What Fall Out Boy did in the ‘dark’
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Now, we know what Fall Out Boy did in the “dark,” when it left the stage and spotlight four years ago. Its members went their separate ways (temporarily!) so they could find themselves (again) as a band.

After shocking fans with an “indefinite” hiatus that was purported to be leading to, if not already an actual break-up, Fall Out Boy has resurfaced with its fifth record Save Rock And Roll. And to borrow a line from the lead single, My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark, the American quartet apparently just needed the spark to (re)ignite. Now, Fall Out Boy is — as vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump screams metal-style in the anthemic chorus — “on fireee!”  

Save Rock And Roll debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200, with My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark going platinum and lighting up the charts worldwide, plus glowing reviews on the album’s melodic goodness, still gifted lyricism, more aggressive rocker attitude, that it’s touted as perhaps one of the hottest comebacks in recent memory.   

The STAR recently had a brief phone interview with bassist Pete Wentz ahead of its return concert to the Philippines on Aug. 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fall Out Boy came to Manila first in 2007 for what would become a two-night concert and then another show in 2009.

It was also in 2009 when after four records, the band behind such hits as This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race and Thnks fr th Mmrs, decided to take a pause, with each member drifting into solo projects.

Pete said that he and the rest of the guys — vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley — weren’t really keeping record of how long a lull it was. 

He noted that some of the most solid bands even take longer breaks before returning to the touring and recording scene. “I don’t know how long it was comparatively, to other bands. If you think about it, Rolling Stones, U2 take longer than that. Probably because we need space to live life, you know,” he said.

Although speculations back then were running high, Pete said that they never had any intention to break up, and that they always knew that when they return, they’re going to sound fresh. “I think we need to come back with new music. I think we need to have big music. We didn’t want to come back with old songs like the old-guy band.”

Describing the making of Save Rock And Roll, he said: â€œIt was different in a way that we didn’t have expectations. We didn’t have people telling us what they thought. It’s really just the four of us making an album. It hasn’t been that way since the first one. That was really exciting!”

He mused, “I think it’s a generic thing for bands to call their latest record as their best work. It’s like the new puppy syndrome, because if you have a new puppy it’s so much fun than having a dog, whatever… But really, this felt like doing a first record all over again and although it’s never gonna be like the first one but this is as close to getting a copy.”

As for the title, whether or not it is a statement of sorts on the state of rock and what it needs saving from, Pete has clarified in interviews that the band was just being tongue-in-cheek when it came to naming its newest album.

Pete is leaving it up to the listeners to do the interpretation. He told The STAR: â€œIt can be taken in so many different ways: The idea that rock and roll is a dangerous progressive thing and it shouldn’t just be what it has become, shouldn’t be just like guitar solos and like, you know, the ‘bad bands’ quote-unquote (laughs). But it should be progressive, you know, like somebody like Kanye West is rock and roll. So, why should you have guitars, bass and drums (only) to be a rock and roll band?”

Recalling why the band went on a hiatus in the first place, Pete related, “At the time, we had been doing this thing for like, seven or eight years straight, and that would make you crazy, you know! It’s hard to write about life and find inspiration when you’re not really living it and you’re just always on tour. We took a break and most of us just lived our lives a little bit. We just needed some time. So after taking the time and what-nots, that’s when we were able to live life and experience it and become inspired again.”

“We were burned out,” Pete said, his tone reliving some of that time’s frustration, “we were like really burned out.”

There were many before and after-the-break reports of personal troubles, of music overtaken by fame and celebrity status and of depression (just Google and you shall find), but in the end it apparently proved beneficial to the band, and Pete would recommend it to any band going through whatever they went through. “You got to think about the health of your band and the health of yourself,” he stressed.

Pete said that what keeps them together is a sense of brotherhood. When they’re not busy touring, “we enjoy a lot of lunch together, we watch the same kinds of movies, have the same ideas and art. Whatever keeps brothers together is what keeps us together. Sometimes, like a brother, you drive each other crazy. But whoever has a good day, you’re also in there with them.”  

Meanwhile, Pete who, like many other popular musicians, has taken to social media to connect with fans around the world doesn’t believe that aspiring artists now have it easier making it in the business because of social media. It’s tougher to be noticed so bands have to work harder on what they can offer.    

He said, “It’s easier for labels and managers to find these bands. But the unfortunate part is that they sign up so many but they don’t develop them all, only whichever sticks out and is seen a little bit better. The rest are kinda left out. So my actual suggestion to bands would be to don’t make signing and deals as a be-all, end-all… You should, you take them the product that’s good first.”

Thanks to social media though, Fall Out Boy is aware that it still matters to Filipino fans despite the respite. Talking about the forthcoming concert on Aug. 8, Pete said, “I think it’s gonna be like a fun one. I’m getting excited to be on tour right now. I think we’ll be bigger than before. We went to Japan maybe like six months ago but other than that, it’s been awhile (since we’ve been to Asia). We love the Philippines! There’s been a lot of people talking about us from the Philippines (on social media) which is exciting. We feel very lucky to have that fan base in the Philippines.”

Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock And Roll concert tour on Aug. 8 is a joint production of MMI and Ovations. For details, log on to www.ticketnet.com.ph or call Ticketnet at 911-5555.

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