After the title track from its December 2008 E.P. "Non Dairy Creamer" found success at alternative radio, Third Eye Blind guitarist Tony Fredianelli tells Billboard.com the rock act is confident about the prospects for not one but two studio Sony albums – "Ursa Major" and "Ursa Minor" – it plans on releasing over the next year. The band debuted "Ursa Major" at South by Southwest in March, and the record is due in stores June 23.
"It's more like we made a double record but we just figured why give it all away at once too," Fredianelli says. "Both of these records to me are very strong, especially the first one, because we really bled for them. It's almost like we started over as a new band and went through the amount of time it takes to get a record that has a lot of meaning to it. I can sit down and write a song that might be pretty good, but to really get those songs that are magical, you don't really control that. They're kind of coming from another place.
"So that's what we went for with all of these and it's kind of why it took so long. Also recording and rerecording the record a couple of times had a small amount to do with it too. And our singer's writer's block didn't help either but finally we got past all of that and we're starting to see the sun in the dawn."
Currently on tour, Third Eye Blind plays Friday (May 9) at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. The band is previewing "Ursa Major" material such as the heavy "Can You Take Me," the popish "Summer Town" and The Who-esque "Don't Believe a Word." Fredianelli said the latter track already has a "cool artsy video."
"Since we saw alternative (radio) really gravitate to the song ‘Non Dairy Creamer' without any real work, we're going to just stay there for a minute," Fredianelli says. "Sure we have a couple of pop songs that could put that back in gear for us, but I don't know if we really even need that. We're touring nowadays doing 3,000 to 5,000 people without even trying.
"I know it's great to have big media success and all of that stuff, and walking all of the red carpets and all of that crap, but it's really not necessary. It's all about the music really. And our fans have not left us. They know all of the records, they know the third record just as well as the first record. So touring has actually gotten better as far as our attendance. It's just really bizarre."
Bizarre is also how Fredianelli, who has his own solo album due out later in 2009, describes Third Eye Blind's initial run of success a decade ago when the band was positioned as a straight pop act. Now with the success of "Non Dairy Creamer," the band is looking forward.
"What it showed us is all of the work we've been doing over the last five years, touring colleges and becoming one of the most requested bands at colleges on the East Coast, has kind of brought us back our initial alternative fan base, because Elektra Records had kind of squandered that by going for all of the big money," Fredianelli says. "It was the bread versus cred thing, but it's kind of an amazing resurgence we're seeing. It's really kind of inspiring."