We’re all familiar with the image of the tortured artist. Van Gogh famously cut off his ear. Countless poets, writers, and musicians have turned to substances to medicate the pain they feel. It makes sense after all: To be able to tune into the human experience that deeply, your nerves have to be a bit exposed, and sometimes that leads to them becoming very raw. In short, it hurts to be a creative person, and the only way to take away that pain is by creating.

This is definitely the case for Stephan Jenkins, who’s been the lead singer and guitarist for the band Third Eye Blind for over 20 years now. “I think most people who actually become musicians, there’s some pain,” he says, “or something they’re trying to make up for. And music fills that void.”

To Jenkins, music isn’t just about making records; it’s about healing, through “redemption and connection.” The power music has is legit. And as far as being a rock star goes, Jenkins says the greatest moments are not the ones where thousands of fans are praising you, but rather ones when you feel great humility—when you experience that surge of creativity and lean into it. Those are the moments, he says, where “you feel entirely present and alive. And also connected.”

In the end, Jenkins’ motivation to keep creating isn’t just fueled by the desire to escape that pain but something much more positive and simple. “I make music because it makes me feel alive,” he says.

That’s as good a reason as any.

For more from Stephan Jenkins, be sure to check out the video above, presented by Guitar Hero.