Before they became flush with major-label cash, Jimmy Eat World had to rely on good old-fashioned ingenuity to make things happen. Everything they did — from booking shows and studio time to hawking merch and demo cassettes — they did on their own (believe it or not, some bands actually work this way). So it should come as no surprise that they're taking that same DIY approach to their videos.
While on tour in Japan earlier this month — in support of last year's Futures album — frontman Jim Adkins picked up his camera and PowerBook and started making short movies in his free time. He started out filming intra-band debates about the merits of Bon Jovi, but eventually he made a full-blown music video.
"We had been messing around with one of our older songs, 'A Sunday,' during our tour, and we were just sitting around at the airport in Tokyo, and [bassist] Rick [Burch] started filming me walking around," Adkins said. "So I just walked and recorded a new vocal track while we were filming. I don't know ... when you're on the road, you got to do something to avoid boredom."
Adkins posted the video on Jimmy Eat World's tour blog, and fans reacted. So when the guys returned to the U.S. and hit the road with Taking Back Sunday (see "Monsters Of Emo: Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday To Tour In April"), they decided to make another video, this time for the song "If You Don't, Don't," off 2001's Jimmy Eat World. But Jimmy Eat World weren't the stars of the clip; it was a strange group of mustachioed guys frolicking in a field, with the footage cut to match the song's beat. It, too, is posted on JimmyEatWorld.com.
Adkins wants to continue taking filmmaking into his own hands. He said he plans to make the video for the group's next single, "Futures," on his own.
"We're kicking around some ideas. We might just produce this one ourselves. It's like, you don't need a really big, expensive studio to make a record, you don't need a really big, expensive video to get across the point of the song," he said. "The video for 'Work' [the band's last single], it looks low-key, but it was pretty expensive, so why not just make it for cheap?"
A spokesperson for the band's label, Interscope, seemed to have no idea what Adkins was talking about. If Adkins wants to make the video on his own, though, it seems fitting given the tune's anti-corporate theme.
" 'Futures' is about greed. It's about someone who has done everything society has told them they need to do to have a prosperous place in American society. And they do everything by the rules and they still end up being downsized or homeless," he said. "It's about a general frustration. A lot of times I think that real policies that affect people are rarely based on common sense."
But despite the single's anti-establishment resonance, Jimmy Eat World are still down for the occasional corporate crossover, as evidenced by their appearance on the two-hour season finale of the WB's "One Tree Hill," which airs May 24 at 8 p.m.
In keeping with the grand tradition of the Flaming Lips (who rocked the Peach Pit on "Beverly Hills 90210") and a kabillion indie bands on "The O.C.," Jimmy Eat World will perform at a fictional rock club. There will probably be plenty of teenage melodrama, as well ... stay tuned.