Whatever Happened To Third Eye Blind?

Third Eye Blind were at the top of their game upon the release of their self-titled debut in April 1997, with three singles dominating the airwaves and claiming countless MTV spots with the music video for "Semi-Charmed Life." They were the punks of mainstream radio, the slightly cooler kids that gave challengers on the pop stations a run for their money.

While Hanson was doing interviews about Star Wars, Blind was drinking beer on Michigan docks with the cast of "American Pie". While the Backstreet Boys were shimmying across the stage at the VMAs, the four-piece rock group was performing "How's It Going to Be" on Saturday Night Live. For a band whose self-titled peaked at Number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100, the sky seemed the limit for their albums to come. Sadly, that wasn't the case for the California-based band, as, with the turn of the century, the rockers fell into obscurity.

So, what exactly happened to Third Eye Blind?

A semi-charmed kind of stardom

After the critical success of "Third Eye Blind", the quartet naturally followed up with a sophomore release two years later. The result was "Blue", which only went to sell 75,000 copies on its first week of release. Alongside the failed follow-up, internal turmoil also ensued between band members.

Shortly after the release of the second album, the group announced that they had fired founding member Kevin Cadogan –- who penned 10 out of the 14 songs on the self-titled –- after the band performed at Sundance Film Festival, per MTV. Although an official statement has never been released on why Cadogan was ousted, the former member took to his own website after the announcement to clear the air: "I've always been about the music, not the money," Cadogan wrote.

Cadogan was not the only member to vocalize his issues with the band. Frontman Stephen Jenkins has also talked about his aversion to the limelight, citing stark differences between himself and the celebrity status the band quickly achieved in the last millennium.

"I had no sense that I was my own puppet master," Jenkins told Observer in 2017. "It wasn't some sort of overnight success, and it looked that way because once it came out, things with us ignited in public. But I spent years just sleeping on packing foam, trying to get things together. So I had a very different sense of myself."

(Fading into) 'the background'

While the band has continued to release four studio albums and tour extensively since the release of "Blue," their eponymous debut has been the group's most successful album to date. The group has followed suit with their label of being radio punks, namely agreeing to play a charity show during the Republican National Convention, only to taunt the audience by playing songs about suicide and speaking out for LGBT rights. The band received a wave of 'boos' after asking the crowd, "Who here believes in science," according to CNN.

In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the band's string of tour dates, the rock outfit began to host live stream performances, dubbed "Quarantine Kitchen Sessions". Even though the musicians probably won't see the likes of a venue for a good while, frontman Jenkins seems to be pretty content with the quiet life.

"Am I a rock star? Yeah, I guess," Jenkins told SFGate in 2003. "I also get to live in North Beach and go to a pub and drink my pint and go to a cafe and drink my coffee. I carry groceries home on the tank of my motorcycle. I find pleasure in things that are simple. Is that a rock star's life? It is for me."