Remove ads, unlock a dark mode theme, and get other perks by upgrading your account. Experience the website the way it's meant to be.

Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    As the rest of the nation watched in abject disbelief, Republicans descended upon Cleveland last week for what might, in retrospect, be best described as a suicide party. The Nominee Who Must Not Be Named delivered his usual bile (you know the formula by now) and promptly scared the living shit out of anyone who dared dissect even a single component of his rhetoric. But just minutes away, Third Eye Blind had successfully injected a small but Twitter-shattering shot of truth into an otherwise bullshit-laden establishment. Though initial reports inaccurately cited that Stephan Jenkins and company had actually played at the Republican National Convention itself, a band-issued clarification (and anyone actually familiar with the band’s lyrical content) promptly confirmed otherwise. The band played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a Musicians on Call fundraising event, an event that’s unaffiliated with the Republican Party. However, given that the bulk of their audience that fateful evening were RNC attendees, the band eschewed their usual arsenal of hits for an impassioned plea to GOP faithfuls to reject the anti-LGBT and anti-science platform their party has perpetuated for decades.

    The band followed their Cleveland infiltration this week with the release of “Cop vs. Phone Girl,” the first single from their forthcoming EP We Are Drugs. The song sees the band directly address police brutality with a message of support for #BlackLivesMatter activists, specifically chronicling last year’s disturbing footage of a 16-year-old Spring Valley High School student being thrown from her desk by a South Carolina school resource officer:

    I caught up with Stephan just before he hopped a flight out of Detroit, where he had just spent a rare night off watching Father John Misty command a crowd.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    I’ve been listening to the new song and I’m really liking it. I know you reference [the Spring Valley incident] specifically, but I was wondering if you could get into what inspired you to write that song? Was it Spring Valley specifically or the broader issue of police brutality?

    Well I saw that footage, you know, and I was just so utterly appalled. The calm of that child. She was noncompliant but she was also nonconfrontational. And the juxtaposition between that and the level of the violence and the power of the guy who was dishing it out was so tense that…it’s so strange. It’s like some things will strike you deeper than others. We’ve been inundated with people getting choked to death. It’s like snuff film on video. And this one just struck me because, you know, a 16-year-old is a child. So I paid attention to the story. Turned out, the kid lived in a foster home. Her parents had died. And, you know, your smartphone is your conduit to everything.


    So the idea that, you know, someone is talking on their phone. Yeah. Well that’s just generic. But what it was met with just seemed so crazy to me. And there was so many different angles. And it was presumed that this was going to happen. They knew that this guy (the officer) had the potentiality for violence toward students on campus. That that was tolerated at all? It’s surreal. And our whole album is about…there’s this surreal quality to it. We take the name from Dali, [who said] ‘I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.’

    But anyway, I worked briefly after college, and I mean briefly as, like, I don’t know, maybe two months out of school at a place in San Francisco that served emotionally disturbed teenagers and, um, so these kids…it’s almost like they had PTSD. They were just….


    They were traumatized but they would act out violently sometimes. And it was only if they were acting out violently that we could actually physically restrain them. You don’t touch kids! You don’t put your hands on a kid because they’re not leaning on their desk, you know? And when we did restrain them, we were always, like, really careful so they were facing away from us. I remember there was a kid that was picking up a steel ruler and threw it across the room at a girl’s head which is, you know, you need to shut that down. That kid…the teacher…you get behind them and it’s like a bear hug, right? You sit them down. But they would be able to look out. They’re facing something. So even though the kid is doing something that is dangerous and doing something that needs to be stopped, your concern is for their…not just their physical wellbeing but their emotional wellbeing. So my point is…so many people say things like, you know, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about,’ ‘You weren’t there,’ ‘The camera doesn’t tell the story,’ etc. Well, in this case, I do know what I’m talking about.

    Plus it’s kind of all there in the footage too.

    In my view what I saw was somebody who was 16 being taught a lesson or made an example out of or disciplined for other kids. And that…I don’t see it’s how anything other than assault. The thing about the song is…the chorus of it kind of envisions how we want it to be. We want, what we all want, is…to be integrated components in a community, right? It’s as simple as that. And for cops to keep everybody safe. That would be the perception.

    And that’s all I’ve ever heard coming out of Black Lives Matter as well.

    I was happy to hear that mentioned.

    [People] try to ameliorate the power of Black Lives Matter and say All Lives Matter. But it’s just appropriating its message to blur the point of it.

    Plus it doesn’t negate anything! I don’t know where the counterargument even comes from honestly.

    It’s almost like…it’s such a Republican argument. Here’s a group of American citizens who are under unnecessary attack from agents of the government. I don’t know any good police who want that… and then when you say, oh, ‘law and order.’ That crap. That is a racist buzzword. They’re not even trying to thinly veil it. Crime is at the lowest it’s been in what, 40 years? Something like that? 50 years? There’s been a spike in some communities. But nobody, no one, no one thinks that when those guys say ‘law and order’ that means there’s gonna be, you know, more police training and better outreach programs.

    And the other thing is people call for a conversation on race, which… I hate that shit. It’s always being called on by a politician who, in the end, doesn’t intend to do anything. Right? So whenever you have a shooting or some event, they go ‘We need to have a national conversation on blah blah blah,’ which means ‘We need to talk this out so I don’t have to do anything.’ So I’m like ‘Okay. Fine. I’ll have a conversation. Here it is.’

    And would you say the rest of the EP kind of follows that conversation?

    No, no. Because I write based on what and how I’m being emotionally provoked. So I don’t write intellectually. But I don’t know, seeing that in slow motion was just…sickening to me. And the teacher, by the way, the teacher is standing there allowing it to happen. I’m not down with him either.

    So the girl who was in the class who said something, who stood up and spoke up, I think she said ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ And that’s what I’m talking about later in [the song’s] rap. I’m sort of comedically imagining her going to, you know, that’s like that girl standing up and saying ‘What are you doing?’ That’s standing up to power and standing up for your principals and, what else? ‘Don’t tread on me!’ That girl should be such a proud Republican figure and that’s what I’m saying is, like, ‘Look! There she is doing a victory lap on The Kelly File!’ Of course that wouldn’t happen, you know? So that’s why I said of course that didn’t happen. I think we kept my first take on there because I started laughing.

    Yeah and I love the “super fucking white” line. You know, you’re acknowledging your privilege but kind of stabbing at it a little.

    [laughs] … I’m not in any way claiming that that’s my experience. I am not under threat. But I am…

    Aware, for one thing.

    Yeah but I’m more than aware though. My ire has been provoked by it.

    Instead of seeing American citizens as under attack, they see complaining about it as a threat. And I am not a part of that . . . It’s funny. I’ve been listening to just, like, hits on Spotify you know? I’ve been really liking pop music lately. There’s just like, there are lyrics and subject matter, a very common group of subject matters . . .

    [static and increasingly loud plane noises]

    I doubt this will be played on pop radio.

    We Are Drugs is due in August.

  2. Mr. Serotonin

    I'm still staring down the sun Prestigious

    Always love hearing this guy speak.
    artbynickferran likes this.
  3. Leftandleaving

    I will be okay. everything Supporter

    Band was really good on Friday. This is great interview