On Thursday, May 4th I was able to sit down with Pete Wentz before Fall Out Boy’s sold out show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. I was able to ask some follow-up questions to Part One1 of our ABSOLUTExclusive interview with him as well as address some things that we and you felt were missing from that series of questions. Once again, I’d like to thank Pete for taking an hour out of his hectic schedule to do this. I’d also like to thank Fall Out Boy’s tour manager, Dan Suh, for making sure everything ran smoothly. Hope you enjoy…
So, what made you want to do this kind of interview?
Ok, well, I think the most obvious thing is when you do interviews for the most part you kind of are either dodging questions or you kind of know how to evade questions. That’s one answer, you know what I’m saying? Because it’s like when I’m doing an interview with whatever magazine it is, you don’t really have a repose with the reporter. You don’t know if you answer his questions how he’s going to pull it apart. Q&A, it’s easier and I feel like if I were going to do something for AP it’d be something special we didn’t do anywhere else, so that’s probably the biggest reason for that. Second, sometimes when you’re doing an interview it’s just like stock questions, so you give stock answers, even though you don’t mean to. It’s like, “where did your band start?” There’s only one answer for that; it’s like you just answer it over and over and over again.
How often do you check AP.net and is it just to hear about your own gossip or to find new bands?
I check AP probably once every other day or once a day. There was a time when I was like, click refresh, click refresh. I used to read all the comments, but when kids started getting kind of lambgoat about the Fall Out Boy news and it would be like 400 comments in, “fucking shoot these assholes!” Blah blah blah… “this band sucks! Why isn’t this band big?” For the most part I still check it, and when anyone says a band is underrated I always scope out their MySpace.
Did AP.net play any role in the success of Fall Out Boy?
Absolutely. I think you guys probably know it. If you look, it’s the only website thanked on our record. AP was one of the news sites that would touch us before anybody else would and was really behind it. I think everyone probably already knows that, though.
What’s it been like playing these arenas compared to the clubs that you’re accustomed to?
It’s definitely weird because it’s like if you play a really small show, everyone complains because they can’t get into the show. But if you play a big show, everyone complains because everyone can get into the show. So, it’s kind of a no win situation. Playing arenas is cool just on the basis that I read on AP.net a bunch of dudes that said, “this tour is going to flop! Watch them have to downsize every single room!” The cool thing is the entire tour sold out and I think that says something about the tour package as well. We’ve got a pretty good tour package of bands that people want to see. We play mostly B arenas because all our fans care about ticket prices and floor space. In general, it’s kind of weird because it doesn’t feel like it’s our band’s tour, every time I pull up I think I’m on a side stage for Blink 182.
Was it nerve racking the first night when you saw all of the people?
To me it was more nerve racking when the tickets went on sale because what if everyone hates us? When we played the shows that were sold out and when we walked out on the stage, we got such a good vibe that we didn’t really worry about it.
Do you feel the connection with the fans is just as strong in these arenas as it was in the smaller clubs?
No, I think it’s different. When Fall Out Boy came to arenas, it was all about putting on the best show we could do in an arena; it was things we always wanted to do and the biggest possible show we could do. It’s impossible to maintain closeness when kids are in nosebleed seats. I mean, we try to do things like bring kids down from the nosebleeds and try to incorporate every body. And the other thing I didn’t realize is that there’s a lot of people who want to sit in the seats, and that’s something that’s weird to me, because I always wanted to be on the floor right up in the front. It’s a bummer – you can drive yourself crazy trying to make everyone happy.
Should we expect tours of this caliber from here on out?
I think everyone who knows us knows we try to switch it up. After we go to the studio, we’re going to do a really intimate run; tickets at the door, day of show, and pretty small rooms — like 10 or 12 days leading up to the new record. I really love where we are at as a band and wouldn’t want to change anything, but if I had the chance to see Metallica back in the day in a small room – Fall Out Boy is nowhere near Metallica – it would be insane. We kind of want to try and do things like that.
