Fall Out Boy

author TL date 26/03/07

It\'s a cold afternoon outside in Copenhagen and for the past 45 minutes I\'ve been passing time, waiting for my 20 minute one-on-one with none other than Fall Out Boys (in)famous rockstar bassist Pete Wentz. Around me I\'ve been watching crew members working with the spectacular stage setup, label-people sorting out stuff in their mobile phones and fellow journalists preparing for their respective windows of opportunity. Then the band comes out from some group-interview for Finnish television and someone catches Pete\'s attention and guides him in my direction. I know that from now on the clock is ticking, but no matter how eager I am to get started, I\'ll be spending the first two minutes listening to Pete making fun of all kinds of stuff going on around us, especially the camera guy who had apparently been given the duty of filming (??) the interview.

Pete: .. Oh we hadn\'t even started already? I\'m already out of witty comments. I used them all up. You\'re gonna get sucky answers from now on, everytime you ask a question from now on, I\'ll read the answer up from a piece of paper! (grins)

RF.net: We’d usually start out by asking you guys to introduce yourself and your music to readers who might have never heard about you, but with your band, that seems kind of pointless. However I am still interested how you’d do it? How would you explain what Fall Out Boy is to a person who’d never heard about it before?
Pete: Okay, you ready? My name is Pete... I like long walks on the beach... Lots of poetry. I\'m looking to meet someone who has the same life plans as me - No erhh, if you are say 20 to 25 years old, my band sounds something like Green Day oooor Panic! At The Disco, or something withing that range. If you are 40 years old, we sound something like Blink-182, Green Day whatever, and if you\'re 50 years old, we could sound like Metallica probably, you know what I\'m saying? If you\'re over 50 years old, you should just be dead probably.. Nah, I was just kiddin\' about that part... Unless I\'m gonna inherit money from you.

RF.net: So what things would you say influence the creation of your music and your style the most? What bands and movies and experiences?
Pete: Just everything man, like..

*crew-guy comes walking with a mug of coffee for Pete*

Pete: ... Gimme my God damn coffee!!!

Crew-guy Here\'s your God damn coffee.. Is that enough sugar for ya\'?

Pete: .. It tastes like piss, you\'re fired!

Crew-guy: Good! \'Cause I quit! (everyone laughs) you can\'t fire me now!

Pete: Hahaha.. I was just making fun of him because it was on camera. It was on right? Can you insert a laugh-track there so it doesn\'t seem like I was serious? Even though I was serious... Erhmm.. Everything influences us really, it\'s like.. Everything from other music and other time-periods and when like, you\'re 5000 miles away from someone and they hang up the phone on you, and you can\'t call them back, what you think next is what you\'re writing about. That thing you would have said in that conversation is what you write.

RF.net: To a great many people this \'emo\'-term has become important for better of for worse, and many of them tend to label you with it. Do you consider yourself any kind of \'emo\' at all, and how do you think this association affects you?
Pete: No, I don\'t consider myself or my band emo, simply because I know where the term originates from. The term originates from when Rites Of Spring and some of these DC bands.. Should I say this, I mean you know, but does the readers know?

RF.net: Yeah, some of them might know, but go on?

Pete: Like they know about emotive hardcore? It didn\'t even mean emotional at first, it meant emotive and it was used to make fun of all these bands, and then it was shortened to emo and it was attached to bands like Dashboard Confessional later on, and Thursday and these bands, and then when that didn\'t happen or become what it was supposed to become, people kind of attached it to bands like us and My Chemical Romance. I don\'t care about it at all, it doesn\'t phase me one way or the other, if we\'re an emo-band then fine and if we\'re not then.. We were called a pop-punk and then a punk-pop band and then an emo band and the music hasn\'t changed once through the entire course of that so it\'s all rather pointless in my opinion

