My friends have always made fun of me for liking Third Eye Blind‘s radio hits, “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Never Let You Go.” I can’t help it. I don’t really believe in the concept of guilty pleasures, but if I had one, I suppose this would be it.
Now they’ve got their own label (distributed by Sony) and a new song, which never really achieves the catchy pop perfection of my two favorite songs, it’s cut from the same cloth. With lyrics about young gay Republicans and breast implants. Or something.
Full press release after the jump…
Third Eye Blind
(Sony/RED; November 18, 2008)
Third Eye Blind Releases Digital EP, Red Star, November 18;
Offers New Song, “Non-Dairy Creamer” as Free MP3
New Studio Album, URSA MAJOR, Coming in 2009
Band Releasing Audio Stems of Several New Songs for Fans to Mix Before Songs Are Released In Partnership With Indaba Music
Third Eye Blind are about to release their first batch of new songs in five years via a digital EP, entitled Red Star, on November 18th, 2008. The material, which includes three new tracks along with additional video content, will be followed by a full-length release, Ursa Major, in 2009.
3EB exploded onto the national music scene in 1997 when the band released its debut CD, Third Eye Blind, which yielded five radio hits, including the unlikely and now classic “Semi-Charmed Life.” The band quickly rose to the heights of rock stardom, touring the world and releasing a string of radio hits over the next seven years. Yet becoming superstars took its toll on the band members’ psyches, and as 3EB ground through the star-making machinery, they eventually found themselves losing creative control of their music and their image, until one day in 2004 they woke up and realized they didn’t recognize themselves anymore. It was then that they decided it was time to take a break — time to take a look inside, re-evaluate who they were as artists, and get back in touch with themselves and their music.
3EB have been inspired by the possibilities and potential that new media provide, and are discovering their own paradigm on how they create and reach people with music. They have toured consistently over the past two years, and sold out every show, playing in front of crowds of up to 11,000 fans, in response to an entirely new fan-base who have discovered this music on the web.
These new fans have proved that, despite a 5-year hiatus between albums, 3EB has in fact deepened its connection with its community. When Third Eye Blind releases URSA MAJOR in early 2009, it will be on the band’s own imprint, distributed through Sony/RED.
It is the fans’ energy and enthusiasm that has also inspired and invigorated the recordings for URSA MAJOR. 3EB has sought to use new media tools to involve its fans in the process of recording the album itself. They are soon launching a new website – www.thirdeyeblind.com – that will be a highly interactive hub for the fan community.
3EB has also recently partnered with Indaba Music to launch an innovative new web program, “Studio Access” giving fans and other musicians unprecedented access to the band’s creative process. Through blog posts, videos, and audio previews, “Studio Access” allows the band to communicate directly with fans as they finish recording their new album, and allows fans to hear new music before it’s released. And in an unprecedented move, the band has invited their fans to actually participate in the recording process by inviting them to create their own mixes of some of the new 3EB tracks – before allowing them to hear the band’s own official mixes!
“Studio Access” kicked off September 15 when the band posted audio stems for “Non-Dairy Creamer,” giving fans three weeks to download the stems, mix the song, and post their finished track on the site. On October 23 the band chose their favorite version of the song, which was mixed by an aspiring producer named Eduardo Reynoso Jr. The winning track will be made available on the band’s new website (launching soon), Myspace, Facebook and various other sites. Several other tracks from Ursa Major will be made available through “Studio Access” throughout the rest of this year, culminating in a collection of fan-mixed tracks that will serve as a companion piece to Ursa Major. A grand prize winner will be chosen based on the single best mix of the entire “Studio Access” program, and will be invited to perform live on stage with Third Eye Blind on one of their tour stops in early 2009.
Last but not least, much has been written about Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins’ recent comments about the state of the album as a viable format for releasing music (see http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10070638-93.html?tag=mncol). However, Jenkins does not believe the album format is dead at all… See attached letter from Jenkins for further discourse on the subject.
