What’s on the mind of Third Eye Blind

Allison Corneau

As part of their current college campus tour, alternative-rock group Third Eye Blind performed at Quinnipiac University last Sunday. The show was part of Quinnipiac’s annual fall concert, and featured Josh Kelley as the opening act.

While relaxing on a leather couch in the back of the bus before the show, drummer Brad Hargreaves explained what it is like to be on the road performing at smaller concert venues like Quinnipiac.

“I like playing smaller places, you get a lot closer to the fans,” he said. “You start playing in big [venues] and you just get so removed from the energy of the crowd.”

While on tour to promote their recent album, “Out of the Vein,” the drummer says he and bandmates Stephan Jenkins, Tony Fredianelli and Arion Salazar, have done a lot of growing up, both personally and professionally.

“I think we’ve all gained a lot of experience in the studio and performing live,” he said. “We’ve sort of grown up together in a lot of ways. We’ve been a band for about nine years. As you mature together as people and musicians, a lot of things get better.”

Hargreaves said the band’s headlining tour has given the quartet the chance to see the success of their latest single, “Crystal Baller,” in action. With the online music downloading craze sweeping the nation during the past few years, Third Eye Blind realizes that their albums simply are not flying off music store shelves like they have in the past.

“[Our latest single has] been okay radio-wise, most people download records now instead of buying them….What we’ve found out from this tour is that based on everyone singing the lyrics to ‘Out of the Vein,’ that a lot of people are downloading it instead of buying, which is cool, as long as people are getting it,” Hargreaves said.

“I was kind of bummed at first because we didn’t sell as many records as we’re used to, but once we went on tour and heard everyone singing the lyrics to the songs on our third album [weknew fans really were listening to our music].”

Although the online music sharing business is booming now, the music veteran encourages aspiring student musicians to not give up on their appreciation and love of music, despite the fact they may think their music will not get heard.

“My advice to young musicians is to always stick to what you believe in, stick to the music you feel is good in your heart,” Hargreaves said. “Don’t try to change to fit your music to the times because that always comes out as insincere and I don’t think anyone can believe that. A lot of people think they should try to fit in with what’s happening, but [that is not the music that lasts].”

When collaborating to create the long-standing hits that have made his group famous, Hargreaves says Third Eye Blind’s creative process is always a unified effort. Although band front-man and vocalist Stephan Jenkins often takes charge of the writing duties, all band members have a say in what gets put on each and every song and album.

“These songs are made by any combination of the four of us, and everyone gets to put their own stamp on every song,” Hargreaves said. “We kind of just get together and whatever happens naturally you hear on the record.”

Hargreaves feels the band has become more experienced with time, but still maintains the same formula for creating hits.

“I don’t think [our creative process has] really changed that much but we’re more experienced in the studio, like if we have an idea that we want to get across we can work more in depth at achieving that,” he said.

Fans can catch the ‘more experienced’ Third Eye Blind on the road until December, and can expect an eight song EP record to be released in early 2004.

The new release will contain three vocal tracks and five instrumentals, and Hargreaves says fans are in for a treat when checking out the new disc.

“It was pretty cool making instrumentals, it’s kind of a departure for us. It’s kind of the artsy, weirdo side of Third Eye Blind and so that was a lot of fun to make,” he said. No definite release date has been set for the new music.

Music fans can expect a lot more from the band in the near future, as they are also in talks to head back on the road next year in anticipation of the release of a new full-length album.