With Jimmy Eat World Frontman, Jim Adkins
On 23+ Years of Jimmy Eat World:
What it means to me is that at this point there’s the surface level of just being present, writing and performing music, which is something I’ve always loved to do. On a deeper level, I think of the gratitude that comes with that. Not a lot of people get to do this. With that in mind, you dip back into whatever is happening in the present and perceive that with an extra sense of gratitude. The longer that we do this, the more we really take in the little things as a really big deal. Like right now, anyone the fact that we can be a band for 20 plus years and people are still interested in what we have to say is incredible.
Respect is the biggest thing. We’ve all learned over time that if someone is presenting a passionate view that may be different from yours, in the context of being in a band together, the fact that they are passionate means that they care. You have to always remember that you are fighting for the same thing. You are all on the same team. That goes for the producers or engineers that we work with too. If someone is getting really into it with you over an element of a song you are working on, you can’t get too sensitive about that. You should actually get stoked about it because it shows they care. Holding that mindset keeps it inspiring. You don’t take things personally and it creates an environment where you can have fun.
The Emotion of the New Record, Integrity Blues:
It feels important to me. We still worked within the conventions of rock music, which never takes itself too seriously. What’s driving it felt important though. Thematically, we were looking at a subject that deals with adversity. The underlined theme of the album is — what you think is the problem might not actually be what’s wrong. Getting to what’s really wrong might require some mental and emotional jujitsu. You have to challenge your entire way of thinking, for certain issues. That’s not easy. Our nature is to have our ego fight for itself. That makes it difficult to get to what’s really wrong sometimes. Knowingly kicking accountability down the road is the easy way. That idea just fascinated me. That’s what the album deals with.
The Inspiration of Mesa, AZ:
The greater Phoenix area that includes Mesa and Tempe is like this huge megalopolis. It’s very spread out. It’s always been a place where there’s a lot of people doing great work, but it’s difficult to rally the critical support from the scene. I think that makes for something special. Not a whole lot of people really care. It’s good because you can do whatever you want. It’s a great incubator for people doing things the right way with good intentions. I feel like its growing. For me, it’s always been — if you put in a lot of work, you will see results. Something will happen. That feels special. It would be difficult to replicate that in another place. We are very proud of Arizona.
Touring with Incubus This Summer:
It’s a great opportunity. I’m really excited about getting to spread out a little bit. We have a chance to put on the show that we really want to give people. Having a big stage with a lot of room to make an environment with our production and sound is something we can’t wait for. It’s the biggest stage we’ve done since playing with Green Day on the American Idiot tour.
We’ve always been around Incubus, but we’ve never really hung out with them. That changes when you go on tour with someone. I’m really looking forward to getting to know those dudes better. They are such an amazing band.
The Legacy of “The Middle”:
It’s crazy. It’s the biggest compliment ever when someone bothers to take your work, spend time with it and develop a meaningful relationship with it. The fact that a song like “The Middle” is still resonating with people and finding an audience this long after it has been released is mind blowing. It’s super cool. For us as a band, we are so proud of it. We love playing it and people seem to like it still.
Connecting the Past with the Present:
Being in a band where we are performing material that can be a decade old, you are trying to relate with that in a current mindset. It’s become a habit. I can look at a song like “The Middle” and think, it’s not too far off from the album we just put out. The idea of trying pin your sense of self-worth on external validation and looking at how erroneous that is, that’s something that’s on Integrity Blues, but that’s also what “The Middle” is. If I’m looking for it I can find a way to connect with almost all of our older material in a way that makes sense for where I’m at now as a person.
Interview conducted/produced by: Jeff Gorra
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