Jimmy Eat World

“What matters is what hasn’t been… believe your voice can mean something.”
Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World is an American alternative rock band from Mesa, Arizona, formed in 1993. The band is composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Jim Adkins, guitarist and backing vocalist Tom Linton, bassist Rick Burch and drummer Zach Lind.  Jimmy Eat World has released six studio albums, the last five featuring the current lineup. The band originally formed with a punk rock sound, first releasing a demo tape in 1993, followed by their first  EP in 1994, titled One, Two, Three, Four. Their debut self-titled album (1994) was released with current guitarist Linton singing most of the lead vocals on the album. Jimmy Eat World released both their second and third albums through Capitol Records, with Static Prevails (1996) featuring their first single “Rockstar”. The critically acclaimed Clarity (1999) contained the single “Lucky Denver Mint”, which was featured in the film Never Been Kissed, and went onto garner a cult following.  The four piece’s commercial breakthrough came with the successful release of several singles from the album Bleed American (2001), four singles charted within the top 20 of the Hot Modern Rock Tracks, “The Middle” peaked at number one. Jimmy Eat World followed up with Futures (2004), featuring another Modern Rock Tracks number one, “Pain”. The RIAA certified Bleed American platinum and Futures gold, rewarding the two albums for selling over one and a half million records between them. The band’s sixth album Chase This Light (2007), became the band’s highest charting album, peaking at number five on the Billboard 200.

Find out more about Jimmy Eat World or contact him for to help Gavin’s How Many Days? mission here:

It takes a creative appetite to make it as an artist.

I heard “The Middle” on the radio (endlessly) just like everyone else did that year.  I liked it.  I’d sing along.  I’d drum on my steering wheel (as anyone every riding shotgun in my car knows I do).  I liked this catchy little diddy by Jimmy Eat World.  I heard a few of the other singles from Bleed American that made the radio cut on the pop-rock radio stations I listened to in my area: 96.3 DVD and 89X.  I liked them a lot.  Around that time I was stuck in a phase of only really liking one or two bands a lot.  Vertical Horizon and Third Eye Blind were on endless repeat in my car’s cassette player or winamp on my work computer.

One of my best friends (and film producer at the time), Derek, gave me his copy of Bleed American to listen to in my car in the fall of 2002.  I never gave it a chance.  It was buried in the compartment in the driver’s door amongst countless other mixed CDs and albums I wasn’t listening to.  It takes a lot for me for a band to move into my musical heart space.  I just don’t give new music a chance.

Flash forward a few years later.  It’s October 2004.  Jonathan, working from the Mimetic office late one night, was listening to Jimmy Eat World’s latest album “Futures”.  I asked him to load it into my computer so I could listen while I was editing late that night.  I quite often will have music playing if I’m editing something that doesn’t have dialogue or much voice-over to edit.  The lyrics to “Futures” in the opening track hooked me right away.  I’m all about pushing your dreams forward at all costs.  Futures is an inspiring look at believing in futures and leaving the past behind you.

“Hey now, the past is told by those who win
My darling, what matters is what hasn’t been
Hey now, we’re wide awake and we’re thinking
My darling, believe your voice can mean something”

I believe my voice can mean something.  I have to.  I’d go crazy and numb if I didn’t.  The rest of the album was equally captivating.  I listened to it over and over and over and it quickly replaced the 3EB and Vertical Horizon as the only disc I was listening to.  From there, I learned about the album “Clarity” from a gal that was interning with my company.  This wasn’t until 2006.  It was my next discovery. The album is a masterpiece.  It is easily one of the ten best albums produced in the 90’s.  The track “For Me This Is Heaven” has remains to this day my favourite song since I first heard it.

After Futures, I backtracked to “Bleed American” and, again, loved every single song.  Lyrically, I connect.  That what matters most for me with music: the lyrics.  Do they inspire me, do I connect to them and most importantly – do I have visuals of how this music would work in the films I’m making in my head?  Music is the most important thing in a film, I believe.  It’s like that solidifying ingredient that binds everything together when you bake it.  It gives a film its pulse.

Now here’s where it gets to the reason Jimmy Eat World sits on my How Many Days? List.  I purchased their live concert DVD “Believe In What You Want” featuring a performance from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.  I had the pleasure of filming Third Eye Blind there and felt more connected to this concert DVD.  A few months later, I realized that one of the bonus features is a documentary about the band losing their record deal with Capitol Records and instead of calling it quits or searching for another label right away – toured Europe to raise the money to record their next album on their own dime.  The documentary was shot by the band with a camcorder and goes further to show the entire process of making “Bleed American” on their own and then finding themselves with a new record deal at the end of their risky move.  It is a true look at independent artists taking their career into their own hands and beating the odds by pushing their passion and ideas forward – no matter how against the grain it may have been and how crazy they might have seemed to everyone around them.

I wish more film and music success stories had a camcorder around when they were struggling.  Hearing the stories and reading them is one thing, but seeing it live and breathe and play out like reality television is a whole other level.  I show this documentary to every band and musician I can convince to take a look.  I feel that it should be an important part of any artist looking for a way to break into their professional field.  I watch it at least once a year as a refresher to keep myself and my own dreams in check.

Music breathes inspiration for me.  Jimmy Eat World is my favourite band for their music alone but it goes beyond that with their story and their self-control of their destiny manner in which they have arrived to where they are.

Are you in the music business or a fan of their music?  Were you inspired by Jimmy Eat World?  If so, what do you like about them?  Leave a comment below, post an interview or links to their stuff from youtube or the web.  I dare you!

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