Alt-rock staple Jimmy Eat World makes its return to Cleveland Sept. 8 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in support of its newest track, “Something Loud.”
Following the announcement of the nostalgia-fueled When We Were Young music festival, singer Jim Adkins looked inward at the breadth of his career and the effect of time on music, memory and growth.
“While I thought I made the most of the early band days, I realize now I missed some stuff,” Adkins writes in a newsletter regarding the recent song. “You’re in such a hurry to grow out of the formidable years. There’s an obviously better future; you’re just doing your time to wait out.”
With arguably timeless albums like Bleed American — released mere months before 9/11 —Jimmy Eat World’s early aughts hits make it difficult not to reflect. Who were you when you first heard “Sweetness” over your car stereo?
Perhaps you’ll find the answer as you sing along at the Rock Hall’s Union Home Mortgage Plaza this week. Before then, we caught up with Adkins about bygone eras of music, balancing the band’s ever-shifting setlist and traveling through The Land.
Cleveland Magazine: You’ve played a number of shows in Cleveland through the years,; what’s been your experience in town?
Jim Adkins: We love playing Cleveland and we've had some great, great shows there going way back to playing Grog Shop. We've been coming to Cleveland to play since the early days of the band.
CM: Jimmy Eat World will play at When We Were Young festival. What are your thoughts on the marriage of nostalgic marketing and the rapidly growing festival scene?
JA: I think you've always had that, it just hasn't looked the way it looks now. But I think there's always been a tendency for that. I wasn't really expecting [the festival] to sell out, but they added two more days, and it just went clean, like, a day after it went on sale. It was really surprising to me, you know? It's caused me to stop and think about where we've been and how much of our identity is wrapped in the formidable years. You still at times identify with being a 14-year-old metalhead kid. I forget I'm a grown-up sometimes.
CM: Those feelings seemed to inform your recent track, “Something Loud.” Can you elaborate on the meaning and production of the song?
JA: The guitar-based rock song is the core of what we do. That's who we are as people. There's only so far we can get away from that, and you're always going to be yourself no matter what. You're always going to find yourself no matter where you're looking. And for us, that's the kind of thing that's fun for us to do. It's really just about chasing the idea and trying to honor that in the purest form possible: thinking about the atmosphere, the feeling of the music that was around us in our developing days and early touring days.
CM: I assume we will hear the track at your upcoming Cleveland performance. How do you balance your setlist when it comes to playing smash hits and new material?
JA: We think about what we've been playing, and we try to present something a little bit different than the last thing we did. And we do think about the audience somewhat — like, we know there are going to be people who let us sleep on their floor in ‘96 at the show, and we know there are people that maybe just found out about us right now, or people that are familiar with it but have never seen us play before. It's going to be a giant mix of people there, so we try to put something in there for all those types of fans.
With that in mind, you may as well comb through Jimmy Eat World’s entire discography in preparation for their upcoming date with The Land. Tickets start at $40, doors open at 7 p.m., rockhall.com
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