JIM ADKINS SOUNDS beat. Understandably so, as the Jimmy Eat World frontman has been straining both mind and body, touring virtually nonstop for the past 18 months. The roadwork has served the Mesa, Ariz., quartet well, however; their self-titled debut is well past platinum status, and the group has unexpectedly become both a critical favorite and pinup fodder for legions of prepubescent girls. Not bad for a band that once looked like emo also-rans after parting ways with Capitol Records a couple years back.
After completing their current round of Christmas radio concerts, the group will get a well-deserved break. In the meantime, they've just released a DVD- EP—prelude to the forthcoming Believe in What You Want concert collection—which gathers a quartet of their videos, as well as bonus material, including a holiday cover of Wham's "Last Christmas." To mark the release, Adkins was gracious enough to chat with us and answer some of our admittedly asinine questions. In the process, he reveals his plans to resurrect the career of a onetime metal god and his debt to one of rap's heaviest homies.
Seattle Weekly: You've been on tour nonstop for ages. Have you had a chance to start writing songs for the next record?
Jim Adkins: Well, new songs are in progress all the time. But it's been difficult to flesh out ideas when we're on the road so much. The songs are still embryonic at best.
Your music seems to be heading in a more ornate pop direction. Do you hear strings for the new record?
No, but I do hear a guest appearance by Glenn Danzig.
Oooh, that's a hot idea. But you know, the man doesn't come cheap.
Well, he might like the particular song I'm working on and be into it. It's a cross between "Girl" from [Danzig II: Lucifuge] and Drive Like Jehu's "Luau." No one knows about that yet, but I'm really lobbying for him to sing it.
Earlier this year, Jimmy Eat World was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. You were at the VMA ceremony; why did Eminem start picking on Moby?
I was in the crowd, but I wasn't really paying attention. The guys in Dirty Vegas were sitting in front of us, and we established a nice rapport with them because we'd both lost that night and were engaged in some heavy drinking. All of a sudden, I heard people booing and looked up and saw Eminem accepting an award.
Were you afraid that Eminem was going to try and "step" to you as well?
No, I didn't really fear for my own safety at any point during the whole ordeal.
You've done a handful of videos that were good, but relatively modest productions. Haven't you always dreamed about filming an MTV epic—one with chases, machine guns, chicks in bikinis, that sort of thing?
Yeah, I really want John Woo to direct a video for us. I want to have a video where we're trying to escape a botched bank heist and we have to take out a bunch of cops along the way. And I definitely want to have a scene where an Apache helicopter is chasing us in a speedboat.
So basically, your concept is an homage to the Notorious B.I.G.?
Yeah, I get a lot of my stuff from Biggie.
May he rest in peace.
Yes, may he rest in peace.
Are you familiar with Nelly?
Nelly, the hip-hop artist? Yeah, sure.
Do you have any idea what's up with that Band-Aid he wears on his cheek?
Hmm, I don't really know. It's all the rage in Europe, though.
There was a famous quote in a magazine once that blamed Jimmy Eat World for the "pussification" of rock—
That was in an Alternative Press story, actually.
Right. But don't you think the guy in Dashboard Confessional [Chris Carraba] is really the one responsible for the "pussification" of rock?
Who would win in a fight between you and Chris Carraba?
I dunno; I've got some weight on him, but he's probably pretty quick.
I think you could take him. From what I understand, he's only 3 1/2 feet tall.
Let's move on.
OK. Before you guys signed to Dreamworks, you were being courted by a bunch of record labels—Warner Bros., RCA, all of the big ones. I'm wondering, did Suge Knight or Death Row ever offer to put out your album?
No, but from what I understand, that label generally caters more toward rap and hip-hop acts.
I guess. But weren't you insulted that he didn't even ask?
No, man. I got no beef with Suge.