Turn a Blind Eye
Thunder Winkie are playing next week at the Paradise Lounge! And, by some stroke of booking genius, they are playing not one, not two, but three consecutive nights — you know, to take the pressure off of the door staff. Perhaps some of you are now turning to your friends and asking, “Who the hell are Thunder Winkie?” Now, that's a very good question. One which neither the Paradise staff, nor Presence Productions — the company that put the shows together in the first place — is willing to answer. So, your guess is as good as mine. Well, not quite. I may have an itsy bit more information at my disposal than the average non-Winkie fan. To be specific: 1) Third Eye Blind are headlining the Paradise on Saturday, Feb. 8. 2) Third Eye Blind have not played in the Bay Area since last April when they supported Oasis at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. 3) Third Eye Blind were signed last Spring by Elektra to what has proven to be the single largest new-band contract ever generated out of the Bay Area. 4) Third Eye Blind are preparing for an Elektra showcase for February's Gavin Convention in New Orleans. 5) Third Eye Blind have been really busy recording their self-titled major-label release (due out in April) and they may be a bit stage rusty. Nothing, say, three days of performance couldn't fix.

Who was it that said, “To be a superstar, you just have to act like one?” That might have been Third Eye Blind, too. After all, singer/songwriter Stephan Jenkins' motto, since the band's inception three years ago, has always been “We are the biggest band in the world.” No messing about. While this cocksure, larger-than-life attitude did not make Jenkins any friends among the Bay Area musical community (those whose insular mind-set encouraged “playing music for music's sake” and discouraged any talk of the big break), it did, however, make the band fiercely independent — something that their manager, 31-year-old Eric Godtland, says helped them in negotiating their picture-perfect contract with Elektra. “[Unlike most newly signed bands] we had complete control over this album,” says Godtland, “from the producer (Jenkins produced the album) to the cover art. Now that the San Francisco scene is changing, local bands are beginning to realize that it's possible to make their music the way they want to make it, on their own terms [while still reaping major-label benefits]. Third Eye Blind has proven it.”

You can see Third Eye Blind on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Paradise Lounge; call 861-6906. And if you want to catch Thunder Winkie, they are playing there Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, Feb. 2-4. You could call, but they probably won't tell you anything.

By Silke Tudor

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