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WHAT IS AN ALBUM?
– from Stephan Jenkins
My life is measured out in albums I have loved. We try to make those albums.
On November 18th, THIRD EYE BLIND is going to release three new songs from our upcoming album, Ursa Major. It’s been five years since we put out our last album. Since then, the options on how to release music have exploded. Yay!
All of these options made us ask: What’s an album? How does one want to encounter it? Reaching people with music is our challenge and purpose—how should we do it? Here’s what we think.
Albums are the most vital and compelling art form in my life. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is my favorite opera just by virtue of brevity! I grew up with headphones and liner notes, finding my identity through albums, and I have spent my life making them.
Led Zeppelin, every album (‘cept Presence!) sounds dangerous and compelling to this day. The Police’s first three albums are still liberating and exotic. The Velvet Underground, Prince, Cat Stevens, The Clash, Joy Division, A Tribe Called Quest, Jane’s Addiction, and most influential to me, Camper Van Beethoven—their albums owned me probably more than I owned them.
I spent last year getting crushed by The Raconteurs, Justice, Foals, M.I.A., and Kings of Leon.
I can’t wait to put out Ursa Major in hopes that others will feel about it the way I do about bands I love. I personally won’t feel like Ursa Major is done until I put the vinyl on the turntable and until I’m holding the CD in my hand.
I prefer albums to singles and mix tapes and playlists. I still put vinyl on my turntable and freak out about how good Icky Thump sounds recorded on 16 track tape heads.
However, the album was created by the limitations of vinyl – about forty-five minutes and then expanded to the CD – about eighty minutes. Artists like The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd made cohesive pieces of art from these limitations.
Albums were also created so that record executives could make cash. Albums require huge time commitments and budgets and then lots of promotion and album cycles and of course key tracks and hit singles, and payola, and getting signed and getting dropped, and 360 deals, and a very few people at the top of corporations who are interested in quarterly statements and ameliorating risk and who know what’s best for your band.
We love albums, we also feel limited by them. All I am saying is your website can now be your album, an ongoing ever-changing one that grows and morphs and reflects your creative impulses as you have them. Grab the moment of a song and share it the night you finished it. Make art that you have for it and post it. Then go play some shows and record some more. Physical and digital releases can interconnect and enhance each other.
The album cycle is endless, the connection between band and audience is unbroken. How fluid and creatively freeing. And the best part is you don’t have to get permission from a boss in order to do it. Yay!
This all seems so much more democratic to me. Fewer people at the top will become billionaires this way, but more people will make a living making music. More bands who must be heard but couldn’t make a physical album have a chance. More music is available to kids like I was whose very identity depends on finding it. These are the days!
And while we are at it, I think the hit single is arcane as well. The songs that have resonated the longest with 3EB’s audience sometimes haven’t even been on our albums (see “Slow Motion”).
Oil paintings require oil paint in order to exist, it’s true. Music can exist and thrive in all kinds of formats–not just albums or singles. Maybe your best canvas is a website. Still friends?
I know that 3EB is launching a new website soon and we are giving it a lot of creative attention. It will be a device to engage our music, find, and share with others around music. We see it as one big digital album that will also go with our physical albums.
Finally, this is not an “us against them” argument. Majors continue to support hugely entertaining albums and I have worked with a lot of people at majors (like WEA) who care passionately about music. They are not going away and neither is the album.
I’m saying that choices are exploding. Albums are not the only way, and perhaps not even the most creative and effective way. Then again, they may be the way for you. Third Eye Blind is going to keep making records because we like them. But we are also going to put up songs like the three we are putting out on November 18th for download.
We might also in the future post a song when we record it and then maybe put out the album later.
WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING! We don’t think anyone else does either and we love it. We consider these to be exciting times to be lost in. I hope you have the choice and I hope you continue to find yourselves and each other through music.