Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Fall Out BoyPrevious Next
author TL date 25/04/13
Being a rather massive Fall Out Boy fan through about eight years obviously means that any opportunity to talk directly to one of the bandmembers is a pretty big deal, even if it is via a phone call from half the world away. What makes it an even bigger deal however, is when the band has just released their reunion album after three years of hiatus and are currently being covered and interviewed well on their way to ad nauseum in every medium even remotely similar to this one (as they indeed should be). What does one ask them that everybody else isn't already asking? What can't you already get an answer to by reading other interviews from people that are in front of me in the line for 'audiences'? I mean without resorting to lame stuff like "What's everybody's favourite junk food?". That's the one question I tried to answer with the handful of questions I got to discuss during twenty all too brief minutes with singer/guitarist Patrick Stump, and if you're interested in the answers to any of them, you can either listen to the player right here or read on below:
I think the biggest change for me is the communication. We communicate so much better than we used to and that means everything. Everything from "hey I got an idea for this video thing" and "hey, your idea gave me an idea" and we actually converse instead of maybe avoiding each other - all the way up to when you're on stage and you're a musician just communicating musically without having to explain any of it. Everybody just knows where you're going. I think we've come to that place as a band and that's new and that's awesome.
When you start out though you're obviously playing in basements and tiny clubs and I think that really taught us how to do both. So I think that coming back it was really important for us to do it the right way and to start up again a bit like a small band.. I mean we look at art and at shows and everything as a challenge, and I do want to play arenas again and do bigger productions and do that too.. But it's almost like the difference between being a TV/film actor and being a stage actor where there's more of the sense that you have to prove it on stage. That's kind of how we felt; like we wanted to go in there and prove it and really earn those audiences.
I don't mean to criticise these people - but we live in an era when a lot of people are celebrities just for being celebrities and we have no interest in that. We have never wanted that, we are here to be musicians and to make music. Because of that I think you have to put the music first. I've gotten to do other stuff like write for magazines and stuff, but I'm the singer of Fall Out Boy, that's where my heart is, it's what I really do. We wanted to make sure that everybody knows that and that the four of us are here for that, and for that I think we wanted to hold the music up above anything else.
I think it's funny because somebody was talking to me the other day about how "Take This To Your Grave" is a very angry record and it's very angry at specific people, while this new record is very hopeful and optimistic... And I'll be honest with you, I don't think it's any more hopeful or optimistic than "Take This To Your Grave". I think this record is what happens when your parents get divorced... I remember when my parents got divorced and my mom and dad would be angry at each other but they had to smile and be strong for the kids and show this 'game face'. That's the kind of adults that I think we've grown into. I think we're just as angry as we used to be but now you have to say it more tactfully.
When you're seventeen you say to somebody "I hope you choke or drive off a bridge" and what nobody tells you when you're seventees is that you're likely to keep seeing those same people forever. Those people that you want the least to do with, they could be in your life forever, so I think the record is a bit about that and you don't always get to really react.
I just watched the movie "42" which is about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player - And there's a line in it about how - because so many prejudiced people were waiting for him to fail, if somebody punched him first and he punched back then people would only be talking about him and not the other guy. I think that extends into all aspects of adulthood really. People remember it when you screw up, they don't care why you did it and I feel like a lot of this record is.. Like I said we're just as angry and confused but we just feel like we need to sort of channel it somewhere.
RF.net: I think it makes sense as well because the earlier records really did connect with a younger audience and maybe there's something in there that makes the new album more accessible to other audiences, because you take the positive route or the more constructive route and you try to, like you said, phrase things more tactfully..
Stump: Yeah and one of the things is too that I was seventeen when we made "Take This To Your Grave" so I'm happy that it connected with people that were that age as well. That makes sense. Musical is universal though - like when I was a kid I connected with music made by people that were in their 60's, but I think it would be really lame of us to write songs now pretending to be seventeen again. It's got to be honest you know?
So in that regard I do think that there is an energy to pop music but there can be a fear of experimentation or almost like a fear of intellectualism in it right now. And that's definitely something we've thought about and gone "well that's a shame!" because when we were kids, what was on the radio was David Bowie, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and Peter Gabriel.. And those were pop records but they were really ambitious and smart as opposed to just being dumb songs about...
RF.net: Dancing or drinking champagne or whatever..
Stump: Yeah exactly, these songs really said something! And I think that pop music right now is missing a bit of this. In terms of the 'rock'n'roll' thing, I think you hit the nail on the head, because I don't think of it necessarily as an idea that needs to be saved, but if it isn't somehow present in pop music - if rock'n'roll isn't on the radio then... I mean rock'n'roll people can argue about whether we are or aren't, but that's what we came from. We are a rock band and we do play guitar on these songs. Regardless of what people have to say about that stuff it's really hard for a rock band to get on the radio, at least in the States. And if there's nobody doing it then I fear kids forget what rock'n'roll is. When we were kids and we heard "Dookie" on the radio - when we heard "Basketcase" for the first time - it was really inspiring because it sounded like music that you could make but really good! And it made you want to go out and pick up a guitar and be in a band! I know that there were a lot of guys in the punk scene going "Green Day are sellouts!" but dude, them doing that inspired so many real punk-rockers.
That's the thing for us I think. If we're going to be a pop-band or if that's how people want to see us in arenas and stuff, then that's fine but I want to make sure that we carry with us the kind of quality and honesty that we had when we were in basement.
I have this friend who's been in the industry for a long time who told me that "If this was 1992 you'd be selling 5-10 million records" and I'm like "Yeah, but of those millions only maybe half a million really ends up feeling like the record means anything to them". In that way, when we sell... I mean we have sold a lot of records, the numbers haven't even come in yet, but we've sold a lot of copies of the new album and every one of those means more to me than those five million would have. Because I know that those people heard the whole record and know that they really want it. So I think that was part of the reason that we put up the stream as well..
RF.net: I guess it's sort of a move of confidence as well then?
Stump: Yeah or cockyness or arrogance, haha! But we're music fans just like our own fans and we wanted to make sure that we treat everyone how we want to be treated and I personally love when bands do stuff like that. It's the same reason for us posting the first song and the video and the tour dates at the same time that we announced we were reuniting. Because if you do any of those out of order, I know that as a fan I would be going "awwh, when do I get to hear the song?!"
** At this point Patrick and I are warned that we've almost spent our time and that there's only time for one last question**
RF.net: I think what people really want to hear is whether or not you've already shut down some of the other things, because some people were excited about your solo stuff and some people were excited about The Damned Things and I think people want me to ask the question and then you DON'T come out and flat out say this or that is over!
Stump: Hahaha! Well I tell you what: I said four years ago that we were just going on hiatus and people didn't believe me and thought we were breaking up. Now I think I've proved that you can trust me when I say that.. Our solo projects are just sort of on hold for now.. Now my money is where my mouth is because I was right and Fall Out Boy did indeed come back, so you have to trust me, hahaha!