Though Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins has never worn a tie to work or sat in a cubicle all day, he knows a thing or two about illicit interoffice romances.
"My advice about office romances? Don't do it. But if you do, good luck," he said. "I've never actually worked in an office, so I don't know. But I can imagine being in close quarters with someone, and you've got to have separate public and a private personalities."
"But Jim and [bassist] Rick [Burch] did have a fling for a while," joked drummer Zach Lind. "So I guess that counts as an inter-band thing."
The Adkins-penned "Work" is the second single from Futures, which debuted at #6 on the Billboard albums chart — the band's highest opening — and has sold more than 167,000 copies. Futures' first single, "Pain," still sits at #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart (see "Jimmy Eat World Tap Into The 'Pain' Of A John Cusack Classic").
In "Work," Adkins yelps, "Work and play, they're never OK/ To mix the way we do." And in person he comes this close to copping to the song's real meaning.
" 'Work' is about doing something you know you shouldn't be doing," he laughed. "It's about walking into an unhealthy situation, on purpose. Which could mean it's about an interoffice romance."
The song features backing vocals from indie-sexpot-turned-red-hot-soccer-mom Liz Phair, and the guys admit they were a bit intimidated by working with the woman who set hearts aflutter on her 1993 album, Exile in Guyville (which famously features her cursing at, flirting with and ranting about her myriad of male suitors).
"We're all fans of Exile, so maybe a bit of a crush thing was happening," Adkins said. "She definitely brings the sexiness. An unquantifiable sexiness, sure, but she definitely brings it. She was super cool to work with. 'Work' sounded like something she would sing, so we hunted her down through people we knew in Los Angeles. We showed her the song, she really liked it, so she came down and sang on it."
Jimmy Eat World plan to shoot a "Work" video, although they didn't know whether or not it would include Phair. Until then, they're touring nearly nonstop, crisscrossing North America until the middle of December, then heading overseas next year.
"If we're not on the road, we're on tour," Lind sighed.
"You never check out," Atkins added. "I hear a lot of bands complain about touring, and it does get to be a bit emotionally draining. But you have to put it into context: It's just a bunch of shows."