None of This Rocks is a memoir by Joe Trohman—lead guitarist and cofounder of Fall Out Boy—that reads like a double album full of revealing stories from his youth and his experiences of modern rock and roll stardom. With wit and wisdom, and maybe a little bit of whining, Trohman grapples with depression, his mother’s brain cancer, antisemitism, pills, petty larceny, side hustles, and pop punk at the turn of the century.
Trohman cofounded Fall Out Boy with Pete Wentz in the early aughts, and he’s been the sticky element of the metaphorical glue-like substance holding the band together ever since, over the course of a couple decades that have included massive success, occasional backlashes, and one infamous four-year hiatus. Trohman was, and remains, the emotive communicator of the group: the one who made sure they practiced, who copied and distributed the flyers, and who took the wheel throughout many of the early tours. As soon as he was old enough to drive, that is—because he was all of 15 years old when they started out. That’s part of the story Trohman tells in this memoir, which provides an indispensable inside perspective on the history of Fall Out Boy for their legions of fans. But Trohman has a great deal more to convey, thanks to his storytelling chops, his unmistakable voice, and his unmitigated sense of humor in the face of the tragic and the absurd.
None of This Rocks chronicles a turbulent life that has informed Trohman’s music and his worldview. His mother suffered from mental illness and multiple brain tumors that eventually killed her. His father struggled with that tragedy, but was ultimately a supportive force in Trohman’s life who fostered his thirst for knowledge. Trohman faced antisemitism in small-town Ohio, and he witnessed all levels of misogyny, racism, and violence amid the straight edge hardcore punk scene in Chicago. Then came Fall Out Boy. From the guitarist’s very first glimpses of their popular ascension, to working with his heroes like Anthrax’s Scott Ian, to writing for television with comedian Brian Posehn, Trohman takes readers backstage, into the studio, and onto his couch. He shares his struggles with depression and substance abuse in a brutally honest and personal tone that readers will appreciate. Not much of this rocks, perhaps, but it all adds up to a fascinating music memoir unlike any you’ve ever read.