Are you tired from the non-stop touring yet?
I really love it because I feel most at home on stage for that hour and a half, but at the same time there is a physical toll. I get in the shower and think, “Hey man, your body is just falling apart.” We’re a weird band at this level, because we do 6 on and 1 off rather than like 4 on and 3 off. Days off are the worst for me; a day off in a place where I don’t know anybody is the worst. I’d rather just play a show.
Do you think the criticism that Fall Out Boy receives for its live show is warranted? Do you feel bad for not being able to replicate your album sound live?
When I see Coldplay I could be a million feet away, as long as I could hear it and it’s something that’s really important for me to be a part of. And there’s other shows I want to see like American Nightmare where he didn’t sing half of his words, or Brand new or whatever it is, ya know? Jesse Lacey had the quote: “We’re never going to replicate our CD live, even if we sat down and tried to do it.” I think the same is for Fall Out Boy. To me, we were thrashing on stage and doing whatever, because we grew up with hardcore music. And in the beginning when we were on tour with American Hi-Fi, our managers told us to calm down and be more like them on stage – and this is before a lot of bands were throwing their shit around. It’s just how we are. I mean, it’s like a double-edged sword. How weird would it be if we started playing arenas and suddenly changed who we are so we could fit in with what’s acceptable? We will always be the way we are; it will be enduring for some people and piss some people off. I’m amazed, because there’s a lot of bands that sound terrible, but go out and try to sound awesome. But there are bands that probably sound pretty alright for what they’re doing. I think it’s a fair criticism; I mean, we’re Fall Out Boy and that’s all we’ve ever been. It’s such a weird thing to have to kind of think about or accommodate. It’s something where I feel I emote through the music, so if I’m 60 and still singing Fall Out Boy in a rocking chair… or you should shoot me in the face for still doing this band. [singing] “Dead… On… (Arrival) BANG!”
How has your family reacted to the success of Fall Out Boy?
It’s kind of funny, because we sold a million and a half records and our family didn’t even think anything of it, but when we were nominated for a Grammy it was the first time our family was like, “Oh yeah, this is a real thing.” Last year for Christmas, I did a million autographs and they gave those as presents. I was like, “this is the cheapest shit ever.” My parents are pretty good about it. It wasn’t like I knew we were going to blow up or anything. I mean, I put my address on our first two records, because I thought the three kids who were into us could write us letters, and now people just show up at my house.
Does your family realize exactly how popular you are with TRL, the Grammy, arena shows, etc.?
I don’t think they did. It’s weird to jump in on this, but when my parents realized it was the whole picture debacle on the internet. Their friends and people they know saw that stuff. I was like, “I’m not talking about this with you.” I think that it’s weird, everything’s normal and then there’s weird moments like that. My mom and I went into the Apple store and 30 kids came in because they called their friends, or whatever, and the store asked us to leave through the back and come back later to get whatever we wanted.
With all the exposure in the mainstream, are there moments when you’re not recognized? And do you breathe a sigh of relief, or do you think, “how do they not know me?”
[Laughs] I’m really not a “how do they not know me” person because 99% of the people that approach me are like, “hey, you’re that guy from FOB,” or, “You’re the Antler Boy Man.” I realize that our songs are more famous than we are. I’ve noticed that the reason why I wear really heinous, clashing stuff is because I do things to purposely make myself weirder or not look like me. One of the reasons why I like being in LA is because I’m so low on the totem poll; everyone is looking for Katie and Tom Cruise, and they look at me and go, “hey, can you valet my car?” I really like the anonymity of that.
Why do you feel bands like Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance have had success, but other bands like Midtown have not reached the same level (yet)?
