In Jimmy Eat World’s video for “Sweetness,” the band remains essentially stationary as the world around it changes at a blurring pace. It’s an example of art imitating life, as the band’s self-titled latest album has brought about a change never before experienced in the Mesa, Arizona, quartet’s eight years together: mainstream success.
“It’s loosely based on a general journey of what a band goes through as they start and as they progress,” drummer Zach Lind said of the clip. “There’s not really a story line to it. It’s more of a very cool, unique-looking video that will hopefully look like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
“The band is essentially the same, and that’s the theme of the video,” singer Jim Adkins added. “A lot can happen. A band can become successful or unsuccessful, but ultimately, hopefully, the band is still the same and represents the same thing.”
The video, shot last month in Los Angeles by director Tim Hope (Coldplay) and expected to surface in late April, sums up the band’s present situation.
Jimmy Eat World’s eponymous album – renamed from Bleed American following September 11 – has moved almost a half-million copies, selling steadily since its July release. The disc’s singles, “Bleed American” and “The Middle,” have appeared on commercial radio more than any other song in their four-album arsenal, with the latter recently topping the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. But Jimmy Eat World are doing their best to keep it together and stay true to themselves in the face of such sudden exposure.
“We take [success] seriously, but not too seriously,” Lind said. “We try to realize it’s going well now, but who knows how it’ll be going a year from now.”
Unlike most bands – or for that matter, any group of people who keep in close contact for prolonged periods of time – Jimmy Eat World claim they rarely argue, except for the occasional spat over video games. Maintaining their friendships has been a top priority that doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon, given the playful banter they have with each other both onstage and off.
After pulling off a nervous yet stirring “Saturday Night Live” performance over the weekend, the next challenge that could threaten their very existence will be spending two months on the road with punk pranksters Blink-182 and Green Day on the Pop Disaster Tour, which begins April 17.
Unfortunately for the group, which doesn’t have the reputation for tomfoolery that its tourmates do, Jimmy Eat World just might have been dubbed the least entertaining act on the lineup if Adkins hadn’t come up with a surefire plan.
“We’re not really known for our snappy onstage banter,” he acknowledged, “but I have this theory. One day in Canada – I must’ve had too many Molsons – I didn’t say anything except cuss, and everyone just freaked out. Like nothing – I just walked out and said, ‘f-,’ and people went crazy.
“So if it seems like you’re bombing, all you have to do is whip out a couple of F-bombs and the crowd goes nuts. If you cuss a lot in front of young kids they think you’re cool. ‘How the F are you doing today? Is everybody having an F’n good time? F yeah!”