Third Eye Blind plays Oakland’s Fox on Friday, March 13. (Courtesy Eline J Duijjsens)

Stephan Jenkins takes on the world in ‘Screamer’

New Third Eye Blind album addresses climate change, police brutality

Note: This show has been rescheduled to July 26 at the Fox.

Third Eye Blind frontman and longtime San Francisco resident Stephan Jenkins has never been reticent about sharing his political opinions.

With the world in imminent danger from novel coronavirus, climate change and mass shootings — the rock vocalist, who denounced homophobia in 1995’s single “Jumper,” corporate greed in 2011’s “If There Ever Was a Time” anthem and police brutality in 2016’s “Cop vs. Phone Girl” — is getting even more outspoken on his band’s latest album, “Screamer.”

“We are in a climate crisis and living under an autocracy now,” says Jenkins, slated to play with Third Eye Blind at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Friday (as of the press time, the concert remained scheduled). “So I’m letting out my fiercest, bravest inner screamer and asserting myself in a time of lies and oppression.”

On the overtly political album, actions, not words, are what count. Jenkins applauds the arrival of socially conscious teens and tweens like Parkland shooting survivors turned outspoken gun-control proponents Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg as well as international climate change activist Greta Thunberg on “The Kids Are Coming.”

He spurs listeners to similarly push back against the world’s autocrats with incendiary songs like “Light It Up,” “2X Tigers” and “Take a Side.”

Like Thunberg, Jenkins is thinking globally, banning single-use plastic bottles from his tour and making climate pledges to offset his band’s carbon footprint, but the longtime Mission resident is also acting locally.

When it came time to shoot his “Ways” video about a day in the life of a skater, it was important to him to film it around the Ferry Building, a historic hub for the skating community, and to help the local economy by hiring Bay Area crew and talent. The video’s star is up-and-coming Oakland trans skater and punk rock musician, Cher Strauberry.

“I’ve got a real sense of positive commonality with members of that punk skate community,” says Jenkins. “The idea of punking your truth and your identity on your terms, even when that has consequences, is something I admire and try to live by.”

But Jenkins says that the enjoyment he felt directing the skaters was tempered by the brutal realization that at the current rate of sea level rise, the Ferry Building and the adjacent Embarcadero Plaza may be gone, submerged underwater, in as little as 20 years.

So no matter how hard he rails against the environmental toll of flying private on his recent “Walk Like Kings” track or single-use plastic bottles every chance he gets, he might be too late to turn the tide — a sentiment that he mirrors on “Screamer.”

“It is very easy to believe that things aren’t going to work out for us,” Jenkins says. “We could all fail.”


Third Eye Blind

Where: Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

When: 8 p.m. March 13 canceled; show has been rescheduled for July 26

Tickets: $49.50


Pop Music

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