Stephan Jenkins (1964)
It was on this date, September 27, 1964, that Stephan Jenkins, the front man for the pop music group Third Eye Blind, was born Stephan Douglas Jenkins in Oakland, California. After overcoming childhood dyslexia, and earning a degree in literature in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley, Stephan Jenkins co-founded Third Eye Blind in 1993 in San Francisco. The group has produced such hits as “Jumper” (including the line, “Everyone’s got to face down the demons/Maybe today we can put the past away” a song about “a friend who’s gay, jumping off a bridge and killing” himself), “Deep Inside of You” (featured in the 2000 film Me, Myself & Irene) and “Never Let You Go” (featured in the 2000 films Clockstoppers and Coyote Ugly and the 2012 film American Reunion, and presumably about then-girlfriend, Charlize Theron).
At the Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Loudonville, New York, known as Siena College, during a 7 November 1998 concert, in the middle of the band’s second song, “Narcolepsy,” Jenkins “grabbed a large case of condoms and explained that school officials prohibited him from distributing them at the concert, but that—rebel that he is—he wasn’t going to let them stop him, and he proceeded to toss handfuls into the clamoring crowd.”* Jenkins and fellow band member Arion Salazar wrote into the lyrics of their 1999 song, “Darwin,” a suggestion on how life developed on Earth without the help of any gods—
The chromosomes divide,
multiply and thrive
And the strong survive
And the strong survive
And the grandson of an alien
wears his snake skin boots
And shows his reptile roots
He shows his reptile roots
We’re lacking something,
Is this all for nothing,
Show me the goods,
Jenkins has said before that he does not believe in God. On 16 December 2000, Associated Press reporter Jennifer Vineyard interviewed Jenkins at the “Jingle Ball,” a Christmas celebration in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. “Though not much was said about the holiday festivities onstage,” Vineyard wrote, “Jenkins was more than happy to elaborate backstage about his feelings on the season. For Christmas, he said, he plans to go to midnight mass with his mother in Portland, though neither is a believer in God:
But I’m a big believer in praying, and I’m a believer in singing. So it’s an opportunity to sing and pray, and I like that a lot. I think religion is a bunch of hooey, and I think that the holidays are an opportunity for people to get stressed out, getting their rush to shop. It’s so conformist.†
* “Third Eye Blind Show Delivers Mixed Bag” by Greg Haymes, Times Union, 9 November 1998 (retrieved 9/17/14)
* Jennifer Vineyard, Associated Press report, 16 December 2000, as quoted on the Celebrity Atheist List Web site.
Originally published September 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.