John Vanderslice Calls Third Eye Blind "Garbage Music" and Stephan Jenkins a "Boorish Oaf"
Stop whatever you're doing and read this searing Onion A.V. Club interview wherein one San Francisco songwriter named John Vanderslice savages another San Francisco songwriter named Stephan Jenkins (of Third Eye Blind). Because while a savaging was called for (this piece is a recurrent feature in which artists discuss songs they hate), Vanderslice doesn't stop at saying Third Eye Blind makes "garbage music." He doesn't stop with an ugly tale about the time the band booked Tiny Telephone, the recording studio he owns. He stabs into the song's druggy, "misogynistic" depths, concluding that Jenkins is "a net negative as a person." Here are a few sample quotes:
Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins at SXSW 2013. Photo by Christopher Victorio.
On crystal meth: "Because it's a substance-less drug, it's perfect for Stephan Jenkins because that's how he rolls, 100 percent. Clearly his relationship with women is really rich and really nuanced, just like his relationship to drugs."
On a certain line in the song: "It's like that Kiss song Jon Wurster talked about. That is really the most vile, most misogynistic garbage that you've ever heard. And if it's not crystal meth, that's a pretty horrific thing. "She comes 'round, and she goes down on me, and I make her smile." Yeah, because the world just wants to be on Stephan Jenkins' cock, right?"
On the right to be a jerk: "You've got to be Van Morrison to be a jerk, and Van Morrison is a famous asshole, a serious straight-up asshole to people that he works with. Look at, like, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Clearly, Simon has been pretty brutal to Art Garfunkel. But at least he can say, "You know what, it's Paul Simon, man." Content is king, right? When you're just making garbage summer anthems that are fun and light, you'd root for the guy if he was cool. But he's not."
Now we've spent a little bit of time with Stephan Jenkins and found him nicer than Vanderslice remembers. But Vanderslice's account is pretty damning.
What's funny about all this is how rare it is for San Francisco: Almost never do you hear local musicians and music people openly, publicly talk shit about one another. And Vanderslice, smart and eloquent as he is, makes a terrifically good shit-talker. It's worth remembering, though, that Jenkins is no slouch in the language department either: he graduated at the top of his class from UC Berkeley with a degree in English. So while we'd love to see a public duel of sorts between these two local songwriters, maybe it should take the form of an intellectual bout. Crossword battle? Chess tournament? Or perhaps a game of Scrabble to settle it once and for all, boys?