Interview: Jimmy Eat World

24 Nov

We speak to Jim Adkins and Tom Linton about their new album Invented, student bands, leather pants and why UK crowds beat US crowds…

Invented is seen as kind of a return to your breakthrough Bleed American album – do you see it that way? And where does it fit in to your discography?

Jim: If you’re in a group for a long time with so many songs, everyone tries to categorise things in terms of the catalogue. For me, it just sounds like us.

You’ve said before that you ‘don’t go in with a concept for an album, just a document of the time’ What things are you documenting on Invented?

Musically, it’s what challenges us and interests us in terms of our current tastes and prejudices as a whole band.

What was the inspiration between Stop and Mixtape on the album – in a few words?

Stop is about jealousy, Mixtape is about….regret.

You’re in Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero. Bands seem to love or hate the relationship between music and games…

Jim: I don’t think it stops anyone from playing guitar. Knowing how to play real guitar doesn’t help you play the game at all…

Tom: There’s nothing wrong with the games, it’s always fun but when you think about how much time people do spend playing the video game, they could be playing an instrument…

Jim: It is fun at parties though, I have to say. If a group of people are hanging out anyway, it does push the party meter to 10.

What advice would you give students starting a band?

Jim: I would say, regardless of where you are, playing music is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things you can do. You have to be satisfied with the reward it brings you on a personal level. I think that’s the only bit you can control. Whether or not anyone’s going to care about what you’re doing is beyond your control. You can be smart about opportunities that come to you but it’s first and foremost about being proud of your work and, you know, some leather pants. Tight leather pants. They definitely help.

You’ve been together for 17 years – how do you stick together without breaking any bones?

Jim: Have you seen how many dressing rooms we have? This is the only time me and Tom are in the same room together…No, but seriously, we were all friends, more or less, before the band got anywhere serious. We knew each other from the same schools growing up in Arizona.

When you approach it all from the perspective of anyone making a connection with what you’re doing as a fragile and fleeting thing and something that should be taken seriously and not for granted, then it’s a whole lot easier to let the small things go when you’re working in a group situation.Things get heated and passionate when we’re in a creative mode but we all realise that we’re struggling for the same goal and get the best end result. So, to answer the question, I’d say Friendship and Respect. And being mildly drunk the whole time…

Where do you get the biggest reaction in the UK?

Jim: All over. The UK is the place where we have some of our best shows. Our London gig sold out before any of the other shows…

Tom: The crowds are always enthusiastic and singalong and you don’t see that too much in the states.

Why do US bands come to the UK to make it big in the US? Like Kings of Leon and The  Strokes?

Jim: Yeah, that happens sometimes, right? I was going to say Kings of Leon.

Tom: And Jimi Hendrix..

Jim: People in America might be cautious to drop the hammer and promote something until someone else tells them it’s good. If a UK buzz gets rolling, that might translate to someone at a label taking notice. It’s weird. But music journalism in the UK is a lot more passionate than American mainstream music journalism. In America, it’s all about blogs – you have Rolling Stone and Alternative Press but those guys are hurting. The American appetite for blog based stuff is way higher than for magazines.

How do you feel about bands like Paramore citing you as an influence?

Jim: It’s extremely flattering. We have bands that we look up to and that we would freak out if we met today. We understand what it feels like to be fans and it’s a big compliment for other bands to feel that way about what we do.

What do you sing in the shower and what’s on in the tour bus playlist?

Tom: LL Cool J!

Jim: I go with old school LL Cool J, Tom goes new school…with Going Back To Cali or even, you know, Mamma Said Knock You Out. On the tour bus, everyone has such different tastes…it could be Hank Williams one minute and then death metal the next. It’s democratic!


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