Hobby: Making movies. Stephan has a small role in
"Rock Star" and a leading role in "Angelic Tuesday."
He has also made a cameo appearance on the Chris Isaak Show (episode "The Devil
Made Me Do It") which was broadcast on Showtime on 1/13/02.
1961 beige Buick Invicta
Convertible, a 1998 Ford Explorer and a Triumph motorcycle.
In the SCL video:
THE OFFICIAL BIO (from 3eb.com):
From San Francisco Chronicle: An article every big 3eb fan should readBlind Ambition
Third Eye Blind leader Stephan Jenkins makes sure his band is a success
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Pop Music Critic
Sunday, November 28, 1999
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle
Stephan Jenkins is a classic -- a rock 'n' roll bad boy with an angel face and a movie-star girlfriend. He rides around town with his dog on a Triumph motorcycle and lives in a rented room above his manager's office in an unremarkable Cole Valley duplex.
More than just his group's singer, songwriter and record producer, Stephan Jenkins dreamed up the name for the band and wrote many of the songs before there were any other musicians involved. His colleagues are all seasoned, highly skilled rockers, but he is clearly the alpha dog of the pack. The band is a corporation wholly owned by Jenkins. Make no mistake, Jenkins is Third Eye Blind.
Third Eye Blind's 1997 self-titled debut sold more than 3 million copies and lofted three hits into the Top 10, including the No. 1 ``Semi-Charmed Life.'' The release earlier this week of the second album, ``Blue,'' could make 3EB the biggest rock band out of San Francisco in a long, long time. ``Anything,'' the screaming rocker released as the first single, is scorching up modern-rock radio playlists.
But people who have worked with Jenkins, if they will talk at all, don't necessarily have nice things to say about him. He has already settled one lawsuit with an old friend. People accuse him of stealing credits he didn't earn. They call him ambitious, driven -- which Jenkins confirms.
``I don't think I owe anyone an apology,'' said Jenkins, unflinching and unfazed. He's heard it all before.
LOWER HAIGHT ROOTS
Behind the multiplatinum success of Third Eye Blind lies a tangled path that Jenkins followed. If the first album romanticizes the bohemian decadence so easily found around the lower Haight in the early '90s, it is a subject Jenkins knows firsthand.
Longtime friend and later manager Eric Gotland and Jenkins were always the team. They met in 1990 when they were both living on lower Haight Street. Jenkins was a starving rapper wannabe. Gotland was, by day, a straight-arrow management consultant not even allowed to wear colored shirts at his job. By night, he was a lousy club DJ with a huge record collection.
``That was my 1967, my summer of love,'' said Jenkins, 35. ``So much of the first record is drawn from that time.''
Jenkins, who grew up in Palo Alto and graduated with an English degree from the University of California at Berkeley, rented out his room and started sleeping in the closet. He was living on money he stole from his roommates to buy coffee, eating lots of Top Ramen and writing songs. ``I had a moral boundary,'' he said. ``I wouldn't take anything larger than a quarter.''
He started as one-half of an interracial rap duo that eventually landed a song on a soundtrack.
Jenkins teamed with a reggae musician from Detroit, Herman Anthony Chunn, who had a shaved head and called himself Zen, to form Puck and Natty. Their tape found its way to industry heavyweights such as Clive Davis and Irving Azoff.
A track, ``Just Wanna Be Your Friend,'' landed on a soundtrack album of the hit TV show ``Beverly Hills, 90210'' in 1992.
``You want me to do a song for your TV show that I've never seen?'' Jenkins said. ``No problem. It was $7,800. I bought groceries.''
With a cut on a soundtrack and the label interested in signing the group, Jenkins needed a manager. His brother was in a fraternity at the University of California at Davis with Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Martin Kirkup and Steve Jensen of Direct Management, who managed the Crows, signed them as Puck and Zen. The duo took the new name after New Age-y duo Tuck and Patti raised objections to Puck and Natty. (Leave it to English major Jenkins to adopt a pseudonym from Shakespeare's most mischievous character.)
The record company never released the Puck and Zen track as a single, but another stepped up to the bar. Jenkins found himself in a meeting with Capitol Records executives -- ``The whole thing was so not rock,'' he said -- discussing who should produce Puck and Zen. ``I told them I don't want a second opinion.'' Capitol quickly lost interest.
``For Puck and Zen, that was it,'' Jenkins said. ``We couldn't withstand that.'' Zen would not comment for this article.
