During the course of the interview, he mentions his love of going fast -- in cars, boats and motorcycles ("I love it when that front wheel comes off the ground! His favorite music of the moment is by Johnny Cash, Interpol and the Streets.According to his mother, he is most relaxed when he's onstage.Jenkins will be on hand to help with the recording and engineering.
"A lot of people say I wouldn't have a down day, but you look at the music and there's real melancholy. I have my share of insecurities, hopes and fears," he says.
"My music is my way to rearrange the world according to my own hopes." Many of his adult choices -- of friends and career, in particular -- can be traced to defining childhood moments.
A lover of language (he was a literature major in college), Jenkins anguished over words and metaphors, rhythm and rhyme. "I thought maybe we would sell 300,000 copies, that we would have a Camper Van Beethoven existence," Jenkins says of the first album. A lawsuit by a former guitarist, Kevin Cadogan, is finally behind Jenkins.
The cover art is by photographer Mick Rock and screams "rock joy," Jenkins says, hoping the image reflects the content. "I thought we'd be a critic's band." Instead, the catchy rock dittys became radio favorites and 3EB was quickly dismissed by many in the rock press as a one-hit wonder -- a label that faded with each new hit. Cadogan, who was fired, had accused the band of fraud, wrongful termination and breach of contract.
When he was 7 years old and living in Palo Alto, his parents divorced.
At around the same time, he flunked first grade because he couldn't read.
"I looked the teacher in the eye and said, 'You told me I would end up in juvenile hall. ' " It was one of the most fulfilling things he's done, he says.
"It's important to face down your demons." Of his parents' divorce, he reluctantly and with a hint of exasperation says, "It was wrenching pain." He was shaped, he says, by the failure he saw in a child's most important institutions -- school and family.
"I watched them from when they started work on the album," Chatel says.
"I've seen the ups and downs of a rock band." To celebrate the completion of the album, Chatel delivers glasses of wine.
"It has made me seek out things that I can do on my own. I was not someone who participated in other people's castles.