Third Eye Blind Headlines the Nutcracker Ball
Forget Santa — get ready to close out 2015 with the Fuzz 92.1 Nutcracker Ball Sunday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m., at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Alt-rock superstars Third Eye Blind will hit the stage with special guests The Wombats and Grizfolk.
Third Eye Blind reached the top of the charts in the late ’90s with mega-hits like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going to Be,” “Jumper” and “Never Let You Go.” This spring, the band released Dopamine, their first album since 2009’s Ursa Major.
Drummer Brad Hargreaves said the lengthy recording process saw the band going back to its roots and reexamining what the music is about.
“When we made Dopamine, I think we made a concerted effort to get back to the basics of how we made some of our earlier records,” Hargreaves said. “It sounds obvious, but we sort of had to get back in a room together and be creative together, take a more collective approach to working on the music and getting it where it needed to be. We did a lot of that – every sound check over the last four, five years we were working on songs. To see it come together, and come together in a good way, was definitely gratifying.”
After working hard in the studio, Hargreaves said the band is looking forward to getting back to touring.
“It’s been great,” Hargreaves said. “When you get in the studio, it’s always sort of a long, arduous, difficult process. Then you sort of birth the record, and it’s kind of like a big relief and celebration. You get to go out on the road and play new songs. It’s sort of a cathartic release from all the pent-up work you did to get the record done.”
Recording and touring are different jobs, according to Hargreaves.
“The music business as a recording artist and a touring band, those are actually two completely separate endeavors,” Hargreaves said. “Making music and putting out an album is almost entirely different from going out and performing a show. They’re both two different artistic endeavors, and they both kind of get lumped together. People who are the best at it look at it in two different ways.”
While supporting Dopamine, Third Eye Blind continues to acknowledge some of the hits that made them one of the most recognizable bands of the era during their breakout.
“In terms of why that happened, I can’t really explain it,” said Hargreaves. “The power of Stephan’s lyrics really kind of resonating to people over time, the themes he talks about don’t grow old. We spent time trying to figure out why it continues to work and resonate with people, and it’s hard to come up with an answer. I do know that in terms of our live performances, we put everything we have into them. No one’s mailing it in, it doesn’t matter how big or small the place is. We really try to get somewhere with our music and our set. I think people understand that and appreciate that.”
While some fans might focus on the past, Hargreaves said the band continues to look to the future.
“We feel fortunate to be in this position,” Hargreaves said. “But at the same time, we’re coming up on our 20 year anniversary, and we feel like we have so much more life and music still in us. We just hope that people want to continue to hear that and see where we go with that.”
Around 2012, rumors began to circulate that Dopamine would be the band’s final album after a tweet from vocalist Stephan Jenkins. According to Hargreaves, Third Eye Blind is still going strong and the intent might have gotten lost in translation.
“I think the message we were trying to convey is that we don’t want to just have to limit ourselves to 12 song records when we put something out,” Hargreaves said. “The idea that you have to write a song and then you have to write 11 more before you can release the first song you wrote is something that doesn’t really work for us, and it’s not really the way people listen to music anymore, either. We have about nine songs that didn’t go on Dopamine, and we’re planning on finishing and recording those in early 2016 and then seeing how we want to release them.”
The music industry is much different nearly 20 years into the band’s career, but Hargreaves said the most important thing is to get music to the fans.
“You definitely want to have a perfect feeling come across. We don’t do ‘perfect’, but we do something that tries to get the feeling across as cleanly as possible. People stream it for free, steal it, whatever. I honestly don’t even care how people get it. The music is to be heard, we make it so people can listen to it and enjoy it. We don’t care how anyone gets it; we just want people to have it.”
Some fans may be encountering Third Eye Blind for the first time as singles from Dopamine air, bringing new audience to the band’s music.
“I would say welcome,” said Hargreaves. “We’re pleased to have people get into the new stuff. That’s probably the most gratifying thing to have happen right now is to have new fans discovering what we’re doing now. And then they can go back and sort of look into the evolution of our band over a longer period.”
Longtime fans will have a chance to experience new music as well as iconic tracks that are precipitously close to transitioning to ‘classic rock’ radio.
“It’s inevitable, it’s going to get there and hit those stations at some point,” said Hargreaves. “I’d be honored to get on there. Once you do that you’re just sort of in the pantheon of music, it’s something that can’t be erased. You’re just part of the fabric of music and that’s pretty cool. On the one hand we’ve had a great career and have done a lot of stuff, on the other hand we’re in such a good place as a band right now that we feel like we’re just getting started and we have a lot to do. It’s an interesting time for us.”
Tickets for the Nutcracker Ball are available from fuzz921.com and lucky listeners can tune in to FM 92.1 to win tickets.
— tucker hottes