I think to an extent with Fall Out Boy there is an intangible there that you can’t put your finger on. To me, it’s always been about how we interact with the kids. If I were to lump it in with My Chem, why did Thursday and Dashboard go to here and My Chem and Fall Out go to here? I think the press kind of labeled Dashboard and Thursday as the next Nirvana. That’s a lot of pressure and I think anyone would buckle under that. I think that’s one of the reasons Fall Out and My Chem were under the radar before we sold a certain amount of records. The other aspect is that both of our bands are a bit more theatrical and sexual on the stage. A lot of other bands didn’t allow so much wiggle room, and wanted to be portrayed in a certain way.
What are Fall Out Boy’s goals now?
Now I don’t feel the pressure or nervousness of, “hey, we’ve got to write another ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’.” We did that and we proved to ourselves that we could do that, and to the world that doubted us as well. To me, the next record will be our chance to respond to everything that was said about our music and us. More than that, at the end of the day Fall Out Boy is like a cave painting, just proof that we existed. That’s all we will ever be.
Why was one of your least favorite tracks, “Champagne,” put on the record instead of being left off as a b-side?
I guess it’s because our band is a compromise and some of us were really into it. I feel like the band and management talked Patrick and me out of it. They also kept on “Dark Alley” and I didn’t want that on the record either. Patrick and I would both agree that we wish “Music or the Misery” had been on the record. The reason why we didn’t put “Snitches” on the record is because when it was done I felt that it reminded me too much of My Chem and I didn’t want to throw it on and have people think we wrote a My Chem song.
A lot of people have a problem with re-releases because they think it’s a way to cash in on the same product twice; why was From Under The Cork Tree re-released if it wasn’t for the money?
Ok, I will totally lay this out completely. Your label is going to want to re-release your record over and over and over again because they want to attach the same bar code and sell “that many” records. So, it’s always lucrative for your label to re-release your record. Anytime you see a re-release, that’s definitely the label’s best interest. To me, personally, there are certain bands where I want everything they release, but other bands I don’t. Honestly, if you want you could go find those songs online somewhere, and that’s fine; we’re going to have another record out soon. Sometimes a band will do a re-release because they know they’re not going into the studio any time soon. At the end of the day, I think it’s for a really hardcore fan. I don’t get offended when someone doesn’t want to buy a re-release. And I don’t care if you don’t buy the Fall Out Boy shampoo, whatever. And now these mother fuckers are going to be like, “There’s a Fall Out Boy shampoo? Fuck these guys! They are sellouts!” There’s no Fall Out Boy shampoo, I don’t wash my hair [laughing].
Are there any other plans for another single off From Under The Cork Tree? If so, what song?
There’s not. We were thinking of doing a soft single and a video to goof around with all our friends, but I think we would rather focus on the new record. Our label wants us to do more singles and keep our record cycle going, but we don’t care if it pisses them off. They are bummed when we said it. I mean, our band doesn’t really ask for a lot. We don’t take tour support or anything like that; we’re pretty self-sufficient, and this was one thing that we really put our foot down about. Our label was like, “Well, we don’t think you guys are ready.” We’re like, “We’ve got demos,” and they listened and they said we could record a new record. It’s kind of weird and is going to be a little bit weird, a lot of people think it’s too early. I mean, you look at the output of any of the best bands around, I think a lot of them had crazy creative output. The Beatles put out like whatever amount of songs in 8 years. Fall Out isn’t comparable to The Beatles, but if you have the songs there, why not record and put them out?
Is the new material Fall Out Boy’s best to date?
Yeah, I mean, we would be stupid not to say it. As far as the demos go, it’s my favorite Fall Out Boy stuff, but it’s kind of weird, it’s like a new puppy; everyone likes the new puppy better than the old dog. The new puppy is so new and he has, like, a cute tail or something.
Are you guys playing any of the new songs live yet?
We’re not. You know, every band you go and see always plays a bunch of new songs too early and it’s super frustrating because they don’t play any of the songs you want to see them play and we just always remember that. Rather than do that, we are going to play some super old songs. I think the fans appreciate that. We’ll play some stuff of Evening Out With Your Girlfriend in front of 19,000 people, which is ridiculous, because it’s like the worst record on the planet.
