The Untold Truth Of Fall Out Boy
The early 2000’s saw an explosion of pop punk bands, such as Yellowcard, Sum 41, and Paramore, that became a standard feature from high school parties to college frat houses. Although the genre has faded in popularity over the decades, several of these bands have continued to make music for their loyal fans. Yet, while groups like Blink-182 and New Found Glory have kept their sound the entire time, never straying far from their original style that made them famous, Fall Out Boy has traversed a completely different path throughout their music career.
To anyone who has heard FOB’s first studio album, “Take This to Your Grave,” the band was clearly pop punk at the time. Over the years, however, the quartet’s music has greatly evolved to become far less punk and much more pop, with hints of other genres like R&B. And within that time, the group has become incredibly famous rockstars.
Haters have often accused Fall Out Boy of selling out and changing their sound, which could be true to some extent. Though a more likely explanation is that the bandmates were never true punk rockers to begin with, but rather they are highly talented musicians not ever wanting to be stuck in one category. The four have accomplished and overcome so much together that they learned what works best for them and have become a stronger unit in the process. So, whether they are considered punk, emo, rock, pop, or whatever else, the music they create is always uniquely Fall Out Boy.
Fall Out Boy has hardcore music roots
Since most people are only aware of the pop rock music that made the band famous, it is not well known that most of the members’ backgrounds were actually in either punk or metal music. Before Fall Out Boy, bassist Pete Wentz used to be in the metalcore band, Arma Angelus, along with Tim McIlrath from Rise Against. Drummer Andy Hurley also played in a metalcore band called Racetraitor, and overall, the two were in three other bands together until the much more successful pop-punk group was formed in 2001.
Even in the early years of the band, Fall Out Boy was a part of the punk rock scene in Chicago. In fact, the band performed several times at the iconic Fireside Bowl where other famous punk rockers started their musical careers like Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, and the Smoking Popes. When reminiscing about these early gigs, Pete Wentz says, “The Fireside Bowl holds the warmest memories of my entire life. It was a sanctuary, and it served its purpose perfectly.”
The bandmates grew up listening to punk bands like the Descendants and desired to emulate their idols, says Today. However, the band quickly realized that they did not really belong in the hardcore music scene, so Fall Out Boy started making their own sound and achieved great success. Yet the love of hard rock would never truly leave some members, as guitarist Joe Trohman and Hurley would later join the rock supergroup, The Damned Things, featuring members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Alkaline Trio.
Patrick Stump did not know he could sing
When he was younger, Patrick Stump was not aware that he had a good voice since he had always been a drummer in all his previous bands before Fall Out Boy, such as Display of Infection, Grinding Process, and Patterson. But since he had a lot of experience playing music, and came from a family of musicians, Stump was confident that he could learn other instruments.
So, when Stump tried out in front of Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman, he not only auditioned with the drums, but also for the other two open positions of singer and guitarist, says Alternative Press. The future lead vocalist was rather cocky and says, “I was being kind of arrogant because I didn’t take pop-punk very seriously, I’m like ‘sure, whatever. One of those, I’m sure I can do.'” But his confidence was justified because the two quickly realized he was a great singer, and Stump has had the lead role ever since.
The Fall Out Boy name came from The Simpsons
After the successful audition of Patrick Stump, the group had its members but did not know what to call themselves. So, at their second show in 2001, the then nameless band shouted out to the crowd asking what the band should be called. In response, an audience member shouted back with Fallout Boy, the sidekick of the superhero, Radioactive Man, from the popular cartoon, “The Simpsons.” In the show, the most popular character to fill that role was Milhouse when he played as Fallout Boy in the Radioactive Man movie, says Loudwire.
The name stuck, and so Fall Out Boy was born, although the band claims that they did not know the name was from “The Simpsons” initially. And certainly by now, the group has become considerably more famous than the obscure cartoon character, regardless of how popular “The Simpsons” remains.
The bandmates split their earnings equally
Regardless of the amount of work each member does in terms of writing the lyrics and the music, Fall Out Boy splits its earnings equally between the four members. As Patrick Stump says in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Real early on we decided that, regardless of who wrote what, we’d split everything four ways. There are records where I’ve done a whole song or Joe [Trohman] has written an entire music bed, but we all get the same credit. If there’s four of us onstage, the four of us are receiving the same amount of credit, the same amount of money and the same amount of everything.”
