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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Interview Stephan Jenkins Thrd Eye Blind

Shane Pinnegar interviews Third Eye Blind singer/guitarist Stephan Jenkins

 

In the leadup to this year's SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL I turned on my dictaphone and had a heart to heart with Third Eye Blind lead singer & guitarist Stephan Jenkins. Jenkins came across as amiable, though generally a man of few words, but when the subject matter turned to songwriting and performing, his passion and love for the art of rock n' roll shone through.

 

An enigma he may be, but as you will discover, he still isn't too shy to admit he calls Lars Ulrich a friend, can't wait to see Iron Maiden, and wears practical underwear!

 

 

SP: G’day Stephan how you doing?


SJ: Hi there how you doing?


SP: Very well, thanks for talking to The Rockpit.


SJ: Happy to talk to The Rockpit!


SP: Excellent. So Soundwave Festival for 2011 - you guys must be stoked…


SJ: Yeah very, very, it’s just going to be so much fun to get out there. I’m just thrilled it could’ve happened.


SP: Excellent, do you know much about the festival?


SJ: Well I know it used to be almost a metal festival and it seems like it’s expanding into all kinds of different stuff.


SP: Yeah it’s really diverse. You’ve got lots of little stages everywhere with slightly different kinds of music. It’s a really good vibe.


SJ: Hmm, yeah I know. I’ll be there with bells on.


SP: Fantastic, we look forward to seeing you. What for you guys are the pros and cons of doing a smaller tour on your own verses a big festival tour?


SJ: Well, big festival tours you don’t get to play very long, and you… it sort of lends itself to, um, how do I put this? You only have a moment to sort of make your statement, whereas, you know, when we do our own show we can pretty much count on everyone in the audience knowing every word, cause they’re very sort of vocal fans, the Third Eye Blind fans. And we control the lights and you know, everything is so much more sort of, styled. But, I like that, you know, I like some of these tours where you just go out there and you just hack it, you know? You just throw it out as hard as you can and see what happens. I think that’s pretty great.


SP: Do you feel you maybe have to work a little bit harder to win over a crowd that isn’t your own?


SJ: Um, yeah but you know, if there’s a moment when you’re out there and you’re not giving it everything that you have, then you should probably quit.


SP: Yeah that’s a good point, (laugh)


SJ: You know, there’s nothing worse than somebody mailing it in, and that’s what I love about being in a band, you know, we’re just really happy with having to go on tour, and these guys are such amazing musicians, I said this on stage - there was twelve thousand people a few nights ago and we were playing a show in Maryland and I said, you know, I just know that I am with the best band, you know, this is the best the band has been, they just go out there and ... they’re such good musicians.


SP: Yeah great!

 


SJ: I’m kind of stoked about being in a band where I’ve got the kind of confidence where I just know we’re going to go out there and ... and just drop a hammer on it, you know?


SP: Cool. When you jump on a tour that’s as diverse as this, do you find that the metal guys hang out by themselves and the punkier guys are over in the other corner and stuff, or is there a lot of mingling going on?


SJ: You know there’s a lot of mingling going on. One of my better friends in rock music is Lars Ulrich, and uh, you know, (laughs) and uh, that’s a fairly different world, but um, you know I look up on the stage and uh, I saw the guys from uh, oh god, what the name of that band? Uh, they all dress in masks...uh...


SP: Uh...Slipknot!


SJ: Yeah, the whole Slipknot guys, like to go and watch our set, you know? I love that, I love that - Because, you know, musically we’re not related but somehow we relate, so you know, I know that I’m going to be watching Iron Maiden, that’s for sure!


SP: Yeah, for sure, I was going to ask what other bands on the bill are you looking forward to seeing?


SJ: I mean, what I love about these kinds of things is to go out, and that you can have this kind of openness, and just have a generosity during music. Sometimes bands can be very stand-offish, which I don’t see the value in that at all. I don’t know why anybody would want to be that, because you can have this just kind of fearless, generous state that takes over and, I know that we will invite other people to come and play with us, you know, we’ll stir it, and we all just go out every night and just try and tell it...to everybody! (laughs)

 


SP: (laughs) How’s the new album coming along?


