Stephan Jenkins on the Business of Music
Stephan Jenkins is lead singer and guitarist for the Third Eye Blind, a San Francisco-based alt-rock group Jenkins founded in the early 90s. Although diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, Jenkins showed an early aptitude for music. He went on to attend UC Berkeley and graduated as valedictorian of his class with a BA in English Literature. Third Eye Blind’s first self-titled album won Billboard’s Modern Rock Track of the Year in 1997 for “Semi-Charmed Life.” Jenkins has advocated strongly for a digital release model as an alternative to album-dependent music releases and has allowed open-source online remixing of Third Eye Blind material. Jenkins has also had acting roles in Rock Star and Art of Revenge.
Question: What do you enjoy more, producing or performing?
Jenkins: I engaged the creative aspect of making music in a very different way than the business aspect of bringing it to people. The business is about taking the music that I make, that my band makes and reaching people with it. They feel like two different kinds of brain functions, but they, in some sense, has invigorate me in my day. So I don’t see that one taxes the other, I think that one actually can kind of encourage the other because there’s really only so much creative work one can do in a day, at least for me. Some people would go on, you know, 16-hour benders. I have a band that’s I’m working with called the [IB] and they’re in the studio now and they like to stay up, you know, all night and just work and work and work. I like to work long hours, but at a certain point, I feel like I’m done and I need to recharge. Ernest Hemingway, he only wrote for like three hours but he did it every morning, he was very consistent about that and then he went and lived life and did other kinds of things and those things kind of gave him this charge of boom, being able to fire up something else. So, the biggest problem for me right now of combining creativity and the business that I do is that the business is changing so radically and we are creating the business as we go that it does consume a lot of the day, so it’s more that the sense of actual time that it takes rather than the mental space because the mental aspect of combining work and play and music, actually, is kind of symbiotic.
Stephan Jenkins explains how the business side of his profession is a work in progress.
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