Third Eye Blind Details Upcoming 'Summer Gods' Project, With Tracks That 'Sound Like Atlanta Trap Music'

Third Eye Blind
Danny Shippey

Third Eye Blind may be spending the summer celebrating the 20th anniversary of its self-titled debut album, along with an expanded edition of the multi-platinum set that came out earlier this month. But new music is on the way, too.

In fact, the troupe's current trek is called the Summer Gods Tour because that's the name of an EP that they were working on, which the band planned to be able to promote on their current live dates. "The EP was supposed to be out, and in classic Third Eye Blind fashion we didn't have it ready for the tour," says frontman Stephan Jenkins, the sole founding member still remaining in 3EB.

The group has done some recording during days off in Nashville and New York, although at this juncture Jenkins predicts that "what's more likely is you're going to get the Summer Gods album in the fall and somebody will find some meaning in that -- and [really] it'll be, 'No, we just f--ked up, actually...'"

Whatever manner of recording comes out will be the follow-up to 2016's We Are Drugs EP, and Jenkins says the new work's direction is still being determined.

"I am interested in just constantly kind of throwing everything out, and I kinda wanted to provoke myself," he explains. "I think the song structures are really different. I think one of the songs sounds like the Ramones or Billy Joel, and other tracks, to me, sound like Atlanta trap music. Just because we were in the studio and I was really provoked by the current political situation; we just put up some beats and I started spitting for about 15 minutes, and then edited it down to about four minutes. So it's all pretty different, I would say."

Jenkins isn't ruling out the possibility that 3EB still simply start to release some of the new tracks digitally as singles. "There's plusses and minuses to it," Jenkins says. "I appreciate the chance to use the technologies we have to move faster. You see someone like Calvin Harris go and pop out singles just because he can, and I wouldn't mind being able to say, 'I have a group of songs right now. We can put them out as a gift to the universe,' or something like that. I'm not really worried about it in a marketing context. I still love albums and especially LPs, but there's no money in it, anyway. So I'd rather just put things out in a way that makes me happy, and hopefully gives the audience more music."

Jenkins has done that, too, with the 20th anniversary edition of the Third Eye Blind album, which has been certified 6x platinum and launched the Hot 100 top 10 hits "Semi-Charmed Life," "How's It Going to Be" and "Jumper." The reissue features contemporary recordings of songs that date back to the original sessions -- "Tattoo Of The Sun" (which Jenkins considers "lyrically the best song I ever wrote"),  "Alright Caroline" and "Scattered" -- as well as demos of five tracks. Jenkins and the current Third Eye Blind roster is also playing the album in its entirety on tour. 

"Music is really about feelings; It conjures this whole emotional landscape and it creates all kinds of emotions that become a joyous energy," Jenkins notes. "It's a big deal; We're playing for two hours, we have tour trucks out, a big organization. We've gone from a crew of 12 to a crew of 22. But then it all comes down to the music. You've got something like 'Burning Man,' which is a song we never, ever, ever play, and it's like this really big song of the night. 'Thanks A Lot,' too. There are a lot of rediscoveries going on."

That said, the past two decades have been "a blur" for Jenkins. But he's happy to witness the enduring impact the album has had during that time. "I think it's a phenomenon, or maybe unique, that there is this entire generation of fans for whom the [debut] album is current, not nostalgic," Jenkins says. "You see these kids who are 17 to 27 and they're in it now. They're not listening to this record as some memory; they're listening to it and engaging in it because it resonates with their present tense, and that is f--king crazy. That's kind of magical to me, and unexpected. It's a a real gift in my life."

3EB isn't the only group playing the Third Eye Blind album, either. Jenkins won't comment on XEB, a group composed of original 3EB members Kevin Cadogan and Arion Salazar and Cadogan's replacement, Tony Fredianelli -- all of whom "have different reasons why they're not in Third Eye Blind anymore," according to Salazar. The group recently finished a run playing the album in its entirety, and hopes to do more. 

"There's already some new music written," Salazar says. "We have some stuff sort of sitting around. I'd definitely give it a shot. Kevin's super-prolific. I don't know what form it'll take or what we'd call it, if it should have a better name. But I'd like to make music with Kevin and Tony if we wanted to, so we'll see what happens."