In many ways, our experience capturing a piece of backstage magic with Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind is a lot like the music the legendary, modern rock outfit have released over the course of their impressive, almost 20 year career. When we arrived at Pier 97, we envisioned a summer oasis slicing out into the middle of the Hudson on a perfect, Friday afternoon; the ideal setting for the catchy, upbeat, and anthemic songs Third Eye Blind are known for. But there's always been a darkness churning under the surface of songs like "Jumper" and "Semi-Charmed Life" (about suicide and crystal meth addiction). Like those undercurrents, our session would also take an unexpected turn.
When we arrived at the venue, 3EB was soundchecking, making sure everything was perfect for the Gotham stop on their summer-long tour with Dashboard Confessional. The setting was everything we had hoped for, but sound issues - specifically Dashboard running through their soundcheck - made a wide-open, New York City setting impossible. So we retreated to a slightly less picturesque, wood paneled production trailer backstage. It was not exactly pretty; it was not how we drew this one up, but it did make for a compelling visit with Jenkins in an intimate, backstage setting...something we never would have gotten with perfectly manicured production on the pier.
In this 2 song session, Jenkins tries out acoustic versions of "Blade", as well as stand out single, "All These Things Are Yours", from the band's excellent new album Dopamine. "This weekend I'm going to record an acoustic version of this song for the B Side of the vinyl we're going to put out in November. So I'm going to use this session as a chance to practice", Jenkins joked. Practice, I suppose, was the appropriate word...there was a moment in session when Jenkins flubbed a note. But then Jenkins plowed ahead and the tape continued to roll.
"The greatest gifts come with shadow," Jenkins later told us about the song. "For me, so much of what I do with my music is the process of coming to terms with that shadow and getting it incorporated. If you get it incorporated then you're really eligible for joy". I guess the little goof in our session was the shadow part. Hence our joy over this honest session turned out.
"All These Things Are Yours" is a song inspired by both John Coltrane and Jenkins own mother. Coltrane is one of the greatest contributors to American Culture. He was also a heroine addict. Jenkins' mother had her own battles as well. "I thought about my mother and her own addiction with alcohol. All the difficulties that brings to a family but also all these hugely generous offerings that she gave me." Again, the greatest gifts come with shadow.
So maybe our session with Stephen was never meant to be a perfectly staged, perfectly produced, glittery session on the water. Instead we were treated to something real, something authentic, a fly-on-the-wall observation of an artist quietly playing his songs backstage, ruminating on their origins, all while preparing to entertain thousands on a picture perfect summer evening in Manhattan.
Chelsea Piers or something like that at Pier 97. Love New York City. It's a second home to me. I lived here for a couple of years. It's always been a source of inspiration. The inspiration moves around the city, but New York is always changing. We just have to figure out where we're going to put this song. - We'll do Dopamine. I aspire to you rockabilly heart All animals and engine But I always fake the part My side of the bed I want push you off the ledge Cause I can't get you to feel it Till your out there on the edge - Two songs and a quick interview. Does that work? - Yeah. - Cool. - Sounds good to me. - Yeah. So if you have them, we got them. Yeah, that's it. - Even if I don't need all of them, you got 'em. - We got 'em. Exactly. - There's nothing worse than a second chance. This weekend I'm going to record an acoustic version of the song called All These Things Are Yours for a B-side for the vinyl that we're going to put out in November. I'm going to use this session as a chance to practice. This is called All These Things Are Yours. My mom recovered - alcoholic Gave me opera and Jackson Pollock Said all these things, all these things are yours She said you're not blessed, and you're not cursed In the end, you write your verse Cuz all these things, all these things are yours Let that feeling born in shadow Let it make you, make you strong And the demons you've got to carry carry you on, and on, and on John Coltrane's addict ways Took us all to better days Said all these things, all these things are yours Am I right? Am I wrong? In the end just write your song Cause all these things, all these things are yours Let that feeling born in shadow Let it make you, make you strong And the de... How's it go? Shit. - How would you feel about that going