You said “A Little Less Sixteen Candles…” was one of your weakest songs lyrically, why was that on the album, let alone released as a single?
I don’t know if people totally know how singles work. When you’re on a major label, there are compromises to be made. Honestly, our label wanted “Dance, Dance” as our first single, but we pushed for “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” There is a little room to maneuver and stuff. I don’t think we can go, “We want ‘I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy…’” to be a single, I don’t think that they would back that. And we could try to push some songs, but it just wouldn’t work, and the label would just go, “See!” Again, it’s also a compromise within the band where a lot of people said, “We want to do this,” and I was like, “Well, if we compensate, we make a cooler video with a cooler storyline and I’ll back it.” I really like the melody, but I don’t think I lived up to them (lyrically) on that level and I’m just trying to make up for it, I guess. To some level, it’s one of the reasons you see “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar…” as a little bit bigger than “A Little Less Sixteen Candles…” It just says something about the difference of the songs.
Did you realize this after it (the record) was already done?
Yeah, at the time I was like, “Well, I want to have a song with these different type of lyrics that aren’t typical for me or Fall Out Boy. I’m the kind of person that can only see flaws in the record and I was kind of bummed about it.
Do you believe that whatever allowed you to relate your lyrics to regular people was a product of living as a regular person? Now that you’re successful, will it be more difficult?
No, I think I don’t feel safe in my own skin whether it be sitting around in Wilmett, IL or sitting around in Hollywood. I’m that kind of person who probably has a bit too much anxiety and over works things in his head. I’ve never ever tried to write down to people. I’ve never sat there and been like, “We should write songs about lunch room and high school.” I don’t think I could ever write like that. It’s always been kind of how my own head works and I think that I appreciate that people kind of relate to it. But at the same time, it boggles my mind, because I kind of think that everybody thinks that no one understands how they work, but the truth is, a lot of people do.
Knowing the people and age group of your audience, does it ever stop you from writing about anything in particular?
I think one of my biggest problems is that there isn’t much of a filter over my mouth. I think people appreciate it because you get what I really think, but on the other hand I talk myself into corners all the time that I can’t write my way out of. I don’t worry about that much; I worry about getting stuck and only being able to write certain kind of songs. That’s why we have some love songs on the new record and I want to write from other areas. I think that, I guess I said it in another interview, in my head I’m always thinking about how I’m a disturbed genius, Ian Curtis or whatever, but I think in reality I’m closer to a messed up kid, Holden Caulfield. I think a lot of people go through that. There’s never a point where I think I shouldn’t write a song about strippers and coke, because there aren’t strippers and coke; so, I don’t need to filter it. It has been problematic recently, but if you sat there and unpacked the lyrics I think that I’m not a very likeable person.
Do the people in your life that the songs address ever confront you about what you write?
There’s a girl in my hometown that took some semi-celebrity off of Take This To Your Grave. There’s a couple lines; a line in “Sugar” (“I’m just a notch in your bedpost, but you’re just a line in a song”), and then there’s, “Last time I hope you choked and died and crashed your car, hey tear catcher, that’s all that you are.” It’s insane that someone can think it’s some glamorous, amazing thing to treat somebody like that and then be called out for it. I mean, I don’t know; people confront me more often than that and ask why the song is about that, when it’s not. There’s a little starfucker in everybody who wants to be a part of that, wants to be somebody’s muse.
Do you think sometimes people aren’t really listening to your lyrics? This question ties in with that “angry North Carolina” mother and your younger fan base.
To me it’s disheartening a bit, because clearly you’re at the shows because of somebody’s bone structure or because of the melody of the songs and that’s cool. I understand that people can appreciate it on that level. But I mean, the reason we didn’t dumb down our lyrics is because we wanted to get through to people and we had something to say. It bothers me a little bit that people will show up and act surprised at the way certain things are because it’s all laid out in the lyrics. I understand our audience is a little bit younger and at the end of the day we’re pretty good guys. We don’t go out and behave like a lot of bands on this level would or do. At the same time, I wish people would think about if it’s something they want to be a part of or not.