When the band made the decision to do this, all of their friends in other bands thought they were crazy since usually the ones who write more get more of the royalties. However, none of those bands have had the longevity of Fall Out Boy and they have all broken up.
Patrick Stump has synesthesia
Patrick Stump has a condition called synesthesia, which for him means that his mind associates many numbers and letters with a color. Though in a broader sense, the condition is when the brain connects a person’s senses together in a strange way, allowing people to experience extraordinary sensations like hearing colors, tasting shapes, or feeling sounds.
As the singer says, “Most letters and numbers feel like a color. Music also can have colors associated with them (but this is a lot less pronounced than my grapheme-color associations). I’ve talked to a lot of musicians though and the more I talk to [them] the more I’m finding out that this is fairly common.”
According to Mental Floss, Stump is correct that many musicians and artists also have the condition. Among the many other famous people known to have synesthesia are Tori Amos, Billy Joel, Pharrell Williams, Geoffrey Rush, Duke Ellington, and even Vincent van Gogh.
Fall Out Boy failed to perform in Antarctica
After having performed across six continents throughout 2007-2008, Fall Out Boy tried to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records by playing a show in Antarctica and achieving the impressive feat of playing music on all seven continents. In preparation for the final trip, the band traveled over 3,000 miles and arrived in Chile to perform in Santiago. They then had a small window of time where if conditions were decent, the band could safely make it to the frigid, remote landmass.
However, on Wednesday, March 26, the chances were not looking good with the organizers being informed that there was only a 1% possibility that the weather would get better, says MTV News. But Fall Out Boy and their managers were persistent, considering all sorts of options, such as even hiring a boat to sail within the Arctic Circle for a tiny acoustic gig. Then, their road manager incredibly managed to secure the usage of a formidable C-130 Hercules aircraft, which could make the flight if the weather improved by only a little bit.
Though ultimately, the dangerous conditions made the attempt impossible. The band was draining money and had to be back in the U.S., so they were forced to give up. Yet, there is still hope as the editor in chief of Guinness, Craig Glenday, made the trip down there to witness the valiant attempt and says, “They’re still setting the record. It’s whenever they make it down here. It can happen whenever; they’ve just got to make it down to Antarctica.”
Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump hold a world record
Fall Out Boy may have failed to reach Antarctica, and thus, were not able play on all seven continents, but both Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz ended up achieving a different world record later that year in 2008. Before the release of the band’s fourth studio album, “Folie à Deux,” the two musicians took over the radio at Premiere Studios in Los Angeles for Halloween, beginning at 3am in the morning. They took part in a ton of interviews with radio DJs that were all about eight to 20 minutes each, and only took brief breaks to snack on some food or use the bathroom, says NME.
After 10 hours, Wentz and Stump beat the previous record of 57 interviews conducted but decided to keep going for as long as possible. Eventually, the pair completed 74 overall within a 24-hour period, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the accomplishment.
The bandmates signed posters with their own blood
Years after the horrific devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Fall Out Boy sought a way to get the public’s attention for the people who still needed help. As Patrick Stump says, “These disasters don’t last just a year, there are still people living in the aftermath of the tsunami and the aftermath of Katrina. It’s in times of low publicity on blood drives that people really need blood.”
So, in a publicity stunt with the aim to raise awareness about the desperate need to support blood drives, the band gave away posters signed with ink that had the blood of all four members mixed in. There were 45 prints in total that were all made individually with images based on their album “Infinity on High.”
Pete Wentz also said the band did it as a tribute to KISS who were the first to carry out a similar stunt. According to Punknews.org, the costumed musicians partnered with Marvel in 1977 to produce a comic printed with the band’s blood.
Pete Wentz published a book that started his own clothing line
Around the same time that Fall Out Boy began to skyrocket in popularity, Pete Wentz began to work on a creative, and lucrative, side project that only helped to increase the new rockstar’s fame. In 2004, Pete Wentz published the book “The Boy with the Thorn In His Side,” which was a work of fiction inspired by nightmares he had as a kid. In conjunction with the release, the bassist also started the company Clandestine Industries that he used to promote the book, says NBC New York.
But it did not take long for the bassist to realize the company had more potential and he transformed it into his own lifestyle brand with an exclusive clothing line. Clandestine Industries focused mainly on streetwear influenced by his own unique twist on pop culture references. The clothing included limited edition t-shirts, hoodies, and accessories, and was so successful that Wentz partnered with DKNY in 2005 and collaborated with Nordstrom in 2008.