on the Internet? - If I was Hugh, I would be like, "Hey, that's really weird to have somebody just completely fuck up a song. " So I figured you're probably going to put it up anyway. - Well, I mean--. - Am I wrong? - Not if you didn't want us to. I think it's cool. I liked it. - It's done in a charming way. - Yeah, that's fine. How does it go? Shit. And the demons you've got to carry Carry you on, and on, and on Cause all these things, all these things are yours All these things, all these things are yours All these things, all these things are yours What happened to you man I've been there too Cause all these things, all these things are yours Let that feeling born in shadow Let it make you, make you strong And the demons you've got to carry Carry you on, and on, and on Let that feeling that you carry Nah Nah All these things, all these things are yours All these things, all these things are yours All these things, all these things are yours All These Things Are Yours came from, I heard Cornel West talking on the Bill Maher show. I think they were talking about drugs, I don't know how this came up, but somebody said, "John Coltrane was a really good addition to American culture. " And Cornel West pointed out, "He's also a heroin addict. " And he said, "You have to own that too. " To me that was like, all these things are yours. I thought about my mother and her own addiction with alcohol and all the difficulties that that brings to a family, but also all these hugely, generous offerings that she gave to me. So these things that mean so much often, the greatest gifts come with shadow with them. So much of what I do with my music is a process of coming to terms with that shadow and getting it incorporated. When you have it incorporated, then you're really eligible for joy. So that's what I'm doing with All These Things Are Yours. Do you want another track? - This was supposed to be called Dream Sequence, but it's ended up being called Blade. I took my blade, and I cut him deep And the blood bloomed red on his crisp white shirt For your party guests to see We could've run in the night I could've slit his throat in his sleep But I wanted you to see The company you keep I thought we went together like violence on a balmy night I thought being alone with a violent man made you feel alright Can we get away tonight? And your father said follow the money to the source That's what life is all about Then you fuck the source Till the money comes out You say that I'm a brute Cause I fell faster than you But I've got a heart that's true And there's nothing that I won't do To get away with you Smile in the slander in her eyes She's the dark clouds swirling in my skies And the cocktail chatter all starts to dim Like a doppler away from me she spins On a blue-black sea she starts to swim She betrayed me, all now on a whim To get away with him I took my blade But I couldn't get it all to drain I could see him bleeding differently Like teardrops in the rain Cut out all moments of levity and spontaneity and get it fucking right.
Celebrated rock band Third Eye Blind has announced the release of Dopamine, their first album in six years, on Tuesday, June 16. Led by frontman Stephan Jenkins, the album is a road-tested collection of songs chronicling the bands time on tour since their last studio effort, Ursa Major. Employing signature guitar riffs and rock arrangements, Dopamine is vintage Third Eye Blind a body of work whose songwriting details the personal relationships that have come and gone and the rapidly changing world we live in. A lot can change in six years, and while the sound has progressed, the recordings retain the endearing sentiment Third Eye Blind fans new and old have come to love.
Third Eye Blind have toured relentlessly over the past few years including huge appearances at music festivals across the globe. This summer will mark a return to amphitheaters and stadiums when the band embarks on an eight-week national tour with Dashboard Confessional. A full listing of dates can be found below, and information on tickets can be found on the bands official website, http://www.thirdeyeblind.com.
Third Eye Blind gained wide success at the end of the recording industry golden age. Their endurance and ability to adapt through the digital revolution speaks to the ingenuity and creativity found in the music. After four smash albums and millions of records sold worldwide, they continue to write, record and tour, entertaining their core audience while growing a larger, younger and more dedicated fanbase than ever. The band now work and communicate in a fluid new world where their music continues naturally to evolve. Their exchange with their audience is unfiltered, and being from the hub of the digital space, they are using it to develop a closer exchange with their audience, which will continue to flourish with the upcoming release of Dopamine.