When writing your lyrics, does it flow like written word? Is it more poetic? Is there already a melody intact?
It goes all different ways. The melody intact is the smallest one, probably 5% of the time. Usually, I’ll write and write and write everything that comes out of me, and then Patrick will pick melodies through it and then we’ll create a song off that. If he’s missing parts, he’ll say we need more words here. Certain songs at certain points, I’ll say we should put this phrase in here. It’s weird, we talk about it all the time, but I don’t think we’ve ever been really able to explain. Someone would have to watch it happen. It’s this conversation where we go back and forth and we just need to look at each other to know if it fits or not. It took a long time to get here, and now it’s like this perfect thing that wouldn’t make sense another way.
You said the new record might turn off a lot of people in this scene, why do you speak out against this scene when it’s responsible for your success?
In the actual interview where that’s from, I feel I was misquoted. Anything you do is a commentary on where you come from. I love this scene. I think that for as many faults and flaws it has, it’s great, very open and I think that the openness is what’s cool about it; as far as there isn’t a lot of homophobia, racism, sexism as I’ve seen in other scenes. It’s one of the few where you can kind of get out there and sell whatever amount of records without even going to the radio. There are so many bands that can’t even exist without the radio. For us and Panic! At The Disco, and other bands like us, the radio had bolstered us and taken us to a level we never would’ve gone, but our records would have been considered a success with just our fan base and the organic kind of build. But I’m going to point fingers at things that I think are fucked up, as I hope people do to us. But that interview definitely took a lot of things out of context.
Is there a chance the new record will be called new pix, comment plz?
[Laughing] Oh my god, no; funny, though
Will any of the b-sides from the album be on the new one?
There’s definitely going to be one and it’s the “MySpace Whore” song, which I don’t know if it will still be called that for whatever legal reasons. That one is on my list of definite to be on the record. I’m not sure how many people heard it. We played it live on the “Fueled By Ramen and Friends” Tour. And then there’s “Austin, We Have A Problem” in the possible box.
When’s the b-side album coming out?
I think it would be after the next record cycle. It’s one of those things where I don’t think record labels are always stoked on doing something like that, but I really want to do it. When Saves The Day did it, it’s like, “Holy shit! This is what you wanted!” We have a b-side that I’m excited about, it’s one from Take This To Your Grave, and we never finished the vocals because we thought the guitars were out of tune. We will go re-record them and go put the vocals down. I mean, how many people wanted b-sides from Tell All Your Friends or whatever? It’s just like the record people first heard you on, I think that’s really important. There’s a lot of songs that haven’t fit inon any record, but would really fit on b-sides, I guess.
Do you really enjoy the songs you write? If you weren’t in the band, would you listen to the music?
You’re asking the wrong dude. I listen to a lot of bands we play with. I’m a big fan of My Chem and bands like that. I wouldn’t play in a band or type of music I didn’t like. I think it’s ridiculous to think that everybody in these bands listen to all the bands they sound like. We all have a very wide kind of appreciation of different kinds of music. Fall Out Boy never really changed. I think we’ve gotten a little bit better at our instruments; some of us, not all of us [Laughing]. I think that we never really changed and thought we had to make ourselves appealing or whatever. People want to have it both ways. The want to be able to say, “You guys never change, you fucking suck,” and on the other side they want to say, “You guys fucking changed.” It’s so weird, you can’t have it both ways. I do enjoy the music we play.
Why did you quit playing hardcore music? Do you miss it? Is there ever a chance Fall Out Boy will write a hardcore album?
