Fall Out Boy

By paul

This interview was conducted by Paul and Spud Punktastic and Patrick from Fall Out Boy before their sold out gig at the Leeds Refectory. Just before we began the interview, FOB bassist Pete Wentz was having an on-stage photoshoot wearing, well, next to nothing…

PAUL: How’s the tour going, is it going well?
PATRICK: It’s been awesome so far.
PAUL: They’ve all been sold out…
PATRICK: Yeah it’s crazy, this is our second headline tour as the last time Pete wasn’t with us, so it’s weird coming over and having the shows sell out and stuff.
PAUL: And they sold out in about a week as well…
PATRICK: Yeah, it’s crazy. We didn’t expect it at all.

PAUL: We were just watching you sound check and there was Pete having his pictures taken with his shirt off…is this some kind of normal ritual now?
PATRICK: No, no…we have Rolling Stone following us around for something or other, I don’t know. I’m not a big photo guy, I usually let Pete take all the pictures and I write all the stuff! Pete responds to all that a lot, he is kind of a hand to a camera, he loves it.

PAUL: Do you think you’re being treated differently to the last time you came over? Maybe in terms of the fans…
PATRICK: It just seems like there are more of them! The one thing I like over here a lot, right now over here is where we were in the States a year or two ago. First off, there are a lot more guys. Back then it was a lot more even, but now it’s one of those things. Over here it’s more even. It’s nice to relate to dudes sometimes. Over here we like to get guys to shout with that deep manly thing and it’s awesome when there’s a crew of dudes. It’s very similar to what happens in the States. It’s cool right now…
PAUL: It’s funny you mention the guy/girl ratio because we were at Panic! At The Disco last week and there must have been like 90% girls…
PATRICK:…it’s weird. I don’t know, it’s cool I guess.
SPUD: But it must be good to be attracting more people?
PATRICK: Totally, it’s cool. Having 14-year-old girls into our music is cool and I love that, but at the same time it’s like, you’re thinking ‘I’m not a 14 year old girl’, so it’s just weird. When I was 14 girls wouldn’t talk to me!

PAUL: Going back to the tour, you’ve brought Nightmare of You and Gym Class Heroes with you, was that something you desperately wanted to do?
PATRICK: Absolutely. Actually, there’s a funny story. With Nightmare of You, when they set up their band and they put up some demos, the first person to email them was Pete. We had been really excited about them from the start. And then Gym Class Heroes is like, whatever. I’ve kind of just come off co-producing their new record. It won’t be out for a while but I finished my work on it. I love those guys. We are really stoked to have them on tour. You always tour with people you like.

PAUL: Talking of production, have you just finished The Hush Sound as well?
PATRICK: I’m in the middle of The Hush Sound. I kinda gave up a lot of my free time to do the Gym Class and Hush Sound records.
PAUL: Are they both with Sean O’Keefe as well?
PATRICK: No, Sean O’Keefe is doing a lot of The Hush Sound record, obviously because I am gone so much that I can’t just…you know. We’re all on the same page and Sean is an old friend of mine so I trust him, y’know? I know how he’s gonna arrange a load of stuff. I had to speed produce and come in and give ideas and do it all right there and then leave. It’s very new.
PAUL: Is it something you want to carry on? Do you have any other projects in mind?
PATRICK: I don’t have anything for quite some time. The next thing we are working on is the Fall Out Boy record. If anything I just want to take things into being an artist. There was some talk about whether I would produce some of our stuff. I didn’t want that responsibility! If it turns out bad I don’t want that on my shoulders! We want to get back to Neal Avron and we’re talking to Babyface…
PAUL:…I was going to ask about that, whether they were rumours or…
PATRICK: It’s a possibility. But it comes down to whether or not he really wants to do it. He’s always excited me. He’s a great performer and he and I had a nice talk about singing in general and I was joking about how I became a lead singer by default and he said he did to so it makes sense but we will see how it works. But it’s been cool to work with him and talk to him and also I would like to work with Neal again so we will see what happens.

PAUL: the last time you were over you had just signed the deal with Island, has that gone as well as you thought? Has it exceeded expectations?
PATRICK: It’s gone better. There are so many horror stories about major labels but there has become a dichotomy between what major labels used to be, what they are now and conversely what indie labels used to be and what they are now. Indie labels are just as ready to shiest you and treat you terribly and bury you on their label. It comes down to a label by label thing. The reason we signed to Fueled By ramen was that a lot of the other indie labels we were talking to were just shiesty dudes that were full of shit and then Fueled By Ramen came in and they were really honest and I have had bands come to us and say ‘what do you think of Fueled By ramen, should we sign to them?’ and I say ‘absolutely’. In a heartbeat I would sign to those guys any time of the day. It’s the same with Island. They can manage Mariah Carey and The Killers and they have time for a band like us and it’s nice. Even bands that aren’t as high profile, like Thrice, they still give them a lot of attention and that’s nice. It’s like, basically it’s been very welcoming…it’s one of those things that is not the stereotype. We don’t need image counselling or someone to come along and say, ‘your new record needs to sound like this’, they are totally hands off. They were like, ‘here’s some money, go record!’

