The Last Smash Platinum Bash should have been called the Last Smash Platinum Mishmash instead, with a mix of genres in the lineup: rapper Jay-Z, pop princess Kelly Clarkson, ’90s alt-rockers Third Eye Blind, and Australian techno-pop twin sisters The Veronicas.
The resurgent Third Eye Blind – made up Tony Fredianelli (guitar), Stephan Jenkins (lead guitar, vocals) and Brad Hargreaves (drums) – is happy to be part of the music gumbo that will be served Wednesday at Arizona Stadium. In an e-mail interview, Fredianelli discusses constellations, demographics and stadium shows.
Question: How has your music changed over the years, or more specifically how is “Ursa Major” different than your previous albums?
Answer: I think the production on this new record is much more cohesive than the last two records. We have a new studio and the songs tend to really fly out of the speakers. The tones are organic – and loud.
How does the name Ursa Major relate to the new album?
“Ursa Major” is a title my singer Stephan came up with. Ursa Major is also known as the big dipper or the constellation of the great bear. He thinks our band is like a bear that’s been hibernating and is ready to rock.
With all of the recognition that you’ve had in the past, do you ever find yourself trying to reproduce the same kinds of songs that brought you your initial success?
To try and attempt writing a song by trying to recapture some other real moment would wind up being false by its attempt to re-create. If you’re at that point, you aren’t a songwriter in this band. Each song is unique and comes from a true authentic naked place.
It seemed as though the the band took a bit of a hiatus from recording and touring. What happened?
As far as releasing music, that is true. But we have never stopped touring. My singer Stephan had a tough time finding the lyrics. He is really hard on himself and it’s taken quite a while. It (the new music) will be worth the wait.”
Have you found your current demographic is the same fans you had in the late ’90s, or are you attracting a new generation?
The weirdest thing is our fanbase started and has remained 16-24. College students have always been the general makeup.
Have you performed a lot of college shows like your upcoming concert at the University of Arizona?
We have played hundreds of college shows and were the most requested band to play colleges, even more so than some of the newer well-known acts.
What are the advantages and drawbacks of performing big stadium shows?
The sound is always an issue because it tends to bounce around everywhere, so your monitoring becomes crucial. It’s nice to have the energy exchange of a large group of people, but the smaller, intimate shows are more to my liking.
At UA, you guys will be performing with Jay-Z and Kelly Clarkson. What are the positives and negatives of playing with artists outside of your genre?
The positive of playing with peeps outside your genre is you are exposed to different ebbs and flows of other types of music/art. The negative could be that the fans are so varied at the show, there may be uneven exchanges in the crowd of love/anger.
Can audiences expect to hear any of your classic hits or are you strictly playing your new material?
It’s really a blend of both old and new.
Have you played in Tucson before? Do you remember anything specific about Tucson?
I think so. It’s dry and hot, from what I remember.
What are your plans for the future?
Promoting Third Eye Blind and my side projects, Mindfield and Diablo Joe.
IF YOU GO
What: Last Smash Platinum Bash featuring Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Third-Eye Blind, and The Veronicas
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday; doors open at 5
Where: Arizona Stadium on the University of Arizona campus