Exclusive Interview: Stephan Jenkins of @ThirdEyeBlind talks new album, ‘Dopamine.’

If you haven’t heard the new Third Eye Blind album, “Dopamine,” you’re missing out. Released this month, the band’s fifth album is already flying up the charts. The newest record since 2009’s “Ursa Major,” Stephan Jenkins and company prove why Third Eye Blind have staying power. Currently in Nebraska on tour promoting the new album, Jenkins took time out of his busy schedule to check in.

Thanks, Stephan, for taking the time.

It’s my pleasure.

Congrats on the new album, “Dopamine.” I’ve heard it a dozen times now and each time it gets better. It just came out earlier this month. This is the band’s fifth album, the first since 2009’s “Ursa Major.” Wasn’t “Ursa Major” the highest charting album for the band?

Yeah, it went to number one, which made it the highest charting album for the band.

When releasing “Dopamine,” considering these two factors, is there a certain type of pressure that goes along with releasing it?

Yeah, the album debuted at number two, (laughs), so we’re slipping. But when you’re up against Taylor Swift, you have to be good with that.

I thought the follow up to “Ursa Major” was going to be “Ursa Minor.”

It was.

Is “Dopamine” that album or was “Ursa Minor” something completely different?

Totally different. There’s not a single song related to ‘Ursa Major’ here. It’s not connected.

Will that ever come out then?

Yeah, I think so. I want to find a way to put out all of our songs.

I read a couple interviews with you and it seems like you’re a stickler for writing lyrics. Like writing lyrics is kind of your thing that if you can’t get the lyrics the way you want them the songs just won’t sound right. You’ve been in this business for a long time. Has writing lyrics gotten any easier?

No (laughs). Not at all. I wish it did.

What do you think the hang up is? Why do you think it’s so difficult?

It’s going from the point where you go from dribbling, to getting to the part where you’re actually scoring the basket. That’s the issue.

You guys broke during the ‘90s, the MTV era, where videos and CDs were so prevalent in the music scene. With the musical landscape evolving into what it is now, with digital downloads, iTunes, etc., how do you market your brand, your music, Third Eye Blind, in order to keep up with the times?

I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve got that figured out at all.

It seems like people are breaking with one single.

Yeah, breaking and then disappearing after one single. Like, uh, I can’t remember her name. She’s so fucking good. ‘I can’t be the dancer… (singing) She was on the cover of SPIN. ‘I can’t be the dancer… (singing) Anyway. I’ll remember who it is and eventually I’ll tell you.

The band is currently on tour. I’ve covered enough concerts to know that, although I want to hear some of the new stuff, I secretly just want to hear the hits. For a band with a history of hit singles, what kind of set list does Third Eye Blind bring to the table?

You want to hear the hits?

I know you have to promote the new album.

No, I understand that. Our audience grew up without even knowing the MTV stuff. They get all of our music off a playlist that doesn’t have a date stamp on it. They find songs like ‘Wounded’ and ‘Slow Motion,’ those are some of our biggest songs of the night.

I actually asked an audience of like 8,000 people, “Which song do you want to hear? I’m gonna play an old song now.” They’d be like, “Yeah, play an old song.” “Do you want to hear, ‘How’s it gonna be?’ or ‘Deep inside of you’?” And they would resoundingly want ‘Deep inside of you.’ ‘Deep inside of you’ was big in India but not in the United States. ‘How’s it gonna be?’ was number one forever. I’ll just say it’s a different culture out here. It’s nice because I feel so comprehended.

That’s all I had for you. I want to say, “Thanks again,” and wish you the best of luck with the new album!

Thanks a lot. I’m glad you like the new album.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Anonymous. Visit him at www.tanamor.com. Email him at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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