North Wind: From what I understand, it took a long time to put the pieces all in place to get Ursa Major out on the shelves. Could you tell me a little bit about the process of putting the album together?
Brad Hargreaves: It took us a long time to put the album together, but it was about getting re-inspired for the band. There was quite a bit of down time; it was recorded in fits and starts. We did a ten-year anniversary show in 2007, and our fans kind of reinvigorated us. I think Stephen (Jenkens) found some inspiration in the changing political landscape of 2008, and that helped us get our voice back.
NW: Now that Ursa Major is out, what is the next step for the band?
BH: We have a big tour planned actually next week. We’re doing a five-week U.S. tour and then going to Europe in May for two weeks, and then I think we have a week off. Then we’re going to Japan for a week at the end of May. Then we’re going to do another U.S. tour starting at the Bamboozle Road Show.
NW: Fans have been speculating for a while now on Arion Salazar’s status with the band. Could you shed some light on that? Is he gone for good or just taking a break from touring?
BH: Arion kind of decided for himself that he didn’t particularly like touring. He was always the kind of guy who liked being in the studio. He didn’t like being on the stage. You have to enjoy that, otherwise it’s just drudgery. We hadn’t heard from him in a while and he just had some contact with Stephen, and it was really positive. Arion is one of those people, he’ll always have a place to come to if he wants to.
NW: Between touring with Third Eye Blind and touring with Year Long Disaster, you must be extremely busy. Is it difficult to be in both bands at the same time?
BH: I used to let it bother me a lot, because I’d be double-booked. I’ve had some crazy itineraries. It got to be a bit much. It’s quieted down quite a bit, but I can’t do all the shows with Year Long Disaster. There’s a lot of double booking, but I stopped worrying about it.
NW: Despite the long wait between Third Eye Blind’s last two albums, you’ve always maintained a loyal fan base. Why do you think that is?
BH: I really don’t know. I know that although we disappoint our fans in terms of intervals of when we (create) records, when we do realize them they’re at a standard they’ve come to appreciate. And we don’t take the live show lightly. Each event is an important thing for us, and I think people have come to appreciate that commitment that we have to the live show. Hopefully they come to Third Eye Blind to feel something, and I think we generally play to let them feel that.
NW: Is there a release date for your next album, Ursa Minor, yet?
BH: There’s not. We’re in the process of choosing which songs we want to put on there. Stephen came up with a song last week that was kind of like “Motorcycle Drive By” and “Water Landing.” It kind of reminded me of those songs.
NW: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
BH: It’s a new year, a new decade, and we really got re-invigorated with the release of Ursa Major. We feel like it’s a new jumping off point for us. We’re really excited to get out there.