Third Eye Blind
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Although often lumped into the post-grunge category, Third Eye Blind sported a brighter sound than many of their late-’90s peers, taking more influence from classic pop/rock traditions than the angst-ridden music that dominated the decade. The group scored their first hit in 1997, when debut single “Semi-Charmed Life” cracked the Top 10. Third Eye Blind built upon that success over the next six years, releasing a number of singles (three of which cracked the Top 10) while touring with the likes of U2 and Oasis. After taking a break during the mid-2000s, the band returned and have released three albums, including the Top 5 Ursa Major in 2009.
Third Eye Blind hail from San Francisco, where singer Stephan Jenkins made his name as a solo musician after earning an English degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Jenkins soon decided to piece a band together. After several lineups failed to gel, former Fungo Mungo bassist Arion Salazar joined the group, which Jenkins had named Third Eye Blind (in reference to the metaphysical concept of a mind’s eye). At one of the band’s early shows, guitarist Kevin Cadogan — a former student of Joe Satriani, who later became involved in the northern California ska and punk scenes — introduced himself to Jenkins. Cadogan subsequently joined Third Eye Blind in late 1995, bringing along former Counting Crows drummer Brad Hargreaves as well.
As Third Eye Blind worked on cementing its sound, Jenkins began earning major-label attention through his production of the Braids’ cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which became an international hit. He signed a publishing deal shortly afterward, reported to be the largest such deal ever presented to an unreleased artist. Meanwhile, Third Eye Blind cultivated a dedicated fan base by playing the Bay Area frequently, and the group’s original 14-song demo attracted attention from major labels. The buzz continued to build when the musicians finagled their way into a prized opening slot for Oasis’ April 1996 concert at the Civic Auditorium. The group was still unsigned at the time, but following their well-received performance (which included an encore — a rare accolade for an opening band), Third Eye Blind became the subject of a bidding war.
In 1997 the band won a Billboard Music Award for Best Modern Rock Track (“Semi-Charmed Life”). In1998 at the California Music Awards, known as the Bammies and formerly the Bay Area Music Awards, Third Eye Blind won 3 awards (including Best Album, Best Songwriting, and Best Debut Work) In 1998 Jenkins and Cadogan won a California Music Award for Outstanding Songwriters. In1999 Third Eye Blind were nominated for 2 American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist and Favorite Alternative Artist. In1999 Third Eye Blind won 3 California Music Awards for Outstanding Group, Outstanding Single (“Jumper”) and Outstanding Artist of the Year (Stephan Jenkins). In 2000 Third Eye Blind were nominated for 7 California Music Awards. In 2000 Jenkins and Cadogan won a California Music Award for Outstanding Songwriters.