The year is 1997. Third Eye Blind releases their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album and it officially becomes impossible to turn on the radio without hearing the telltale “doo-doo-doo” introduction to the album’s leadoff single, “Semi-Charmed Life.” The song shoots to the top of the Billboard Top 100, the album sells over six million copies, and after the release of the second single, “Jumper,” it becomes clear that Third Eye Blind is here to stay.
Now four years after the release of their last album “Out of the Vein,” the band is back in the studio, demoing songs for their next release. The Chronicle was able to talk to drummer Brad Hargreaves and discuss the road they’ve traveled so far, as well as what to expect in the future.
Due to the acquisition of the band’s label, Elektra Records, by the much larger Atlantic Records, “Out of the Vein” was left with little commercial push, despite positive critical reviews. As such, it went largely unnoticed, but Hargreaves said that the band isn’t ready to let that stop them.
“You always want people to like [your record], and you always want to sell records,” Hargreaves said. “It’s not as critical to our lifestyles anymore, in terms of getting money and paying rent or something, but everyone wants people to like their record.”
Over the years, the band has grown apart in distance, somewhat altering the process of creating an album. Often guitarist Tony Fredianelli will record a riff and send it over to Hargreaves, who will then record a drum track and send it to the other members. However, Hargreaves said that the most difficult part of writing an album comes from frontman Stephan Jenkins.
“Lyrics are really his domain,” he said. “He sets a high mark for himself for what he’s done in the past, lyrically, and I think he puts a lot of pressure on himself to get that.”
When he first joined the band, Hargreaves admits to being “really na’ve” and “having a worms-eye view” on what he was doing with the band. No one except Jenkins could foresee the impact that the band’s self-titled album would have on the music world; to Hargreaves, he was just making good music with good musicians.
“I owe [Jenkins’] vision a lot to the success of this band. I wasn’t thinking of becoming a rock star the way he was, and you almost have to think that way,” he said.
While most of Third Eye Blind’s members have put more focus on their various side projects, the band still finds time to sell out headlining tours in smaller club venues, which Hargreaves prefers because “the drums get to be closer to the audience.”
Third Eye Blind will be playing Friday, Nov. 16, at the Webster Theater in Hartford, Conn.