For most of the past year, Third Eye Blind have been missing in action, though frontman Stephan Jenkins hasn't been sitting on his hands he's been busy writing material for the band's next record. And when he resurfaces, he'll have a handful of surprises that will likely include a song co-written by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.
Chances are, the contentious rapper will have his fingers around someone's neck during the recording someone's guitar neck, that is. "I was in the studio when they were doing the last Limp Bizkit record," Jenkins said from his home in San Francisco (see "3EB's Jenkins May Work With Limp's Durst"). "During breaks in that session, Fred had a guitar and he played it in a real funky way. So I just started singing off the cuff and we came up with this song. It doesn't sound like anything either of us has ever done. I just love it."
Jenkins has more than 40 songs which he and his bandmates will mold and shape when they begin working in the studio next month. Many of the tunes were conceived in a state of depression the singer found himself in last year. Although he refused to specify what was troubling him, he said that writing new music kept him from becoming profoundly depressed. And by the time the songs were in working order, his mood had improved.
"I feel like I've come out of my dark period," he said. "I feel really romantic about the life that I'm living again and everything seems fresh and exciting. I heard Thom Yorke [of Radiohead] say he wasn't interested in rock anymore. Well I am, and I'm still moved by it. I'm interested in creating these musical emotions and conditions that are real, and that you can step into."
Jenkins and his bandmates recently bought and built their own studio in San Francisco, where they will record the as-yet-untitled LP. They filled the studio with a variety of vintage analog gear, including a '60s board that was used on some of the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet sessions.
"So many albums these days are made digitally and they sound sterile," Jenkins said. "This old analog equipment creates some of the warmest, most thrilling sounds. And there's no time limit on us now that we have our own studio and no sense that the clock is ticking."
Sonically, Jenkins said the new material will be more complex than the band's first two albums, incorporating more involved arrangements and proficient playing.
"I think there's a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in Third Eye Blind, and we're gonna get it out," he said. Jenkins produced a 1996 dance version of the Queen classic for the Bay area funk combo the Braids, which appeared on the soundtrack of "High School High."
Before he even thinks about entering the studio, Jenkins must finish his shoot for "Angelic Tuesday," an upcoming film by British director Simon Gornick.
"People always ask me whether I'm an actor or a musician," Jenkins said. "This summer I get to make a movie, which is fun, but I have no misunderstanding about what I do. I do music, which in some ways has saved my life. So I'm not going anywhere."