With two decades of work under his belt, Stephan Jenkins and his band, Third Eye Blind, were in for something of a homecoming on Thursday night. After having toured the world, Jenkins has had little time to spend in Palo Alto, a place he used to call home. Sitting down to talk to Intermission with drummer Brad Hargreaves, the Third Eye Blind singer told us of how he made his mark here at the University, literally, and told of past crushes from Branner Hall and his old exploits in the CoHo before his show last night at Memorial Auditorium for the Verizon Wireless’ Coffee Shop Series.
You graduated from Gunn High School Right?
Stephan Jenkins: I did.
How did it feel growing up around Stanford?
SJ: You know, I grew up here and then I left and I really haven’t been back. It’s really fantastic to come back here. I grew up in College Terrace, and I’m just amazed it hasn’t changed.
Is that good?
SJ: It’s still quaint and I love that. It’s gotten a lot smaller, it seems. I rode around the campus. I went to Escondido Elementary School, and my mom worked with Paul Berg in the biochemistry department. As soon as this interview is done, I’m going to go up to Bill Dement’s house, he’s the sleep research professor. I’m going to visit them – they’re like old friends and I haven’t seen them in years.
He stopped teaching his class last year.
SJ: He’s old! He’s just old, man.
Any pressures to ever come to Stanford, either of you?
SJ: I felt like I had already gone here, I felt like I had already gone to Stanford. No, I didn’t want to go here at all. Like a lot of people from Gunn went to Stanford. To me it felt like going to Foothill [College]. But now I look at it, it’s just picturesque. It’s divine. It’s beautiful. I love Stanford.
Were you guys one of those biker kids that spend time around campus? Did you spend time on campus when you were going to Gunn?
SJ: I did, yeah. When I was 8-years old, I came over here to MemAud and I snuck in with two of my friends. Doors were open, no security guards, and I climbed up the catwalk to the very top and pissed off of it. It was fantastic! It was a great moment. I marked that stage.
You pissed onto the stage?
So, the one you’re playing on tonight?
How did that feel?
SJ: It felt like high-speed rail, my friend. It was great. We used to ride our bikes up to the Coffee House, and they had this video game up there called “Space Invaders.” We’d get these hot chocolate things and play “Space Invaders.”
And then I had a tutor, and she was like a woman. She was just a woman. She was so hot. She lived in this great big palace called Branner Hall, and she tutored me in English. She was so old. She was a freshman in college.
Did you have a crush?
SJ: I had a huge crush on her. She had really strong legs. I was like in the fifth grade. That was about it. She had really athletic thighs.
So you guys are playing a “Coffee Shop” Series on the stage behind us. You guys are going to play electric right? Not acoustic?
SJ: Yeah, we were going to play acoustic ,and I guess the fire marshall figured out and knew who our band was and thought that would be a riot and be a big problem. I don’t think he really understands Stanford students, they have their own agendas. There’s not going to be a riot.
When you guys go acoustic, Brad, do you play?
Brad Hargreaves: Yeah, I do sometimes. We were kind of disappointed that we couldn’t play the coffee shop. We were looking forward to playing that and it got changed to a normal show for us, instead of something that was unique
SJ: Yeah, I feel the same way, I would have liked to play the coffee shop.