After 23 years in the business, Jimmy Eat World drummer Zach Lind has heard everything. But when fans recall listening to his Mesa-bred alternative pop band in their childhood, it makes him laugh.
“It makes us feel old,” said Lind, calling from Chicago’s Riot Fest. “It is a weird feeling. On the other hand, I’ve always admired people who said they have done this job or that job for 25, 30 or 40 years.
“We’re becoming that. We’re entering into our 23rd year as a band. It’s a good feeling. I take pride in the fact that we stuck around and did it for that long and made nine albums.”
The ninth album is “Integrity Blues,” slated for release on Friday. Jimmy Eat World settled on the title after a bit of a struggle.
“Primarily, our album names are based on a song title,” he said. “We hesitated a little bit on ‘Integrity Blues.’ We didn’t want the takeaway of it to be something that’s understood as us bragging. You’re assuming that you have integrity, so you’re playing the integrity blues.”
Lind explains that there’s a much different message.
“The idea is you have a vision or expectation for your life and sometimes that doesn’t pan out the way you thought,” said Lind, who lives in the Arcadia area of Phoenix with his wife, Holly, and their children.
“In the end, oftentimes, we find ourselves longing for that particular outcome. If it doesn’t work out, we take it really hard and personally. While we’re clamoring for that outcome, we miss what’s under our nose. We miss the really awesome things going on in our lives.
“There’s more to it than that, but that’s the baseline theme of the record.”
Ken Andrews, lead singer of the band Failure, mixed the record. He’s experienced with Jimmy Eat World, as he worked with lead singer Jim Adkins on the band’s cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas.”
“I know they’re super happy with the way ‘Integrity Blues’ turned out,” Andrews said. “There’s a sonic difference. It’s a little wider stereo-wise. There’s a thicker, fatter drum sound than they’ve used before.
“It’s like a new version of this band, in terms of sound and songwriting. I got really into helping them figure out what the sound was going to be. It was a long process, but they were very particular about what they wanted.”
Andrews adds that Jimmy Eat World did so without compromising the band’s trademark sound.
“With Jim’s distinctive voice, people will know it’s him,” he said. “But this afforded them the opportunity to change it up instrumentally a little bit more and still retain their identity.”
“Integrity Blues” was recorded at the tail end of a year-long break for the band. Lind spent his break recording and releasing music with his wife as The Wretched Desert.
“We released two three-song EPs over the course of a year,” he said. “We’ve never done any music together. It was like a process. I was learning how to play bass. I was kind of noodling around.
“We thought the songs were really cool so we recorded them and put them out on our own.”
He calls the project “enlightening.”
“It was a fun process of learning to do a bunch of new things,” he said. “For the second EP, I engineered, mixed and mastered it all myself. It was different.”
Since the break, Lind has been “jonesing” to play a hometown show. Jimmy Eat World will do so during the 93.3 ALT AZ Zombie Prom at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Fear Farm. It will also sign autographs and play an acoustic set at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Zia Mesa Megastore.
“Hometown shows are great,” Lind said. “It’s always good to play in front of friends and family. In a weird way, we can’t do this job without those people in our lives. To have them come out and to be able to play for them as well is really cool. It’ll be a blast. We’re looking forward to it.”
Right now, Jimmy Eat World is only playing a few new songs in concert. But when “Integrity Blues” is released, that will pick up steam.
“I think it was a nice balance of all of our releases,” Lind said. “We challenged ourselves and experimented with different songs and approaches, while retaining the core identity of who we are as a band. We feel really good about it.”