RF.net: A lot of bands these days are faced with the problem that after being severely hyped by \'the scene\', they\'ll finally release that one album that will seriously break them into the mainstream, kinda like you and My Chemical Romance just did, and when that happens a lot of the old fans will accuse them of selling out or maybe even being burnt out.. What are you thoughts on this?
Our fans are the worlds\' best man, like when your band gets a gold record or a platinum record, there\'s no manual on how you\'re supposed to behave, you know do this thing or do that thing, you\'re just trying to make the best decisions for yourself and for your band and protect your music, but you don\'t always know, it\'s like undiscovered country and our fans at least I think have followed us through all of our mistakes, and I think it\'s because we\'ve been pretty honest with them about the reasons we\'ve done things and how we\'ve gone about doing it, and.. No, I don\'t really think about it at all, I mean the word \"sellout\" is just so 1994 it\'s unbelievable..

RF.net: You mention mistakes, what kind of mistakes would that just be?

Pete: What would a personal mistake of mine be? I regret what I ate for breakfast today..

RF.net: No more like if you had any things in particular you think your fans followed you through..

Pete: Well how about this, like multiple years ago, I sent one girls pictures of myself naked and a year after that it surfaced and went all over the internet. And I consider it a mistake, because whatever happened to my band afterwards because of it, I wish it hadn\'t happened.

RF.net: Oh haha, actually I didn\'t want to discuss that because it\'s probably been talked about enough

Pete: Totally, but you know what, a lot of the other mistakes we\'ve made as a band involve other people, and I don\'t want to like, badmouth any of them, I\'ll give you this one though; Having a feud with The Killers was a mistake because I always like their music, and me and Brendon have really big mouthes and then we completely squashed it, and it was in some ways exciting, because he always had really smart things to say, but at the end of the day it was a mistake, because it didn\'t do anything for any of our music, and it didn\'t fulfill us or make us feel better in any way.

RF.net: Okay great, so could you state the no.1 best thing about being in Fall Out Boy right now, and the no. 1 thing you miss the most from being in the band in the early days.
Pete: The best thing about being in Fall Out Boy is that I get to see the entire world with my best friends. I went to Singapore with them, I held Koala-bears with them.. Erhmm.. On a daily basis, the hardest thing I have to do is, do interviews, and the hardest thing for me is missing my family and my friends and those I love, but for the most part I am one of the most blessed people on the planet, and I feel lucky to be who I am. About the old days, I guess I miss the anonymity. We\'ve been through 2 or 3 levels as a band like the initial level where noone knew who we were at all, and then the second level where people knew our songs but didn\'t know us, which was probably the most fun level to be at, because it would be like \"Sugar We\'re Going Down sucks man!\" and \"I hate Fall Out Boy!\" and we\'d be standing right there in the line to go to the movies and they\'d be talking about us but they had no clue and it was so funny, and even though that were also the days with all the twenty-hour drives, those were still the glory days, the days of some of greatest adventures I\'ve had in my entire life.

RF.net: A great deal of people expressed substantial concern when it was made public that artists like Jay-Z and Babyface would be featured on ‘Infinity On High’, but how would you say their involvement affected the final outcome of the album?
Pete: Well, Jay-Z did in a weird way, as he appears at the only time on the entire record where we speak directly to our fans and we choose to speak through him, which is an interesting decision for us to have made. I\'ll be honest because I don\'t really know Danish culture and a lot of the cultures we\'ve been in as well as I should, but in America it\'s very much like \"oh no there\'s going to be black people involved\" and we\'re like, Babyface is capable of so many different kinds of things you know, and Jay as well has his hands in everything, and they\'re not going to come in and change us into a hiphop band or an r\'nb band and that\'s why we made that joke r\'nb video because it\'s funny that people would even think that.

RF.net: Okay well, what I meant is, that here it\'s more like the war is between genres like rock vs. hiphop..

