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Third Eye Blind at DTE, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Left to his own devices, Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins would be focusing on new material. But the 20th anniversary of the group’s debut album is hard to pass up.

The self-titled 1997 set has been certified six-times platinum since its release and the Top 10 hits “Semi Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going To Be” and “Jumper.” A new 20th anniversary edition of the album features some new recordings of unreleased songs that date back to the original sessions along with demos and live tracks, and the current 3EB is playing the album in its entirety on tour.

Jenkins, 52, can handle a bit of nostalgia, but he promises the group isn’t resting on its laurels, either...

• Jenkins says the past two decades have been “a blur” for Jenkin, but he’s happy to witness the enduring impact the album has had during that time. “I think it’s a phenomenon, or maybe unique, that there is this entire generation of fans for whom the (debut) album is current, not nostalgic,” he says by phone from Nashville “You see these kids who are 17 to 27 and there’re in it now. They’re not listening to this record as some memory; They’re listening to it and engaging in it because it resonates with their present tense, and that is fucking crazy. That’s kind of magical to me, and unexpected. It’s a real gift in my life.”

• Jenkins recalls that the “Third Eye Blind” album was made “in a state of absolute desperation. I had worked for years trying to get bands together to become something and they would fall apart and I would have no progress at all. I was doing something that was very outside the scene. There were a lot of bands at the time but it wasn’t speaking to my urge, which was really an urge to live, to have this fierce kind of aliveness on my own terms. I felt like I was outside of that. But I think that struggle that I went through also helped to produce a good record.”

• Celebrating the debut album’s anniversary has also bulked up 3EB’s live operation this year. “It’s a big deal,” Jenkins says. “We’re playing for two hours, we have tour trucks out, a big organization. We’ve gone from a crew of 12 to a crew of 22. But then it all comes down to the music. You’ve got something like ‘Burning Man,’ which is a song we never, ever, ever play and it’s like this really big song of the night. ‘Thanks A Lot,’ too. There are a lot of rediscoveries going on.”

• 3EB’s summer trek is titled the Summer Gods Tour because an EP of that name was supposed to be out before it started. “In classic Third Eye Blind fashion we didn’t have it ready for the tour,” Jenkins says with a laugh. At this juncture Jenkins predicts that “what’s more likely is you’re going to get the Summer Gods album in the fall and somebody will find some meaning in that, and it’ll be, ‘No, we just (messed) up, actually...’”

• Nevertheless, Jenkins expects any release to take another step beyond 2015’s “Dopamine.” “I am interested in just constantly kind of throwing everything out, and I kinda wanted to provoke myself,” he explains. “I think the song structures are really different. I think one of the songs sound like the Ramones or Billy Joel, and other tracks, to me, sound like Atlanta trap music, just because we were in the studio and I was really provoked by the current political situation; We just put up some beats and I started spitting for about 15 minutes and then edited it down to about four minutes. So it’s all pretty different, I would say.”

If You Go:

• Third Eye Blind, Silversun Pickups and Ocean Park Standoff

• 7 p.m. Friday, July 7.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $25-$75 pavilion, $20 lawn.

• Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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