Third Eye Blind photo by Danny Shippey
With summer pop playlists packed with the usual club life subject matter, Third Eye Blind released perhaps the most incendiary track of the season. Check out the song below.
“Cop Vs. Phone Girl” takes a mid tempo, rhythmic sing along to tap on police brutality and race that is both up nightmarish and uplifting. Written by frontman Stephan Jenkins, the song’s impact is all the more intense because the absurdity that it depicts is an accounting of an actual assault. In a testament to Jenkins’ songwriting mastery, he still finds a way to chide hope into a dark narrative, and creates something anthemic out of viscously specific details.
The narrative behind the track is about the attack last year at Spring Valley High in South Carolina on a student by a campus police officer.
It’s a scene Jenkins understood due to his time working briefly, after college, at a school for emotionally disturbed children. “Sometimes, we had to restrain kids who were having violent outbursts,” Jenkins recalls. “We were trained not to frighten them much less cause harm. The contrast really hit home to me just how surreal and insane this incident was.”
We Are Drugs, the follow-up to last year’s Dopamine, was recorded in late-Spring during a week-long intensive at renowned Sonic Ranch, a vintage recording studio secluded in the midst of a pecan ranch in Texas borderland. Jenkins: “It allowed us the focus to take songs sometimes all the way from inception to completion in continuous sessions. We also allowed ourselves freedom on We Are Drugs from any definitions or guidelines of what we were supposed to be, we just took joy in getting in a big room together and letting music happen and then chasing it around wherever it led us. It is one of the most freeing recording experiences I have had.”
The artwork for We Are Drugs, a collaboration between Jenkins and photographer Travis Shinn, takes it inspiration from Dali’s Un Chien Andalou. “It’s simple really, says Jenkins “everything that has been happening to us and around us these days has been pretty goddamn surreal.”
“Cop Vs. Phone Girl” is part of a long line of Third Eye Blind songs with progressive intent, all which started with the 1997 classic, “Jumper” – a noir about acceptance of gay youth in the face bullying. Additional songs illustrating Jenkins’ politically-focused wordplay include “One In Ten,” “About to Break,” “Red Star,” “Danger,” “Don’t Believe A Word,” “Slow Motion,” “Non-Dairy Creamer” and “If There Ever Was A Time.”
Coinciding with the release of the song, Third Eye Blind also recently announced its upcoming international tour dates and summer festival appearances. A full listing of dates can be found below and more information on tickets can be found via Third Eye Blind’s official website, www.thirdeyeblind.com.
Third Eye Blind, one of the most cited and emulated to this new generation of indie bands, recently issued its first album in six years titled Dopamine (available on iTunes and Amazon) and celebrated its release with multiple U.S. tours. Songwriter Stephan Jenkins, renowned for his inimitable lyrical sensibility, developed this collection while on tour over the last few years behind the band’s previous number one album, Ursa Major.
Though it employs signature guitar riffs, Dopamine is very much an exploration and rumination of the present tense. Jenkins utilizes his characteristic rhythmic vocal style and lyrical prowess on issues of identity, connection, isolation and authenticity while keeping a sharp eye on a culture in rapid change.
Paradoxically Third Eye Blind’s focus on guitar and live playing sounds novel and newly fresh in a pop landscape consumed with sequenced drums and keyboard tracks. There is a sense of spontaneity toDopamine that can only come from their evolution as a live band. What remains constant, however, is the endearing quality in the music and the fierce heartfelt core of Jenkins’ narrative.
Third Eye Blind gained wide success at the end of the recording industry golden age. Their endurance and ability to adapt through the digital revolution speaks to the ingenuity and creativity found in the music. After four smash albums and millions of records sold worldwide, they continue to write, record and tour, entertaining their core audience while growing a larger, younger and more dedicated fanbase than ever. The band now work and communicate in a fluid new world where their music continues to naturally evolve. Their exchange with their audience is unfiltered, and being from the hub of the digital space, they are using it to develop a closer exchange with their audience, which will continue to flourish with the release of Dopamine.
Third Eye Blind will be making the following live appearances in 2016. Tour dates below.
July 25 – Oshkosh, WI – AirVenture Oshkosh
July 26 – Virginia Beach, VA – Oceanfront Radio show
July 27 – Glen Allen, VA – Innsbrook After Hours
July 29 – Whitehouse Station, NJ – The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning
July 31 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
August 06 – Ventura, CA – Ventura County Fair
August 07 – San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands
August 18 – Makati, Philippines – Mall of Asia Arena
August 20 – Tokyo, Japan – Summer Sonic Festival
August 23 – Rhinebeck, NY – Duthchess County Fair
August 25 – Islington, UK – O2 Academy
August 26 – Leeds, UK – Leeds Festival
August 28 – Reading, UK – Reading Festival
September 01 – Providence, RI – Alex and Ani City Center
September 02 – Portland, ME – Maine State Pier
September 03 – Sugar Hill, GA – Bowl at Sugar Hill
September 04 – Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot Festival
September 17 – Del Mar, CA – KAABOO Del Mar
September 25 – Las Vegas, NV – Life Is Beautiful Festival