I don’t think there’s ever a chance Fall Out Boy will, but who ever really knows? But I say it’s a pretty safe bet we won’t ever write a hardcore record. I think the problem with so many bands is that they change things so much and kick out so many people and just want to hold on to the name, which I think is stupid. I think that the reason we stopped doing hardcore was because we got sick of the scene. It was cool when there was a voice and it was more about just music and mosh. That stuff is awesome, but I think we were bummed when we would go to shows and people would be like, “Mosh, you ***gots.” That’s something your redneck uncle would say. Why would you want to go to a show that’s suppose to be this counterculture thing and put up with that? We got sick of it and started Fall Out Boy. There’s a lot of bands from this scene, or pop bands in general, who go on and go, “We’re going to spice up our music with hardcore parts.” We do the opposite where we are hardcore kids writing pop music. That’s how we structure our songs and play. That’s probably why we don’t sound great live.
How do you feel about your band paving the way for other bands to downstream? Do you think it’s a business tactic that lies to a lot of fans? Why lie about signing to Island?
We didn’t downstream, and that’s not technically what a downstream is. A downstream would be when you sign to like Island Records, but Island would put out a cred record. I think in some cases it’s a good idea, and in some cases it’s not a good idea. We signed a deal with Island after passing on a bunch of other labels that approached us. The deal was they had the rights to first refusal of our next set of demos after Take This To Your Grave. They gave us like $40,000 for our record and allowed us to make the record how we wanted to make it, kind of no strings attached. We’ve never been shy about saying that Island was there and had a very hands-off approach with us. Our first week, we sold like 1,500 records and we were still playing to like 22 kids. Take This To Your Grave didn’t get a whole lot of radio play, maybe MTVU sometimes, I don’t know. Island wasn’t very influential at that time with us. We didn’t know anybody at Island until we went in to record our new album. I don’t think they were really pressing to have us on their label at the time. It was definitely not a downstream. Everybody knows the names of a couple of bands that have downstreamed, I won’t say any of them.
The music industry is: write, record, tour and repeat, which can be tiring. How do you maintain your passion for the music?
Music is kind of a good competition. When Kanye puts out a “Touch The Sky” video, it’s like that guy just raised the bar; you have to put out a video that good or you fail. I mean, it’s a healthy competition. There’s always new bands that are under the radar, you check out and are like, “Holy shit, look what these guys can do.” I think there are times when you can get tired inside your own head and that’s when you need to take a step back, and not write music for awhile.
The music industry is known to be cruel, how do you stay grounded?
More than anything, I think that we’ve learned to make fun of a lot of people and things. We laugh at certain people at the labels, guys who come and pretty much fit the slicked back hair with the press on goatee and ponytail look you see in all the movies. They don’t have any idea about how this scene works and they will be like, “They wrote about this band, better sign them.” It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, because who are half these bands? They’re not able to separate the bands and think, “Wow, I love this music, I should sign this band.” The people we intimately surround ourselves with are people we grew up with and we’ve been touring with for 4 years and are like a part of our family.
What’s the best part about owning your own record label?
The best part is that I’m never going to get to take Fall Out Boy from 0-65 again. I don’t know that I would ever do another band after Fall Out Boy. So, it gives me the chance to do that, and it gives me the chance to work with a band like Gym Class Heroes because I’m not going to get out there and be a rapper. That’s a no win situation for everybody. It’s cool to be able to think of new ideas and explore areas with Gym Class and push new boundaries. That’s really exciting for me. And to expose bands like that to kids who like “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” it’s cool to be that kind of gateway drug, I guess.
Would you consider signing a band that strays outside the norm that most people expect in this music community?
Yeah, definitely. Every band on the label votes for all the bands that come onto the label. In order for a band to get on Decaydance, all the bands have to vote on them. It’s really a family inspired vibe. The guys from Panic! will give me bands from left field, which is cool because I would have never heard that band otherwise; whether they end up on the label or not, that’s chance to open my ears. To me, Gym Class Heroes toured with all these scene bands, but I don’t see them fitting in with this sound.
Speaking of Gym Class, do you feel a hip-hop label would better suit them for more exposure?
