Jimmy Eat World has released six studio albums in over 16 years as a band, the last five featuring the current lineup. The band first released a demo tape in 1993, followed by their first EP in 1994, titled One, Two, Three, Four. Their debut self-titled album (Jimmy Eat World) was released in 1994, with current guitarist Linton singing most of the lead vocals on the album. Jimmy Eat World released both their second and third albums through Capitol Records, with 1996's Static Prevails featuring their first single "Rockstar". Clarity in 1999 achieved the band's first charting, peaking at number 30 on the US Top Heatseekers chart.
The four piece's commercial breakthrough came in 2001 with the successful release of several singles from the album Bleed American, four singles charted within the top 20 of the Hot Modern Rock Tracks, "The Middle" peaked at number one. Jimmy Eat World followed up with Futures in 2004, featuring another Modern Rock Tracks number one, "Pain". The RIAA certified Bleed American platinum and Futures gold, rewarding the two albums for selling over one and a half million records between them. The band's sixth album Chase This Light was released in 2007, becoming the band's highest charting album, peaking at number five on the Billboard 200.
Formation and origin of name:
Jimmy Eat World formed in Mesa, Arizona in 1993. Singer/guitarist Jim Adkins and drummer Zach Lind, who had been friends since kindergarten, joined with guitarist Tom Linton and bass player Mitch Porter to try their hand at music. In its early years, the band emulated the style of its punk-rock influences, with Linton serving as their primary singer. Within the span of a couple of years, the band recorded and released three singles and a full-length on local label Wooden Blue Records.
The band's name came from a crayon drawing made after an incident between Linton's younger brothers, Jim and Ed, who fought frequently. Jim usually won, but Ed got his revenge by drawing a picture of Jim shoving the Earth into his mouth; the picture bore the caption "Jimmy eat world".
Eventually, spurred by bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, the band began to experiment with emocore. As they began writing songs and touring in the indie scene, the band encountered like-minded bands such as Christie Front Drive, Sense Field, and Seven Storey Mountain working on similar sounds.
As the band continued touring, it began to attract modest attention in the indie underground. In 1995, the band caught the ears of a talent scout at Capitol Records and was offered a deal shortly thereafter. Just prior to signing with Capitol, bass player Mitch Porter parted ways with the band and was replaced by Linton's friend Rick Burch. After a brief scouting for producers, the band joined up with Drive Like Jehu drummer Mark Trombino to record its major-label debut, Static Prevails.
In the ensuing years, the band was allowed to release singles on independent labels, including split 7-inch's with Christie Front Drive, Jejune, Sense Field, and Mineral. Where most major-label bands were ostracized from the underground as "sell-outs," Jimmy Eat World found itself in a unique position as a major label band embraced by the indie community.
The band recorded their next album, Clarity, in late 1998 to early 1999 at Sound City and Clear Lake Audio, both in North Hollywood. The tracks were mixed at One on One in Los Angeles, and mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.
The album Clarity marks the start of Jim Adkins - as opposed to Tom Linton providing lead vocals; Tom from this point only provides backing vocals on various tracks. The song "Goodbye Sky Harbor" is written based on the John Irving novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany.
The band decided to record its next album without the help of a label, supporting itself with touring and by compiling its previously-released singles into Singles, which was released on indie label Big Wheel Recreation. The band also took on day jobs, saving as much as they could to spend on the sessions. The band worked for a third time with Trombino, who agreed to defer payment until after the album's release in order to keep costs down.
The finished album was titled Bleed American. Joining with Gersh's new management company, GAS Entertainment, the band scouted for a new label. The result was a short bidding war, with interest coming from several major labels, including Capitol Records. The band eventually signed with DreamWorks. The completed album was released in July 2001 with the title track (titled "Salt Sweat Sugar" in the UK) as the lead single. (Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the band decided to re-issue the album as Jimmy Eat World out of concern that the title Bleed American might be misinterpreted.)
The album's second single, "The Middle", became the band's biggest single to date, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The video for the song received significant airplay on MTV, including on Total Request Live. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA.
In 2008, the album was re-released as a deluxe edition and renamed to its original title, Bleed American. This edition contains a total of 32 tracks – the original 11 as well as 21 bonus tracks, which are live recordings, demos and b-sides.
After lengthy touring in support of Bleed American, the band regrouped to work on the follow-up in early 2004. Once again, the band joined up with Trombino, but the collaboration was short-lived. As the sessions began, the band decided that they didn't have enough material for a cohesive album. The band's desire to spend more time writing songs conflicted with Trombino's availability, as he already had other projects on his schedule.
Instead, the band brought in producer Gil Norton, well-known for his work with the Pixies and the Foo Fighters. Lind explained in 2007, "After we left the studio with Trombino, we came up with 'Polaris', 'Work', 'Pain', [and] '23' – the songs that really gave Futures its heartbeat." Futures was released in October 2004, with "Pain" serving as the lead single. (By this time, Dreamworks had been acquired by Interscope Records.)
Subsequent months saw the release of "Work" and the title track as singles. Having already toured the U.S. alone and with Taking Back Sunday, the band signed on to tour in 2005 with Green Day. In September 2005, the band released the Stay on My Side Tonight EP, which contained reworked versions of demos recorded with producer Mark Trombino that were not used for the album. The album was eventually awarded Gold status in the US by the RIAA.
Chase This Light:
After its tour, Jimmy Eat World headed home to Tempe and started working on material for a sixth album. The band decided to self-produce the album, enlisting Chris Testa (Dixie Chicks) and John Fields (Switchfoot, Mandy Moore) as co-producers and Butch Vig (Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins) as executive producer. As Burch explained to the St. Petersburg Times, "[Vig's] role wasn't in the studio everyday. We would send Butch samples of what we were doing every couple of days." Chase This Light was released in October 2007, with "Big Casino" as the lead single. "Always Be" was the next single off the album, released in December 2007.
On June 13, 2008, the band revealed that they would begin work on their next album later in the year. They also stated that, when their current contract expires with Interscope, they may consider self-releasing. The band has also mentioned on their Twitter page that they have cleaned up the studio and are playing around again.
Jim Adkins - lead vocals, guitar
Tom Linton - guitar, backing vocals
Rick Burch - bass guitar, backing vocals
Zach Lind - drums, percussion
Mitch Porter - bass guitar