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Third Eye Blind to rock the IMU

BY ERIC SUNDERMANN | NOVEMBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

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The late-90s illicit three images: roller blades, Tim the “Toolman” Taylor, and Third Eye Blind.

But with the group’s “Semi-Charmed Life” at the top of the charts, the band continued to steadily perform, write, and record new music, developing an almost underground following.

Iowa City will witness the ensemble’s growth when Third Eye Blind takes the stage at the IMU Main Lounge at 7:30 p.m. today. Admission is $29.

Third Eye Blind emerged in the late-90s with its self-titled début and landed numerous radio hits including “How’s It Gonna Be” and “Jumper.” The band’s next album, Blue, although not as successful as its predecessor, still achieved platinum status. Now, the group returns with its first studio release in six years, Ursa Major, which débuted in August at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

Drummer Brad Hargreaves attributes the success of the new record to each member’s journey over the past 10 years.

“I think early on, when we had giant success, singles on the radio, and the giant machine of a record label behind us, it sort of amplifies and puts your success on steroids,” he said. “But it’s sort of like, what do you have left when that’s taken away? What we had to end up doing was go out and do what bands do — and that’s go play a whole bunch of live shows.”

Longtime fan Jeff Nirschl said he is very excited to see one of his favorite bands perform.

“[Lead singer] Stephan Jenkins comes from Nebraska, so he’s kind of a Midwest guy like I am,” the UI junior said. “The band consistently put out versatile, solid songs with good lyrics and meanings. The musical experience as well as the band’s whole outlook is what attracts me.”

After the intense, sudden success in the group’s beginnings, Hargreaves said Third Eye Blind needed to pause and examine how to better control and maintain its art. The band no longer works under a major record label, but rather its own, Mega Collider.

“We make every decision about what we do creatively,” Hargreaves said. “Major labels were good to us in a certain sense, but mismarketed us as what we thought what our identity was. Now, it’s the best of both worlds because we can make the music that we’ve always wanted to make — no one’s going to mistake it for another band — and be more true to ourselves in all aspects of our career.”

The concert is sponsored by SCOPE, and director of operations T.C. Lockhart emphasizes the UI’s support of bringing “big-name bands,” as opposed to other universities.

“It shows that the UI is committed to life on campus,” he said. “Third Eye Blind is a band that’s had considerable Top 40 success, but yet maintained an indie-rock status and is a veteran of live performance.”

In spite of the group’s nationwide success, Third Eye Blind has never played a show in Iowa City. Hargreaves said he is excited to visit the state.

“We’re fascinated when Iowa is the first state to endorse Barack Obama, first state to have gay marriage, stuff like that,” he said. “You know, beating out states like California and New York — all these supposed liberal states — and Iowa ends up being the trendsetter.”


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