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The Fall Out Boys are rockin' signature axes these days. (L to R): Bassist Pete Wentz on his Squier Pete Wentz Precision bass, guitarist Joe Trohman with his Squier Joe Trohman Telecaster, and frontman/guitarist Patrick Stump on his Gretsch G5135CVT-PS “STUMP-O-MATIC” Electromatic Corvette.
From 2001 to 2009, Chicago’s pop-punk wunderkind’s in Fall Out Boy—vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley—rode a wave of rock stardom that took them to heights unfathomable by most bands. Four multiplatinum albums rocketed them to the top of the charts and thrust them onto arena stages worldwide. But the fame and accolades were matched by the highly publicized troubles of individual band members—including Wentz’s tabloid-plastered engagement and marriage to the already press-weary Ashlee Simpson. On November 20, 2009, the band announced they were going on indefinite hiatus and that they didn’t know if they’d ever play music together again.
The hiatus proved productive for all four bandmates. Though he endured harsh criticism from fans and the press, Stump embarked on a solo career that pushed his vocal prowess and guitar experimentation to new levels. Wentz developed a clothing line, a film production company, and other ventures while continuing to write music on his own. And Trohman and Hurley collaborated with members of Anthrax, Volbeat, and Every Time I Die in the Damned Things.
Then after months of rumors, in February of this year the Fall Out boys announced they had worked out their differences and were working on a new album titled Save Rock and Roll. Refreshed and reinvented, the album features the band’s trademark vocal hooks, cleverly crafted riffs, pedal-laden ambience, and a tighter rhythm section. Songs like “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark (Light ’Em Up)” still thrive on the youthful vigor that put the band on the mainstream map, while the album as a whole showcases more maturity and enhanced musicianship. Getting a second chance that’s seldom granted in the music world, the band has again seen its work shoot to the top of charts all around the world, and the subsequent tours are sold out.
While Fall Out Boy’s fans are rejoicing as the foursome emerges from the ashes, no one appears happier about the return than the guys themselves.
Joe Trohman's signature Squier Tele features a '70s-style Strat headstock and a Tele Deluxe-like pickguard loaded with two humbuckers, a single-coil, a 3-way selector, and two sets of volume and tone knobs.
How does it feel to be back together and
on top of the world again?
Patrick Stump: It feels so good to be back doing this with these guys. It’s funny, because I feel like we never understood where we were or how we were doing and then we took a step back and realized that we’re making music for—and affecting a lot of people. I’m very happy to be back doing it.
Joe Trohman: It feels great to be back and to have made the changes we needed to make. We weren’t running very well as a band before the hiatus—communication skills collapsed between us and there were a lot of issues. Going on that break and starting new projects really helped us be more confident, and it helped us gain a lot of mutual respect for each other and our abilities, which became a really integral part of us getting back together. Now we’re in just a better place. Everyone is too old to get angry about stupid things, which is awesome. Everyone just trusts each other.
Pete Wentz: It feels crazy. It’s really rare that you get a second chance to do something—and especially something so fun, fulfilling, and interesting. It’s something that we’re not taking for granted in the least this time around.
What was it like the first time you all
stepped back in a room together and
Trohman: We met up at Patrick’s house in his backyard studio, and I was a little nervous. Then we started playing and, at first, it was like the worst Fall Out Boy cover band imaginable. We hadn’t played together in so long and it was just terrible. It was pretty weird for a minute, but once we shook the dust off it was better than the last time we’d ever played—back when we were a well-oiled machine.
Stump: Yeah, we sucked—we didn’t remember anything. At the second practice, we fell back to just about as good as we were, and then the third practice I feel like we sounded pretty great—even better than we were. It feels like we’ve been able to go back in time to fix our mistakes.
Wentz: The first rehearsal was definitely shaky, but once it started clicking we all knew that we had potential to be better than we’d ever been.
What were the biggest lessons you
learned from the hiatus?
Stump: The biggest thing for me was going out and doing my solo stuff—that made me a lot more confident as a frontman. I’ve always been a reluctant frontman because I’m a shy guy—for years I was just hiding under my hat the whole time—but I went out on my own and had to do it.
Trohman: I went right from FOB to other projects, and it made me learn how to work with other people. Anyone who plays in the same band for a long time should play with other people, because you can learn so many things from different players’ styles, tastes, techniques, and work ethics. I learned how to be a better songwriter and a better musician and how to play better with others—both musically and as a person. I learned how to be a better bandmate, and I looked at a lot of my bad tendencies and neuroses and figured out how to change them for the better. I think it took being in other bands to realize that I really wanted to be in this band more than anything.
Wentz: During our time off, I was making a lot of music on my computer—it was more of an electronic kind of sound. I didn’t play as much bass as I wanted to in the break, so I knew I had to get back into my playing before we even began to approach a comeback. I didn’t want to show up on day one and not know what I was doing, so I really stated working on my technique, playing with a metronome and taking steps to make myself a better player.