It’s been 20 years since Third Eye Blind‘s eternal summer anthem “Semi-Charmed Life” put MTV and radio in a full nelson, thrusting the San Francisco rock band into the status of household name. Two decades. If you want to do a little time travel, check out the 1997 music video featuring the fresh-faced frontman Stephan Jenkins strutting his stuff down a scruffy-looking Mission District.
Within that timespan, the Bay Area has seen some changes, to put it mildly. I’ll let you be the judge of whether they were for better or worse, but one aspect has remained a constant: Despite a career of platinum records, dating movie stars, and trolling the GOP, San Francisco will always be home for Jenkins.
The band’s newest release Thanks For Everything, out August 24 via Mega Collider records, is a cover album that lets 3EB put their touch on some deep cuts from their favorite artists, from Queens of the Stone Age to Bon Iver. But what caught our attention was their rendition of “10,” by Oakland indie rockers Happy Diving, a band The Bay Bridged has loved since day one.
It seemed like a rad, if a bit obscure, selection for big dogs 3EB to kick off their cover record with, so we decided to get the scoop from Mr. Jenkins himself.
The Bay Bridged: On your new EP, Thanks For Everything, you gave some love to Happy Diving. How and when did you discover them?
Stephan Jenkins: A couple years ago they were opening for Deafheaven at Bottom of the Hill. Through a mix-up, me and a friend got there way too early and this mopey, sloppy band came in and just buried the place. The moral of this story is don’t write off the opener! (I’m a Deafheaven fan).
TBB: What about Happy Diving’s sound and delivery resonated with you and what made you choose “10” as the track to put on your EP?
SJ: They had this carefree elan, both bashing and melodic that embodies the spirit of a 17-year-old with a cast on the wrist, hair in the eyes, gleefully dropping into an abandoned pool.
TBB: As an active musician who has lived in the Bay Area for several decades, what about it has kept you in San Francisco all this time?
SJ: Some days lately it is just inertia. But my identity is still about being part of this forward-thinking freaky city. But sometimes I wonder where all the freaks went. Still, I’m SFO to the bone — I’ll die here.
TBB: How would you say the Bay Area is different now than when you started Third Eye Blind?
SJ: Visualize a verdant and varied garden paved over with only little scrappy weeds growing out. It’s like that.
TBB: Do you think the tech boom and increased price of living has had a negative effect on the music and art scene in general, or is it not a simple as that?
SJ: Yep. It’s that simple. But the coffee is delicious!
TBB: l love that you wear San Francisco on your sleeve. Do you have any advice for young and upcoming artists in the Bay Area who are feeling pressure and might be tempted to move somewhere cheaper?
SJ: Don’t be afraid to take that vow of poverty in time of getting your music together. Remember that we don’t think the same, we don’t dress the same, we don’t fit in the same and that’s what makes us damn rock stars. And that’s what you are, my darlings.