Interview: Taylor Labrador
I’ve always thought that art is pain made beautiful. For this week’s Expert, Taylor Labrador, Third Eye Blind is not just the soundtrack of her life, it also inspires her creative life. Best of all? Seeing the band tweet photos of Stephan enjoying the drawing she made for him.
Third Eye Blind fans are all ages and some are brand new and some have been there since day one. How long have you been “in the blind”?
Taylor Labrador: Well, since Self-Titled is older than me by about a year, there’s really no way I could have been there since the start of it all. I’ve been listening to their music since I was a kid, though, if that counts. Not religiously, but whatever my dad played, I listened to. He’s a musician himself, so I grew up listening to bands like Rush, Cake, Everclear and Third Eye Blind, just to name a few. We specifically liked Blue and Self-Titled. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, I was tired of whatever nonsense music I had on my phone and pulled a bunch of oldies out of the CD cabinet to download. Luckily for me, Blue and Self-Titled were among those and I was instantly hooked. We got tickets to see them that winter for the first time, downloaded the rest of their music in preparation, and have been listening to them religiously ever since.
Have you had a major point in your life that 3EB has helped you through it and how?
TL: I can’t pinpoint a specific instance, but there was a period in my life when I was just going through deep shit, and the band really helped me through it. The day "Everything is Easy" was released as a single, I was at a funeral for a really close family member. I mean I thought the title was ironic, sure, but the song really helped that day be slightly less shitty than it would have otherwise been. Sometime later that month, I lost another family member I was really close with. For whatever reason, afterwards, I thought things would finally be turning around, but I wound up being abandoned by people who were really near and dear to me. Basically, for a solid year or so, shit really hit the fan. During that time period, was when Dopamine was released and it was my rock. I listened to nothing but Dopamine for a year or two. There’s a reason why when people throw out the ever so famous favorite album question, my answer is always Dopamine.
Do you or have you created and Third Eye Blind inspired art or writing?
There’s no way in hell I would consider myself a super talented artist, I’m mediocre at best, but drawing is a huge hobby of mine. I draw the boys pretty frequently and I always have so much fun with it.
Kryz is my favorite to draw, because his curly hair is so much fun to detail. One of my favorite memories was when I did a few drawings and wrote letters for the boys. Since Dan is such a sweetheart, I was able to call him over, and he gave my art to everyone after the show. (He also gave me my first and only set list; he’s seriously the coolest.) Lecav posted his on twitter with the letter I wrote him, and the Third Eye Blind twitter posted a picture of Stephan with his. That picture was my phone wallpaper for the longest time, and my favorite part of it was you could see my letter in Stephan’s lap with his glasses, so I know he actually read it and knows the significance of Third Eye Blind in my life.
How many performances have you seen or watched approximately?
This is going to sound crazy, but I keep an ongoing list on my phone. I’ve seen them 8 and a half times. The “half” was Stephan’s solo show in New York City at the City Winery. It was nothing like seeing the whole band, and to be honest, it totally felt like something was missing, but it was a one of a kind and amazing experience. As I’m writing this, I’m getting ready to see them for Fall of the Summer Gods in NY, which makes my list just shy of double digits!
What is the greatest thing that being a fan has brought into your life?
Becoming a Third Eye Blind fan has had a huge impact on my life in the best way possible. The music and the band just make me so happy, no matter what mood I’m in or how my day is going. The concerts give me something to look forward to and keep me working hard so I know I will be able to go to more. There’s nothing I love more than traveling to places I’ve never been to with my dad, blasting Third Eye Blind with the convertible top down. I love discovering new venues, some crazy huge, and some built into abandoned grocery stores. I mean, I don’t have two Third Eye Blind tattoos because I’m a “casual fan”. I love this band, I love this music, and I love these memories. Finally, you and I “met” online on a post discussing our meet and greet experiences with the band. I’d love to hear more about the time you got to spend with Stephan and Brad.
Meet and greet 1 (2015, New Jersey)
When Third Eye Blind was touring Dopamine, I remember seeing the meet and greet tickets prices and shrugging them off. At that moment, it seemed like a wise money decision, but as time went on, I realized that meeting them and talking to them would become way more important to me than I originally thought. After the initial Dopamine tour (I saw two shows that tour, NYC and Jones Beach), I was eagerly awaiting more dates to be announced. I jumped at the chance to buy October tickets and I got even more excited when I saw meet and greet was an option again. Obviously, I had to get those tickets.
When October finally came, I thought I was prepared and knew what I would say to the guys. I wanted to tell them how much they meant to me, and how they were getting me through a really rough time. It was my senior year of high school and I had just lost my aunt to cancer (and my close friends to being, well, jerks) so all I had was Third Eye Blind, and this moment, to look forward to.
As I was waiting for them to walk over one of my favorite things happened. I couldn’t tell you why this stands out to me, especially since so much of it has blurred together at this point. Anyway, Stephan is a few people ahead of me and he’s talking to a girl and I hear him saying “Someone smells like puppies, is it you that smells like puppies?” (keep in mind I’m not exactly quoting him here but he said something almost exactly like this give or take a few words) There was a pause and then I hear him go “Oh no, I love the smell of puppies!”
Another thing Stephan did (I love him so much) was he had a build a bear on stage that was really purple and sparkly. I think a fan had gifted it, but I can’t remember exactly why he had it. During sound check, he was playing around with it on stage and bothering the guys with it. He said it made “sleepy night time sounds” and pressed its paw up to the mic so we could all hear the noises it made.
When I finally get to meet Stephan and Brad, of course I can’t get the words out that I want, but I get to say a bit and I get my pictures and hugs. Stephan signed a drawing I had made back then, too. I’d love to get him to sign more current stuff, since I’ve gotten a lot better since then. When I showed my pictures from that night to everyone, they all said that was the happiest they had ever seen me.
Meet and greet 2 (2017, Jones Beach)
It was so hot that day that I thought I was going to melt before the meet and greet even happened. Before sound check, they handed everyone their Self-Titled vinyl and tour laminate and had us all wait to get in. I met someone at that show, and for the life of me I can’t remember his name. I didn’t think to exchange social media, but he had a Garbage tattoo. We were talking about how much I love Kryz, and how I wanted to talk to him, but I was afraid to bother him because I’m just so shy. He took it upon himself to yell Kryz’s name and wave to him and he waved back - I was so happy.
Then at the meet and greet, we met Stephan and Brad. I was starting to get so nervous and excited as we were waiting in line. Before I knew it, it was our turn. Brad complimented my “modified” shirt, which was just an old 3eb tee I cut the sleeves off of. I had Stephan write out my “don’t give in tattoo” and got more pictures and hugs. Brad was so sweet. One thing I remember from both the meet and greets I did was that Brad was just the absolute sweetest person. He noticed my dopamine tattoo on my arm while Stephan was writing out my lyrics and he went, “Oh! You have a dopamine tattoo!” Then he turned to Stephan and went “Stephan look she has a dopamine tattoo, too!” I love them both so much.