Pete Wentz was briefly married to Ashlee Simpson
In 2006, Pete Wentz started dating Ashlee Simpson, the younger sister of the pop singer Jessica Simpson. The couple then fell in love, got married in May 2008, and then had a son together named Bronx later that year. However, it seems like not even a year later that the relationship was going downhill as the couple fought incessantly. The two attempted to work things out, but it was to no avail, and they divorced in 2011 because of “irreconcilable differences.”
Years later, Wentz gave his explanation for why the relationship fell apart, mostly centering on the fact that Fall Out Boy was on hiatus, so it was depressing for him to change from a rockstar to “Mr. Mom.” He also says, “I think it was a combination of all these factors at once, including being too young. I think there’s an important thing where you know how to fight, because you can fight with somebody and it’s not the end of everything. But if you don’t know how to have those arguments, then they become nuclear. And we were doing this all in the public eye, which as you know, it doesn’t help, because you have people scrutinizing everything you do: ‘He cut his hair—it’s breakup hair!’ It’s like, ‘What?! It’s a haircut'” (via E! Online).
The former couple eventually worked things out and have become friends whose primary focus is being the best parents they can for their son. But Wentz also claims he spent millions on legal fees, so he regrets getting divorce lawyers involved.
Uma Thurman gave Fall Out Boy permission to use her name
The band’s hit song “Uma Thurman,” was inspired by the actress’ famous dance with John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” but the band did not want to risk any legal issues for making it without her consent. So, Fall Out Boy managed to get one of their friends to ask the actress in person if she was cool with them doing the song. As Pete Wentz says, “We do have a ragtag bunch of friends, and someone was able to get it right to her and explain the vibe.”
Not only did she give her permission, but later in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Uma Thurman says about the whole situation, “I’m so flattered, it’s so nice. On the nice list! It’s incredibly chivalrous; no one ever asks permission for anything anymore, you don’t even expect it.”
'Bang the Doldrums' was almost on the Shrek soundtrack
Just as Fall Out Boy was gaining fame, they wrote a song for the “Shrek” soundtrack, but it was, ultimately, rejected. When talking about the band’s experience with writing music for movies, Pete Wentz described the initial failed attempt and said, “The first time we wrote was in 2004/2005 for ‘Shrek.’ They had temped in a song. We saw the rendering and it looked weird. Then, we went back to the studio and said, ‘They asked us for that, but they don’t know that’s what they want. We should give them what we think they want,'” he continued. “You can imagine how well that went.”
The creatives in charge of the film soundtrack may not have liked the song, “Bang the Doldrums,” but Fall Out Boy was pleased with it enough to put it on their next album, “Infinity On High,” says Rock Sound. The band also did not get discouraged from working on another soundtrack and ended up writing the cover for the Ghostbusters’ theme song of the reboot released in 2016.
The band's record label hated their long song titles
Especially in the early years, Fall Out Boy had a habit of using comically long song titles so much so that it irritated their record label. Some of the best examples of this are the songs “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me” on the album, “From Under the Cork Tree,” and “I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)” from “Infinity on High.”
So as a joke, the band named another one of their songs “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” also on “Infinity on High,” and removed the vowels so that the title would be shorter. Yet as Spin points out, Fall Out Boy began to lose interest in such titles by their fourth studio album, “Folie à Deux,” with only eight words used for the longest name. Then, for “Save Rock and Roll” in 2013, the band finally gave up the silly practice altogether, except for “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up),” which is nowhere close to how excessive all of their titles used to be.
Patrick Stump's depressing blog post caused the band to reunite
When Fall Out Boy went on hiatus in 2009, the band members shifted their focus to other projects. While Pete Wentz partnered with singer Bebe Rexha to form the electronic group, Black Cards, and both Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman became members of the hard rock group, The Damned Things, Patrick Stump was the only one to attempt to make it on his own, says Billboard.
Three years later in 2012, Stump expressed his sadness with a blog post titled “We Liked You Better Fat: Confessions of a Pariah.” In it, the singer described how he felt like a failure because his solo career had not taken off like he was hoping. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the confession is that some fans were not quiet about their dislike of his solo work and made brutal remarks that they liked him better when he was fat, after he had put so much effort into losing 60 pounds and getting in better shape.
Once Pete Wentz read the post, he reached out to Stump by saying, “I know what you need – you need your band.” The two then reunited Fall Out Boy and released their next album, “Save Rock and Roll,” in 2013 to great commercial success.
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