Fall Out Boy reincarnated at Nutter

By Amanda Dee

If you haven’t heard of Fall Out Boy, you probably weren’t wearing Hot Topic skinny jeans in the early 2000s. Or you don’t listen to music today.

Fall Out Boy started from the cesspool of Chicago hardcore punk and became increasingly more recognized with the rise of pop punk, alongside bands like Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance. Guitarist Joe Trohman and bassist Pete Wentz—the one whose charming grin likely comes to mind at the band’s mention—met in Wilmette, a village tucked in the Chicago suburbs.

“I would say the Internet wasn’t what it is now at that time,” Trohman says in a phone call from L.A. “But I still had a lot of, like, zines and catalogues and stuff, so I was able to get this guy was in this band, this guy was in that band—I was able to kind of, like, really get a pretty giant wingspan over the whole kind of punk rock and hardcore world. And so, that’s when I got to Chicago—the only thing I wanted to do was go to shows and play in bands.”

Like most musicians drawn to punk rock, the arms race drew in Trohman because of what it was not.

“My dad loves Zeppelin. He loves Jimmy Page,” he says. “So I think it was all like a very natural progression. Plus, a lot of kids whose parents really like classic rock, a lot of them, like, shun classic rock and go to punk rock—and I didn’t really shun classic rock but I pretended to.”

Trohman and Wentz found vocalist Patrick Stump, and after Andy Hurley filled in for some drum sessions, they convinced him to stay. Cleveland-based music mag Alternative Press covered the band a year after the release of Take This to Your Grave. That year, Fall Out Boy fans broke through a stage at Van’s Warped Tour.

The band that started playing in low-key venues (like Chicago’s DePaul University cafeteria) and the festival circuit has grown up, as has its sound—and some of its audience.

“It’s like the adult 2.0 version of Fall Out Boy,” Trohman says.

Though their fan base features a freshly wrinkled wave of skinny jeans and matching eyeliner, when Fall Out Boy looks at its audience, some are still the same age as them, holding tight after the band’s 2010-12 hiatus.

“You know, bands can be like food or clothing or cars or anything,” Trohman says. “Where a band that you loved for, like, 10 years that stuck around—maybe you still like ’em in a more tertiary way, but maybe you’re just kind of not as obsessed—and then maybe five years later, you, like, fall back in love with them. … You can’t expect everyone to stick with you forever, but we’ve been very lucky to have a lot of Take This to Your Grave fans stick with us.”

What Trohman refers to as the ‘adult 2.0 version’ of Fall Out Boy is admittedly different than previous records like Grammy-nominated From Under the Cork Tree and Infinity on High. Compared to these, the band’s revival releases, 2013’s Save Rock and Roll and 2014’s American Beauty/American Psycho, lean much more heavily pop.

Starting this past year, Fall Out Boy began touring their latest release in stadiums and massive venues around the world, even performing with rapper Wiz Khalifa. Yet, the question of authenticity and ‘selling out’ hits bands returning after a break or break-up, especially with a sound change or nostalgic shadow hovering over the members’ individual successes and failures. Just look at the negative reactions to LCD Soundsystem’s recent revival after walking away years ago from what appeared to be the peak of their career—which inspired a documentary about the decision. And Fall Out Boy changed its sound, and the spotlight didn’t shine as brightly on any given member when they were apart.

“I’m 31 years old. I think that the term ‘sell out’ was something I used to say in the ’90s. You know, when I was like 12? For real,” Trohman laughs. “I’m not being facetious and I’m not being derogatory or demeaning—I just like remember saying that and then I grew up and I was like, ‘What the f–k does that mean?’

“I think we can’t control what people individually believe as authentic and whether or not they want to use the word ‘sell out,’ that’s fine. They can do it,” he continues. “It means as much as like the word ‘emo’ or the term ‘mumblecore’ for a genre of movies … I just discovered that term, and I don’t know what the hell that means—but it’s a thing,” he laughs. “You know, they all, they don’t really mean anything.”

For Fall Out Boy’s March 9 Nutter Center performance, they invited a band in its own Take This to Your Grave stage to open for them—a reminder of just how far they’ve come.

Fall Out Boy and PVRIS perform Wednesday, March 9 at the Nutter Center at Wright State, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway in Dayton. Show starts at 7 p.m., doors at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $32.50, $45 or $59.50. AWOLNATION is also on the bill. For more information, please visit falloutboy.com/tour or pvris.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Amanda Dee at AmandaDee@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP Editor Amanda Dee at editor@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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