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Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins explains why Gunnersville is going to be cool — literally

Hot stuff: Jim Adkins is leaving the heat of Arizona for London PICTURE: GETTY

IT MAY feel like festival season is over, but there’s a few more events still to go.

This weekend is Gunnersville, taking place in Gunnersbury Park. Sunday’s programme climaxes with You Me At Six playing all their singles in chronological order, after support from a strong line-up topped by Jimmy Eat World.

The Arizona alt-rockers have been at the forefront of intelligent emo for more than two decades, and they’re looking forward to playing in London.

Speaking from his home in Phoenix home during a summer of sweltering US tours, frontman Jim Adkins enthuses: ‘I’m excited to get over there and play. It’s 115 degrees over here at the moment. We’re going to be so stoked that it’s not hot that we’ll come onstage in down jackets. It’s Saharan heat over here right now so we’ll be grateful and super-appreciative that we’re not overheating,’ he laughs, erm, warming to his theme.

‘We’re waiting for our permit to clear for the exotic animals that we want to bring over. We have this whole thing with tigers, but if that doesn’t work out then it’ll have to just be a rock show.’

Big cats or not, and we strongly suspect not, Jimmy Eat World are set to put on a good show. The band have been busy working on new music, so the Gunnersville crowds will be among the first to hear some of the unreleased songs this weekend.

‘We want to play new stuff,’ says Jim. ‘We’re sitting on a bunch of new material, and we’re excited to let it out into the world soon. The thing is, we’re super-excited about playing new songs but I realise that for fans, it’s always kind of lame to go to a show and not hear the songs you know.

‘You want to play new songs as you’re excited, but then you want to play songs that people have this connection too. We try to hit that balance in the limited time we have.’

Since their formation in 1993, Jimmy Eat World have been winning (and breaking) hearts with albums that regularly top Most Influential lists. Jim says they never expected to have such longevity, though.

‘The concept of even the year 2000 was a long way off when we started playing!’ he says.

‘I always knew that I would be doing something related to music forever — it’s that important to me. But I never expected we would be in the same rock band.

‘But it’s still fun. We’ve done a great job of protecting what’s really important, and that’s consistently trying to be proud of our own work, challenging ourselves and playing new music together. If you’re not getting fun and enjoyment out of playing music, then you need to either stop, or you need to really look at why you’re doing it and change it so it becomes fun again.’

One of their songs recently featured on a playlist curated by Taylor Swift, a pinch-yourself moment for Jim. ‘Other musicians recognising what you do and giving you props is always a pretty great compliment.’

Other highlights? ‘This interview, man, I feel like I’ve finally made it. Maybe we should just pack it all in right now,’ he says, wryly.

‘Second would be Saturday Night Live when Cameron Diaz hosted it. That was nerve-wracking; you have to suspend disbelief the entire time you’re there, else you’ll just psych yourself out. The dressing room for the artists is tiny, it’s the size of a one-bed hotel room in Tokyo. We’re talking really small, so all of these famous artists are just cramped in with one another. It’s very surreal, then there’s just us in the corner. It was so weird.’

One last thing ahead of Sunday’s show, if the promise of winter coats and logistically troublesome tigers don’t sway you: ‘It’s probably the best show you’ll ever see in your whole life, hands down, the best.

‘If you’ve seen other rock bands play, it’ll sort of be like that. It’s whatever you think it’ll be, but better.’

Gunnersville Concert series runs from today until Sunday. Jimmy Eat World play on Sunday. Gunnersville, Gunnersbury Park, gunnersville.com