MANILA, Philippines - Fall Out Boy is back in the country in a big way: New sound, new look and new rocker attitude.
The American band just came out of a four-year hiatus to pull off one of the hottest musical comebacks in recent times via its fifth record Save Rock And Roll, which debuted to both commercial and critical success.
Composed of vocalist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley, Fall Out Boy took the time out to give interviews a few hours before its concert yesterday evening at the Big Dome.
Unlike in TV interviews, all four members appeared during the session with the print media, wherein one writer turned fawning fan girl and redeemed a hug from Pete (who apparently promised it during a previous phoner) instead of asking a question.
It was also Pete who answered the question on their “new look.” Gone was his signature “emo” look after all, while Patrick is sporting a visibly leaner physique (he no longer eats meat, he would reveal later on).
According to Pete, the new look has less to do with Fall Out Boy’s new music — although some artists do change image to signal a new music direction — but more with growing up.
Pete mused, “I think how everything looks is less purposeful. And you grow a lot in four years’ time. And it’s just kind of how we are, you know, from Fall Out Boys to Fall Out Men (laughs). But the music was more purposeful.”
When Fall Out Boy decided to regroup in 2012 after shocking fans with an indefinite break in 2007 (widely-speculated as an actual break-up), the band responsible for such hits as Sugar, We’re Going Down, Dance, Dance, Thnks fr th Mmrs and I Don’t Care sounded different on purpose, shaking off the “emo-punk-rock” tags of its music.
Patrick said, “We had been gone for about three to four years, depending on who you ask. But you know, in that time, we could have come back and made something like — there’s the idea of returning to form, kind of like rehashing stuff. But we were always a band that wanted to try new things so it wouldn’t have been very Fall Out Boy to do the same thing. That was important coming back. Going forward, I’ll always do it. Like our next record won’t sound like our current record.”
In retrospect, it would have probably done more harm than good hadn’t the band taken a respite, during which each member pursued solo projects. Joe said, “Probably, we wouldn’t have done it to death or it would have caused an implosion of some kind. We just needed that break for a new perspective ‘coz we’re doing it for eight years without a break completely. We were so deep into it that we didn’t have time to reflect and realize how excellent everything was.”
The return came with a new perspective and attitude towards music-making and towards each other.
Patrick related, “There were pretty big changes actually when we got together. One of the things was that, I think, when we were younger we didn’t like to discuss things. So, a lot of times, we would end up like being secretly angry at each other (laughs).
“We built all of these ways when we were together that weren’t really very constructive or cool. For example, Pete wrote a lot of music and I wrote a lot of the music, but the way that really happened was that we would just sit and discuss things with each other. It was like, ‘Fine, you do that, I’ll do this.’ It was just a childish thing of just trying not to argue with each other so you don’t ever discuss anything.”
But this time around with Save Rock And Roll, Patrick said, “We made everything a lot more communal, just being open with each other.”
The band was also asked for three of its songs that best encapsulate Fall Out Boy’s musical journey.
First is Saturday as “it’s one of the first songs we’ve done kind of out of a box. When we started out, we were bunch of hard workers doing pop-punk or something, right? Saturday was one of the moments we kind of left the center. Some of the chords and things have just started to spell out who we were.”
Another was Dance, Dance “because that one was definitely like ‘hey, we don’t sound like everyone else, you know.’ It’s one of those great moments when we found ourselves.”
The third pick was Save Rock & Roll, the title track of its latest studio album. “There’s something about that song that is so us, and yet so distant from where we started.”
From the “humble beginnings” in Saturday to the “R&B affectations” of Dance, Dance to the “bombastic strings and power vocals” of Save Rock And Roll — these songs, according to Patrick, showed how they grew into themselves as a band.
Meanwhile, this is the third time Fall Out Boy has been to the Philippines (the band was here in 2007 and 2009). Patrick recalled the good time he had the last time he was here.
“My wife’s grandmother was born in Manila. The last time I was here, I was with my wife and it was really cool. We got to see some of the things that her family has talked about a lot. I’ve experienced some of the culture and stuff. I ate pancit, adobo since I was eating meat back then, all of those things. It’s just great. It’s a pretty cool place. My wife is a quarter-Filipino. It’s funny because none in her family can speak Tagalog and they have a lot of ethnicities, they are part-Chinese and part-British, all that food that have survived is Filipino. So, we had adobo, pancit, lumpia during our wedding.”
(Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock And Roll is still available in CDs in record stores nationwide and online via iTunes under MCA Music [Universal Music Philippines].)