The Pop Shop Podcast is excited to present the first episode of a new weekly segment: the Headliner Interview. Set to run each Thursday, this new segment will feature Billboard.com staff writer Chris Payne conducting a longform interview with a compelling voice in the world of music — we hope you’re the type who likes a good story. Our first episode is with Jimmy Eat World, an Arizona quartet that came out of nowhere to land a top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 14 years ago, and has since endured as one of America’s most respected modern rock bands.
“I’d rather be the unsexy fact, rather than the opinion that’s going to change next week,” frontman Jim Adkins says, reflecting on the band’s longevity and new album Integrity Blues, due Oct. 21 on RCA. “The Middle” broke big in 2002 — just two years after the band was dropped by Capitol — and presented the still-young band with an opportunity for a cash-grab jump at early 2000s rock trends: asymmetrical haircuts, unnecessary screaming, perhaps even an unnecessary DJ in their lineup. But Jimmy Eat World stayed true to themselves, releasing quality music they could feel proud of.
They never repeated the success of “The Middle,” but they did earn an enduring grassroots fanbase, including Taylor Swift, who lip-sync-belted their millennial anthem in a recent Apple ad, and brought Adkins out to play it on tour in 2011. “You’re gonna enter in the middle of the arena on this floating platform with smoke and lights coming out of it,” Adkins recalls being told. “The inner metal kid that got into music watching videos by Scorpions and Def Leppard — the birth of MTV-era heavy metal — [he] was like, ‘Oh yeah.’”
Listen above, and click here to subscribe to and/or rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes. The Headliner Interview series continues next Thursday (Oct. 13) with an in-depth chat with superstar producer Butch Walker.
The Pop Shop Podcast has been a Billboard.com staple for over three years and, rest assured, the weekly episodes hosted by Keith Caulfield and Katie Atkinson won’t be going anywhere. Every Tuesday, tune in to hear their weekly breakdown of the Billboard charts, hottest music news and biggest musical events.