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The Realization That Jimmy
Eat World Really Hit It Big

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Jim Adkins, singer of Jimmy Eat World.
Image by Antje Naumann and used under a
Creative Commons License.
Arizona’s Local Heroes Jimmy Eat World Have Been Crushing It On A National Stage For Nearly Two Decades, But For Homers Like Ryan Scott, They Were Just The Best Band To Ever Come Out Of Phoenix


By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine

May 3, 2017 — I know this may come as a shock to most of you, but did you guys know that Jimmy Eat World is like, more than just a local band we get to hear on the radio sometimes? No, really it’s true!

Hear me out.

In all seriousness I am completely aware that Jimmy Eat World has been the pride and joy of the Arizona music scene for a very long time and one of the very few bands to truly make it big and escape the dredges of the Phoenix metro. But as someone who grew up in Mesa and isn’t what you would call a well-traveled man, that was always a hard thing to grasp. Everything in life requires some perspective.

Some sorely needed perspective, I recently realized.

But give me a break, please.

I grew up during a very dark time in the Arizona music scene. In the early 2000s, there was not a lot going on, and there certainly weren’t a lot of bands escaping the state, at least not bands who were truly homegrown. Plenty of artists have fled to bigger and perceivably better towns in order to find success. The point is, having music be the most important thing in your life and having a flat-out dreadful local music scene was pretty depressing and unencouraging. That made it really tough to see a band like Jimmy Eat World for what they really are. They aren’t just a band that is big in the eyes of Arizona music loving pop punk/emo kids who looked up to them as a big fish in a small pond.

They are legitimate big fish. No caveat. No qualifier. Jimmy Eat World, in the eyes of the world and not just Arizona kids, is a BIG BAND.

I recently moved from Mesa to Austin, Texas. A city that is every bit the city it is made out to be. There is lots of live music. There is lots of culture. And there is SXSW. One of the biggest festivals in the world. I had seen Jimmy Eat World play shows in Arizona for ecstatic crowds. What kid hasn’t? But it is pretty easy to seem like a big shot when you have homefield advantage. In that environment, as someone who really resented the scene I was stuck with, it was always hard to truly grasp just how big this little band was.

However, seeing Jimmy Eat World play for a packed house at SXSW opened my eyes in a way that wasn’t only surprising, but touching. Here was this band that came from the same place I did. The same place that seemed so frustrating at times. And people from all around the world were eating it up the same way I was. They knew all of the lyrics to “A Praise Chorus” too! This may seems silly, but it was something I had never truly considered.

Perspective is everything. And I now have some much needed perspective on this hometown heroes.

Even if Jimmy Eat World isn’t your favorite band, they are a shining beacon of light and hope for people in Arizona. They made it. Like, they really made it. Sure, I know Jimmy Eat World had toured all over the place and that their songs had been featured on things like Guitar Hero, various TV Shows and movie soundtracks. But that wasn’t enough to really convince me that people cared about these guys the way that Arizona music lovers care about them. They were our big fish in our little pond.

Or so I thought.

Hell, I even remember seeing “Pain” topping MTV2’s music video countdown around 2004, back when they still played the occasional music video. But that still wasn’t enough to convince me that a few guys from Arizona were truly adored by a larger world that exists outside of the blistering, punishing heat of Phoenix. Seeing these people from all around the world who had countless options for entertainment at this massive event choosing to spend their time with Jimmy Eat World did it. This is the kind of thing that can really inspire hope in a person.

Not only did SXSW shed some light on just how big Jimmy Eat World actually is, but just being somewhere 1,000 miles away from home has done that in spades. A bar named Barbarellas in downtown Austin hosts a pop punk/emo themed music night on the first Wednesday of every month. I decided to attend recently. You know, because it sounded like a ton of fun.

So, when you think that type of music, who comes to mind? Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, All Time Low, My Chemical Romance and Yellowcard, just to name a few. Countless clever names one could give to a night of themed music such as this. So, what does Barbarella call this delightful night of early 2000s music? Jimmy Eat Wednesday.

If that doesn’t say it, I don’t know what does. I mean sure, you can look at sales figures, Spotify numbers or any tangible figures that are easily accessible. But true perspective like this is something that can’t be found in the numbers or on the page. It takes true experience to realize that a band beloved by so many in the state of Arizona is a love shared by more people than I could have ever imagined.

Thanks, Jimmy. May you always eat world.
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