All through Puck and Zen, the vision of a rock band was growing in Jenkins' mind. He already had a name -- Third Eye Blind. And he had some songs, including a piece he developed out of music written by Zen that came to be called ``Semi- Charmed Life,'' Jenkins' tale of sleazy sex and crystal meth that eventually would propel him to stardom.
``I was telling these guys that I had these ideas,'' Jenkins said. ``I wanted a production company. I wanted to write my own rock songs. I was having fun with the Puck and Zen thing, but it was a more immediate thing. `You're unfocused,' everyone said. Except Eric (Gotland).''
He needed a band and some demo recordings.
A TRIP TO SKYWALKER
Jenkins met engineer David Gleeson at a Puck and Zen session. Gleeson took Jenkins and his first edition of Third Eye Blind -- including bassist Jason Slater and guitarist George Earth of World Entertainment War -- to cut demos in world- class studios at Skywalker Ranch and the Marin County studios of Walter Afanasieff, who had produced Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.
Putting a band together and getting established on the local club scene proved problematic and became a sticking point with his Hollywood managers. Jenkins went through a number of guitarists before finding Kevin Cadogan. Arion Salazar from East Bay punk-funksters Fungo Mungo joined on bass. Many drummers came and went before Steve Bowman, freshly dismissed from Counting Crows, took the drum chair. To get his band its first gig, Jenkins appealed directly to Duritz by letter for an opening slot on the Counting Crows shows at the Fillmore Auditorium in October 1994.
``My managers saw the last two songs,'' Jenkins said.
Third Eye Blind set about carefully making a mark on the local club scene. One longtime scenester remembered early 3EB shows: ``Even opening for some s-- band at the Paradise, the guy acted like he was at the Oakland Coliseum.'' Jenkins: ``So? You ought to see me at rehearsal.''
Engineer-producer Gleeson quit working with the band in a huff. ``He and Stephan had a fight, a blowout,'' Gotland said.
Gleeson, who received a small credit on the first 3EB album, reportedly settled a lawsuit for six figures after the multiplatinum success, Gotland said.
Gleeson would not comment for this article.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS
The real low point came in July 1995 with Cocky Pop I. The event was designed to trumpet the three leading unsigned bands of San Francisco's live rock scene and would star Third Eye Blind. The band rented the Transmission Theater and joined forces with two other comers in the clubs, Protein and Heavy Into Jeff. Record company talent scouts flew in for the event, which turned into a debacle for
The band's latest drummer, Michael Urbano, quit shortly before the show. Jenkins was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, which left him feverish and nauseous when he wasn't actually onstage. With little draw of their own, the musicians faced a hall filled with Protein fans. At the show, guitarist Cadogan's amp blew out two songs into the set.
``Protein wiped the floor with us,'' Jenkins said. ``They got signed that night. Heavy Into Jeff stomped us.''
The band lost the big-time managers, the engineer who had been supervising its recordings and Jenkins' publishing deal. The whole thing was on the verge of falling apart. ``It would have been a good time to quit,'' Jenkins said.
Instead, the band regrouped, pulling together, at last, the winning team. Drummer Brad Hargreaves joined. Gotland finally assumed management. They found a new recording engineer, a crucial player as the band prepared another assault on the record industry.
RECORDING A DEMO
Gear hound Slater kept a lot of equipment at a small recording studio in Redwood City run by a musician named Eric Dodd. Dodd, who called himself Eric Valentine, was once half of Hollywood Records rock group T-Ride. Dodd didn't want to front the band time, but he agreed to engineer the sessions once Gotland stepped up with his credit cards.
``Eric threw down and paid for the demos and they were expensive,'' Jenkins said. ``But we had recorded these songs multiple times and, in Eric Dodd, I had an engineer who could do it.''
``I guess the stuff came out reasonably well,'' Dodd said. ``There was some interest from record companies. It was a reasonably creative combination.''
RCA Victor coughed up money for more recording and then passed. The group auditioned for hit-picker Clive Davis of Arista Records in New York. ``He said, `Do you have any more?' '' Jenkins recalled.
One label felt strongly enough to arrange a showcase performance at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Among the record industry heavies in the crowd that April 1996 night was Sylvia Rhone, president of Elektra Records, one of the most powerful women in the record business. ``Sylvia was in the crowd high-fiving people, like she'd already made the deal,'' Jenkins said. ``We made the deal we wanted.''
