During their visit to the KROQ Helpful Honda Sound Space for a special interview and performance, Fall Out Boy chatted with KROQ’s Megan Holiday all about pre-show rituals, Pete’s fire flaming guitar vs. his hair, shared some stories about writing So Much (for) Stardust, taking their time to get it right, and (so much) more.
LISTEN NOW: KROQ Helpful Honda Sound Space interview with Fall Out Boy
When asked if there had been any hair mishaps because of his literal flaming guitar — after introducing his bunny puppet, whom he said was there to answer any questions that made him nervous — bassist Pete Wentz went on to say “I'm not sure legally if I'm allowed to say whether there's been any singeing or not.” Joking of course, about the legality part, Pete assured Megan, “there hasn't been,” but what it has and does do is “get hot.”
Next, after shouting out Andy Hurley, FOB’s drummer for absolutely “ripping it” on stage, Megan asked if they listens to music to get pumped up before shows. “Yup,” Andy succinctly answered, sharing that currently “it’s Cannibal Corpse,” on that particular playlist. Which conversely is also the playlist he (we think jokingly) admitted to using when at home and in need of a good cry.
Sharing the story behind the writing process of So Much (for) Stardust, particularly working with Neal Avron, lead singer Patrick Stump shared, “Neal is just really meticulous, and he spends all of the important time, but it's a lot of time – you know when you go in with Neal, you are going to break down every molecule of that song. And he does not play around. He’s the sweetest guy in the world, but it's more like you'll play him something, you'll be almost done, and he'll be like, ‘What about this word? Should we like this word?’”
“We were in the room and he turned around, and it was like, you know a fever dream where like an owl's looking at your face too close. And he's like, ‘what will the songs be about?’ I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was a macro dose,” Pete said. “Neal’s very cool, the first thing he said to me was, ‘this can not be a throwback record’… and he had me at hello there.”
“There was a thing where… we used to just throw ideas at the wall, and that process takes a long time, you know? And so like, there's just things in that record that we wouldn't get to do," Stump explained. "Like, so Butch Walker, amazing producer, and we had a great experience with him also on, ‘Save Rock and Roll.’ But he's very fast, he's incredibly fast. So, you get in there, and by the end of the night, you might have that song, and that's what you hear, that’s the finished thing.”
“With Neal,” he continued, “we were able to keep throwing things around. For example ‘Fake Out,’ we kept trying to figure it out… were almost done with that song, and it just didn't make sense, we couldn't figure it out. And Joe goes in, and he's like, gimme a second. And he grabbed an acoustic guitar, and he laid down rhythm guitar on both sides of the record – he did two passes of rhythm guitar. And it was like – ‘Oh, that's the song’... It was those kinds of moments that we wouldn't have gotten if we did the really fast thing.”
Another song they took their time on was “Heaven, Iowa,” as Patrick additionally revealed. “That song we took so much time, I mean Joe and I would send just layers of things back, we spent so much time doing every conceivable noise that we could get out of a guitar, and then layering that as many times as we could. We must have sent Neal I don’t know how many tracks of guitar,” Patrick said with a chuckle. “I sent many emails that said ‘sorry,’" Joe Trohman jumped in.
Getting the album right was important, so FOB felt no pressure to deliver anything before it was ready. “By that point, we had taken like too long, you know, for a record. So people stopped asking… I was at a kid's birthday party, and one of my neighbors goes, ‘so do you guys, sorry for asking, are you still in a band? You guys still make music?’ I guess I better put that record out,” Patrick quipped.
The band also took a moment to answer questions from some fans in attendance, with one asking— “What’s the story behind ‘G.I.N.A.S.F.S.’?”
“I really don't ever like unpacking lyrics too much or unpacking art too much, ‘cause it just means different stuff to everybody, you know? And I think sometimes you remove the meaning, some people will be like, ‘Oh, I thought it was something else.’ And I'm like, ‘F***,’ the thing that they thought was better than the thing that I thought,” Pete said, resulting in an uproar of laughter from the intimate crowd. “I will say,” he continued, “for people who are going to multiple shows that, once a song gets out from the magic eight ball, then it can get kind of played anywhere. So some of those songs will get repeated into the sets and stuff. So hopefully if you're coming to other shows, you'll see different stuff… That was how I totally don't answer the question at all.”
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For all the and more, including what FOB had to say about if they’ll go on tour with My Chemical Romance in 2024, what they learned from their 2009 hiatus, Joe taking a step back for his mental health, check out the entire interview above.