The Comeback Kid
Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz on music, his Midwest roots and the comeback that has everybody talking.
ALIVE: When did you first get into music, and who were you listening to growing up?
Pete Wentz: I first got into music listening to the radio in the back of my dad’s carÛÓMotown stuff and Jimmy Buffett. Then I got into Michael Jackson and whatnot. But I felt like I discovered a whole world of my own when I got into Gorilla Biscuits, The Descendents and Operation Ivy.
ALIVE: You’re originally from Illinois, but have obviously traveled the world. What have you taken with you from the Midwest?
PW: I think the most important thing we took with us was our attitudeÛÓ the humility. At the heart of Fall Out Boy, we’re just regular kids from the Midwest.
ALIVE: You own your own record label, Decaydance Records, which has signed successful bands like Gym Class Heroes and Panic at the Disco. What do you look for in artists you sign?
PW: There is an intangible that all great bands haveÛÓsomething beyond just sounding like a good band or looking right. I look for hunger…bands that hustle above all else.
ALIVE: Your lookÛÓespecially the hairÛÓhelped define punk style. What made you decide to switch things up?
PW: You can only be the grandfather of a thousand bad haircuts for so long. Honestly, I think I outgrew it. It’s just not authentic to me anymore. It’s also kind of weird that it became so much about style and not substance. I’m not trying to make it look cool to be sad. I don’t feel like I need to hide behind anything anymore. I guess I’m more comfortable with myself.
ALIVE: Being the primary lyricist for Fall Out Boy, do you ever feel any pressure to produce?
PW: Always. Pressure is one of the few things that can get greatness out of an artist, I think.
ALIVE: What prompted the band to take the break in late 2009?
PW: We were totally burnt out. I think we needed time to experience life againÛÓtime to just be friends with each other.
ALIVE: What does it feel like to be back together? Has the dynamic changed at all?
PW: It feels great. If anything, it has changed us for the better.
ALIVE: Now that Fall Out Boy has hit it big again, what does fate hold for Black Cards and the future in general?
PW: We’re working on some remixes, but the focus is Fall Out Boy at the moment. If it weren’t for Fall Out Boy, I don’t think I would have had the chance to do so much with my life. I will always appreciate that.
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