Hug A Drummer: Man Of The People

Hello everyone, I’m Renee, I’ve been a 3EB fan since the beginning in 1997, as I was an angsty 13-year old, and I related to “Graduate” as if I had written it myself. My first show was on their Campus Invasion Tour with Eve6 in 1998, and Third Eye Blind has been a part of my life ever since. I’m one of the 3EB Experts and I’d like to share my story about the heart and soul of the band, the Lion himself, Brad Hargreaves.

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was May 2014 and I had just went through one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life with the passing of my dad, so I decided I was going to give myself a Mother’s Day present—tickets to Third Eye Blind. It was a foggy early-summer night in Raleigh, North Carolina. The show opened with “Narcolepsy,” the crowd roared, they tried out a couple new songs on us, one of which later became “Dopamine!” Then it happened… as the song ended Brad threw his drumsticks, and one of them ended up landing under my foot! I couldn’t believe it, so I picked it up and shoved it down my pants, as any proper fan should. The show continued, the band was on fire, everyone was feeling it, when I look back at that night, I realize it lit a spark in me that I had snuffed out for so long by putting family, work, and school first. It was time to take care of me, but first, I wanted to meet the band.

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke, Courtesy

Renee VanDyke, Courtesy

My friend and I waited at the rail next to the tour bus for what seemed like an eternity, I almost gave up hope, as it was getting late and people were starting to disperse. I thought to myself, “Five more minutes and we’ll go,” as I looked to my left, my heart dropped out of my stomach and I grabbed my friend and said, “oh shit, here comes BRAD!” Our meeting was the standard “scared to death fan” moment, Brad was super friendly, and he laughed when I told him about my hiding space for the drumstick. I was so in shock, I didn’t even ask for a picture. In hindsight, I should have snapped out of it and went for it, but I tried to play it cool, even though I was doing backflips on the inside. I also met Stephan that night, and as I skipped away from the venue that night, I was on a high, I had to have more.

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Fast forward to the October 2015, Dopamine tour, I went to seven shows that month. Driving the southeast was a soul-searching moment for me, and after a few shows, I became a familiar face to the band and crew. Dozens more shows, hundreds of miles in my car (and in the air), several meet and greets (and drumsticks) later, every time I’ve met Brad he’s been just as gracious as the first time. From the “DJ B-Rad” portion of the show, to the songs we know he’s played 1000s of times, you’ll never see him look like he’s bored. His face is pure joy and elation, and that radiates to the crowd. He takes time to talk to the fans, take a picture, sign pretty much anything you ask for, and that’s just who he is. This is what he loves to do, his passion, and it shows in the music and the energy he exerts on stage. I truly believe Stephan when he says that Brad is the heart of the band.

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

Renee VanDyke

My only piece of advice for someone who hasn’t met Brad before is, don’t be nervous! Take some breaths, shake it off, try to say something coherent (even if you don’t it will be ok!), and smile in your picture! If you haven’t splurged for a meet and greet yet, DO IT! Seeing the band’s sound check and meeting Brad and Stephan afterward is the icing on the cake. It’s like your own private show with a few other fans that “get it.” The Summer Gods Tour has meet and greets at all of the shows, grab your ticket, and maybe I’ll see you there!

Brad, if you’re reading this, thank you for being you. I want you to know how much you mean to the fans, as many artists these days aren’t nearly as accessible or welcoming as you are. Even now a like on Twitter or a quick Snapchat is just as exhilarating as the first. Please don’t stop being you, killing it on the drums, smiling in pictures even if you’re in a hurry, and chatting us up like we’re old friends. Cheers to many more shows, and congratulations on Twenty Years Down, see you on the road!