Something In You (And No One Else)
The other day, I had the pleasure of running into Ryan Spitzer in the comments section of a post in the Third Eye Blind group on Facebook. He was saying how he appreciated people sharing their personal stories, so I asked if he would like to share his. Eager to do so, Ryan shared with me not only his story about how 3EB has impacted him personally but also how he found a priceless connection with his girlfriend by bonding over the band and some special plans he has for this weekend.
As the weekend gets closer, each moment of quiet my mind has been occupied with daydreaming about seeing Third Eye Blind this Saturday in Charleston, SC. If this story is long I apologize in advance, but sharing memories about my moments listening to my favorite band's music, and seeing them live is one of my favorite things to reflect on and share with others.
So many people ask me, "Who's your favorite band?"
I assume it is because I am not private at all about how important music is to me in my life, but also because people in my life know that I pride myself on keeping up with the trivia, music history, and seemingly meaningless information digging deeper into the layers behind the songs, albums, and artists.
My first real exposure to music started with listening to classic rock radio with my father in the car and on the way to school when I was growing up. I developed a bond with my dad over bands like The Beatles, Bowie, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and more.
I remember vividly when I took control of my own musical journey. When I was in 6th grade I asked for a portable CD player and a few CD’s: 3EB - Self-Titled, Everclear - So Much For The Afterglow, and The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
For me the melodies were fun and spontaneous, and the lyrics were clever, descriptive, and different than anything I had heard before. Originally I got hooked by hearing their breakout "Semi charmed Life" on the radio on my own. Each track seemed to cover different emotions, and triggered vivid imagined visuals. I really locked in and I read everything I could about the band, the album, and the song meanings.
As a young teen and really all through high school 3EB never left my top spot or the first page in my CD binder. I even had to buy extra copies (one sealed for keeps, and extra play copies) due to wear over time. Much to my delight that year I opened a Philips Magnavox Portable CD player followed by each of those albums. I devoured the music and played those disks over, and over, and over...
And over, and over...
Third Eye Blind Self-titled had the most playtime in my rotation (unashamed).
I never really thought about seeing the band live because I lived in Richmond, VA, and they never seemed to come anywhere near where I could get to on my budget and without a car, unfortunately.
My Junior year in High School (2003) I remember hanging out with some friends at Barnes and Noble and stumbling upon one of the greatest music treasures in my life.
Flipping through the CD's and checking the letters for each band I liked to see if anything had been released or was marked down to buy. Much to my surprise on the rack was one copy of Third Eye Blind's newest album, Out of The Vein. I had literally come on the day of its release and the music section rep said he had just put it out there an hour or so ago. We talked about the band and he, like myself, was amazed to see a new release from them. To his disappointment, this was the only copy they were sent and it was an item "for online order/ship to store" only. At that moment I realized that most of the radio listeners and fair-weather fans had let the band go since the days of Blue. Was I the only one of my friends still following this band?
It’s funny to think about it now (as I have the band logo tattooed and have seen them more times live than any other band I listen to) how many people know the band, but I have to jog their memory by singing the "do do doo" part from Semi-Charmed for the light bulb to go off.
My first time seeing them live was at Toad's Place on Nov 12, 2007 in Richmond, VA - not far from where I lived. There are so many bright moments that still stay with me today from going to that show all those years ago. When they came onstage they played "Anything" for the intro, the lights turned down low, and then blasted the spotlight onto an all-white clad, suit wearing, matching top-hat Stephan Jenkins. I instantly burst into tears right there in the front row by the guard rail. Yes I said it! No I am not ashamed to admit it. Also, it was a class five ugly cry (from a guy). My friend was lovingly teasing me for my melt-down. A complete stranger (and probably the only other person I could see wearing one of their old t-shirts) reached over and put her arm around me and gave me a hug, followed by her boyfriend and one of their other friends. Now I’m not sure if he was referring to me specifically, or to the uproar of the crowd, but I remember to this day when Stephan gave a small speech as the song was building up; He said something to the effect of, “Don’t be afraid. We are all in this together. Let go of your fear and feel the music.”
It was ok! I was in my zone listening to my favorite band live and I had been waiting so many years to let it all out. After the kind hugs, consoling, and Stephan’s speech, something sparked to life in me. I was jumping around like crazy and singing along.
Things unfolded in the most bizarre way at that show. A concert goer charged the stage and plowed over a group of girls shouting, “I love you, Stephan,” and was trying to cross the barricade onto the small venue stage when the bouncers huddled him to stop his attempt. This is the truth - I swear! He ended up getting into a fight with one of the security staff, and at some point his earring got ripped out. He was bleeding down the side of his face and neck. Moments later the stage crew brings out a literal Couch onto the stage, and the band starts playing acoustic versions of a few songs together with Brad on hand percussion. That show lives with me to this day.
Fast forward many years…
Third Eye Blind’s music had been getting me through some tough years of my life; I suffered some great losses and many set-backs, but the music remained the voice of empathy and reason when friends and family were not enough. I wasn’t able to see the band for nearly over a decade. March 2015 my brother Jason died in a terrible car accident along with 3 of his friends, I was going through a nasty divorce, sleeping on an air mattress, and I felt like life could not get much worse.
Funny how things have a way of working out because I had something to look forward to as I anxiously waited for Dopamine to release that June. Similar to my experience with Out of The Vein, I showed up to my local mom and pop record store, Plan9, on release day and was standing at the door waiting for the store to open to grab my copy and dive right in. Their shipment didn’t come and I was told to check back later. I wanted to support local business and also get the physical CD so I spent the day in the city, ran some errands, and ate lunch with my daughter (she was 3 at the time) before going back closer to the evening to buy it. Again, there was only one copy the store had ordered, and it was mine.
My life started changing and wonderful things started to happen for me despite dealing with a mix of feelings from two major set-backs. A girl from my past contacted me and we instantly reconnected, and started down the road to a fast-fueled highly charged romance. She rescued me, and brought me out of darkness, and the best thing is she is the first person in my life to connect with me through Third Eye Blind.
Though she was a fan of their radio hits, she did not realize they were still together and making music. Her interest in the albums after Blue and the way we would have deep conversations about their music (and music in general) was a welcomed reprieve from my mixed up mind. Little did I know that she had a surprise planned for us both to take a trip to Charleston, SC to see 3EB on October 9, 2015. Ashley made my dream come true with that visit Charleston, SC (a destination on my travel list) to see the band 3EB together. I knew at that moment I wanted to spend my life with her.
Since that amazing show together we both committed to getting the band’s “3eb” logo tattooed together, and we are going back to SC to see them play again this weekend. The only difference this time is that I will be surprising her, with a ring, and asking her to be my wife.
Ryan and Ashley will be at tonight’s show where he will pop the question. He’s hoping to hear “Monotov’s Private Opera” or “Something In You” tonight, his ideal choices for that special moment. Good luck, Ryan! We’ll be watching more of your 3EB story unfold tonight on Twitter!