Saturday with Stephan: In Wild Dedication
Some stories are so powerful and so moving that they really defy introduction and must truly be told in full. This week’s very special edition of Saturday with Stephan comes to us from Liseli Thiele. Her incredible tale of healing and hope is brought to you in her very own words, from her heart to the Legend himself. - Nicole Drum, 3EB Expert, Stephan Jenkins Tribute
“In wild dedication, take the moment of hope, and let it run.” Blinded
The first time I saw Third Eye Blind was in Santa Barbara on the kick off of their tour in 1999. I was heading from Los Angeles to San Francisco with my friend and our six-year-old kids, and my dog named Blu, in tow. We were blaring the radio and low and behold they announced this show, and we decided to just pull off the next exit and make a quick pit stop. I was in search of answers as I had lost my husband a few months before to suicide on our San Francisco rooftop. Third Eye Blind was his band. He was the first Expert that I had ever met. He would talk in lyrics and I was on a mission.
“I tell you what I want, but I keep it kinda cryptic, I'm a zoetrope decipher on the tip of a triptych.” Say It
These roadies must have thought the world of me, a twenty-three-year-old mom with my six-year-old, waiting in a parking lot. The stage manager at the time, Pig, listened to our story and quickly released tickets and backstage to the four of us. That show will always go down as the beginning of understanding the pain my husband would speak of. My son, took one look at Stephan and said, “mom he looks just like dad.” I couldn’t believe it, and a part of us came alive that night.
From that moment, “Self Titled” took on a new meaning, a level of healing, for two individuals that had gone through an unexpected tragedy. The royal treatment was in full accord. When the show finished, my son was escorted through the crowds of screaming girls and was the first person to meet Stephan Jenkins that evening. The photos from this night are in some darkened basement in New York but I will get them back soon. Stephan took the moment to meet my son in the eyes, looked at him with this look, and I will never forget meeting him.
Could be the greatest rock star ever, Who needs a new address. - Get Me Out Of Here.
That night I also took notice of the address that was on all the equipment, an address on Cole Street. So when headed back to SF, I needed to see where exactly that address was since I also had lived on Cole Street. I had recently moved to Los Angeles and we still had the SF apartment, and that is where I was headed after the show. Well, what do you know, as we are doing a drive by, Mr. Jenkins was standing outside of his apartment with his dog and his motorbike. I quickly grabbed the kids out of the car so he wouldn’t think I was some crazy broad just stalking, and we ran across the street to meet him. I also don’t know why I felt compelled to give him the note that my husband had written on that rooftop three months prior, but I did. Stephan was surprised, but he remembered us and I didn’t want to take too much of his time. As outgoing as I might make myself out to be, I have this weird shy vibe that governs my mind.
I watch the travelers return, through the panic doors, walking through the airport corridors, welcome back now from the foreign shores, and I walk alone, and the ghost that I carry is your Tiger shark is azure blue, the vision that we had will all return to you, return to you, return to you- Can't Get Away.
My Third Eye Blind journey continues to 2008 where my girlfriend’s dad was the stage manager in Novato for The Rock’n Blues by the Lake where Third Eye Blind would be performing. I had traveled from NY and it was perfect timing because she had remembered how much my husband loved that band. Well that evening was also Stephan’s birthday and her dad gave us these wristbands to go to the tent where Stephan was hanging out. That was the only time I actually snapped a photo of myself with the magic man.
And the moment comes that you can't forget - SUMMER TOWN (a few exits from SB)
That night brought me back to life. I had not expected to meet him nor did I doll myself up at all, it was so random and so last minute. It gave me a high and would carry me through the next few weeks. I had gone to SF to also experience decompression which is the party in San Francisco after Burning Man. While standing on that line, a long line to say the least, I was having a few laughs with my friend, and as I turn around directly behind me… was the one and only, you guessed it, Stephan Jenkins. Holy God in Heaven, I couldn’t believe he was standing behind me the entire time, on this long line, I quickly said hello and then turned to stare in front the entire time, frozen. I must have looked like I was stalking him, I thought - but my friend quickly reminded me that he was the one behind me.
These weird occurrences continued, like eight years later, in Santa Barbara once again at the Arlington Theater, where that amazing meeting happened in 1999, but now it was the Dopamine Tour. My sister had bought us tickets and we planned a sister’s road trip to good old Santa Barbara. My son had actually been attending UCSB a year prior, but at this point it was a ghost town for me as I had faced yet another near-death experience of almost losing my son and had spent three months there fighting for his life. It had to be Third Eye Blind bringing me there as I had already made a promise to myself never to return to that town otherwise. We made it to the front and when the lights went down, we headed straight for the stage, and as Stephan took the stage, all the pain that I went through was completely released into the atmosphere. With the songs on Dopamine, I knew that this journey was about to take a new turn.
“She's the Merry widow on the Widow's Walk, and the fear is I'm no one no matter where you are, In this twisted fucked up film noir” - Shipboard Cook
Kryz is awesome and I guess he was amused by our energy, and they are a band that looks their fans in the eye, but what I wasn’t expecting - did happen. During the performance, Luke, Stephan’s assistant at the time, comes over to us, and hands us backstage tickets. Well, my sister just practically died when she looked at me, because she knew how much that means to me, and she knew all my stories about the weird occurrences that have happened throughout the years, but when she actually witnessed it she was like “oh wow. There is always a ghost.”