PAUL: You mentioned The Killers, there was the big thing…
PATRICK: yeah, whatever. I was totally not involved in that.
PAUL: It seemed to stem from a vague line in Pete’s journal and then all of a sudden…
PATRICK: Yeah, I had nothing to do with any of it! I think a lot of people are watching us right now and we don’t realise it. I don’t think any of us are sat around going ‘we need more attention’. It’s one of those things you say stuff and you don’t mean it to sound a certain way. I don’t read people’s journals. It was really weird. There is a cult of people doing this stuff and it’s weird because I’m a very private guy so people want to know a lot of stuff and it’s weird. I wouldn’t like a lot of people to know stuff about me and it’s really not that interesting. It’s like ‘go figure!’.

PAUL: How were the VMAs?
PATRICK: They were great – we won! It was like, somebody let their little brothers loose at the big party. We got to walk around like we belonged there but we totally didn’t. I learned something that day. Celebrities, who don’t know each other, will say hello to each other like they’ve known each other for ever. We walked off stage and Nelly hi-fived me and said ‘good job man!’ and I was, like, ‘thanks!’ Lil John was hanging out and it was very odd. It was cool and really funny. I got to hang out with Ice T and Kanye was there – it was the first time I’d met Kanye. He;s a good dude, really awesome. People play up the whole arrogance thing but arrogance is his canvas and he paints it.
SPUD: There’s a fine line between arrogance and honesty.
PATRICK: Exactly, and here’s the thing. Like he says better stuff. The stuff he says is art. He;s awesome. That was cool. It was weird.

PAUL: What is it with you and the whole rappers thing? You seem to attract them!
PATRICK: You can’t escape yourself and on the one hand we can’t escape how suburban and white we are, like we’re completely nerdy, yet we can’t escape what is going on in hip hop. We love hip hop.
SPUD: If you can’t see the similarities between the ideologies of hip hop and punk rock…
PATRICK:…exactly. I was raised on folk music. That’s what my parents listened to. A lot of other music forms right now are re-hashing old ideas. These rock and rollers spend a lot of money to look like they just woke up. It’s fucking stupid. They try to pretend they are something they’re not and there’s a lot of other stuff and hip hop, like Kanye and Jay-Z, I couldn’t speculate the reason why they like us, but I think there is an element of reciprocated respect because they are very obviously aware it’s an interest of ours. When Kanye West said George Bush didn’t care about black people we applauded.

PAUL: There’s one other question I wanted to ask about the VMAs because it’s been a big point of contention for fans in the UK and that was when you cancelled some really small shows at the same time and then when they were rescheduled they were 10 times the size.
PATRICK: There were a couple of issues with that. The reason we didn’t come over was not just the VMAs, there was other stuff going on too and we had to work on that. So it wasn’t anything personal towards the UK. The problem with booking shows is that it’s a double edged sword. You book them in small venues and people flip out because they can’t get tickets and then you book big venues and people say, ‘it’s so crappy’. Someone was asking me about encores the other day and they were asking if it’s cool and I think we could do one and people would call us rock stars, but then we may not do one and people would boo and cry bullshit because we’re not fulfilling…it’s weird because you do what you can. People know we are honest and reasonable guys. We are not truing to be rock stars, we are trying to be…we are not doing this for money, We are trying to please as many people as we can.

PAUL: What’s the concept behind the ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ video…the antlers and all that? That video hasn’t actually been shown in this country yet… [NOTE, SINCE THIS INTERVIEW THE VID HAS BEEN PLAYED]
PATRICK: Literally we had a week to film a video as we didn’t have one. We procrastinated and talked about the idea and so we tried to come up with an idea but we didn’t have time so we were accepting treatments and they all sucked. They were all cheesy, bands playing a pool party – punk rock girls and boys dancing and making out and all that bullshit. Totally Fall Out Boy as I’m always at pool parties! And we got antler boy and we thought, well someone has to do it and I don’t know what it means…it was fun to do. We have another for ‘Dance, Dance’…that was great, fun as hell. We were heavy handed about that one. It was us and Alan Ferguson the director bouncing ideas off each other. I like ‘Dance, Dance’ better.
PAUL: There’s a lot of guest appearances in that one…
PATRICK: there are so many dudes, like Travis from Gym Class Heroes, Ben from Armor For Sleep, Ben our manager…
PAUL: It seems very much like a family thing…when we were interviewing Panic! At the Disco they were saying it’s like being a family.
PATRICK: It’s like Panic! And The Academy Is, it’s funny because those bands are all over the place and huge. When you start out they’re your friends and that’s it and then the spotlight falls and it’s funny to see those bands get all the attention because it’s one of those things where you open up a magazine and it’s ‘oh look, it’s Will’ but because you experience the same thing, Panic! Are our little brothers and The Academy Is are old friends…I used to do acoustic shows with William. It’s weird.