They’re a weird thing because they’re too rock for hip-hop, too hip-hop for rock. Where do you put them? It’s people from all different aspects and has been one of the hardest things to overcome. They go play with us and sometimes it’s really cool and sometimes it’s not. To me, they really are the next band where they have to kick the fucking door down. People are like, “Yeah, The Academy Is or Panic! are the next FOB.” We’re all similar. Gym Class really has to go out and tour, kick the door down. That’s what I find admirable about them, but I don’t know. Maybe.
Apparently when you were playing in Manchester, England, Gym Class Heroes got booed. I was told you addressed the situation by telling the crowd you didn’t want people who heckled GCH to be fans of your band. Do you feel a certain, almost parental, need to look out for the Decaydance bands?
Yeah, the story is interesting. It’s been reported wrong everywhere, you actually have it right. The crowd was heckling Gym Class, they were booing them. When I came onstage the only thing I care about is like… listen, we love Fall Out Boy fans. We think they’re the greatest in the world. That’s why we bring bands on tour to check them out. The minimum we expect is that they treat the bands we bring with respect because we expect the bands we bring out to treat our crowds with respect. It’s got to be a two way street. I feel like dad or mom. I call Panic! all the time. I worry about them. When somebody talks about them, it’s like I care about all of them. They actually mean something to me and that’s why it’s like sometimes hard for me to read things. I know it’s dumb.
You said some bands approached you wanting to start a feud for publicity’s sake. How can we know the situation between you and Brandon Flowers / The Killers wasn’t staged?
If it would have been staged I think that we would have gotten something out of it, I guess. Everybody says that Panic! got attention because of it or whatever, but at the end of the day Panic! Is not on Island and I was yelled at for bringing The Killers into that. And The Killers have no idea who Panic! is. I think it would’ve been a bit better of a feud if we had planned it out and gone back and forth. If anything, I think both of us hold back what we say. I think The Killers have written some really awesome songs and that’s why it bothers me that some of the things get said the way they do. Like I said, I’ve never said something about, ya know, too much about Brandon personally, and he hasn’t said too much about me personally. I think there’s plenty to be said, but we never have. The Killers were one of the few bands where I thought I’m not going to give this band any kind of publicity by saying things. I don’t think it was giving either of us extra publicity where people thought they should go buy our records because we were fighting. The bands I’m talking about are kind of under the radar and want to use us to sell a few more records. Good thinking on whoever asked that’s part; good question. B+.
Why do you agree to be on the cover of teeny bopper magazines like Tiger Beat?
We don’t. This is how it works. We’ve never done an interview with Tiger Beat. When we’re on a red carpet and walking down, we will talk to everybody. We will take whatever press we can get, where real celebrities kind of pick and choose. I think they grab stuff from that. If you read the articles, it’s all stuff that came out a couple months ago. All the photos were bought online, or whatever. I don’t really have an opinion one-way or the other. Honestly, I don’t think it’s really effective one-way or the other when you’re on TRL or have sold a million records, either way you’re going to have people that probably only appreciate some of you because of how you look, or what your videos are like.
The whole Sidekick nude thing, a few readers want to know what your mother thought of you doing that in her house.
[Laughs] My mom sent me an email telling me to be more careful and that I’m handling it really good (no pun intended). And I’m like, “Mom, don’t talk to me about this.” You never want to think that your mom saw that. To be honest with you, I’ve done so many stupid things for so many years that I don’t think anything really shocks my parents. It would take a lot more than that to shock my parents.
We imagine that when you initially found out they were on the net you were distraught, how did you get to the point where you can laugh about it?
