Music Interviews

Interview: Fall Out Boy

“My name is Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy. We have nothing to do with being called Emo.If we grew up in Seattle in the ’90s, we’d probably be called grunge,right?”

Fall Out Boy singer/guitarist Patrick Stump is not exactly at anEmos Anonymous meeting, but he does feel the need to that theChicago-based band of any prior misjudgments.

He even makes his point byquoting bass player and lyricist – and infamous nude pictures poser – Pete Wentz: “If you’re going to hate us,hate us on our own turf. Don’t hate us before we’re an Emo band, don’t likeus because we’re an Emo band. Like us because you like our songs.”
Come on, Pat, it’s not as if you guys don’t have any fans that like you foryou. If last year’s successful From Under The Cork Tree is anything to go by- it did earn the band a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist – FOB arerock ‘n roll geographers, one of those bands that reinsert a city on theRock Map, like The Strokes with the Big Apple, for example. In their case,the quartet, comprised of Stump, Wentz, drummer Andy Hurley and guitaristJoe Trohman, have rehabilitated Chicago.

“Chicago’s weird because when we were starting out, there was really nonetwork for bands. It felt like there was no music coming out of Chicago,”explains Patrick, while Andy sits quietly, too weakened from his cold tobear another interview. “I’m not saying we started it, but our generationhad to definitely create it. Even if there were bands before us, the networkwasn’t as defined as it is now.”

As for other famous other Chicagoans, henames “John from Panic At The Disco!” OK, so basically it’s still only FOB territory. Their latest offering, Infinity On High, fully embracescontemporary American culture, twistig hip hop into rock, a genrethat’s always being announced as being “on the comeback” with the emergence of each new guitar act.

“I don’t know that rock ever went away. I don’t know that it’s making acomeback,” Patrick says. When I tell him that Fred Durst complained to methat America is hip hop, he replies, “Or hip hop is America. It’s reallyintertwined with our culture. I think it only makes sense that it’s one ofthe biggest music forms in the country.” It also explains why FOB choseBabyface as a producer. You’re thinking, how did that ever happen?

“It was one of those things where we werethinking real big…” – Patrick Stump gets out the hyperbole for Fall Out Boy’s Babyface collaboration…

“As a singer, I admire him. His records make you wanna sing. It was one of those things we’d always dreamed of for a long time. ‘We were like, “Yeah,let’s do a record with Babyface. It was one of those things where we werethinking real big.” No dream is ever too big, especially in America.Nevertheless, the band was surprised when he accepted the job offer. “To saythe least! I think people in general have this idea of him being anexclusively R&B guy who doesn’t know much about rock, but that’s completely not the case. He knows more about rock than anyone would expect. And he’s really intuitive for it. The other thing is that the songs that we did for him are not particularly R&B. They’re very, very rock for the record. Ithink people will be really surprised by it.”

People will also be surprised to hear Jay-Z lending his voice on a track.And FOB’s hip hop ventures continue on Timbaland‘s upcoming compilationalbum. “Andy and I flew out to Virginia to work on it. We worked on a rocksong. It’s Fall Out Boy meets Timbaland!” Then there’s the remix of ThisAin’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, the first single off Infinity, undergoingsome changes with the magic knob-turning fingers of a certain Kanye West.But this doesn’t mean the band is falls into the hip hop wannabe category.Far from it, reassures Patrick.

“Rock music briefly flirted with the idea of rapping, which was a verystupid idea, and now it has accepted that it should probably “do its thing”,respect hip hop music without trying to do it. I think that’s where we’reat. We are a band that very much owes a great debt to hip hop and weprobably listen to it way more than rock.”

Despite their ongoing quest forhood cred, Stump also admits to being inspired by ’80s pop/rock. “Yeah, Ilike the ’80s. It was very much geared towards that. That’s what I wasthinking of anyway.” He drew his inspiration from some of the most markingrecords of that era. “I wanted this record to be the most triumphant,biggest feeling. So I was listening to all my favourite big records, likeThriller, Peter Gabriel‘s So or Bruce Springsteen‘s Born to Run.

“I’ve been a lot of things but I’ve never been a cartoon!” – Patrick Stump on becoming Simpsons fodder…

But their biggest inspiration may have been The Simpsons. Named after FallOut Boy, a character in the popular cartoon series, everyone is surprisedthat they haven’t been sued yet. Except the producers of the show, whoactually feared a Grammy-nominated band would take them to court.

“Well, here’s the story: we heard that they were making T-shirts that sayThe Original Fallout Boy. They were just passing them around the office. Wefound out about this and we were like, ‘Dude, let’s get one of those shirts!That’s the funniest thing!’ We contacted the people at The Simpsons: ‘We heard you were making these shirts. And they were like, ‘Don’t sue us!’Here we were, scared that they were going to sue us.” Stump says theyfinally came to an amicable agreement: “We were like, ‘Yeah, just give usone of those shirts and everything will be fine.’ If anything, it’s made melike the show more!”

Does this mean that Fall Out Boy will soon guest star on the show? The ideaamuses Patrick. “I’ve been a lot of things but I’ve never been a cartoon! That would be wonderful.”

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