PAUL: We touched on the new record before, what kind of sound are we looking for, will we see a change of direction?
PATRICK: Any time a band has a new record they say it’s going to sound completely different but I’m not going to speculate. I’ve rarely heard a band that has accomplished that – even Saves The Day, it still sounds like Saves The Day.
PAUL: That said there’s a big difference between ‘Take This To Your Grave’ and the new record…
PATRICK: See, I think that but there are people who say you plagarise yourselves. We make it obvious we are in to hip hop and r n b. It’s one of those things that if you get into guests then you go off your own thing and I like the idea of keeping it internal. I want to keep it in house a little bit. If you let me loose I’d do hip hop collaborations but I don’t know if it would work. The four of us like hip hop and soul music and then we like a lot of metal so there will always be a little bit of that. I like folk, any of these things it’s not about direct sound things but there are elements. But we are happy to be Fall Out Boy. There are a lot of bands out there who are not comfortable in their own skin but we go out there and we have fun. There may be one or two songs we don’t play because we don’t like them…but it will be us older. Older and maybe a bit wiser.
PAUL: have you written many new songs?
PATRICK: Yeah, we’re done.
PAUL: How many? All done?
PATRICK: Yeah we know what’s going to be on it. We wrote it all. I was sat after we did the last record and I thought I wouldn’t write anything so we went on tour and I didn’t bring any equipment to write anything and then I’m sitting there and I accidentally wrote the entire record. It was one of those things where we have refined it and reviewed it and I am proud of it. I can’t wait to record it.

PAUL: Obviously Pete churns out lyrics all the time, are there any side projects? You’ve done some stuff with Justin from Motion City Soundtrack
PATRICK: It’s one of those things, I think you do side projects when you are unhappy with your main project and I am very happy doing Fall Out Boy right now. We have grown so that I could write the craziest thing and I think I’m at a better place as a writer so that the band understands each other a lot more so whatever we do I like it. I love Justin and there are a lot of people I would like to work with if I had too much time on my hands. I am totally happy being in Fall Out Boy right now. When I did the Hush Sound record there are elements of me on there and the Gym Class Heroes record I wrote a lot…I’m not trying to make it the Patrick Stumpf show. I wrote some of the beats and play some keyboards as a starting point thing. We will see. If you see me doing something else, then be worried.

PAUL: You finish up here and then you have a US arena tour, what can we expect after that. Are you coming back here?
PATRICK: We are working on it as we didn’t expect there to be quite a rush on over here. We sit around in the States and you don’t know what’s going on. We have to. It’s really cool as we are getting a lot of attention. I’d love to come back here more regularly so we don’t have to do quite so much over here. It’s like we are here for a couple of weeks and every day we have like 15 things to do. It’s like we have Top of the Pops…
PAUL: You’re playing Top of the Pops?!
PATRICK: I think. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Haha. But there is all sorts of shit we have to do but we want to come back so we don’t do it all the time.
PAUL: Festivals maybe?
PATRICK: Definitely. I wish we had done it last year. It’s one of those things that we were excited about…
SPUD: If you do get on it this year you’ll be a lot higher up the bill than you were last year…
PATRICK: haha, yeah! It’s one of those things…that would be incidental.

PAUL: You’ve released a DVD with the acoustic EP, do you have any plans to do another one?
PATRICK: I don’t know. We have been so busy we haven’t spoken about it. There’s so much crap we have…I think Pete has plans for one but I don’t know if Fall Out Boy have any plans to do one.

SPUD: Are you listening to any particular UK bands at the moment?
PATRICK: That’s a really common question and I have to be honest with you, Americans know zip about what’s going on over here. It should change but we don’t know shit.
SPUD: Is that ignorance on the part of listeners?
PATRICK: I think it’s a combination of things. There are some subtle cultural things that we can’t handle, like Arctic Monkeys, I still haven’t heard them yet but in America that name won’t fly.
SPUD: I don’t think you’d get the music either as it’s sung in a very broad northern accent…
PATRICK:…and that’s part of it. They tried to break The Streets and that accent is just too thick. They get laughed at by the Americans and I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff here you’d laugh at. They tried to break Busted in the States and that didn’t work. It’s a cultural thing. There is a lot of dis-interest in what goes on on a lot of people’s parts, America is the world to a lot of people so there’s a lot of that.
PAUL: Having said that Nightmare of You have a very British sound so it does work both ways.
PATRICK: Oh absolutely. It takes 10 years to exchange music. A band like Nightmare of You has influences, as Fall Out Boy is, is influenced by The Cure and The Smiths and that is obvious. It’s the same way the original British invasion was heavily influenced by blues music. I don’t know…we know shit. Americans know shit. I know Elvis Costello though!

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