Pete Wentz Interview: Fall Out Boy (JJ Exclusive!)
The 33-year-old bassist and his bandmates recently released their new record Save Rock and Roll, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts to positive reviews from fans and critics alike.
Meanwhile, the lead single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” also hit big with over a million downloads already.
JJ caught up with Pete to talk about the new music, balancing life as a dad with touring, what he does in his free time, and more!
Click inside to read our interview with Pete Wentz…
JustJared.com Interview – Pete Wentz
JustJared.com: Congrats on the new album! Obviously, it’s doing really well. Were you guys nervous at all to put out new music?
Pete Wentz: I don’t think so much nervous, but we just didn’t have the expectation that this many people or that it would react so quickly to this many people, so that’s been cool to watch.
JJ: There was a lot of speculation for a while about new music. Were you guys waiting to announce it for a specific reason?
PW: I mean, I think that when you do art or whatever you do, you want do it your way, you know? So we kind of wanted to kind of announce it on our terms. And then also, I think that if we announced it and then recorded a record, I can’t really imagine how much pressure that would have been and that record probably would have turned out pretty weird.
JJ: Was it easy to slip back into writing together?
PW: Yeah, me and Patrick (Stump) always kind of write so that was an easy thing to do. It’s cool. I mean, the dynamics have changed. It’s a little more grown up which is cool, you know?
JJ: Definitely. What is the story behind burning your old records?
PW: That, we kind of wanted to make sure that people got the message that this was going to be version 2.0 and that we weren’t looking to remake our old songs. They will always exist, we’re just not going to remake them.
JJ: Does it ever get annoying when people shout out requests for old songs over and over at concerts?
PW: I feel like we found that people call out for really obscure songs. It’s one of those things that is kind of frustrating because the only time we ever play those songs is when someone yells it out. And it always goes weird because only a couple of people know that song. I thought it was really frustrating, but then I thought about people who I’m really fans of, like George Lucas, and what I’d talk to him about. Sometimes being a fan is tough because I’d want to show George Lucas that I really care, and talk about weird stuff about Star Wars that not everybody would know, so I understand that. I can appreciate that. So you’re kind of having this exchange with people who have seen us multiple times. I get it, it makes sense to me. Maybe we’ll play those at smaller shows or something like that.
JJ: In terms of songwriting, what’s your process like as a band? We read that you usually write most of the lyrics.
PW: Yeah, I’ll usually write the words and Patrick will accompany them with music. And then it’s been going all kinds of different ways – the words have been coming first lately and then sometimes Patrick and Joe (Trohman) write the music together, and sometimes Patrick just comes up with it. It’s been a cool, interesting dynamic.
JJ: How have your lyrics evolved over the past couple of years?
PW: I think it’s just a different perspective and it’s a little bit older. I think that writing this record, we kind of knew the difference and talked about making the purest, most distilled version of Fall Out Boy we could be. And when we got into it, we had words and words and words, and it kind of helped me see that it doesn’t have to make it complex and complicated – that it’s poetry. You should be able to grab people with ideas. That’s what happened with this album. There was more thought into it. There are dramatic elements of the album. I feel there’s a theme that runs through it.
JJ: You recently announced that Panic at The Disco will be joining you on tour. How do you usually decide on that?
PW: We make a wish list and see who makes sense, who has albums coming out, who can even do it. It’s cool because Panic at The Disco have been our buddies for a long time and we haven’t been a tour together in a really long time.
JJ: How do you balance touring with having a family now?
PW: One of the things that is really great is technology. It’s really awesome now because you can FaceTime and it’s really acceptable. And then when I got back from Europe and Australia back, [my son Bronx] met me in New York. For me, there’s something special about growing up around art and around music. That aspect of it has been really great. My kid grounds me and he keeps me honest when no one else will. His one friend is like, “I want to play Fall Out Boy” and he’s like I don’t want to play that.” I’m like, “Alright, cool, right on!” That’s very humbling (laughs).
JJ: I know you did a little acting here and there, would you ever do that again?
PW: I guess so. I think that right now, I want to focus on Fall Out Boy and basically fill my calendar for the next year with singing. But yeah, if the right thing came along, I would definitely love to do it.
JJ: You guys have some pretty dedicated fans. Anything that stands out in terms of fan moments?
PW: They’re all pretty crazy. We used to go to my parents house and they would come on the lawn (laughs).
JJ: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
PW: I haven’t had an off day in a long time, but I like to go hiking. I like to play tennis, and watch movies.
JJ: What are some of your favorite TV shows?
PW: I like Game of Thrones a lot. I like Chopped, Homeland, Bill Maher.
JJ: You’ve been doing this for a long time and have already accomplished so much. Any goals in mind for the future?
PW: I always like to look forward to the future and that’s what we’re doing. We’ve always been a very ambitious band, so we set the goals really high. We’ve accomplished a lot of them. We got to play Obama’s inauguration. We got to go to the Grammy’s and win VMA’s, but that stuff always just furthers me to the next goal, the next idea, the next thing. I’d love to win a Grammy. That’s not my goal in life and I won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, but just to be recognized again. We’ve tried to go play in Antarctica, and I’d love to actually return and do it. But the most important part is to keep it fun, so whatever it takes to make it fun.
Be sure to pick up Fall Out Boy’s new record Save Rock and Roll, out now!