Irish whiskey, Donald Trump and a ninth album - JOE.ie speaks to Rick Burch from Jimmy Eat World
When it comes to musicians sticking to their guns, the pop-punk bands have never been the most adhesive.
Jimmy Eat World, however, were the predecessors to emo (premo, if you will) and here and now in the year 2016 of our Lord they remain - cranking out sweet, melody-heavy rock music that reminds us all how much we all wished we could go to parties that looked like the The Middle music video.
The band's ninth album, Integrity Blues, hits record stores and streaming services next month. JOE.ie caught up with bassist Rick Burch to talk about the new album, among other things.
JOE: Hey Rick, are you excited for the new album to come out?
RICK: Yeah, we're all very proud of the music that we've brought together for Integrity Blues, it's quite exciting.
JOE: How long did you guys spend working on this one?
RICK: We spent a while... At the end of touring for Damage we got together and made a conscious decision to take a break and to step away from all things Jimmy Eat World for a short time and that is because we asked ourselves "Well, why make another album? Is it just because that's what we're supposed to do?" so we decided to step away for a moment and get back together in a year.
So we did a year where it was nothing Jimmy Eat World, it was nice to turn that switch off and when we reconvened and asked the question again, is it time to make another album, it was a resounding yes. Having that time away gave us some appreciation and perspective for the things we love about making and performing music.
JOE: Did you spend your year off doing anything fun?
RICK: We all kind of did our own thing. Jim did some solo music, released some music and did some touring and Zack and his wife did the same. I personally have been a fan of distilling for quite a while, in the form of being a consumer, I love whiskey. I've been dabbling with it and visiting distilleries over the last eight years or so and I took it upon myself to become a legitimate distiller myself so I went through the process of getting a license and building a shop and getting that up and running.
Tom became quite a powerful boxer. We ask him if he'll spar with us but he doesn't want to hurt anyone so he won't do the sparring...
JOE: No way. We have a famous distillery right around the corner from our office. Are you familiar with Teeling?
RICK: I'm not too familiar with Teeling but yes, I am a fan of the Irish whiskey. Some people, they don't agree with the triple-distillation. I understand why but I like it, it's really clean and it's a nice spirit but again I'm a fan of all whiskey so... Lately, there's a Japanese whiskey, the Yamazaki. It's quite a rollercoaster with the flavours that's going on there. It's really delicious.
JOE: And you're coming here in November, how do you feel about the Irish crowds?
RICK: We always have a great experience in Ireland, it's always a fun time. No complaints. Just great anticipation and really excited to get in front of the Irish public again.
JOE: Is there a particular song that you guys play live that gets the best reaction?
RICK: Oh you know what? Our tune Sweetness off the Bleed American album. It's an older tune, it came together in like 1999 or so. It went on tour in 2001. It's just a really energetic singalong song, it always surprises us when the audience is generally singing louder than the speakers. That never gets old.
JOE: And your song Futures... Is that about an election, perchance?
RICK: Yes, it is! It's about being a part of the democratic process and casting your vote and having your voice and opinion be heard in the hopes for a better future.
JOE: So I'm sure you know who I'm going to ask about next... How are you guys feeling about Donald Trump and his run for the presidency?
RICK: I think we're all a bit surprised that it's actually gone this far... I really don't think that he's going to make it all the way. It's just amazing that it's even an opportunity.
JOE: So where is the title Integrity Blues coming from?
RICK: The title Integrity Blues refers to an awareness that, doing the right thing, it can be a lonely place sometimes. It's not always easy to do the right thing. As far as the material, the musical aspect of it, it's not really bluesy but what we've done with this album is we've challenged ourselves and we've grown.
It's led to songs that are quite diverse so we definitely have some rock on the album but there's also some very cinematic, very spacious-sounding songs. Big widescreen sunset in the desert kind of vibe. And everything in between.
JOE: Were you guys listening to anyone in particular when you wrote this album?
RICK: You know what, when we start writing for an album we tend to not really listen to other music, we just engross ourselves in what we're doing and it's a way to stay focused on what's happening with our tunes.
We're always inspired by anything we hear though - if we hear a cool idea or musical approach to a problem with someone else's music. Or it might be like "Wow, that's not what we want to do." But there really isn't anyone that we... The answer is no.
Jimmy Eat World's new album Integrity Blues is out on October 21, and their new single Sure and Certain is out now.