Pete: Yeah but I guess that doesn\'t really exist so much in states so, but if it did, we\'d be losing the war (laughs)

RF.net: Speaking of the new album, parts of the press don’t really seem to get it at all? Could you share your feelings about the critical response it has gotten so far?
Pete: I don\'t really care what critics say. Most critics couldn\'t write their way out of a paper bag. To me people often know what story they want to write before they write the story and people often know what review they want to give a record before they write the review and then what they do is they find the implications and proofs for those ideas that they\'re looking for, and it\'s really hard for anybody to listen to anything and be completely objective about it. It\'s like impossible to do that without attaching some sort of attributes to it, and I feel like, also in America at least, we love to build people up only to tear them down. Last year we were the underdogs and this year we\'re the topdogs, and thus people want to tear you down. Honestly I\'d been really surprised with the good reviews, as I think a lot of the reviews I\'ve read were really positive and really cool, but I try to not even read reviews of our band because the funny thing is that, half the reviews I read reviewed our records more based on how we lived our lives than how it actually sounded, going like \"this guy is doing this or that\" when it has nothing to do with the record at all.

RF.net: What would you say is the hugest encouragement about being in a band and making music today? And how about the worst DIScouragement?
Pete: The hugest encouragement is that people still love music, and people still want to hear it and crave it and live and breathe it. The worst discouragement is, that when you get to be a band at our level you get to think about everything except music. Everything about how you stand in pictures, how you look in videos, if you\'ll be playing at this corporate event, how you pay your bills, who your girlfriend is, everything has to do with everything except for music.

RF.net: So what do you listen to in your spare-time right now?
Pete: Mine\'s pretty boring because it\'s pretty much probably what everybody expects, as I listen to Cobra Starship and The Hush Sound. I listen to Lifetime and erhmm.. I listen a lot to Shiny Toy Guns who\'s playing with us on the other part of the European tour. I listen to a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Jackson Five, early Michael Jackson and I\'ve started to listen to The Libertines randomly and then a lot of hardcore music really

RF.net: What would you say is the number one best band on the planet right now?

Pete: Seems stupified by the question .. Well if I didn\'t say Fall Out Boy, why would I have flown from Mexico to here to play.. But I guess except for that it would be a band whose had ideals and who you could be completely encouraged by is Green Day because that band has pretty much just done it better than anyone else.

RF.net: This is sort of a poll we do, were we like to ask bands about their stand on music downloading, so; How do you guys feel about kids downloading music illegally off the internet?
Pete: This would be an hour-long conversation for us to really have, and I\'d be a hippocrate if I told you that I was completely against it, because our band was build completely on dorm-rooms and people downloading music on their parents\' computers and there are just so many different ways to address this agenda. I feel like some bands are only writing one or two singles and people go \"I just want to of their songs, the rest of the album sucks\", and in that way people don\'t care about their albums anymore. When The Beatles were around the put so much stuff out there and had this amazing creative output, they were writing so many songs and putting so many songs out there, where as now, rockbands tend to just want to have an opus every 4 or 5 years or so and it drives people nuts, so people download their music. There\'s really a million different things to consider, but at the end of the day I feel like the music industry as a whole needs to a) change how it looks at selling and distributing music and b) stop treating the consumer like the enemy, but honestly this is like a much longer discussion that should be had by much smarter people than you and me.

RF.net: Okay so last question: After the release of \"Infinity On High\" it\'s not too bold to say that you guys have \"made it\". Do you feel the same way, and are you still \"hungry\" for more?
No, I do not feel like we\'ve made it and I am still hungry for more, though I do not necessarily know what more I\'m hungry for.

Over the course of the last two questions my Universal-contacts have been gesticulating quite a bit to make me aware of the fact that Pete has to move on, and after his final answer he is quickly rushed of to greet the next group of waiting journalists, while I am left to find my way out of the venue to kill the remaining hours before seeing Fall Out Boy rock the house. Thanks again to Pete for taking the time to do the interview.

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