Third Eye Blind Taught Me That.

I guess you could say I was destined to be a music lover. I am originally from Aberdeen, Mississippi, and if you've never heard "Aberdeen, Mississippi Blues" by Bukka White, you should check it out. The song was later covered by Kenny Wayne Shepherd (his version was just called "Aberdeen"). Bukka was from Aberdeen, and the town now has the Bukka White Blues Festival every year in his honor. Howlin' Wolf was from West Point, about 20 miles from Aberdeen. Since 1996, I've lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of Elvis Presley. Because of the Elvis tie, Tupelo attracts artists that probably otherwise would skip our small town in the hills of NE Mississippi. The Eagles, Kiss, Elton John - they've all played Tupelo, and Elton John even wrote a song called "Porch Swing in Tupelo," which is about the Elvis’ birthplace. 

Courtesy: Michael Martin

My mom and dad played music in our house when I was a young child. I grew up listening to all the classics, but Elvis and The Beatles were probably the most played. There was variety. We listened to everything from Motown to country. Today, there is still variety in my musical tastes. I am a child of the '80s, so hair metal was popular when I was in high school. I loved it! Still listen to it, as the Hair Nation station on XM Radio is one of my favorites. I was in college when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana killed hair metal and started the grunge movement. I loved that, too! As an aside, please don't be a music snob. Don't tell me what music I should or shouldn't like. Music is a form of art. What moves me may or may not move you, and that's all right. Many people give me a hard time about hair metal. Many also give us a hard time about 3EB. Don't be like those people. 

I graduated from Ole Miss with a Masters of Accountancy in 1994, and passed the CPA exam in 1996. In 1997, I was living in Tupelo and working in public accounting. We were working on an audit of Mississippi Valley State University in the Mississippi Delta town of Itta Bena. If you're a sports fan, you might be able to connect MVSU to 3EB.  Jerry Rice, the legendary wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, played his college football at MVSU, and today the stadium is named after him and his college QB, Willie Totten. I always joked that Itta Bena must mean "itty bitty" in some ancient language, because the town is so small there are no hotels. We were staying in Greenwood, about 10 miles away. Itta Bena is actually Choctaw for "Home in the woods."  

Three of us were assigned to the MVSU audit. We were working in a what was called a storage room, but was more like a large closet. But we had a window, and in that window we placed a small AM/FM radio. We had to have music to break the monotony of the 10 hour days we were working to try to finish the audit as soon as possible and head back to Tupelo. One day, this song came on the radio and immediately I was drawn to it. It was "Semi-Charmed Life." I remember listening for the DJ to say the name of the band, but he didn't. For the next few days, I waited to hear it again so I could find out the name of the band. Finally, I heard "Third Eye Blind" and knew I had to have that record. I even called my first wife (yes, there have been two) and asked her if she'd heard it. I was so excited about that song. 

I bought the Self -Titled album and "Blue" and loved the band, but it wasn't until "Out of the Vein" that I really connected with the band on an intensely personal level. I'd divorced my first wife in 2002, and the pain of that relationship ending was still fresh when OOTV came out. I loved every song on the CD, but "My Hit and Run" was and still is my favorite. The message the song conveys about how we always think we'll have more time really hit me. The older I get, the more sense it makes. I'm 46 now, and recently lost a high school classmate who died in his sleep from natural causes. We don't always have more time! Make that call. Drop by and visit that friend. Third Eye Blind taught me that. 

Of course I also loved "Palm Reader." "She runs a scam like me and you" reminded me of the pretending that a couple does late in a failing marriage. I could go on and on with examples. Some of the lines in the songs weren't relevant to life in small town Mississippi (we were never backstage with Sean and Lars), but the message conveyed always seemed to hit home. 

I married again in 2009, and she had a daughter who resisted me in every way you can imagine. I wasn't her dad. She wanted her mom and dad to get back together, and I was the enemy. I tried to be sweet to her and do anything and everything I could to win her over, but nothing could break down the wall. But after we got married, I started driving her and my son to middle school. I was so excited about "Ursa Major" that I made them listen to it daily. She loved it. She asked me who the band was if they had other records, so we mixed in S/T and "Blue." It became our thing. We listened to Third Eye Blind every day on the way to school. All of the sudden, we had something in common, and our relationship improved drastically. That marriage didn't last either, but I'll never forget how Third Eye Blind's music brought us together. 

I've only seen the band live one time (3/29/16 in Oxford, Mississippi), but I was on the rails for that one. It was great! Lord willing, I'll see them again this summer, June 15th in Nashville. I can't wait! 

Courtesty Michael

By the way, I realize this story isn't as moving and emotional as some, but my love for the band is real. I'm a numbers guy. I'm good at math. Expressing myself through words was never my thing. Neither was marriage apparently!