Jimi Giannatti

How a Preschool Friendship Became 30 Years of Jimmy Eat World

Central Park. This Wednesday. Jimmy. Eat. World. Live. In Concert. Manchester Orchestra. Middle Kids. Jimmy Eat World. On stage. Did we mention Jimmy Eat World?

Alternative rock icons Jimmy Eat World are celebrating 30 years of being band this year. What better way to celebrate than spend some time on tour with fellow legends Manchester Orchestra and Australian trio Middle Kids?

Consisting of Jim Adkins, Tom Linton, Rick Burch, and Zach Lind, the Y2K breakout turned modern rock favorites were quickly tied to ‘the scene,’ also known as the emo music of the early 2000s that went from underground to mainstream seemingly overnight. Being part of that with songs like “The Middle,” famously Frances Bean Cobain’s favorite song, and “Sweetness,” which was the Florida Panthers’ goal song for some five years, the band became a household name. That seminal 2001 LP, whose title track was yet another hit of the era, Bleed American only furthered the Arizona boys’ career. (It has since gone Platinum in the United States and Canada, as well as Silver in the United Kingdom.) Since, the group has released a multitude of full-length records, including fan favorite Chase This Light, and Aquarian favorite Integrity Blues.

We spoke to Lind, the band’s talented drummer, while on road at a tour stop in Oklahoma City for a quick Q&A about 30 years of Jimmy Eat World, becoming a millennial’s soundtrack, and experimental material on the horizon.

It’s been 30 years of Jimmy Eat World. Did you guys think you’d make it this long?

We were teenagers in high school – no idea of real career aspirations or what we were going to do for the next 30 years. It never really occurred to us. We enjoyed playing songs. We started playing house parties. We enjoyed eventually playing for bigger bands around town. One thing after another… we ended up here. It’s still surprising. I’ve known Jim [Adkins, frontman] for over 40 years. We went to preschool together. We trust each other, respect each other, and have fun together. Not every band has that working bond.

Your music set the soundtrack of the early 2000s. Looking back on it, did you think your music would have left such an impact? Do you still think Bleed American is the band’s most pivotal album to date?

From a commercial success standpoint, yes. The success of Bleed American is a big credit to us being here now and being able to continue to do this. Without the success of songs like “The Middle” and “Sweetness,” it would be difficult to keep the band going. That’s a lot of realities for bands that worked hard and are very talented couldn’t make a career out of it. They couldn’t tour, get married, and have kids and make it all work. That album opened that door for us.

Now you have “Place Your Debts,” a new song that sort of slows things down a bit for the band.

We actually recorded “Place Your Debts” and the song released prior to that, “Something Loud,” together – and they couldn’t be anymore different. I’m not 100% sure what the song is even about. You’d have to ask Jim that. He doesn’t discuss that stuff much. It’s definitely a more mellow song and we’d like to explore different sides of that as a band. We like to be open to different styles; it makes it more interesting for us and it is more challenging for us, as well. I hope the fans dig it. 

Is there another album in the works?

That’s our goal. Right now we don’t have any plans to release any more singles. We are kind of switching the singles we released last year into album mode. 

What do you think is missing from the music scene in 2023?

I don’t think there is anything missing! There are so many kinds of music out there. Now, with the technology advances of home recording and people making music in their bedroom… that is pretty exciting. What I think that has done is open the flood gates to a lot of different styles of music. If there’s a style of music you like, I guarantee you that there is someone making cool stuff like it. They might not be a household name, but they’re out there working hard. There are so many options. It could be overwhelming; there’s so much to wade through and discover.

The only thing that might be lacking is scarcity. When we first started, we had to save money to record songs. Now, if you have a few thousand bucks, you can build a recording studio in your own house and it could sound really cool. Now, there are really no gatekeepers. There were gatekeepers like labels and radio stations back in the day. Billie Eilish is a good example. She made music in her own bedroom with her brother and now she’s playing arenas.

How did this tour with Middle Kids and Manchester Orchestra come about?

We been looking to join up with a band and do a co-headlining thing for the summer. Manchester Orchestra were a band we didn’t know personally at all, but really respected who they were as a band and how they conduct themselves and operate. They have a catalog full of great albums. They’re a great live band. The more we got to know them, the more we thought, “They are a lot like us,” and in a lot of ways. They hold themselves to a high standard when they put music out. It’s been a great match.

We never saw Middle Kids play live, but we were really excited when they were added to the tour. If you don’t come to the show early enough to see them, you’re missing out. They’re so good. 

Would you like to say anything to your fans at this time?

The main thing we want to say to our fans is thank you for coming to our shows and still supporting us. We are really grateful for our fans, especially the ones who were here for us from day one.