The old adage boldly states that you should never meet your heroes, and I guess that's said by people who've experienced meeting their heroes and being bitterly disappointed by it. I can gladly say that with Jim Adkins, that's not the case.
I first saw the video for 'The Middle' on Kerrang! TV way back in 2001. I didn't have satellite or cable TV at the time because my family weren't particularly well off, and I think I came across it when I was at the house of my then girlfriend. I was 16 years old.
I've carried Jimmy Eat World around with me ever since. Bleed American is an important album for me, it demonstrates a grasp of pop sensibilities that never felt like a compromise, that always felt natural and heartfelt. So meeting Jim was one of the most daunting things I have ever done. He is one of the nicest guys I've ever met and so incredibly grounded despite the huge success Jimmy Eat World have had.
As we grow older a lot of the music we used to like loses its shine, your tastes change and things fall away (I think I still have a couple of Korn and Marilyn Manson albums kicking around back at my mum's house, and I think that says it all really). For my particular tastes, punk has always been the exception to that rule.
Jimmy Eat World are not, of course, a punk band. Yet there's always been something about the honesty of their music which resonates with me even as I grow older. In my opinion their music has a timeless quality which goes beyond genres or trends.
Jim talks about it briefly in the interview, and I think he's right when he says that if you create honest music you'll create an honest connection with people that sticks. And that, I think, just about sums up my feelings on Jimmy Eat World's music.
Jim opened himself up to the possibility of doing anything this year and it turned out to be a solo record
That doing it on his own is a somewhat terrifying but its good when it’s done
Being a musician and a music fan came at the same time for him
He’s only recently come to the realisation that being a musician is what he does
His drive to keep writing is the desire to keep challenging himself
Having to keep the songwriting muscles active or you risk losing your edge
It’s okay to write something crappy
You never know where an idea is going to land, you might cannibalise it later for another thing
Adversity teaches you something, self-growth is almost like inspiration but not all art has to come from pain
Songwriting fills a void nothing else does
None of the band had any idea they’d last as long as they did and it just kinda turned into something successful
If you’re honest with yourself about your interests, people will get it and come along for the ride with you
If you’re honest with yourself about what you find rewarding then people will have an honest connection with you that sticks
Me being starstruck with Jim
And Jim being starstruck with seeing Heart
Jim still gets excited to see where the set goes
The single series was brought about almost as an experiment
It’s a lot these days to ask people to check out an album
The music industry has changed – some avenues are seen as exposure and others and viewed as money making schemes
The solo stuff is inspired by the 50s/60s songwriting construction – more concise songs
Jim's solo stuff is cracking and I urge you to check it out. It gives you a totally different insight into his musical abilities and there's something really refreshing about the way he delivers his version of 50s and 60s style pop. It's not trite or cliche, it's just honest and concise. A trait many artists would do well to recognise.
I hope you enjoy this interview and I apologise for my nerves. And also the chewing gum.
Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here).
Jim Adkins - I Will Go Jimmy Eat World - Kill Jim Adkins - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode.
'I Will Go' and 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' can be found on Jim's solo EP/7" single series, which you can get on iTunes and here.
'Kill' is from the album Futures which is amazing.
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