The Untold Story Of Kerrang!: Fall Out Boy

In their new issue, Kerrang! are dealing about the untold stories of the magazine, through the help of famous bands, such as Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters and many others. You can read the untold story of Fall Out Boy right below, and pick up the issue in stands now or here.

When Kerrang! first met Fall Out Boy – in September 2005 – they were in a car park in Chicago, one of the stops on the Warped Tour, stripped to the waist and shooting each other with Super Soakers. It was a funny time for pop-punk: blink-182 had just gone on indefinite hiatus. What the world needed was a new breed of bands to play riotous punk riffs under infectious pop melodies. And with Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down – the lead single from Fall Out Boy’s second album, From Under The Cork Tree – they were proving they were the men for the job.

By January 2006, they had 2.5m sales of Cork Tree, a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, Jay Z’s backing and a Kerrang! cover under their belt. In that story, daubed in Jackson Pollock-esque slashes of paint, it emerged that they were not perhaps the idiotic young men of parking lot water fights. Bassist, lyricist and face of the band, Pete Wentz, was revealed as both a shrewd businessman with record company (Decaydance), clothing line (Clandestine Industries), book (The Boy With A Thorn In His Side), as well as someone who had a hatful of issues. He talked about a suicide attempt that he dismissed as a “really extreme cry for help” and came across as “a jarring mix of businessman, Peter Pan and Holden Caulfield”. But frontman and songwriter Patrick Stump was yet to emerge as the talented one. “What have I got to say?” he shrugged, despite Pete referring to him as “my lottery ticket, man!”

It was in Fall Out Boy’s wake that a new scene would emerge – oddly called emo, but really just punk-pop. Panic! At The Disco and The Academy Is… would follow in Pete and co’s wake, sharing a Kerrang! cover in March 2006, as part of the new punk explosion. Pete appeared to be the Svengali at the centre of the scene: “They’re not my puppets,” he protested of the other acts, but both bands were on Decaydance.

In the run-up to the 2007 release of Fall Out Boy’s third album, Infinity On High, Patrick’s songwriting importance began to shine through. Always the quiet one, he was also always the brilliant one, editing Pete’s sprawling lyrics into tight pop songs. “He’s like the archaeologist; he pieces it all together,” said Pete. But he was still modest. Asked what he would put on a lonely hearts ad for himself, and the best he could offer was “I’m symmetrical.”

Pete was still a bag of issues – he had prescriptions for Xanax, Paxil, Prozac, Ativan, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – but he was still the centre of attention. “The press do tend to say, ‘Pete Wentz is Fall Out Boy,'” said guitarist Joe Trohman, but then Pete did have a habit of hanging out at A list parties, and dated (and then eventually married) a popstar. Oh, and then there was the matter of pictures of his cock leaking online. He became a bona fide celebrity, while Infinity On High became a bona fide mega-hit.

After which the wheels came off. Folie à Deux (2008) was a 2K turkey, “an average album at best”, according to Kerrang!, and one Stump later called “painful” to make.

In March 2009, they toured the UK, and it was a miserable experience. Kerrang! joined them and witnessed a band barely talking, travelling separately and – in Pete’s case – being hounded by paparazzi. It was little surprise when they broke up at the end of the year.

Their return, a year ago, caught everyone by surprise. But, as a detailed, eyewitness feature in Kerrang! described, their comeback was a wild success. Playing three cities across the States in as many days, they bounced back as big and as strong as before. This century’s best new pop-punk band, it proved, could still knock it out of the park.

So, what was it like to be on the road with Fall Out Boy in their darkest days?

In the year before Fall Out Boy’s split, touring with them was like travelling in a cloud of misery. Their lowest ebb came in a hotel in southernmost Chile, called, appropriately enough, The End Of The World. They were trying to break a world record for playing every continent within nine months, but flights and weather had worked against their attempts to get to Antarctica. So they were stuck. Meanwhile, fans had got wind they were in Patagonia and had camped outside their hotel, trapping them inside. They felt like hostages inside – and, worse, they weren’t talking to each other. “Communication was a problem,” said the singer, Patrick Stump. “I lost my mind,” he added later. It was miserable.

Months later, they toured the UK. Pete, then still married to Ashlee Simpson, travelled with her and his young child, Bronx Mowgli. Ashlee, rail-thin in tatty Converse, would dejectedly pram-push around the grey corridors of British arenas. The band, meanwhile, still barely spoke. Their sole concession to livening their surroundings up was miserable: a thin, grey rug. “It helps. I guess,” shrugged Patrick. But it didn’t help much.

So what a difference a rest makes. Three years off, and touring the U.S. with them in 2013 was like being with a different band. Happy, thrilled and reinvigorated once more, Fall Out Boy proved that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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