Givin' Us Static

One year ago, Jimmy Eat World was just another Mesa indie band. Now it's a Capitol investment.

Specifically, the guitarist broke one of his knuckles. On someone's head.
"Well," says Lind with noticeable hesitation, "it was a girlfriend thing. It was at a party and some guy who was seeing the same girl got a bunch of his friends to gang up on Tom. So Tom just started kicking ass. He turned into a regular Jean-Claude Van Damme."

He also kept the band sidelined until his hand healed. Capitol was not amused.

"They really didn't say anything," Lind says. "But they didn't have to. It was evident."

Capitol apparently is far more pleased with Static Prevails. There's word the label plans to push the CD as a nuthin'-fancy, do-it-yourself-sounding disc that echoes back to the indie/underground of the '80s. And the CD's best songs--the melodic "Robot Factory," the propulsive "Seventeen" and the ambitious, seven-and-a-half-minute "Digits"--do come off like throwbacks to music on Homestead or Twin/Tone or one of the other independent labels that once ruled college-radio playlists. Adkins sings with an obvious Westerberg-inspired urgency, and the rest of the band grinds out the kind of controlled noise that defined the pregrunge, postpunk sounds of American bands in the Reagan years.

It's a sound that's helped Jimmy Eat World cultivate a young, sturdy following on the local alterna-rock scene, with Static Prevails reportedly selling well at mom-and-pop record stores like Stinkweeds and Eastside. Still, Jimmy Eat World hardly carries the buzz the Gin Blossoms, Refreshments or even Dead Hot Workshop generated before signing their respective recording deals. Lind figures his band's relative anonymity is due in part because Jimmy Eat World never tried to wriggle into any certain scene in town.

"Until now we've basically been an underground band in the East Valley," Lind says. "We just played shows with bands we liked from other cities that were passing through. We were kind of lazy in a way, but then again we never sold out to Gibson's or Long Wong's because that was never really important to us. It's not like we tried to avoid those places. I just don't think they were ever really interested in us."

Jimmy Eat World is scheduled to perform a free concert on Thursday, August 8, at Nile Theater in Mesa. Showtime is 8 p.m.

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