In the heat of circumstance, a remarkable song is hanging in the balance due to false interpretations. At face value, "Bleed American" sounds extremely negative considering last week's tragic events. But unless you take the time to LISTEN to the track, it is easier to sweep this song under the carpet and not continue to spin it. That is where we are making a terrible judgment call. Here is a song that is showing all signs of being a success; to wipe it away from a radio station's rotation is completely ridiculous. As a programmer, you can control your air talent's presentation for any piece of music. Do not allow your market to misconstrue the meaning purely based on the superficiality of a "title". Cornerstone has had the opportunity to discuss the current situation of Jimmy Eat World with Dreamworks and its current state at our format. Please continue to read the statement that singer Jim Adkins issued us. The band is coming under some unnecessary scrutiny and I think that you guys [radio] need to take a second to reconsider your decisions.
I usually write about adversity but I don't consider my problems to be important enough to be given the platform of national/global media attention. I don't usually like to reveal the intent of our songs and I don't like talking about the inspiration it takes the fun out of interpretation and I strongly feel there are far more important things to talk about, but now I feel I should go into detail regarding the title of our song "Bleed American".
The lyrics describe a period when I was trying to deal with panic attacks. I didn't leave the house and I was on various head drugs when I did go out. I'd end up drinking with friends; alcohol seemed to numb the anxiety a bit. At that period I was also working through Howard Zin's book "A People's History of the United States 1492 to Present" and I was amazed at how far back and intense the labor struggle has been in the U.S. I guess that left an impression that I associate with that particular time.
One day I decided I was sick of feeling helpless. I was sick of knowing that the problems were just in my head but never the less I felt helpless. I made the simple decision I wasn't going to let myself feel like that anymore and I got better quickly. I guess "Bleed American" is a reference to the lyrics in the song where I say, "I bleed the greed from my arm. Won't they give it a rest now". It is about the desire to change your life for the better. We call the album Bleed American partly because we thought it was the rock and roll thing to do...but also because that theme of the desire to better yourself is all over the album.
Jim Adkins / Jimmy Eat World
Source: CSP & Dreamworks Records