“…Britney Spears is like a mirror for the American culture. She’s like all of us…”
– Pete Wentz
‘M A N I A’ – the band’s 7th studio album is out now and we had the pleasure to listen to their new tracks life in Berlin. To be fair for a Fall Out Boy show, it was a very intimate gig, as the venue (called Lido) has a capacity of 600 people for the concert hall itself. The day after kicking their ‘Mania-tour’ off in Berlin, we met Patrick Stump (lead singer and guitarist) and Pete Wentz (bass and backing vocals) for an exclusive interview, to talk about Britney Spears, their show at Lido, quotes that they used in some of their songs and Patrick accidentally revealed something that is not officially released yet – the following interview includes a special secret for our readers, which will no longer be a secret, after you read the interview! 😉
Good morning guys, thanks for taking the time. How does it feel to be back in Berlin and how did you like last nights show at Lido?
Pete: Oh man the show was awesome – really great!
Patrick: Yeah it’s great to be back! I couldn’t remember when the last time when we were here was…
Pete: We were at this hotel!
Patrick: Yeah I remember that (laughs). It’s always exciting to get to play. We haven’t played a venue that size in a really long time. It’s kind of muscles you wanna make sure, that you can still flex.
Pete: I kinda feel a lot of stress to be in Berlin, cause a lot of artists, a lot of rock artists have like a brilliant moment, you know. But the show was awesome!
What would you say it’s the main difference playing a small venue compared to a bigger one?
Patrick: There’s a huge difference. On of the things is, that it’s kinda scary and exciting at the same time, because when you’re playing at an arena or something, everything has to be planned out to the most fine detail. You have to be at this mark at this time and this explosion is gonna happen behind you and all these things. And in a show like this, you just gotta play and that means you have to be entertaining (laughs). That’s a challenge, but it’s exciting when it works! I was really happy that it felt like a good show yesterday. But you know, sometimes you wonder after you haven’t done it in a while like ‘oh no am I really boring now?’ (laughs).
No worries you did a great job at last nights gig! – You’ve been on tour across the globe for 17 years now and now you’re back on the road with your 7th studio album ‘Mania’. Can you remember a special place or venue you played and is there anything on your list you’d really love to play and you haven’t yet?
Pete: I think it would be fun to play in India, the places that we haven’t been to, that I don’t even know what it would be for us to play.
Patrick: I’m excited that we’re going to China for the first real time. Oh am I supposed to say that?
Pete: Now you did!
Patrick: Ok! I couldn’t remember if that was released yet (laughs).
Pete: It’s definitely not released, but I think you’re fine.
Patrick: But we’re planning on it anyway. I think that will be really exciting, I mean that’s like the most human beings there in China, to see a place I know very little about and to play there. That’s a pretty amazing thing.
What was the most funny thing that ever happened to you on tour?
Patrick: Oh my goodness!
Or the most embarrassing?
Patrick: There’s a lot (laughs)! There’s a lot of embarrassing things! (silence while he thinks about it) See a lot of it it’s embarrassing that’s the problem. A lot of my days on tour are very embarrassing, but I am also easily embarrassed (laughs). Let me think about that one!
Pete: I mean there’s lots of times where like, especially at bigger shows, where it’s all going sideways and then for whatever reason, I think it’s just human civilization just stops going sideways, like we had these giant platforms, that would go up and down …
Patrick: …that’s the one (laughs) there we go!
Pete: … in our really tour in the United States…
Patrick: …they call them ‘toasters’ and they are supposed to go really fast, it’s like it shoots you out of the ground!
Pete: No, I’m not even going ‘toasters’…
Patrick: Oh you’re not even talking about the ‘toaster’-one? I have a good ‘toaster’-one! So go ahead!
Pete: The platforms, we had to go up and down in the back of the arena. And one night we were playing and the sound just doesn’t work and we were like you can either go through with the rest of it and that’s what we probably would have done back in the day and if you gone through the rest of it would be …
Patrick: Yeah ‘cause none of us could hear each other. We were like hundreds of feet away from each other, so you know. We couldn’t hear Andy at all, he couldn’t hear us. Pete and I were on the same platform, so there’s really no music being played at that point (laughs), everyone was just kinda making noise.
Pete: It sounds terrible! As we were like ‘Sorry we can’t keep doing it like this!’. And then they were like lower the platform, but the instead of like a great flex, we just climbed down and climbed back.
Patrick: Yeah walk of shame!
Pete: Yeah, really sad looking!
Patrick: The one I was going to say, I was thinking of the ‘toasters’, which are different than the platforms. Bunch of years ago we had these ‘toasters’, which were the hydraulic lifts that you press a button and they shoot you out of the floor. And there was like this big light show, with fire and stuff at the beginning of the set and there’s this build up and you here all these heartbeat faster like (imitates a drumroll) ‘Fall Out Boy!’ and then we fly out at the floor. At the show in Arizona, Arizona is a desert, so we tested it during the day and it worked fine, but the temperature drops like crazy at night, so the hydraulic lifts they froze (laughs). So it kinda ruined the hydraulic of the lifts that night and we gotta climb out of the floor like the Zombies from Thriller. It’s just the saddest thing! That was pretty embarrassing!
