Third Eye Blind
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The Regal One

I was introduced to Third Eye Blind like most children of the 90s – “Semi-Charmed Life” was pretty damn inescapable in 1997 – And me being 14 and HELL on wheels with no parental supervision had recently developed a penchant for doing crystal meth until I was lifted to the point of breaking.

Amanda Olson Birlew

My late mother had bipolar disorder and I became her parent at the age of 11, my dad was a truck driver and home for 3-4 days each month, as long as I was perfect then, it didn’t matter what happened the rest of the month.

I made poor choice after poor choice and landed myself in some pretty big trouble, I was sentenced to a group home for a year – in my angst all I really took with me were a few CDs and my Discman.

Fighting addiction and being in a place that wasn’t home, I often retreated to my room to listen to 3eb and write lyrics in calligraphy. While away in the group home, I suffered crushing loss after crushing loss, first my beloved Great Grandmother passed away after a long fight with leukemia. Within weeks, I got a call from my mother sobbing hysterically, then proceeded to tell me three of my dearest friends had been in a horrific car accident and two of them had passed away, the third was in a coma and would be charged in their deaths. My world fell out from under me. Just as I was recovering from that loss, yet another; only the worst kind of pain a now 15 year old girl could imagine – the only boy who ever mattered to me succumbed to Cystic Fibrosis. And I wasn’t there. I’ll never forgive myself for that…. Mikey will forever be in my heart.

Amanda Olson Birlew

I promised myself that when I was home I would not only be a good girl (by my standards), but I would see 3eb live. A few weeks after I was home, my dear friend Dominic surprised me with tickets to see 3eb at the Greek at UC Berkeley. From the moment the first riff played; I was hooked – I saw the boys whenever I could over the next few years, my mom even accompanied me to a show; she was a fan of “Jumper” and “Narcolepsy.” I love that I have a memory of her in my happiest place.

Fast Forward to 2001, I’m married with a baby on the way living in the town I grew up in outside of Yosemite, we didn’t have internet – or more than one cell phone that was for emergencies ONLY (remember Nokia?). By 2005, I had two babies and was working full-time while going to school; Blue got the most play in those days. I was tested again the next year… My mother suffered a massive heart attack in 2005 – 22 days before her 47th birthday. She was a mess; and a total pain in my ass most of the time. But damn it, when she was good, she was good, always taking people in no matter what their chaos brought. I played the instrumental of “Slow Motion” at her funeral after I delivered her eulogy. Because that’s what we did, we played rock music and danced barefoot.

In 2006, I remember hearing about this phenomenon called Myspace and I thought, that could be neat, I created a profile in between projects at work, and quickly found out you could search music; the first thing I did was search 3eb. There were some terrible quality snippets of OOTV songs – and I CRIED. I was so turned off. Much to my shame, I didn’t listen to any of the new stuff for years. That is until my dad bought me an iPod, in 2009, and I honestly was so confused. It was known technology was the DEVIL in my house according to my husband and I didn’t know much beyond Myspace had music and people you went to grammar school with, and everyone was either emo or FAKE happy.

My boss, Michael was happy to take my shiny pink iPod to load with music, when he asked what kind of music I liked; I immediately answered Third Eye Blind. He returned it that day with an assortment of his favorites and “A Collection” telling me he hadn’t listened to 3eb in YEARS and that he was now jamming the album he downloaded in his office. I eagerly listened to it – and fell in love. I was pissed at myself for doubting Stephan and not looking further beyond a shit recording. I was back in. Only issue was at that point, concerts were not something I was allowed. I bought an iTunes card so I wouldn’t get in trouble for “needless purchases” and downloaded ALL OF IT.

In 2014, life crashed down on me again; I lost my job, my marriage crumbled, my faith in myself, love, fidelity and just about everything else was crushed. Newly single, I briefly dated this asshole, which, I guess I have to give some credit to because he asked me something that resonated with me months after we had broken up. Over beers in his smokey garage he asked me what was the one thing that I didn’t do as a wife and a mother that made me feel so fucking caged and I said “I used to go to concerts! And I’ve been to two bullshit ones in 14 years.” We shared a laugh, because it sounded ridiculous, but it was true. I MISSED live music. I needed live music. Almost immediately I began going to shows again. I searched Third Eye Blind on Facebook and found the Misfits page. I was sure I wasn’t a big enough fan to comment, so I lurked for months. Slowly I began interacting with fans and made a few fast friends, I even met a guy I would fall madly in love with. In June of 2015, we were all eagerly anticipating Dopamine’s release – we got wind someone in the group had gotten a copy of the album early. Another fan quickly posted that she would gladly send pictures of her boobs in exchange for a ripped copy – I immediately offered to sweeten the deal – we would both send pics in exchange for the album – it worked like a charm; very quickly most of the Misfits group were rocking out to Dopamine. Tits for Tunes was a raging success – many friendships were garnered from that post. Stephan said on stage during the tour he didn’t care how we got the music and encouraged us to steal it if need be; I think most of us bought the actual album – but we stole the fuck out of it for about 2 weeks before it was released.

3EB has not only been the soundtrack of my youth, but an institution I love simply because the music speaks to my soul on a level I simply cannot put into words, only feel when it prickles on my skin. The people I have met because of this band only deepen the connection I have. Some of them have become my very best friends who I never would have found had it not been for 3eb. I’m so grateful for all of those who are a part of this family; because we’re unwavering, the music lives on and on and on.

 I want everyone to have a lifetime supply of beer and easy access to Kambucha and blueberries.

I want everyone to have a lifetime supply of beer and easy access to Kambucha and blueberries.

 Exclusive Interview: Lee Moretti

Exclusive Interview: Lee Moretti

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