Fall Out Boy on high
“Wait, (wasn’t) it going to be that Sanjaya guy?” Patrick Stump says, prematurely reacting to last night’s American Idol finale. “He was doing great wasn’t he?
“To be honest,” he goes on, laughing, “my only interest in that show was seeing if he’d win. So when he was voted off, I stopped watching.”
It’s a Friday morning, and as he steps onto the balcony of his Los Angeles condo, besides forecasting Idol’s end, Fall Out Boy’s lead vocalist is wondering if it’s too early to go shopping for CD’s.
“As we speak, I’m looking at the Virgin Megastore, just kind of contemplating,” he says. “Should I go over there? Do you think they’re open yet,” he asks, gazing towards Sunset Blvd.
“I don’t think they are,” he continues, moving back inside, “but I might walk over there anyway. Everything you want to waste your money on, they have in triplicate. I’m so stoked about it. I could go on forever.”
Days away from starting an amphitheatre trek in support of their platinum-selling sophomore disc, “Infinity on High,” Stump, 23, pondered the Illinois-foursome’s uncanny rise from suburban outcasts to mainstream hitmakers.
Scoring one of the decade’s biggest rock singles, “Dance, Dance,” the band’s major-label debut, “From Under the Cork Tree,” moved close to three million copies following its release in 2005.
Bass player, Pete Wentz’s lyrics a kaleidoscopic romp through teenage angst, Fall Out Boy found itself shoved from Warped Tour oddities, to trading licks with Jay-Z (on “Thriller”) and adding hooks to Timbaland’s “One & Only.”
“It was right before Christmas when we got the call from Timbaland, and I flew out to Norfolk, Va., with Andy and we were there, we were doing it and everything was awesome,” he says, speaking at a rapid pace. “But on the way out, every flight got cancelled and it was almost like ‘Home Alone,’ where we didn’t make it back. I called my mom and said, ‘Mom, I might miss Christmas this year. I’m here with Timbaland.'”
Kanye West also got in on the act, producing a remix of “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and when the boys asked Babyface to help produce “Infinity on High,” he graciously obliged.
“We bluffed really,” Stump says. “We were talking to MTV or someone and we just said that Babyface was going to produce some of the songs. Then, when they were fact-checking it, they called him up and he was like, ‘Who Out Boy?’ But he decided to do it.”
Friends since meeting inside the clubs flogging Chicago’s hardcore scene, Stump says the band’s members gravitated towards one another because of a shared desire to do something different.
After splintering off from the metalcore outfit, Arma Angelus, ex-members Wentz, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman hooked up with Stump, and the musical bond between vocalist and lyricist was instant. “He writes words and I write background music. We’re constantly writing. In fact, we’ve written three songs since starting this interview.
“He gives me his words and I just start writing melodies around those lyrics,” adds Stump. “The first verse of ‘You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave,’ the one about the DA dressed to the nines, I love that. I thought that was such a cool image when I first read that.”
Now headliners on the seventh-annual edition of the Honda Civic tour, Stump says that playing in front of 16,000 fans (as they are expected to do this weekend in Toronto) hasn’t really fazed them. “We’re really just stoked on playing anywhere.
“Our first show was our first big break. It was at DePaul University (in Chicago) in a mess hall in front of a bunch of really mathy, experimental hardcore bands.
“No one liked us, but we were really hyped about it anyways.”
In retrospect, though, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that record labels were vying for the rights to the band’s airtight teen melodramas.
At the merchandise table hawkers sell everything from T-shirts to action figures. “You can’t really call them action figures,” Stump says, with total seriousness. “Because there isn’t really that much action. My guy just stands there.
“However, the real me doesn’t get that much action in the first place, and the legs don’t move and you can’t take the hat off. So, maybe they are just like real life.”
Almost as intriguing as the collectibles, however, is Stump’s unabashed adoration of singer-songwriter Prince. “I’ve heard a surprising amount of Prince,” he allows.
“I was in Missoula, Mont., walking through a used record store and they had two cassette tapes. Count them, two cassettes in the entire place. One was Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ and the other was the Time’s ‘Pandemonium.’
“‘Pandemonium’ just looked ridiculous and I’d always wanted a copy of ‘The Chronic,’ so I bought both thinking I was mostly going to listen to ‘The Chronic.’ I don’t think I’ve ever listened to that copy of ‘The Chronic,’ though. I exclusively listened to the Time and I got obsessed with that record. Then, I went through all the bands that Prince made and all the bands he put together, working my way back to him.”
But with virtually all aspects of the band’s personal life made public (anyone recall seeing shots of Wentz’s penis on the Internet?), isn’t Stump worried that Fall Out Boy are getting too big to stay true to their humble beginnings?
“Chris Rock has a good quote that being famous is a lot like having a girlfriend with a really nice rack,” he chuckles. “A lot of people will be really nice to you and give you a lot of attention, but nine times out of ten, they’re just looking at your rack.”
Here are the remaining dates on the Honda Civic Tour:
25 – Montreal, Quebec – The Bell Centre
26 – Toronto, Ontario – Molson Amphitheater
27 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theater
28 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center
30 – Saratoga, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
31 – Mansfield, MA – Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts
1 – Camden, NJ – Tweeter Center at the Waterfront
2 – Hartford, CT – New England Dodge Music Center
4 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
5 – Wantaugh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
6 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
8 – Noblesville, IN – Verizon Wireless Music Center
10-11 – Chicago, IL – Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
13 – Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
14 – Atlanta, GA – HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
15 – Tampa, FL – Ford Amphitheater
16 – West Palm Beach, FL – Sound Advice Amphitheater
18 – The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
19 – Dallas, TX – Smirnoff Music Centre
20 – Selma, TX – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
22 – Phoenix, AZ – Cricket Pavilion
23 – Inglewood, CA – The Forum
24 – Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl
25 – West Valley City, UT – The E Center
27 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
28 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Pacific Coast Coliseum
29 – Portland, OR – The Rose Garden Arena
30 – Concord, CA – Sleep Train Pavilion
1 – Chula Vista, CA – Coors Amphitheater
2 – Anaheim, CA – The Honda Center
Fall Out Boy on high