A Conversation with Jim Adkins about Jimmy Eat World’s Tour with Incubus

Members of Jimmy Eat World. Left to Right: Zach Lind (drums), Jim Adkins (vocals, guitars), Rick Burch (bass), Tom Linton (guitars, vocals)
Photo provided by RCA Records

On July 6, Jimmy Eat World kicked off their tour with Incubus and Judah & the Lion as part of a six-week tour. On July 7, I had the chance to interview lead singer/guitarist of Jimmy Eat World, Jim Adkins, to find out more about the band and what we can expect from them on this summer tour.

The tour, which continues until Aug. 19, came about naturally when Incubus asked Jimmy Eat World to join them on the road. Adkins explained, “They actually just came to us last winter, toward the end of the year. It just got offered to us. We thought it would be a really excellent way to spend the summer, maybe playing to some new fans, and definitely play to some hardcore, old fans too, and maybe to give us a chance to play a little bit of a bigger show than what we do playing clubs.”

For anyone who has yet to hear the band or see them live, Adkins describes them as “guitar-based, melodic rock,” and also explained what really goes into one of their shows.

“We try to consider the type of the show that we’re playing,” Adkins says, “Like a daytime festival slot is going to be a little bit different than headlining a club. And I think that’s because some things definitely translate a little better when you have a total kind of control of the environment you’re presenting it in. I think that’s the biggest factor. Is it your show or is it not your show? We basically kind of assume that the majority of people are new listeners, and we try to give an overview of our catalog. We have a lot of material, but we try to do as much as we can from each record.”

One song that Adkins feels defines the band is “Sure and Certain” off of their latest album, “Integrity Blues,” released late last year.

“I think the song itself uses a lot of different developmental elements that we like to use in a lot of our other songs,” Adkins mentions. “It’s a pretty good micro-overview of what an album of ours sounds like.”

Being around for over 23 years, the band shows no signs of slowing down. When asked about the band’s proudest accomplishment, Adkins says there isn’t one distinct moment to be proud of, but instead the band is proud of what they are still able to do.

“One of the reasons that we’ve been a band for as long as we have, and we’re still a band, is because I think we look at that question on a daily basis and realize that today is the proudest accomplishment. If I look around at my situation right now: we’re spending the summer playing giant places, with music that we wrote, and we get to do this today. I think you should always feel like that’s a big deal,” Adkins says.

Adkins also explained what the band has learned from touring over the years, which offers a bit of advice for any aspiring musicians.

“The fundamentals are reinforced on a daily basis. Just chill out, and it’ll be fine. It can be a high-pressure situation sometimes, especially when you’re trouble-shooting and there’s a crowd, you know, waiting for some rad stuff to happen, and no rad stuff is happening. It can definitely be a test of character, but I think you really do have to channel some Zen and go with it.”

Before joining the band, Adkins weighed his options and thought about becoming a photo-journalist. In the end, though, he obviously chose music, but offered some advice for anyone grappling over the career they want to go with.

“The reason I put that decision on hold was because there were more opportunities giving the band a real shot than there were for photography. It’s a tough gig, journalism, and so is music. You really have to commit to it. You have to put everything into that to have it be, possibly, a viable career, and it’d be tricky to do both. At least at the place I was at, in college, you have to have enough of yourself to give to put into both kind of disciplines and really feel like you’re giving it your best effort. There were more opportunities with the music thing, and I haven’t been back to journalism since.”

As for what the band has going on following this summer tour, Adkins said, “We got some projects that we’re all kind of tinkering about with. The rest of this year will be touring and supporting this record [‘Integrity Blues’], and when I think about it, pretty much the rest of this year is going to still be doing this in some capacity. There’s still some places we’ve never been that we’re trying to figure out, so we’ll see.”

For tickets to one of the band’s upcoming shows, go to www.jimmyeatworld.com for more information.

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