SJ: Oh it was such a great summer, we spent most of it in Bali, a big part of it in Bali, writing new songs, and uh, we wrote like twenty-four new songs, so we should have a new album by the time we get there.


SP: Well I was going to ask if it was going to be out in time for the tour, so...


SJ: I think so, yeah, because the writing went so well, and it really made me go, like I want to record this album all together, as a band, meaning that I want everyone in the same room. I want everyone within eight feet of the drum kit when we record the album.


SP: Get a really cool live feel to it, cool.


SJ: Yeah, cause that feel, you can’t recreate that feel with protools and quad tracks.


SP: No.


SJ: The thing is that like, if I’m going to work with some music that’s really fake, then I’m going to want to listen to like, one guy’s techno, you know, just go to a rave. I mean if I want to... if it’s going to be fake, then I want it to be really fake, otherwise I want... the most exciting music is the one that’s raw, that’s going off.


SP: Hmm.


SJ: You know.

 

 


SP: Yeah, I saw in your twitter that you played Bali in early August.


SJ: Mm hmm.


SP: How did that go?


SJ: Yeah it was really fun, I mean I love Bali. It’s all Australians isn’t it?


SP: Yeah.


SJ: Yeah, they were great (laughs)


SP: And you guys enjoy a bit of surfing I believe, so you’ll fit right on in down here.


SJ: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I don’t know what the surfing’s like in Feb where we’re going to go, but I’m...


SP: Oh! It’s good mate! (laughs) guaranteed it’s just ah, the peak of summer, the beaches will be lovely, yeah.


SJ: Oh wow!

 


SP: You won’t have a horrible time (laughs) Have you been to Australia before?


SJ: Oh yeah I’ve been to Australia, I love Australia, and I’m so glad to go, it’s like... it’s just the lifestyle tour just to be there.


SP: Yeah, yeah right, the view from the office window’s not too bad some days, right?


SJ: Yeah, exactly.


SP: I read in an interview that you did a while back that you said you wanted your music to be intoxicating - how do you approach song writing personally in order to get that intoxicating feel across to a crowd?


SJ: I’m looking for some kind of erotic base, meaning that it’s kind of outside whatever the, you know, daily event is. The kind of “do as you’re told” kind of condition. I’m looking for that and then, having the music be evocative of something that I can put the words to that evokes the feeling of that music.


SP: Nice.


SJ: That’s about as much process as I have… If that makes any sense.


SP: Yeah, yeah it does. (laughs) Is there one song or album that you really wish you’d had a hand in creating?


SJ: Is there one song in the world that I wish I had a hand in?


SP: That you were involved in making, yeah.


SJ: Okay... I just dropped my phone here...Is there one song that I wish I’d had a hand in creating?


SP: Yeah…


SJ: Uh...Stairway to Heaven I guess, sure.


SP: Yeah, not a bad choice. Zack Wylde said the same thing actually (laughs)


SJ: (laughs)


SP: Finally, we ask all our interviewees...what for you is the meaning of life?


SJ: Um...........uh.....well, I would say life, that’s pretty much the Zen answer to that.


SP: (laughs) Very Zen indeed. Oh we do have one more. My friend Molly wants to know...Boxers or briefs?


SJ: I would say boxer briefs, I mean you don’t want things riding up, you know, but you definitely want your cock and balls to have, you know, cohesion.


SP: Good call...Thanks so much for talking to us mate, we’ll definitely be catching up.


SJ: Say ‘Hi!’ to Molly for me. (laughs)


SP: Yeah I will mate, no worries, (laughs) Thanks very much Stephan, have a great day mate.


SJ: Alright, you too.

So keep an eye out for Stephan up front of the Iron Maiden mosh, and Mollylove, I hope you are now as fully informed as you need to be on Mister Jenkins undergarments!

 

 

Thanks to Soundwave Touring for setting up this interview

Thanks to Lana Oldham for transcribing this interview

 

Shane Pinnegar