How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Third Eye Blind!



It's hard to pinpoint exactly when rock music became as stale as a tuna fish sandwich left underneath a tractor tire overnight, but by 1997, not only had the wheels fallen off the once-mighty rock & roll juggernaut, it was being driven by Gwen Stefani. Yep, now it's all coming back to you. That's the year No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom topped the charts for seven of the first eight weeks of the year.

For the next ten months, the only other rock albums to hit #1 would be U2 (Pop), Aerosmith (Nine Lives) and Metallica (Reload). Great bands, sure, but every last one of those albums sounded like a song-doctored corporate money grab that came darn close to tainting our love for their early work.

To put the personal spin on this article that is so necessary to winning a Pulitzer for Self Importance, I had just blown Chitown for the mile high majesty of Denver, Colorado. In trading the man-made landscape I'd come to know and love for the natural kind, every idyllic drive up the mountains came with a heavy price: Counting motherfucking Crows.

Now, I have the utmost respect for what Counting Crows have accomplished, but, Yeezus, was there ever a band designed to annoy the living shit out of me?



I mean, August And Everything After came out in 1993, but radio stations in Denver and the Rockies were still playing at least two Crows tunes in mega-heavy rotation at all times, which might not seem awful until you shoehorn them into a playlist already full of Dave Matthews, the Samples and Big Head Todd  

So it was with great joy that many rock-starved ears perked up at the sound of "Semi-Charmed Life".

Even those who may now dislike singer Stephan Jenkins for any number of offenses over the years probably counted themselves among those who were completely jazzed by the arrival of Third Eye Blind.

Even so, I was also a steady consumer of music and knew all too well how many bands collapsed from the crushing pressure of trying to compete with that first big song. Just ask The Knack.



But then radio stations started playing "Graduate" and you recognized that snarky snarl. 3EB had out-kicked the "one hit wonder" tag, but still I held the band at arm's length, fearing this was just "Good Girls Don't" all over again.

Over the next several months, one K-tel Blockbuster-sized ear worm after another made its way into heavy rotation and refused to leave:  My girlfriend and I actually drove from Denver to Vegas in fifteen hours straight and heard six different 3EB songs on the radio, including the one song that will make me a fan of the album that no amount of Jenkins douchebaggery can ever change:

  

There are just some songs that I never, ever, no matter how many times I play it in a row, get tired of hearing. "How's It Gonna Be" is one of those songs. 

There is no better feeling in the world than singing this tune at the top of your lungs while speeding down the side of a mountain at 70 mph in a Plymouth Horizon, hitting a patch of black ice that spins the car while semi trucks on either side beat a hasty retreat and the car off the guard rail and finally comes to a laborious halt sideways in the middle lane and you never once stop singing!

Ah, but Jenkins and Co. weren't done. "Losing A Whole Year", "Jumper" and "God of Wine" would each nab sizable amounts of airplay, making the idea of actually buying the album completely unnecessary:
It's 1998. A guy walks into a record store and asks the clerk if they have any Third Eye Blind. Not missing a beat, the clerk reaches for the shelf behind him and hands the guy an FM radio: "That'll be ten bucks."
The guy pays and leaves.

Sadly, they could re-title the album Greatest Hits and only be missing one song ("Never Let You Go" from Blue) as Jenkins' streak of radio home runs dried up at roughly the same time he parted ways with guitarist Kevin Cadogan, who co-wrote all but one 3EB hit with Jenkins.

The circumstances leading to Cadogan's departure center around greed and ego on the part of Jenkins, who, according to Cadogan, promised the guitarist partnership in the band's corporation, but then secretly gave himself 100% ownership.

Third Eye Blind would release a third album, Out Of The Vein, to zero interest and enter a lengthy period of ambitious inactivity waiting for people to become nostalgic for the '90s.

Jenkins would later claim innocence when Cadogan's name was "mistakenly" switched with that of Tony Fredianelli in the band's history as detailed in the liner notes for 2006's A Collection hits package.

With '90s nostalgia now in full swing, Third Eye Blind are hitting the festival circuit this summer (Keloorah, Bonnaroo, Bumbershot and even The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning).

Did we mention they'll be in town on July 31 as part of Lollapalooza?

You just said, "Awesome!", didn't you?

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