Signed personally by the president of the label in June 1996, armed with a new publishing deal that the label said was one of the biggest ever given to a new artist, Jenkins was ready to make his major-label debut and was going to produce the record himself. Over the course of the sessions, however, engineer Dodd felt his role shift.
``There was quite a bit of trauma that went down, and I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to talk about,'' Dodd said. ``There came a point where it became obvious that I was doing production work and I was hired as an engineer.''
Jenkins said Dodd was given a co-production credit -- ``He never asked for it,'' he said -- and that he was paid a fair royalty. Still, some observers think Dodd made some substantial contributions to the recording that, in other circumstances, could have made him a full producer, a difference that can mean big money and more work.
``He produced the s-- out of that record,'' Slater said. ``I think Stephan even got credit for production, but he didn't produce that record . . . Eric and Stephan didn't get along at all.''
Sometime before the release of the album, Gotland cut a deal with Jenkins' old partner, Zen, to sell his interest in a couple of songs, including ``Semi-Charmed Life,'' which became a No. 1 record and 3EB's biggest hit. Gotland said he advised Zen against selling the song.
Jenkins fiercely defended his proprietorship of the song. ``He wrote part of the music, part of the riff,'' Jenkins said. ``I kept going until it was my song. I had no idea where that song was going, but I bought him out.''
He bought out Zen for $10,000 before the album was released to become the song's sole author.
The song did benefit from a lot of work. Many versions were recorded.
``A lot of people contributed to that song,'' Dodd said. ``It's been around for many years. There are a lot of people who contributed to that tune and didn't get credit.''
ON THE ROAD
After the April 1997 release of the first album, the four musicians spent the next two years on the road. The band started as an opening act for U.K. alt-rockers James but quickly graduated to headline status.
The Third Eye Blind record started to get airplay almost immediately and, as each of the three hit singles -- ``Semi-Charmed Life,'' ``Jumper'' and ``How's It Going to Be'' -- went into MTV rotation and headed up the charts, the crowds grew. The band opened a few dates for U2 and the Rolling Stones. Jenkins got into wars of words in the press with other rock stars. He started getting his name in gossip columns by dating his current girlfriend, actress Charlize Theron.
The band barely paused from the endless tour before entering the studio to start the new album.
SECOND TIME AROUND
Behind an anonymous Mission Street storefront facade, Toast Studios was home away from home to Third Eye Blind for five months this year. With the October 15 deadline for delivery of its second album five days away, tapes of some songs were being mixed in two other studios, while Jenkins put down some last- minute vocals on other songs in downtown San Francisco. Salazar's vintage keyboards were stashed in every corner. Guitarist Cadogan had a room piled with cords and equipment. A poster of '40s burlesque queen Patti Waggins, borrowed from manager Gotland's extensive collection, stared back into the control room from the other side of the glass.
``It's an album we can hold our heads up about,'' Jenkins said. Later he uses the word ``redeeming'' to describe it. As soon as he finished the record, he flew off to Savannah, Ga., to visit Theron on location.
Even before release, Jenkins' new record hit a nerve, this one at the top of the corporate ladder at Elektra's parent company, Time Warner. The label asked Jenkins to substitute an instrumental for the full version of ``Slow Motion,'' a song that spoofs violence, written by Jenkins. Label executives were apparently sensitive to the issue since the slaying two years ago of schoolteacher Jonathan Levin, the son of Time Warner Chairman Gerald Levin.
``Miss Jones taught me English/ But I think I just shot her son/ 'Cause he owed me money/ With a bullet in the chest you cannot run,'' go the lyrics.
The pressure of following up his big hit record, Jenkins said, makes him wake up at 6 in the morning grinding his teeth. Jenkins is not ready to coast.
He declines the laurels because the race isn't won.
``I was possessed,'' Jenkins said. ``People thought I was crazy. I probably was. I'm more quiet inside now. There's that whole thing in Western mythology that for a man to feel good he has to have gone out and slayed a dragon. To some extent, I've done that.
``But the journey doesn't stop. There's no sense of arrival with Third Eye Blind. I think we can grow. I don't feel like I've arrived. That doesn't mean I'm not happily inspired by the journey.
``Twenty years from now, I'll be in some studio arguing over whether there's too much cello. It's my life's work, and I'd do it all for free.''
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle Page 40
Stephan's high school pics.