Interview: Pete Wentz – Fall Out Boy [January 2015]

By Lais

Fall Out Boy need no introductions. Last week they came to the UK to play a super intimate show at the Islington Assembly Hall, and the next day they had to fly home after the tragic news that guitarist Joe Trohman’s mother had passed away. This week they released their sixth album ‘American Beauty/American Psycho‘. We talked to bassist and songwriter Pete Wentz from Chicago to find out how everything is in the Fall Out Boy camp, and how they coped with the album being leaked before release.

Firstly, I’m really sorry about the sad situation you’re all in right now.

Yeah, it’s really sad. I think the best you can do is give each other support really.

How are you feeling about the album coming out?

I get the anxiety before it comes out, like what if it’s not what people expect? I get anxiety until it happens and then afterwards – well, we’ve delivered it now and when people hear it they’ll decide whether they like it or not.

So it leaked…

Yeah, then we put it on our Youtube. The company that leaked it, I don’t think they care about music. They put up these streams and it’s frustrating because we really care about this stuff. We made it, we crafted it, we took a lot of time with it. We decided that if there were all these poor quality streams we would put it up ourselves and that’s the best thing we can do. It’s ok, you know, I truly believe in our fanbase. The people that are going to get the record will still go and get the record, and the people that don’t wouldn’t anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

How have you found the reaction from people that have heard it?

Some of the songs got the reaction I really expected. Like I really expected that ‘Favorite Record’ would get the reaction that it got. I was unsure about the reaction that ‘Uma Thurman’ would get because to me it’s a weird song, but it got a much more positive reaction than I expected for sure, as well as ‘Irresistible’. We’re a band that are kind of polarising. Every time we put out a record people are like, “Why isn’t it like the last record?” We’ve gotten used to that, so it’s ok. So there’s some of that and there’s some positive stuff. Generally a pretty positive reaction. I think people are happy that we did the record.

I think it’s a lot better to be a band where people love you or hate you, rather than people not caring at all.

That’s exactly how I feel more than anything.

Where did the title come from? What does it mean?

I think it means so many different things on so many different levels. I think that we probably meant it to mean this idea of this modern romance, a bit like the one that happens on the record itself, in the title track, but I think it can mean so many things, from American culture, world culture, I don’t know – I don’t want to explain it too much because it’s gonna mean something else to somebody and I don’t want to take that away from them.

I’ve seen a lot of people talk about how much they love the lyrics. What kind of place would you say you were in when you were writing?

I think that I was in this place where I was able to look back on life in a way that I haven’t been able to in a long time. I hadn’t really been able to think about my life and take in where I’ve been for the past five years or whatever, and so it gave me a chance to do that. I think I really tried to progress the lyrics and make them better and this one was a little bit more personal than ‘Save Rock & Roll’. I think ‘Save Rock & Roll’ was a specific thing, rallying the troops, like “We’re back” kind of thing, so this one was able to be more personal.

How has it been being in Fall Out Boy since you came back off hiatus?

It’s cool, there’s so much similar and so much different. Definitely last time stuff happened so fast and we were so much younger and we didn’t know. Life moves so fast. You don’t know when you’re being an asshole and you’re terminally jetlagged and you don’t understand how interviews work, and there’s just so much we didn’t know, and so I think that this time, not that we know everything, but I think we’re a little bit more prepared.

Do you think it helped you to keep things fresh in the band?

Yeah, I mean it was important definitely. We wanna be the best version of Fall Out Boy we can be, but sometimes that’ll mean we gotta do different things and take odd turns and stuff like that. That’s just the way it is with our band.

You just announced an arena tour in the UK for October.

Yeah, and just today we announced a second Wembley date, which is pretty crazy for us. We feel like we’ve had such good support over there. It just feels like there’s so much – we really feel so appreciated, and to be able to come back is awesome. One of the things for us the first time around was we didn’t really figure out how to have our UK shows and our Australia shows etc have the same production as our US shows. We didn’t know how to do it. But since we’ve learned it’s been a really important part of us touring worldwide, so we want the fans in the UK to experience the same show that they would in the US, so that’s something we’re stoked on.

How did the London show go on Wednesday?

Yeah, it was fun. It’s always crazy in these little tiny rooms. It reminds me so much of 15 years ago. It’s so crazy but so cool. We had a lot of fun doing it.

What else have you got coming up this year?

We go to Australia in February, then we go to Asia after that, and then I’m not really sure. We just announced this summer tour in the US, so a lot of touring coming up. It’s a busy year for Fall Out Boy.


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