Third Eye Blind took six years between their last album, Ursa Major, and their new platter, Dopamine, owing in large part to leader Stephan Jenkins’s struggles with writer’s block, a problem he tried to cure, at one point, by “life-swapping” with a fellow musician with no money, no fame, and very little personal safety (more below). He brings the band to Observatory North Park Friday night, April 8.
"Everything Is Easy"
...off of Third Eye Blind's new album, Dopamine
What are your best memories of SD?
“Paddling out at Black’s Beach before sound check, we met a group of Mexicans who came over from TJ to go to the show, who turned out to be the funniest, most out-there people we met. Some shithole hotel in Encinitas (you know the one) where bad behavior is almost encouraged. We obliged.”
You famously life-swapped with a guy living in a tiny apartment in a bad neighborhood. How did you arrange this? Did you ever fear for your life?
“I always lived in bad neighborhoods in San Francisco back in the day, so no fear. It’s my town! My roommates were a bunch of DJ ketamine-addict geniuses. Great parties. The shower was behind an abandoned car-painting chamber. Disgusting.”
From smoking crystal to dopamine, you’re fond of drug metaphors. What leads you to them?
“They’re erotic. They fit in well with trying to move past your circumstances, longing, subversion, etc. I don’t actually do them much....”
You’ve written at least twice about the Occupy movement. What impressed and disappointed you about Occupy?
“I thought Occupy was the purest and most decent response to what amounts to a criminal reshaping of the American political system by monied interests and their lackeys in the political class who have been quite successful in selling out our core greatness for a buck. Alas, the purity of Occupy’s purpose could not translate into a unified intent.”
The new album name-checks Bowie a few times. How has Bowie influenced you? What was your reaction to his death?
“His death was the first time I wept openly about someone I don’t know. He’s probably my biggest influence. Beyond all that artifice and difference, we can find each other. What a life message. My album was, in part, a thank-you letter to the greatest rock star ever.
“Bowie said, ‘the difference between pop and rock is, in rock, you might get fucked.’ I seek to induce the latter.”