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July 18, 2018

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Q+A: Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins talks same-sex marriage, Confederate flag, ocean sanctuaries

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Third Eye Blind.

Third Eye Blind Everything Is Easy

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Third Eye Blind.

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Third Eye Blind with frontman Stephan Jenkins.

Third Eye Blind at Fremont Street

Frontman and guitarist Stephan Jenkins and his band Third Eye Blind perform a free concert at Third Street Stage on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. Launch slideshow »

It’s a busy time and a time of celebration for Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins. The San Francisco band’s newest album, “Dopamine,” dropped June 16, with the excellent new single, “Everything Is Easy,” and much of the year is being spent on the road.

Jenkins, to start off the interview this week, unprompted talked about same-sex marriage, ocean sanctuaries and the Confederate flag — three reasons why “it feels like America got a lot better quickly,” he says.

Jenkins answered questions over the phone early Monday afternoon ahead of his co-headlining tour stop with Dashboard Confessional at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday night.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me after the Fourth of July Weekend. How was your Fourth?

It is my pleasure. The Fourth was great, so much fun, one of the best I’ve celebrated. I even wrapped myself in the flag!

You were feeling especially patriotic?

I felt very patriotic. We’ve just approved millions of miles of ocean as sanctuary. This is an incredible time with the Supreme Court and environmental protections and same-sex marriage.

I have a gay cousin, and to see the acceptance and openness he feels and that we see in our audiences — the LGBT audience standing next to straight fans, the overall feeling of collectiveness and openness — is wonderful and something we’ll be talking about for along time.

And the Confederate flag coming down. It’s great. It feels like America got a lot better quickly.

How’s the summer tour going co-headlining with Dashboard Confessional?

Great — I love those guys. They’re the best. It’s the most fun we’ve ever had on tour; the crews really get along. We had Sunday off in Kansas City and were given this big room upstairs and watched USA take on Japan in soccer.

Our guitar player Kryz Reid, who is from Ireland, was the only person rooting for Japan (laughs). He even had these Japanese dolls and taught himself Japanese.

I interviewed Chris Carrabba on Friday morning the day before the Forth, and he had nothing but nice things to say about you. Do you want to return the favor?

Yeah, of course. I love that dude. I respect him as a songwriter and his DIY ethos. I’ve come to know him on tour, and he’s such a genuine person. We’ve become friends. I’m a big fan. I’ve always been a big fan. Now I admire him as a person.

Do you enjoy touring?

I love it. This band, every member of this band, is aspirational. When they show up, the music happens. They all do that. We get to out there and make an exchange happen with the music and the fans.

Tell me about your new album “Dopamine.”

It was released June 16, and it’s really fun to play. We are playing a lot of it on tour. The songs are pulsing. We change songs every night. It’s our critically best-received album. It’s nice to be comprehended. It also is my favorite cover ever. I love the artwork.

What is your favorite song to perform among your band’s many songs and hits?

The new song “Everything Is Easy” is really fun right now. It has this new wave, post-rock quality, goth, New Order kind of vibe. This umph, umph rhythm. It’s fun to see the audience dance.

What are you working on now besides touring and with the new album out?

We’re on tour until the end of July. Then I go surfing! Then radio shows and an EP. We go out again in the fall to U.S. bases and Europe. Busy, busy.

Third Eye Blind has been together for more than 20 years (since 1993). What’s the secret to the band’s longevity?

The relationship between Brad Hargreaves and me. We care about what we’re doing, and we care about each other. And there is this new generation of Millennials who are embracing our songs on their playlist as their own, interpreting it and making it relevant for their present tense.

We’re lucky in that we didn’t get date stamps on our songs and that they are able to feel fresh and relevant.

If you weren’t the frontman of a band, what else would you love to do as a career?

There are so many things I’d love to do. Save the world. Direct movies that would be fun. My life would be “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.” I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist. And a surfer.

What advice would you give an artist entering the music industry today?

Cultivate your own initiation. Learn to listen to yourself, and stick to it.

Have you been to Las Vegas often? If so, what’s on your must-do list while you’re in Las Vegas?

When I’m in Las Vegas, my schedule is hotel room, pool, gig, after-show and that’s it. It’s so hot there. Despite all the mega-resorts development, Las Vegas is not a sidewalk-walking city.

But there is nothing like being in a private cabana at the pool in the dry desert heat and then getting into the pool. And of course enjoy vodka and caviar at Red Square (in Mandalay Bay). I have to scoop out caviar from Stalin’s (ice sculpture) head.

Third Eye Blind and Dashboard Confessional are at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday night.

Don Chareunsy is the Las Vegas Sun’s entertainment and luxury senior editor and has been a journalist for nearly two decades.

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous fame” has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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