The process was really interesting. I started getting texts and IMs that were like, “Why is your dick on the internet?” I was like, “Yeah, whatever, funny.” Then Dan, our tour manager, was like, “Yeah, you should probably check this out.” I was like, “Oh my god! This is going to be the biggest deal on our website. I’m going to have to do so much damage control.” Then I got a call from our label the next day and they said it was the #2 most searched image on Yahoo! behind the war in Iraq. At that point, I shut down. I didn’t take any calls for 24 hours. I called my manager and said, “I don’t want to do this band anymore, it’s too much, it’s not fun for me.” I took the time to calm down. All four of us, everyone in the band, met up and everybody was super supportive and that’s one of the reasons why things are going so smoothly. You can freak out and be like, “How did this happen?” Or you can be like, “Yeah, the only thing I can do about this right now is laugh about it.” At first, when you start laughing, it’s not funny. I made myself laugh. But now, it’s like funny. It’s a moment that some people will remember and some will hope they forgot. I’m a big enough boy to laugh at myself and parodies of myself. I have my own parody that will be in Alternative Press soon.
Are you surprised some people are very spiteful towards you, especially about this kind of stuff?
The funniest thing about being who I am is that I think people have a gut reaction to me. Whether it be how they see you on TV or at a show or read a magazine article, they take that gut reaction and then project that onto you. I have people that are always sending emails or writing on the message board that say I’m the sweetest person ever. And then I read I’m the biggest asshole on the planet. “Fuck that dude, I hope he catches the new AIDS.” I think it’s funny because you only project things and notice things that reinforce how you think about that person. I’m not the sweetest person on the planet. I’m not the biggest asshole on the planet. I’m probably in between those. I have to be able to say, “Alright, people are going to always hate me or love me and I’ll operate and just be myself.”
Do the other members of Fall Out Boy engage in any “childish antics” like the kind seen on the DVD? I can’t imagine Patrick drinking his own piss.
Patrick actually used to be kind of like the human-garbage-machine; eat anything, drink anything, eat leftovers, or eat and drink things he shouldn’t. I’ve watched him eat garlic butter, watched him do everything. His personality is different around us when he’s more comfortable, and at the same time he needs to watch out for his voice and not be drinking pee and not throwing up. I don’t think anybody should. I understand the way I am, everybody has their own personality that sometimes comes out on DVDs or in interviews.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you take and why?
Patrick, Joe and Andy probably. [Laughs]
If you had a chance to Punk someone, who would it be?
I’d like to Punk my band, because after they did it to me I felt sick to my stomach for an entire day. I would love to punk Panic! At The Disco. I’d love to punk Brandon Flowers. That would be amazing, although I’d probably get punched in the mouth for doing so. There’s plenty of people I’d love to do it to, but my band first and foremost.
Why do you wear girl jeans and make-up?
You know what? In 2006, Pete has not worn any make-up. These jeans happen to be guys jeans; I wear girl and guy jeans. I think as strange as it is to wear girl jeans and make-up, it’s even stranger the fascination people have. It’s crazy when it becomes magazine articles and websites that are devoted to guys who wear eyeliner. That’s why I stopped wearing it. I’ve always liked it and have drawn black eyes on myself. It’s getting tired and predictable; everybody’s doing it, so I kind of stopped doing it.
How many groupies have you “ruthlessly boned” on the back of the bus?
[Laughs] That’s fantastic! I don’t really have a good answer to this. The funny thing is I was talking the other day in a foreign interview and they were like, “How are you guys traveling?” And I was like, “We’re going to have a bus for us and a couple of our friends, and our roadies have a bus as well.” They were like, “You bring sluts everywhere?” I was like, “What do you mean? No, no, no! There’s a difference between roadies and groupies.” Honestly, nobody gets ruthlessly boned.
Do you have anything you would like to add or say?
Yeah, I think that first of all, I want to thank everybody for taking the time to read the interview. A lot of people were kind of like, “Why is he answering these questions?” I will answer any questions that anybody asks and these are the questions you came up with. If anybody is unhappy with them, they should have asked a question. I think you guys have exposed a lot of bands who are like, “Fuck this website.” I think it’s cool to actually grow with each other and come back and be able to do something like this. Enough of this ass kissing, I still hate Jared Kaufman and Jason Tate.
A very special thanks to Tom and Eddie from Idobi for helping out with this.
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