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Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy the Pop Charts: Five Reasons Why We Like Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

click to enlarge Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins performing in S.F. last year. - GIL RIEGO
  • Gil Riego
  • Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins performing in S.F. last year.

Yesterday, San Francisco's own Third Eye Blind released "If There Ever Was a Time," a new song in support of Occupy Wall Street. Penned by frontman Stephan Jenkins, the song's lyrics are a cheery encouragement for young people to go down to the Occupy camps and take their country back from the greedy assholes who basically run it. Far from stark or gloom, the song has an upbeat, breezy feel -- more like a pre-party soundtrack than a call to occasionally violent, controversial political rebellion. But you know what? We're cool with that. Listening to the song makes us remember that Jenkins -- who's now recording Third Eye Blind's fifth album -- is a smart guy and a solid songwriter. (He's also long been politically active in antipoverty and other political issues, so it's not like Occupy Wall Street is unfamiliar territory for him.)

In fact, listening to this new song reminds us that we really like the guy! Why? Let us list five of the ways:

1. He knows that "Semi-Charmed Life" is a perfectly good mold for a three-and-a-half-minute pop song, and sees no reason to deviate from it.

Just note the resemblance in vibes here:

2. He's smart enough to think about what he's saying, instead of just parroting other people's slogans.

You get the sense that Jenkins, who graduated at the top of his class from UC Berkeley with a degree in English, reads and thinks about issues, instead of just saying what's easy or cool. From the press release for "If There Ever Was a Time":

"I think college students are going to come to terms with the unfairness of student loans, the hallowing out of jobs from finance-based capitalism, and the depletion of public wealth. When you take money out of politics, which is what Occupy Wall Street is about for me, you reverse these trends. This song is meant to encourage their participation. I hope we flood this movement with music."

3. He totally reps San Francisco

Jenkins was born in Indio, grew up in Palo Alto, and has lived all over S.F. -- in the Lower Haight, Cole Valley, and North Beach. He still comes out to support up-and-coming local musicians at their shows in the city (see below). He even plays for free in Union Square sometimes, when Tommy Hilfiger will give money to Jenkins' antipoverty campaign. Not bad for a bona fide rock star who once dated Charlize Theron.

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Ian S. Port

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