Jimmy Eat World Preps for Another Almost Acoustic Christmas: KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas extravaganza is back this week, for the first time since a pre-pandemic 2019. The lineup includes the magnificent Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie, Yungblud, Måneskin, The Interrupters, Wet Leg and headliners Imagine Dragons. And AAC favorites Jimmy Eat World will be there, so we chatted with frontman Jim Adkins…
LA Weekly: This won’t be your first Almost Acoustic Christmas – do you have any memories from your numerous AAC shows?
Jim Adkins: I think it was December 12, 2019. But who’s counting? It’s scorched into my memory because that was our last gig before the world was shut down. We were wrapping up our album surviving, the initial launch for that, and then the majority of our touring was going to happen in March onward, and that never happened. So that’s a sort of special show for me.
That’s the most recent but you’ve played a few…
Yeah. KROQ has been a supporter of us since 1999, when they started playing our song “Lucky Denver Mint” from our Clarity album. In fact, that was one of the first times I remember hearing one of our songs on the radio, in our van playing gig that we were booking ourselves, coming over Laurel Canyon and hearing that on KROQ. We go way back with them. I remember, we’ve been playing their Almost Acoustic Christmas since then. I remember one year, Muse played, and being real glad I wasn’t going on after them. Because that’s really tough. I remember telling them they handed everyone their ass that night, and then had to get into a conversation explaining what having one’s ass handed to them meant. They’d never heard that before.
The “Place Your Debt” single came out last month – is there an album on the way?
It’s hard to say. We’re always working on material. I don’t know exactly what form it will look like when we choose to release that material. I don’t know. We’ve been trying to meet people where they’re at with what we think is the way people consume music these days, and by and large that’s by track instead of album. So I guess our current operating mode is to see how that goes. But that’s not going to be forever. Personally, there’s a reward about putting together a body of work that includes – you can get through it in a setting but it’s a healthy time that you spend with it. There’s something rewarding about that, that we can’t live without indefinitely. I just don’t know when that will be next.
You mentioned the world shutting down — did the lockdown slow you down with work in general?
Oh yeah, of course it slowed us down. We were fully prepared mentally and emotionally to hit the road and play our Surviving songs for people, and that went away. It messed us up. It messed me up anyway. I guess my response to that was not entirely wrong. I looked at what was happening, and I picked out what I could actually do about things versus what I wanted to do about things. Made quick decisions to let go of the things I can’t do anything about. And I just got busy. I started a podcast about music, and I just did a lot of things. But I skipped over the part about how I actually felt about it all. Literally it should be first – accept that it’s not ok, you’re not ok, and this is really messed up. I kinda skipped over that and went right to getting busy. That sort of kicked the can down the road for that emotional reckoning. When that slowly unraveled, it definitely stunted the creative output. Rewind and no, I’m not ok at all. But I feel like I’m in a decent place now, and creating music is exciting. It’s something we love to do. Like I said, it’s not something we can really get by without doing. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ve been doing this for 30 years. We can’t not do it. Sometimes it’s more difficult to complete something you’re proud of but eventually we get there.
What are your plans for the set this time?
I’m not sure. I should probably have that band meeting soon because it’s coming up. We try to think about the audience at gigs like this where it’s not our own headlining show. I think we can get away with playing some deeper cuts because I do feel like these people know who we are. They have some frame of reference for what we do so it doesn’t have to be the commercial set. We can kinda spread our wings a little bit with the time we have. I don’t know what it’s going to be though.
Will you be watching anyone else?
I’m not sure who else is on it. These things are a surprise to me sometimes when I show up. I know we’re not headlining and I’m grateful for that. We can be part of the party and not feel like we’re hosting. There’s definitely a lot more pressure when you’re hosting.
When that show’s over and as we enter 2023, what’s next?
We are going to be supporting My Chemical Romance in Australia, which is going to be insane. We’re really excited about that. Putting out more new music for sure. Playing in North America again. Kinda doing more of what we’ve been doing. Next year is our 30th anniversary as a band, which is nuts. So we’ll definitely bake cookies.
We’re just excited to play this thing. LA is like a second hometown for us, we’ve put in a lot of time there and have a lot of friends there. KROQ has always been a massive supporter of us, and we’re really excited for it.
Jimmy Eat World Preps for Another Almost Acoustic Christmas: Almost Acoustic Christmas takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 10 at the Kia Forum.
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