After the show, we were lined up to head to the courtyard. It was supernatural. There were these thrones set up on the outside, and there was just a handful of people with us. Luke was setting up the bar. I had been doing this juice fast, from Fresh Pressed and to my surprise, I head to the bar, and what do you know… two Fresh Pressed Juices, and the same flavor I always get. My sister looks at me, as if to say get me a coffin, because that doesn’t not happen in real life. As I grabbed the drinks, that were among 30 bottles of Bud and vodka bottles, she said “Liseli, those are Stephan’s - put them back.” No, they weren’t Stephan’s, they were definitely there for us.
Crashing in the backstage. The show's a smashing great success, thank you darling. The band's a gateway drug and I'm a tragic mess. But one more time the lights—they fade in, This song's for you, my bashful maiden, Who's face looked like my wife
Then Stephan comes in. It had been such a long time, and I still couldn’t believe that this was all happening. He was wearing his Rosebud sweatshirt and I was wearing my Legend shirt. He came over to us, Alex, Kryz and Luke were sitting with us, and Danny came over as well. We needed to play it cool, this is Third Eye Blind, and we didn’t want to appear that we were stalking them again (lol). Stephan looked at my shirt and said “Legend” - I answered - “Stephan Jenkins” and he said again “Legend” I replied, “Stephan Jenkins” OMG, it was the only thing I could say. And we continued to have a conversation and he was really down to earth, but being in his presence was very intimidating. He is a Legend.
That brings me to the ultimate experience: The Chapel. That special night, the night that marked 18 years to the day that my husband had died. And I knew that I had to be there, I didn’t know how it would happen, since I am an artist and writer and well, you know how that goes. But somehow God provided and I was there, witnessing him offer us Misfits sitting on the street in front of the Chapel, some pizza.
That venue was magical to begin with. It was a mortuary before, it’s definitely a special place. Their wifi code is “Haunted” just to paint the picture. Everything about that place fit the scene. I was surrounded by beautiful people, people that treated me like I was born with them, family, true family. Susan Seely, kept tabs on me, making sure I didn’t lose my spot right next to the stage, and I couldn’t even believe that everyone around me made sure that I kept my place.
The lighting, blue come over, and the red lights, and when Stephan took that stage, energy within the room screamed New Religion. It was the most intense place to be, and impossible to leave the spot for a second, even if it meant, dealing with your thirst. This was all perfect, but what I would do for a drink of water. And in that moment, Stephan reveals a bottle water and takes a sip of his water puts the cap back on the water and with a grin, gives me the water. I took a sip and then handed it to all the angels in the pit, it was a moment of unity!
Dark side giving me such a pull, such a pull and if its a, Water landing, Then its a water landing- Water Landing
The speech he gave was amazing, the crowd was so emotional and when he brought out that cake, with the Self-Titled album cover as the frosting, I thought it would be the end of me. I managed to capture that moment, when he asked Ericca Smith, who has been going to Third Eye Blind shows since she was nine, to make a wish and blow the candle. There would be nothing to top that moment, and I mean nothing.
And I think there's a reason, At least there's a sign, And all that we call chaos, I will say it's by design. - Sharp Knife
Then he gave an amazing speech, about how we keep his heart alive. If your urge is genuine… who wants cake? Everyone in the crowd screamed, everyone wanted cake, who wouldn’t want it, he had fed us pizza, shared his water, and now cake. He looks right at me and says, “You come here.” WHAT! I froze and I think everyone did too, he was inviting me to the stage. This must be a joke of some sort and how did he expect me to get up there, I was bombarded with thoughts of how sweaty I was and how shocked I was and everything that has ever happened to me from birth to this moment flashed through my mind. The crowd starting cheering, I was still shaking my head no, and that is when Susan, Amanda, Nicole, Ericca and the rest of the angels push me to the stage, and Stephan bringing me up literally. And now I was on this stage, and the way he escorted me towards the cake, became something else. It became a supernatural encounter.
What you need is a sharp knife son, You can come back down from an all time low - Sharp Knife
I am out of my mind, but when you have witnesses around you and they say the same things, and you have images to prove it, it actually makes me sane. He introduced me as a 3EB Expert, little did he know I had taken a crash course from all his amazing die hard fans for the last 7 months. And yes, twenty years of speaking in lyrics and being on the Merry Widow Walk, had granted me much knowledge and wisdom to encrypt the hidden messages within Third Eye Blind’s music. At this moment though, he gave me the honor to pass out his Self-Titled cake, while he sang “Alright Caroline” and then “Jumper” which was not on the set list, was the very moment I was delivered from the past.
And I, I want you to know, Everyone's got to face down the demons, Maybe today, You could put the past away - Jumper
Stephan Jenkins, I will say it today, tomorrow, and as long as I live, you are a legend, you have brought people back to life. May you always be blessed and may you speak volumes to the entire world. May it impact the people the same way, if not more like you have impacted my life. Thank You!
God Bless You. Summer God’s Tour!