INTERVIEW: Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) [March 2014]

By Tom Aylott

Pete Wentz at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (more photos)

We had a quick catch up Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz towards the end of their European tour, ahead of their show in Dublin, Ireland.

You’re coming to the end of your European tour at the moment… how’s it all been?

Oh man, it’s been really fun so far! When we were writing the album we didn’t think we’d be playing arenas at all. It’s such an exciting thing to do and it’s cool to be able to play in those rooms to our fans.

This time out, you’ve had a lot of new material to get in the set as well as the fan favourites. Has there been any set list politics for the tour and were there any songs you’d have liked to have squeezed into the set?

To be honest, there’s less politics and discussion about this set list than there has been about other ones in the past. We realised that we have a solid hour and a half / two hours of songs that we can keep people entertained with and we’ve been giving people new takes on some of the songs too. There’s a three song folk break where we’ve been doing some acoustic stuff, which has been really fun to do. In some ways this is the first time in a while where we all actually agree on the set.

This tour hasn’t seen Pax Am Days getting an airing – is that something you think you’re going to keep as a studio project you enjoyed doing now rather than something for the live set going forward?

I thought about bringing it in there, we all thought about doing it. We were playing songs from it on some of the arena tours in the US. On this tour we’ve been doing this mini stage thing in the middle of the arena with acoustic guitars and we thought it might be really fun to come out in the middle and play Pax Am as a punk band, but it was a bit of a nightmare getting the drums out there so that’s why we left that off the list. We wouldn’t be shy about putting some of that stuff in though. We know we pretty much have to play particular songs and there’s some we could play to challenge the crowd and I think Pax Am falls into that second category.

How do you think the Save Rock And Roll Songs are settling into the set overall now?

Sonically, one of the main goals is to make the [new songs and the old songs] really match each other. A friend said yesterday that the new songs and the old ones seem like brothers now compared to cousins a year ago and that’s what we’ve been trying to do on these tours. We’re trying to make the transitions flawless in the set and I think we’re getting really good at it. I think Phoenix has felt really great so far  and we have a transition into ‘Just One Yesterday’ that feels pretty great as well.

You’ve got The Pretty Reckless and New Politics out with you on this tour. We’re sure you guys have been busy with press and your own lives, but have you got to hang out much on this tour? What’s the backstage atmosphere been like?

We’ve got to hang out a little bit – now that we’re in the UK some of the drives are a little shorter so we’ve been able to hang out more. Everyone’s really sweet – it’s different then when we go on tour and it’s all bands that we know, but it’s cool because we got to meet those guys and got to know them. It’s been pretty relaxed and low key backstage for the most part.

Perhaps even compared to the last big tour you did in the UK, the world’s changed quite a bit in terms of technology – do you guys find yourself scrambling for the WiFi code and going off into your own worlds or do you try and avoid the dreaded silence?

Yeah I guess so… It’s something we don’t think too much about in general. We were talking about this the other day – people connect and disconnect but it’s we’re on similar jetlag schedules and there’s some comrade in that respect backstage!

We’re mostly asking because of the recent release of the Fall Out Bird game that guys did. Do you guys have any favourites to play on the road to keep yourselves sane while you’re waiting for soundcheck?

There’s a couple of Candy Crush players backstage, I like this one that Joe showed me called Feed Me Oil, but in general I think everyone has a thing that they like doing. We’ve been keeping up on stuff like where the Malaysian Airlines flight is – same old backstage chatter really!

Last year you said that we’d be seeing plenty more of Fall Out Boy in 2014 – and you weren’t lying – and we’ll be seeing you guys again at Download under Linkin Park in the summer. Do you guys ever entertain the thought of taking it one slot up next year or the year after and being able to headline festivals over here yourselves?

I feel like that’s the dream. If you’d asked me eight years ago I would have said it was impossible. It’s closer now than it ever has been but I still don’t know. I think it’s a matter of the right music being out there and people liking it. It’s all about the songs. If people don’t like them then none of that matters. We’re not a legacy band, so to me it’s about having those songs and maybe something like that will make sense when the time comes. Being able to play right before Linkin Park at Download is amazing and a big deal too – it means a lot to us. I don’t know Download too well and I don’t even know if they let you watch from the side but I’d definitely want to see Linkin Park do Hybrid Theory!

Do you guys ever think you’ll get around to doing a big festival of your own or something like the Weezer / Paramore cruises that have been going on recently?

We used to talk about doing our own festival all the time and we did a Decaydance thing in London and Paris in 2007 that was something we curated, but it was a one day gig in small venues. I think I’d be fun to do something that’d be at a destination though… I had a bit of a tough ferry experience today so I’m not sure about saying boat, but maybe on a boat!

Speaking of that boat journey over to Ireland – are you happy or sad that you ended up in Dublin a day after St Patrick’s day?

Haha!  I have some friends that were here and they said it was insane… I’d like to see it once – I don’t know how much I could experience it because I’m not a big partier kinda guy so I’d like to see it but also be able to leave it…

Fall Out Boy return to the UK in June for Download festival.

Get tickets here

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