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Third Eye Blind at City National Civic

In Music
BLIND BOYS: Third Eye Blind play the City National Civic.

BLIND BOYS: Third Eye Blind play the City National Civic.

While there are plenty of factors pulling Stephan Jenkins into the past, the Third Eye Blind frontman is doing his best to stay in the now.

When we spoke, Third Eye Blind had just played their first show of tour in Knoxville, Tennessee. Normally the first show of tour is something of a template for those that follow, but things seem different this time. Everything about Third Eye Blind these days is about fluidity, and the present moment.

“That moment where your thoughts, your actions, and their connection with nature all become one—that’s a flow state,” Jenkins says over the phone. “That’s nirvana. And when you’re really in a band that’s in full flight, that’s possible. And then the audience is eligible to have that same sense of feeling.”

Third Eye Blind exploded onto rock radio in 1997 with hits “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” “Graduate,” and “How’s It Going To Be,” and have remained in heavy rotation since, recently completing a retrospective tour that had setlists spanning 18 years of music. Their current tour, which stops at the City National Civic on Nov. 14, draws from the band’s entire lifespan, from the self-titled breakout, to the 2016 EP, We Are Drugs. That release is the first of what, in 2012, Jenkins stated would be a series of EPs from the band.

“The idea on that is that we want to have more flexibility with the tempo of engagement with our audience,” he says. “The LP has become an art form, but it’s a construct by business in order to make more money. We wanted to be able to put out music as we see fit. So if it’s five songs, we put out five songs. If it’s more, we put out more.”

Though, in his quest for an eternal now, Jenkins understands that even that assertion might no longer hold entirely true.

“It’s probably one of those moments where I said something that and…really, didn’t mean it. Just to be real,” he says, laughing into the phone. “It sounded kick ass. But yeah, we like EPs and we might do more EPs.”

Their most recent single, “Cop Vs. Phone Girl,” is a politically charged critique of American policing and features the lyric “why’s it so hard to say ‘black lives matter?’”

“That song initially had so much excitement about it at radio, and then they got complaints,” Jenkins says, citing the black lives matter line. “Everybody just called up and would go, ‘blue lives matter!’ Just this idiocy of this false opposite.”

Though the band may lean heavily left politically (they are from San Francisco, after all), the next stop after this tour will be in Okinawa, Japan, where they will play for American soldiers stationed overseas. Jenkins, who is a certified surfing instructor, will then give free surfing lessons to the soldiers.

“I think it’s a nice kind of a retort to the despicable way this president exploits and mistreats service members,” he says. “When you have PTSD, you’re kind of always stuck with your trouble. And in surfing it just, like nothing else, puts you right into the moment. When that wave comes at you and you turn around, and you go into it, I promise you, you will not be paying attention to anything else.”

Like surfing and activism, music connects people to the present moment. It’s this connection to a now rather than an idealized past that is most important to Jenkins.

“Music makes you feel things,” he says. “You go and you have these feelings, and when you do that in a group then you have this palpable sense that you’re not alone. That you’re connected. That’s an amazing thing.”

And if you want to feel connected to this show in particular, there’s an easy way to do it. “The setlist is fluid, so definitely tweet me @stephanjenkins and let me know what you want to hear.”

Third Eye Blind
Nov 14, 9pm, $40+
City National Civic, San Jose

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