Interview with Arion Salazar
Third Eye Blind
Backstage Pass Special
by Debbie Seagle
taking in a concert on the Third Eye Blind "Dragons & Astronauts" tour
in Los Angeles, I was anxious to keep my appointment with bassist Arion
(pronounced a-ryan) Salazar for a phone interview. Within the span
of a few short days the band had pulled up stakes, moved entirely across
the USA and landed in Orlando, Florida, where they were to perform at the
Hard Rock Live venue that night. The way we hooked up was almost
like a James Bond movie. I dialed Arion up on his cell phone and
apparently interrupted a covert operation that he was carrying out with
guitarist Tony Fredianelli. The two were sneaking around the back
of the Hard Rock Café, trying to figure out how to get in without
walking through the front door like a couple of tourists. After posing
for a photo with some fans and joking a bit about getting a large fruity
drink with a paper umbrella in it and a t-shirt, Arion let Tony continue
the mission alone so he could have a seat and talk to me (us) for a while
. . .
Debbie: First of all, congratulations
on the California Music Award nominations you guys got.
Arion: Thank you very much.
D: You seem to be in pretty
good company and you’ll probably end up walking away with an armful again
this year (the band took home 3 awards last year).
A: You know what? We
can’t be there and it really sucks because we’re on tour. It would
cool to go hang out and check the whole thing out but who knows if we would
be walking out with anything. Maybe we’ll be getting mailed something.
D: I think that’s more like
it, but you are in quite a few categories. I was pretty impressed
to see that.
A: Its really cool to be acknowledged
like that, I’ve got to say we are really stoked.
D: Its amazing how many really
fantastic musicians come out of California. Its great that we are
in California and that you grew up in California. You were around
all of that. It definitely gives you a leg up.
A: It does, and I also feel
like coming from San Francisco, well not from San Francisco, coming from
the Bay Area, which I’m from Oakland, I was exposed to a lot of music growing
up that I think is indigenous to living there. By that I mean, living
there in San Francisco, its so culturally diverse and you know, like I
heard the Sex Pistols the year they came out. And somehow I don’t
think the guy - it just would have been rough for the guy in Marietta,
Ohio to have heard that at that time, you know, at my age.
D: I grew up in Detroit, so
I also had the benefit of a lot of rock too, and Motown when I was growing
up, and it is really a good beginning.
A: Yeah, when you come from
someplace with a great musical history it is. I feel very blessed
D: Well, thank you for taking
some time out from your Hard Rock thing today to talk to me. You
guys have a huge stage production. Were you able to bring all that
stuff with you, and were you able to set all that up to do your show today?
A: You know, I’m not sure.
I haven’t been in the venue yet
today. From time to time we have to scale it down, as we play bigger
venues and smaller venues, so some nights instead of having two dragons
on stage - two huge fire breathing dragons - we only have one.
D: Well, I saw you at the
Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles and the production was fantastic.
A: Thank you!
D: Did the band have the ideas
for the stage designs and the lighting, or were those from production people?
A: It was kind of a joint
effort. Stephen had ideas and then we got with a stage designer who
had some ideas of his own. This guy who does really cool stages for
No Doubt. Did you see the No Doubt tour with the orange - the rotting
glowing orange up in the tree?
D: I’ve seen photographs of it.
A: Well he did that, and he’s
done some Marilyn Manson and he’s a really good cat. And yeah, I’m
really proud of what we’re doing now. We’ve got this lighting rig
that looks kind of like a space station and I’m super stoked. I think
that thing is amazing.
D: It is. I’m a photographer
and I can tell you, for a photographer it is absolutely gorgeous.
Not just the colors, but the silhouettes when you are standing on the risers
when the white lights are coming up from underneath you - it makes fabulous
A: Thank you.
D: So you are on the road
right now with Tonic opening up for you, right?
D: And that will last through
April, ending up somewhere in the Great White North (Canada), right?
A: That’s right.
D: Where do you go from there?
A: We’re going to do a bunch
of stage shows, head up to the Great White North - It’s a beauty way to
go - and then we’re going to do a little promotional trip in Europe, which
means we won’t actually be playing. We’ll just go and do some TV
and radio and get the ball rolling. Our album is not out there yet.
We’ll start that happening and then I think the band is going to go to
Japan after that.
D: That should make you happy.
I understand you are very much into Japanese culture.
A: I am, I’m very excited.
I love to go to Japan. I’ve been there a couple of times on my own,
outside of the band.
D: You need to play Budokan!
A: Oh, that would be great!
Live at Budokan, that would be amazing. Unfortunately, it will probably
be a few years before that happens.
D: Maybe not too long.
Maybe not as long as you think.
A: You never know.
D: Any interesting road stories
A: Ah, man, stuff happens
all the time. But the terrible thing is, the more interesting they
are, the kind of more inebriated you are when they’re happening, therefore,
the harder it is to remember it to recite it to someone afterwards.
A: We have bizarre things
happen, like radio stations give contests to get, or give prizes away to
people. And the prizes are (in his announcer voice) "Front row seats
at the Third Eye Blind show" or "Meet the band, have dinner with the band."
Like they have these wacky contests. We went to this one place where
this girl had to eat 27 live worms to get front row seats.
D: Nooooo! Oh dude,
that's so nasty!
A: And this poor thing, I
was just like, I asked her if she brushed her teeth afterwards and she
did, so I had to give her a big hug, cause that’s amazing man, that is
D: That’s nasty!
A: Its nasty as well . . .
D: You do have some dedicated
fans, don’t you?
A: So, I thought that was
pretty bizarre. I’ll never be able to forget that . . .
All photos taken by Debbie
Seagle - Copyright © 2000 Grove Quest Productions. All rights reserved.