Published May 13, 2013Four years and a handful of side-projects later, Fall Out Boy surprised pretty much everyone when they announced their return earlier this year. Armed with a new album and tour, the band sound ready to pick up where they left off when the Chicago rockers went on "indefinite hiatus" back in 2009. "There was always a chance that we would come back, but it needed to be about new music," says the band's bassist and chief lyricist, Pete Wentz. "We needed to be excited about doing Fall Out Boy."
The new record, audaciously titled Save Rock and Roll, was recorded in secret. "It allowed us to make the album we wanted to make. At the end of the day if we didn't like the record would have thrown it away and nobody would have been the wiser." Luckily for fans, Wentz and his mates liked what they'd created. "The idea was to make stuff that was a little bit dangerous," he says. "Make music that could be played on the radio but didn't necessarily sound like other music on the radio. And I think the way we were able to do that."
What are you up to?
We just recorded a show with Zane [Lowe] for [BBC's] Radio 1 and we're doing a bit of promo, trying to officially be the most jet-lagged humans ever.
What are your current fixations?
Andy [Hurley] our drummer got me into Game of Thrones so I've really been into that lately. I go to movies with a four-year-old so The Croods. I'm excited that they've just announced the new Finding Nemo sequel, that kind of stuff. But it's cool because stuff like the G.I. Joe movie, he's into stuff like that that I watched in the '80s. I really like the new A$AP Rocky album; I think that's awesome. And we were just talking about these guys Knife Party. I like those guys a lot.
Why do you live where you do?
I live in the Valley in Los Angeles. If Hollywood is the glitz and the glamour, the Valley's the suburbs and a bit more boring. But the weather's always good and there's less attention. I've lived in a bunch of different places in Hollywood and I like the Valley. But it gets to be 105 degrees in the summer, which is pretty crazy.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
There's this artist called José Parlá who does these little tiny tags that end up making one giant big piece of art and it's hard to see how it started. I like him a lot. He's a painter obviously.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
One that I attended was this Daft Punk show at Lollapalooza in Chicago a couple of years ago. I'm not one of those people that has spiritual moments or anything. I find myself trying to remain human in the moment. But for some reason there, I got it. I got that it was about this bigger thing. I don't know. I just became one of those people.
What have been your career highs and lows?
I think the high was probably playing the inaugural ball for President Obama. It was a big deal to be involved in that and it felt different and new and it felt like being at this moment in history. I think a low would be the time we opened for a magician. That was not the greatest. It was pretty early on. We were out with our friends in Less than Jake and we opened the show, and then a magician. All I remember is that he had a bowling ball trick z— you could see the trick happen so it wasn't very good magic. That was goofy, but those moments are funny now.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
The worst thing ever is when you get in a fight immediately before a show, before you go onstage. Someone's mad at you, you're mad at someone, whether it's in the band or a girl or whatever, it's a tough thing because you either have to stay in the moment or get out of it. And someone told us that we needed to play better and focus more on playing our instruments.
What should everyone shut up about?
I think that everybody kind of needs to shut up about augmented or fake reality, whether it's reality TV or whatever. If you don't pay attention it will go away from your own life. If that's what bothers you, you don't need to join the culture of complaining all the time. It seems to make it bigger. A lot of that stuff would go away and not be in everyone's face all the time if people would stop talking about it.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
A perfect Sunday to me is going hiking with my dog and my kid. That's a lot of fun to do just because we look for Bane and the Joker.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
I got a lot of advice from people when I was in my 20s and late-teens. They said you don't need to sweat so much stuff. Being anxious all the time and being worked up all the time, it's not good for you and none of these things are going to matter. Four years from now no one's going to care about a bunch of little things. I wish that I had taken that into consideration and I'm sure I'll be telling myself that again in ten years.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Never kicked anyone out of the band. I don't think I have the power to do it. [Pauses] Patrick [Stump] just said I don't have hiring and firing powers. So that's just not an option apparently. I've never kicked anybody out of bed before. I can find a way to sleep anywhere so I would just go sleep under a table or something.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
I think of poutine probably first. I think of Oh Henry milkshakes. A lot of talent that we in the U.S. think about right away, like a lot of our comedians and athletes, I think of Canada first. I think of Bowling for Columbine when [Michael Moore] went up to Canada. "Oh what nice people."
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
The first CD I ever bought with my own money was Slayer's Decade of Aggression. It was a big commitment because I think I bought it because of the cover and I didn't know much about Slayer at the time. It would become an integral part of my life. I think I was in eighth or ninth grade. I wasn't cool enough to buy stuff with my own money. I don't think my parents let me do that that often.
What was your most memorable day job?
I worked at Crate & Barrel for a little bit, but then my sister became the manager over me and there's nothing more emasculating than having your little sister tell you, "If there's time to lean, there's time to clean." I left that job shortly afterwards and moved on to my illustrious career in the public pool concession stand where I slung nacho cheese every summer.
How do you spoil yourself?
This is going to sound so crazy and I'm actually not that nice of a person, but I like to buy stuff for other people, for a really selfish reason: because it makes me feel good. I love knowing something that somebody really wanted and getting it for them. And then I take my jet to my island every once in a while, [laughs sarcastically]. Make sure you include laughing after that so that nobody thinks that's true.
If I wasn't playing music I would be…
Still doing the nacho cheese at the pool. Probably manager. I played a lot of soccer growing up so in some other life I would be coaching kids soccer.
What do you fear most?
Being out of control. The true dad answer is anything happening to your kid, but going beyond that, I don't like to not be in control of the situation. That's when I feel scared.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
There are definitely songs that make me want to do it. Like Bob Marley is a big one for me. I really like being nurtured or cared for by a girl. So when that happens, that makes me really get in the mood.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
It was strange when Beyoncé and Jay-Z used to come to Fall Out Boy shows. We were still a little band at the time and they could have sold out the places by themselves when they would come. So that was crazy for us. At one point Jay-Z gave us Roc-A-Fella chains and there was a chaining ceremony and he was like, "I gave you guys the girl sizes because the guy sizes would look crazy on you." And we were like, "Okay, cool. Thanks!" We didn't know what to do. Also, to go back to the last question, when a girl wears the Roc-A-Fella chain, that kind of gets me in the mood. Just the chain though.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I never got to meet Michael Jackson and that's someone I always thought I'd get a chance to meet. That one made me sad. So I think that it would be cool to have Michael Jackson [over]. I'm basically a permanent eight-year old so I'd just like to eat pizza. Just one cheese pizza like Kevin McAllister from Home Alone.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
I went to college for three years, and I think there was a point where my mom wanted the bumper sticker that said that I was an "A" student and for me to become a lawyer. But I was just too weird. She spawned a weird human being. She was at a show of ours at the Metro in Chicago — this is maybe like 2003 or 2004 — and for whatever reason we had inflated these giant penis shaped balloons, like six foot tall ones. I remember throwing it and it kind of hit my parents in the upper deck. But that was actually the show where my mom said, "Oh, it seems like people like your band besides just your friends."
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
I want people to drink and be merry. Maybe "Red Red Wine," the UB40 version. I just want people to dance and feel happy. I want to be remembered in that way. I don't want it to be a sad day.