Friends since kindergarten, singer/guitarist Jim Adkins and drummer Zach Lind formed Jimmy Eat World in 1993 with guitarist Tom Linton and bass player Mitch Porter. Originally, the band's sound leaned towards punk but after releasing their self-titled debut album in 1994, they began experimenting with different levels of hardcore, including the "emo-core," as they toured the country's underground indie scene. This lead to a deal with Capitol records and a small line-up change with Porter leaving the group and being replaced by Linton's friend Rick Burch. Their first album with Capitol, 1996's Static Prevails, showcased the "emocore" sound they'd been perfecting -- a mixture of hardcode punk with scattered moments of reflection. Continuing to develop their fan-base in the indie scene, Jimmy Eat World released several singles over the next couple of years before recording Clarity in 1998, but the album was shelved due to new label management. Instead the band released a self-titled EP, from which the single "Lucky Denver Mint" received a fair amount of airplay, leading to Clarity's release in February 1999. After a tour to support Clarity, the band was dropped from Capitol before the end of 1999, allowing the band to release a slew of their recorded material on the disc Singles. Funding their next album on their own, they recorded it and released it through Dreamworks in July 2001. Originally titled Bleed American, the band changed the title of to Jimmy Eat World after September 11th to avoid offending anyone. With a more mainstream rock sound than the "emo" tinge in the past, the band hit it big with the single "The Middle," and through a subsequent tour, attracted a new breed of fans.
As one of the few emo bands to survive the 90s, Jimmy Eat World paved the way for bands like Fall Out Boy and Say Anything. With the success of their mainstream album Bleed American, however, the translation of the "emo" sound into the commercial world was somewhat skewed. Unlike most emo bands (ignoring that "The Middle" and other tracks on their breakthrough album were different from their past efforts), Jimmy Eat World created a unique sound that had traces of other popular bands, such as Weezer and Green Day with more reflective lyrics than most rock bands. Unlike so many songs on mainstream radio, the band put together upbeat music to stories of loss, such as "Hear You Me," and self-affirmation with "The Middle." Their more recent release, 2005's EP Stay on My Side Tonight, finds the band returning to their "emo" roots, but still shows a pop sensibility, drawing curiosity as to what their next album will bring.