added a drummer. How could you have a rock and roll band without a drummer? Handling the sticks for the boys now is Michael Urbano who adds that perfect blend of big, loose, driving rhythms.
THE SONGS: You have to understand something and that is, much like this piece of paper can never ever replace the feeling of music, Third Eye Blind’s songs can never be taken seriously. Sure, they have musical merit. Sure, they show inspiration. Sure, they tell stories. But the point is that they come from the mind of an irony-based writer. Each of Jenkins’ songs tell of an urban, gritty lifestyle — think Charles Bukowski with a guitar — that tell the truth as Stephan sees it.
Take, for example, a song you may be listening to right now, Slow Motion. In Jenkins’ look at the world of gangsta rap we learn this: “Hollywood glamorized my wrath. I’m a young urban psychopath. I incite murder for your entertainment. Because I needed the money. What’s your excuse? The joke’s on you.”
Then there’s the demise of a relationship in the tune How’s it Going to be?: “I’m only pretty sure that I can’t take anymore. Before you take a swing, I wonder, what are we fighting for? When I say out loud I want to get out of this, I wonder. Is there anything I’m going to miss?”
And, on a personal front, in Semi-Charmed Life: “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life. I want something else, I’m not listening when you say good-bye.”
THE PLAN: Play as loud and as often as possible. Have fun. Rock and roll. Laugh and tell the truth. That’s about it.