Third Eye Blind drummer Brad Hargreaves considers himself a private person.

“Luckily, I play drums so I don’t have to express myself through lyrics. That would be far too personal,” he said on the phone on a day off during the band’s current tour.

Ask him, however, about his 3 1/2-year-old dachshund, and the reticent drummer’s voice lights up as he gushes with enthusiasm. “She’s wonderful!”

When his girlfriend first proposed getting a dog, he wasn’t so excited. “I was like, ‘A dog? Don’t they pee on new carpets or something?’“

But when Hargreaves set eyes on the 5-month-old dachshund they would name Shelby, it was love at first sight.

“She’s my first dog and she’s really improved my life,” he said. “Immeasurably improved my life. I can over-think things — get a little too serious. There’s just no taking things too seriously when that dog is looking at you.”

Shelby sometimes joins Hargreaves on tour, but is not likely to be with him when Third Eye Blind plays at Merrill Auditorium in Portland tonight. “I kind of felt like she didn’t really enjoy having her bearings changed every day,” he said.

While Shelby doesn’t like constant change, Hargreaves says he and the members of Third Eye Blind love to tour.

The alt-rock band has been touring behind its new CD, “Ursa Major,” which was released last August. The album is the band’s first full-length studio album in six years.

The new album, said Hargreaves, has exceeded the band’s expectations, peaking at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Independent Albums chart and No. 3 on the Top 200 Albums chart.

“It had the highest debut of our career,” Hargreaves said. “That really felt good, and felt like it kind of justified the time it took to make it and all the touring work we’ve done.”

Third Eye Blind gained national acclaim with its eponymous 1997 album, which went platinum six times over and spawned five hit singles: “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going to Be,” “Jumper,” “Graduate” and “Losing a Whole Year.” The follow-up, “Blue,” also went platinum and spawned the hit singles “Never Let You Go” and “10 Days Late.”

The new millennium wasn’t as kind to Third Eye Blind, and after 2003’s “Out of the Vein,” the band was cut from its record label and went on hiatus from the studio for several years.

In the meantime, the band performed at a number of charity events and worked on other projects. Hargreaves also performs with the band Year Long Disaster.

With the release of “Ursa Major,” says Hargreaves, the band is feeling reinvigorated. A follow-up, “Ursa Minor,” is already in the works, but Third Eye Blind is mostly focused on the tour right now.

“We take it (touring) very seriously,” said Hargreaves. “We look to get a transcendent moment each night. There’s different ways to get there, so it’s always a little bit different, but that’s our goal every night. When people get to that moment — the crowd and the band — get to that moment, it’s special every time.”

 

Staff Writer Stephanie Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

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