Catching up with Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins finds him hanging out in Phoenix, Arizona, tying up the final loose ends before heading over to Europe to begin the arduous touring cycle for Damage, the quartet’s eighth record. Performance-wise, though, the band are already fighting fit and eager to tackle these dates with vigour, having recently broken in a few of the new tracks with a home state tour that saw them hit five small towns in Arizona – from Sierra Vista to Flagstaff - to reconnect with their roots.
“That’s something that I wanted to do for a really long time, and it finally worked out that we could do it right now, and it also worked out because we hadn’t played some of these songs out before,” explains Adkins. “It was a great way to give back to local fans who have supported us for a really long time and also try some brand new stuff.”
Twenty years on from their original garage days in the city of Mesa, roughly 30 clicks west of the state capital, Adkins admits it’s a milestone that has been hard to dodge for the band. However, he assures that their latest release is far from a victory lap made simply to pay homage to their career thus far. “It’s really hard not to put into context the entire history of the band, especially when you’re somebody like us who has been a band for a long time. I don’t think Damage has anything to do... I wouldn’t view it as something that sums up [our] career, it’s really only what we know and like and can do with what we have right now.” However, to still be relevant in a rock’n’roll world with far more bravado than these four gents hold is a solid accomplishment, especially for a band that’s biggest goal was “to get [their] music onto a seven-inch”.
“That was like, ‘Dude, if we could make that happen then it’s legit,’” he remembers. “[The first time I held a pressing in my hand] I couldn’t believe it. It was just a test pressing, and everyone came over, I think we were at our drummer [Zach Lind’s] house at the end of a band practice just getting ready for a show, and we put it on and we just couldn’t believe it,” he laughs. “Like, ‘Hey, it’s me, I’m on the record.’
“[But] the longer that we are a band, I think it’s easier to appreciate [those things] and to appreciate being a band. It’s a huge deal that anyone would want to take their time and spend it... To find something in what we do that relates to them, and that they can choose to make their own experience. It’s a huge compliment that anyone would care. And the fact that we’ve been able to do it so long and people still care, we’re definitely grateful for that. [And] that might be one of the reasons that we’re still around. You have to really take in the good things that are happening and be grateful for them because it truly is an amazing experience.”