Saturday with Stephan: The RNC or ‘How Emma Fell in Love with Third Eye Blind’
We all come to love Third Eye Blind in different ways, but one young fan found her way to the band not just through the music, but through the RNC and Stephan Jenkins taking a stand in the name of science. This week, Bella Wolff shares how Stephan’s act of resistance made her daughter, Emma, a fan. Foreword by Nicole Drum, 3EB Expert for Stephan Jenkins Tribute
I was working on a book set in the 80’s or 90’s and I would play music while writing to set the mood. (And I was desperately trying to set the mood because I had a vicious case of writer’s block.) I rotated the songs based on what part of the book I was working on, but nothing helped. Emma would always flee to her room when the music started up. She hated every note, every song and reacted to it like she was hearing fingernails down a blackboard.
All that changed last July when Third Eye Blind played the Republican National Convention. I added some of their songs to my writing playlist and a funny thing happened- Emma would start creeping down the stairs when their songs came on to peek at the playlist. By the end of the day, I guess, she realized that what all the songs had in common was that they were all performed by Third Eye Blind. Since I only added the hit singles, Emma asked me, “Are these all their songs?” I told her of course not and promised to add their albums. (Because she hated music and was 8, she asked, “What’s an album?”)
Emma asked me why I added the songs and I told her about the RNC event made it onto my Facebook feed. So, obviously, she wanted to see the video. For those of you who know Emma, you’re probably unsurprised that she saw Stephan and said, “Great hair!” But the video also brought tears to her eyes- in 2015, her oldest brother came out as bisexual. I guess we must have lived in a little bubble of paradise because it caused no chaos, no upheaval and no one was upset by it. And then Election Year 2016 happened.
Relatives started posting links to hate speech on Facebook. A Muslim friend of the family from Kenya got harassed so badly at work, he had to quit. And on and on. Then in June, a month before the RNC, the Pulse nightclub shooting happened. As the mother of a bisexual man, I was chilled and scared like the rest of the family. And then Emma saw the clip of Stephan at the RNC and I could see her nodding as he prefaced singing “Jumper” with these words, "To love this song is to take into your heart the message and to actually have the feeling to arrive and move forward and not live your life in fear [not] imposing that fear on other people." To Emma, Stephan was standing with the millions of families just like ours. Another amazing thing happened while Stephan explained the origin of “Jumper”, she realized that music (and all art) can take the pain and ugliness of the world and turn it into something beautiful. And in the span of a few minutes, a new Third Eye Blind fan was born.