May 10, 1999 12:00 PM

When Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins washed up on radio waves two years ago, he was already rigged for stardom. Buoyed by the band’s Top 5 single “Semi-Charmed Life” and leaking charisma by the boatload, the 6’2″ lead singer with beaconlike green eyes and a see-worthy way with leather pants had evidently set sail from the isle charted by Jim Morrison. “He has that same dangerous sexuality,” says Jane Ganahl, a San Francisco rock journalist.

But being next in line to rock godliness doesn’t always mean cleanliness. Touring Europe last year, relates Jenkins, 34, “everybody smelled, so I said ‘Forget it’ and stopped showering. The crew was calling me the Soap Dodger.” Even so, fans still ventured close enough for him to have “signed every body part,” Jenkins admits cheerfully. “I think it’s a hoot when girls start screaming at me, but it’s sort of perplexing.” He’s the only one at sea on that score. “He has a provocative face,” says film director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross), a Jenkins buddy. “Certain people walk through the door and you suddenly go, ‘Whoa! Okay, I’m awake!’ You’re always awake with Stephan.”

The Berkeley literature grad, raised in the Bay Area by a Stanford poli-sci professor dad and a college administrator mom, keeps his own blood pumping by “running around onstage and climbing amp stacks, even though I’m afraid of heights.” Other stimulants include his girlfriend, actress Charlize Theron, and footwear. “I’m all about shoes,” admits the owner of some 160 pairs. “I used to work the door of a club and people would say, ‘I’m on the list,’ and I’d say, ‘Not with those shoes, you’re not.’ I wear pretty standard clothes, but the shoes are always incredible.” And right in step with the rest of him.

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