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September 2019

Jimmy Eat World: “Sexy is an opinion, reliable is a fact”

Jimmy Eat World are one of the most consistent bands in rock, hands down - and this month they return with their ninth album.
Published: 9:16 am, October 20, 2016
Jimmy Eat World: “Sexy is an opinion, reliable is a fact”
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"There’s a new Jimmy Eat World album? Great, why should I care?”

Jimmy Eat World are one of the most consistent bands in rock, hands down - and this month they return with their ninth album.

Words: Ali Shutler. Photos: Phil Smithies.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="5/6" offset="vc_col-lg-offset-1 vc_col-lg-10 vc_col-md-offset-1 vc_col-md-10"][vc_column_text]Jimmy Eat World have never released a bad album. They’ve been a band for twenty-six years and existed with the same line up since 1995. Since ‘Bleed American’ dropped in 2001, they’ve put out a record every three years. They’re one of the most reliable bands around, but don’t let that fool you. They’ve done it all for them. Sure, ‘reliable’ is not the sexiest of accolades but Jim Adkins is okay with that. “Sexy is an opinion, reliable is a fact. Opinions change, facts don’t and it’s nice, we’re still here and having fun. If that means losing a little bit of sexiness, if that’s the trade off, then fine.”

There’s been an excitement behind every release but with ‘Integrity Blues’, the adventure is amplified. “After the last tour we consciously decided, ‘Okay, everyone can have a break from Jimmy Eat World for a year’,” starts drummer Zach Lind. It was the first time the band didn’t have to worry about writing or playing shows. Both Jim and Zach wrote and released solo material, bassist Rick Burch set up a legitimate distillery making beverage spirits and guitarist Tom Linton chilled. “He took advantage of it best,” laughs Zach.

“The goal of taking a break was ultimately to support the overall health of the band,” ventures Jim. “If we went into the studio fresh off the road for the last album, the beginning and ending of the story would have been ‘new Jimmy Eat World record’. While we’re proud of the work we’ve done so far, we know what we’re going to get if we approach it the same way. We felt like doing things differently might help challenge us in a new way. Just stepping away from the project for the first time in twenty years was pretty different feeling.”

Coming back to JEW a year later, the band could set about asking, “What kind of album do we want to make? What do we want to do? It was about being open to trying something that might feel unsafe. We came back with a fresh perspective and it ignited us to really make a record that we feel would be just as good, or better, than any record we’ve ever done,” continues Zach. “I couldn’t be more stoked on an album that we’ve done.” [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row column_padding="false" css=".vc_custom_1452681180219{padding-top: 30px !important;padding-bottom: 30px !important;}"][vc_column][vc_video link=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="5/6" offset="vc_col-lg-offset-1 vc_col-lg-10 vc_col-md-offset-1 vc_col-md-10"][vc_column_text]

Approaching the record in a different way meant the band were less meticulous in their planning. Normally the group would know how everything was going to turn out before heading into the studio but for ‘Integrity Blues’, they “let things take shape as they’re discovered and then responding to the brand new things on an instinctual level rather than too planned out, second guessed, calculated and shifted around.” It was simple, stupid. “Does this feel good? Does this feel great? Cool. Next thing.”

Learning the songs as they went may have started as a risk, and felt like a challenge throughout, “it was never a challenge of dread. It was always a healthy challenge.”

And that’s what Jimmy Eat World do best.

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“Sexy is an opinion, reliable is a fact.”

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‘Integrity Blues’ is a record that talks about accepting your life as being in constant flux and finding happiness in the moment, rather than a destination. Inspired by “just growing up. Dying a little bit more every day,” it tells a truth. “A lot of times in the daily struggles we face with life, you can get obsessed,” starts Jim. “It’s easy to get tripped up on and obsessed with the problem when really, what you really want, is the solution. You can get so upset about things you have no control over, things that never were in your power. It’s easy to do. What’s interesting to me, is what’s behind that. What’s really at the route of the struggle?”

The bloody, rapidly beating heart of ‘Integrity Blues’ is the sense of self-discovery and confrontation. “We’re all in a state of progress and the difference between the reality and your expectation is a grey area. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of taking it personally when that doesn’t solve anything.”

Announced alongside a note explaining its themes, Jimmy Eat World’s ninth album isn’t keeping anything from anyone. “I think that’s the sort of record it is,” explains Jim. “It’s a very simple, straightforward message that’s presented in a cinematic environment. It’s to answer the obvious question: ‘Ninth Jimmy Eat World album; why?’ ‘There’s a new JEW album? Great, why should I care?’ If you’re interested at all, there’s another layer to dig. We do this because we love it and we find, as a band, a great reward in just playing music. Beyond that, when other people pick up on it and recognise it, it is flattering. It’s a big compliment and we appreciate it.”

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The band have done this enough times to know the music they release means the world to others. With a lot of skilful ignoring during the creation of the record, Jimmy Eat World don’t write with anyone else in mind. There’s really no need. “If you see yourself as an influential band, you either try and repeat the past or you get lazy,” offers Zach. “For this record we wanted to do things we haven’t done before, but we didn’t want to stop being who we are now. It’s a fine balance of accepting yourself but accepting the fact you can do better.”

“There’s nothing more of a turn off than someone just seeking your approval and listeners pick up on that,” continues Jim. “We’ve always done a good job of being honest with ourselves and presenting what we like as music fans. We’re brutally honest with that, and I think that just connects to people. We don’t censor anything or shift direction based on how we think our listeners might react. It’s just about us and what we like and what we want to hear.”

A lot of ‘Integrity Blues’ is about letting go of your expectations as well as your expectations of others. “It’s always been a truth that is there, floating around in the background without a name and the material on this record dives in head on, on purpose. It’s definitely taken more notice of. We’ve always enjoyed the idea of creating for us rather than for an imaginary listener, that’s something we’ve always had. What other people are going to expect from the work, that’s not up to us. That’s a mantra we’ve had the entire time we’ve been a band.

“I guess coming to full life awareness of that fact, it’s just interesting right now for where we are as people. The more you learn, the more you realise you don’t know and there’s really no end to how you can push yourself and how you can challenge yourself, but if we found ourselves just mailing it in, feeling like we’ve said it all and we’ve got nothing to give, then we wouldn’t do anything. There’s no point. If you’re trying to chase the approval of an imaginary listener, it’s going to compromise what you want to get out of it, and that’s just going to torpedo the whole thing.” [icon type="fa-stop" size="icon-smallsize" ]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1445370422462{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}"][vc_column width="5/6" offset="vc_col-lg-offset-1 vc_col-lg-10 vc_col-md-offset-1 vc_col-md-10"][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1476954901317{margin-top: 15px !important;border-top-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;border-top-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-top-style: solid !important;}"]Taken from the October issue of Upset. Order a copy here. Jimmy Eat World’s album ‘Integrity Blues’ is out 21st October.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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