‘Mania’ seems like an album full of surprises, especially lyrical-wise. “ Oops I did it again” (track 1 ‘Young and Menace’), what was the main inspiration and idea, beside from cheeky quotes, which you very well implemented by the way, for your new record?
Pete: I think in that one there is the idea that, at least in the United States, Britney Spears is like a mirror for the American culture. She’s like all of us, you know. It’s like we build her up we tear her down. She’s like this super talented, rad person, that for some reason, we keep taking up and then taking down. So I think that was that lyrical reference. But in general I think it’s like human flaws connect all of us, everyone has their anxieties and can’t sleep or whatever it is and that’s what’s actually interconnects us as human beings.
The title ‘Mania’ has an interesting style of the typography, also the perspective of that empty purple room with a full window wall at the end and a beautiful view at some waves, looks like a piece from a modern art gallery. Who came up with the idea for the album cover?
Pete: First we had blue and we had red and we thought of doing a purple one eventually. I think that the wave is like mania itself. A wave just doesn’t care, it doesn’t care about the beach and it just keeps happening. And gets bigger and gets smaller, that was kind of the idea.
Patrick: Waves are so fascinating aren’t they too? Because they only have the power that they have for that one waves and that’s it. And then the next thing that’s coming is less power. Waves are just fascinating in that way. I think that was a neat image of the way that the wave just doesn’t care and you’re standing on the shore and you either ride it or you race for it (laughs).
Pete: Yeah it just comes. You can’t tell it not to come, or whatever it just keeps coming.
From purple to black – in Song number 7 called ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ you have another interesting quote by The Addams Family, which is “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color”. How much are you into black clothing?
(both are laughing)
Pete: I think we’re all probably into less than the quote would be. To me Wednesday Addams is so quotable. Especially that interpretation of her is like super funny.
Patrick: Pete was teasing you a little bit, because yesterday I ran into some rad anthem about we always have to wear black. When we started the band, I dressed a little bit weird and I kinda had to meet in the middle somewhere, otherwise it looked really insane. So one of my compromises was I just wear black all the time, ‘cause that was like ‘black goes with everything’ kinda thing. I was making fun of Pete something about like ‘Oh you know, sorry I was getting a little risky in wearing navy blue’ (laughs).
What means fashion in general to you?
Pete: I think that everything is fashion. Fashion is like art, you can find it in everything. I dress my three year old all the time and I’m like ‘oh wow!’ All the little pieces are really interesting.
Patrick: It’s pretty funny you know, the options for kids. I mean my kids dress better than I do (laughs).
What influences you in the way you dress?
Pete: I think menswear is kinda exciting right now. Because street wear is like elevated to the point where that has become menswear. So you see people wearing like sweatpants out and stuff, which is pretty wild. I’m inspired by my friends that I see that wear stuff and I’m like ‘oh wow I didn’t even know that this was a piece or this was a designer’ and it’s often that it’s not a designer.
Do you have any indispensable pieces of clothing? Patrick you might probably go with your hat?
Patrick: The hat for me it just become kind of a thing, I actually hate the hat. It’s weird I feel incomplete doing Fall Out Boy without the hat, but in my private life it’s like the last thing I wanna do is wear a hat. There’s something about it that feels like I’m supposed to have a hat.
Pete: It’s gotta be a little bit nice like to have like a thing where you’re like ‘oh my god he has got no hat on, he’s off duty’.
Patrick: No it is! That was actually pretty funny! We were doing a TV show in the States and all the studios, they have really high security and stuff and you have to give your drivers license at the gate and the gate guard had looks you over. He looks me over and was like ‘what are you here for’ and I was like ‘well we’re playing Ellen’ or whatever show we were playing and he looks at me real funny and by coincidence I had had my hat off and I just put it on that moment and he was like ‘oh it’s you go ahead’ (laughs). It is great like some guys in bands they put an their hat and sunglasses to hide from people and I put on a hat and glasses so people recognize me.
Pete: For me an indispensable piece of clothing changes from time to time. Every couple of years you’ll get a jacket or something that you’re like this is my thing for the next year and you hope it’s not something that is going to embarrass you ten years later (laughs).
Patrick: The one I love about when you do that is that you go in on something really bold, in sort like that becomes your thing for a while.
Pete: Hit Google, you’ll find my pieces (laughs).
What did you pack in your suitcase – do you have any travel essentials?
Patrick: Mine are all boring!
Pete: For a long time I kinda was like you just go and do whatever and I was oh no you should like exfoliate the same as when you’re at home, so a big bathroom-kit.
Patrick: I feel like every tour I pretend I’m gonna go with a new hobby. Every tour we leave for there’s always some new thing that comes out with me and that lasts exclusively for the length of that tour. I remember one time I was studying Chinese characters, these books on Chinese characters and how to draw and write Chinese. And I did that for one tour and forgot it all. It’s always something else like that. Right now I’m trying to read music so I have a bunch of sheet music with me (laughs).
Thanks for such a funny and entertaining talk, guys! We stopped counting Patrick’s laughs which also made it a really enjoyable and fantastic time interviewing both. Check out Fall Out Boy’s website for tour dates and more!
xx smoke and echoes