Third Eye Blind: Ready to Thrive

Brad Hargreaves is the drummer/percussionist for San Francisco-based rock band Third Eye Blind. Their latest release is “Ursa Major,” out now on Mega Collider Records. Brad wrote in to discuss the evolution of 3EB, having their own record label, and their song-writing process.

Who have been some of your biggest influences as a drummer?
John Bonham, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, James Brown, Jack DeJohnette, Elvin Jones .

How did you first meet Stephan and Tony?
I met SJ through a friend in early 1995. He was looking for a drummer and it turned out that he lived two blocks from me in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland.
Tony’s band opened for 3eb a few times 97 or 98 and that is the first time I met him.

Do you remember your first gig with Third Eye Blind?
I believe it was a little place on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley. I can’t even remember the name of the place now.

You guys put on a great live show. What’s been your most embarrassing moment onstage?
I am only embarrassed when somebody else does something onstage that sucks. ha!

What’s been the longest show you’ve played?
The set got up over 2 hours a couple tours ago, but that is honestly too long for both band and audience in my opinion. I like 1:45.

How does 3EB’s song-writing process work?
All different ways, but it always ends up getting tossed around at soundcheck for a matter of months and played live. That is the best way to really develop material and is a big difference as to why Ursa Major is a much more fleshed out, fully realized album than our last record.

You released the album on your own label (Mega Collider Records). What do you enjoy most about having your own label?
I like the responsibility of a records success or failure resting with the band itself. Who cares more about a band doing well than the band members themselves and our fans? We now have the tools in our hands to try to make that a reality.

What was the first song you recorded for “Ursa Major?”
Hmmmm. Well the 1 minute instrumental at the end of the record was actually part of the 2002 Out of the Vein sessions. Some of Ursa’s songs were recorded 2 and 3 times, so it is hard to remember back to 2005 when we first started making it. 90% of the final version of Ursa Major was recorded in the last 8 months.

How did you come up with the album title “Ursa Major?”
Our last bass player and good friend, Leo, brought it up a couple years ago. Certain words resonate with Stephan and often times before he even really knows why. Later it became a metaphor for 3eb, the bear emerging from hibernation ready to thrive.

How do you feel that 3EB’s sound has evolved over the years?
I feel that everybody has grown individually by doing outside projects, and that has benefitted the band by expanding the colors from which to choose when paint goes to canvas.

What do you think it is about 3EB’s music that connects with so many people?
I really don’t know, but I feel lucky and blessed that it does. Setting aside my humility for a second, I listen to our music and think it is a cut above much of what I hear, but I am obviously biased.

What have been the keys to 3EB’s longevity as a band?
That is easy; our fans. If people don’t continue to like your music, your career is over. Our fans have continued to stick with us and pass along our music.

For more info on Third Eye Blind, check out

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