Interview: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz
December 14, 2006 04:10 PM
by Christina Fuoco
Multiplatinum rock band Fall Out Boy could play large venues in support of its forthcoming album "Infinity on High," but bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz hopes to teach fellow bands a lesson by gigging in clubs for diehard fans right out of the gate.
"I think it's arrogant for us to go out there and to assume that everybody loves our band and we're God's gift and that we don't have to go back out and earn it to some extent all over again," Wentz said during a recent phone interview. "To me, that's us sending a message to other bands--both bands we're friends with and bands that look up to us. You can't just sit there and let someone else do the work. You're going to have to go out and do that."
Thus, Wentz and his bandmates--singer Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley--will take to the club circuit in January with New Found Glory, Early November, Permanent Me and Lifetime.
"We've got these fans who are really loyal and really dedicated to us, and it's important for us to keep them that way," Wentz said. "We like seeing them there. We like feeling the heat off the crowd. We like seeing the sweated-out eyes in the front row. It's something that is indescribable, that we thought would be cool and fun to do and to do it with the bands that we're doing it with, like New Found Glory, who we looked up to and we wanted to play with for a long time. Early November are old friends, and Permanent Me and Lifetime are just cool bands."
Fall Out Boy's new album, "Infinity on High," is due in stores Feb. 6.. The group debuted the first single, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," at the American Music Awards, and it is streaming on the group's official website.
Meanwhile, in perhaps the most blatant example of just how big Fall Out Boy has become, California toy manufacturer SOTA recently released a series of action figures depicting the group's members.
While in Minneapolis recently, Wentz talked to LiveDaily about the making of "Infinity on High," having an action figure of himself and being the "weird kid."
LiveDaily: How's the tour going so far?
Pete Wentz: Ummm, Interesting.
Why do you say "interesting" so hesitantly?
It's a little weird. It's a lot of radio shows that we have to get up at 6 a.m. to fly places, and that does not bode well for us, because we go to bed at like 4 a.m. Then we're always the oddball at every show. We're a bit too melodic for a lot of the heavier shows, and a bit too rock for some of the more pop shows. But it's fun being the weird kid.
How's the reception been to the new songs?
It's been very good. We've only been playing one ["This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race."].
It sounded really good on the American Music Awards.
Did it? My in-ears [monitor] broke so I couldn't tell. To me, it sounded so bad it was unbelievable. It's hard to tell. When you're cooking your own food, you always think it's bad, I think. It's a very human quality. Please don't let any of the readers know I have any human qualities.
Oh, I won't. I'll make them think you're some kind of god.
No, no, no. We're going for some kind of machine. I don't want to piss God off and not make it into heaven. Some kind of machine.
You may not be a machine, but you are an action figure. How do you feel about that? You're the hardest one to find, by the way.
I kind of consider them dolls. I'm like, "Watch out Ken. Barbie's got a new boyfriend." [Laughs] Since I was 8, I wanted to be an action figure or to be a doll. It's every boy's dream. I put them up next to all my other toys. I don't even really care what anybody else thinks. It was just so cool for us to be able to do that.
So what was it like to work with Babyface on the new album?
It must have been great for him. Um, no, it was cool. It's like when you date a girl for four years and then like all of a sudden you're single and you're, like, trying to kiss the other girl and you bump foreheads because you haven't kissed somebody new in so long. It took a little bit to kind of get used to. But he's probably one of the funniest and most talented people I've ever met in my life. It was a really good experience.
What was the most important thing that you learned from him?
Uh, you want to know the actual truth?
No matter how big your band gets or who you think you are, don't get a private jet because you'll lose all your money. [Laughs] That sounds about right. Not that any of us have had a chance to do that, but we were like, "Dude, private jets would be so cool." He's like, "Never get a private jet. That would be a waste of all your money."
Who else did you collaborate with on this album? I understand that a member of New Found Glory is on the album.
Yes. And our friend Ryan [Ross] from Panic! At the Disco plays a guitar solo on it. And then our boss, the president, Jay-Z is on the record as well, on "Thriller." It's an eclectic mix.
Did you write most of the songs on the album again? And did you write them before you went in the studio, or while you were in the studio?
Yes. It was about half and half this time.
Is it more difficult to do one than the other?
I think, for me, it's hard to ever say something's finished. I have a hard time doing that. I tend to focus on single words, you know, and they will just kind of drive me crazy. At some point, Patrick had to tell me "Enough is enough. You can't sit here and weed through every single little word. You're never going to be happy with it."
In the "Fall Out Boyz" video you have on your website, you say that the punk-pop thing is over. Do you really think that's true?
I don't know. I kind of don't. Green Day started doing it 15 years ago and was the biggest band again last year. I don't think it's really possible to say it's over. Do I think that the guys at labels sort of took notice of some of the rock bands that were bigger this year and it became a little more saturated? Probably. Whatever genre you put them in, there's a lot of bands that outstand and outlast their genre--everything from Linkin Park to The Beatles to The Rolling Stones. Everyone pegged them, put them in this category and they ended up rising above that. If anything, that's what I hope Fall Out Boy accomplishes.
Is that why you went for an R&B/classic rock sound on this album? That's what I've picked up from the songs I've heard.
I don't know. To me, it's like a misnomer; if you take any selection of songs and put them next to each other you can make an argument in any direction. I could tell you four songs to listen to and you could say, "Oh this could be on 'From Under the Cork Tree,'" our last record. Or I'll give you four and you'll say, "Oh, this is indie rock." I just think it's a natural progression. It's our growth as songwriters and our experiences in the world. All of a sudden, our eyes have adjusted to the dark and we can see different things. You realize there's other things in the room rather than when you first walked in the room and you just thought it was black.