Kate's Notes

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy (Born 2001) is an pop punk/alternative rock band that began receiving prominent radio airply with their singles, “Dance Dance,” “Sugar We're Going Down,” and most recently, their ear-splitting sing along anthem, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” from their latest album, Infinity on High. The group consists of singer, guitarist, Patrick Stump, lead guitarist, Joe Trohman, drummer, Andy Hurley; and last and nowhere near least, bassist, backup singer, and the band’s main lyrist, Pete Wentz, who is the dramatic one, the brooding one, and the pretty face to make all the young teens scream wrapped up into a single hot-rocker. This emo-ish, pop-punk quartet from the upper class suburbs of Chicago took its name from the sidekick to Bart Simpson’s favorite superhero, Radioactive Man. Once an indie act known only to skateboarding Warped Tour kids, as soon as their singles hit the radio waves, the tail of their success became music history.

With a few life experiences under their belt, most notably Wentz’s overdose and attempted suicide on anti-anxiety meds, they’ve come into their own and garnered some not-too-shabby record sales, along with some pretty positive reviews, which can only hope to mean a pretty positive future for the group.

Early Life

The four members of Chicago's Fall Out Boy came together in suburban Wilmette, Illinois around 2001. Their vocalist and guitarist had been in and out of various units connected to Chicago's underground hardcore scene. Most notably, Hurley drummed for Racetraitor, the furiously political metal-core outfit whose brief output was both a rallying point and sticking point within the hardcore community.

Stump is the sole band member without any tattoos and the only one without ties to the local hardcore scene. The son of a folk singer turned corporate drone, instead of playing basement shows, he spent most of high school in his bedroom, obsessing over music. "That's what I did instead of making out with chicks," he said. "I didn't have girlfriends or anything." His strongest memory of his parents' divorce is carrying his father's records out of the house. He learned a lot of songs from his dad, which was a mixed blessing. "It's sort of gross to watch your dad sing -- kind of guttural and passionate," Stump continued. "It's almost like watching him bone."

As Fall Out Boy, the quartet used the unbridled intensity of hardcore as a foundation for melody-drenched pop-punk with a heavy debt to the Emo scene. They debuted with a self-released demo in 2001, following it up in May 2002 with a split LP on Uprising that also featured Project Rocket (for which Hurley also drummed). The band returned on the label in January with the mini-LP Fall Out Boy's Evening Out with Your Girl, but by this point a bidding war of sorts was already in full swing.

During this period Fall Out Boy built a following playing in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The Knights of Columbus Hall was the site of many early Fall Out Boy shows. Their video for "Dead on Arrival" was shot there, which also served as a site for several "secret shows".

The Beginning: 2002 – 2004

Fall Out Boy eventually signed a deal with Gainesville, FL's Fueled by Ramen, the label co-owned by Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie Fiorello, but also received an advance from Island Records to record their proper debut. The advance came with a right of first refusal for Island on Fall Out Boy's next album, but it also financed the recording of "Take This to Your Grave."

Drummer Andy Hurley joined the band after Fall Out Boy's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend was released. The same year they released their 2nd full-length album, Take This to Your Grave, on Fueled by Ramen, with singles such as "Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy" and "Saturday" receiving airplay on FUSE and mtvU. The album achieved Gold status, though only after the success of their next album. They are also featured on Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault, which occurred at Butch Vig's Smart Studios compound in Madison, Wisconsin, with Sean O'Keefe at the helm, was a tribute album to the band Jawbreaker, covering “Save Your Generation.” They released the acoustic EP My Heart Will Always Be the B-Side to My Tongue on Fueled by Ramen, which included a DVD, in 2004.

Wentz Suicide Attempt/Overdose

In February of 2005, Wentz may have tried to kill himself: sitting in a Best Buy parking lot in Chicago, he took so many Ativan pills that he collapsed and had to be hospitalized for a week.
Though Wentz refuses to call it a suicide attempt, he has said that he does not know what else to term it: "I was isolating myself further and further." He told Rolling Stone that he has a fascination with the suicides of Elliott Smith and Ian Curtis and was quoted saying “The more I isolated myself, the more isolated I'd feel. I wasn't sleeping. I just wanted my head to shut off, like, I just wanted to completely stop thinking about anything at all… It's so hard to think about and understand. I'm not making an argument for being a disturbed genius; I was a confused kid," he said. "I felt like I was being Pete Wentz for everybody else, and I didn't have Pete Wentz to turn to."

He still is wracked with insecurity: "I feel confidence in myself, but at the same time there's these cracks in the facade and those little things underneath that are unstable," he said. He takes Xanax every day to calm an anxiety disorder and takes Ambien to sleep.

Commercial Success (From Under the Cork Tree): 2005 – 2006

Their breakout album, the ambitious From Under the Cork Tree, was released on May 3, 2005, quickly reaching the Top Ten of Billboard's album chart, debuting at #9 on the Billboard 200, and spawning two Top Ten hits with "Sugar We're Going Down" and the furiously upbeat "Dance, Dance." The album went double platinum, and earned the guys a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. The song "7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)" from their album From Under the Cork Tree, is based upon Wentz's attempted suicide.

The album sold over 70,000 copies in its first week, and soon thereafter achieving Double Platinum status. Their first single, "Sugar We're Goin' Down," peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100" and reached #1 on MTV's TRL, where the video was retired. The video also won the MTV2 Award at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. The band was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Stump wrote "Sugar, We're Going Down" in about ten minutes. He admits to deliberately slurring Wentz's lyrics to "make them sound better."

Fall Out Boy has toured with multiple bands, including Taking Back Sunday, Less Than Jake, blink-182, Panic! at the Disco, Midtown, Hawthorne Heights, The All-American Rejects, The Academy Is..., The Hush Sound, October Fall, and From First to Last.

Fall Out Boy's star status in the underground – driven by the especially extroverted Wentz, who also gained exposure with his clothing line and Decaydance imprint (of Fueled by Ramen) – had boiled over into the mainstream. They toured extensively behind the album, both at home and abroad, including spring 2006 arena dates, in addition to appearing on TRL, late-night television, and music award shows. Without taking a break, the guys eventually hunkered down to work on their follow-up record with From Under the Cork Tree producer Neil Avron and, somewhat surprisingly, Babyface.

Bigger and Better (Infinity on High): 2007 – Present

Their next album, Infinity on High, was released on February 6, 2007; its title was taken from a line in one of Van Gogh's personal letters. The first single off the album, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," debuted at the 2006 American Music Awards. The video debuted on MTV Tuesday, December 19, 2006. They have also collaborated with producer Timbaland for his new album Timbaland Presents Shock Value. They are featuring in the song, “One & Only.”

Spearheaded by the hit single "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," the album continued Fall Out Boy's streak, debuting at number one on the Billboard charts and going platinum about a month later.

In the album's opening week, Infinity on High reached number 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 260,000 copies.

"This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" peaked at number 2 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart on 4 February 2007, making it their most successful song in the United Kingdom to date. This was after the single entered the United States Hot 100 at number 2 and the United States Pop 100 at number 1.

Fall Out Boy will be headlining the Honda Civic Tour along with bands and performers such as, +44, The Academy Is..., Paul Wall and Cobra Starship. The tour kicks off on April 18, 2007 and ends on June 11, 2007. The band is promoting their new album on this tour. It has also been heard that Fall Out Boy is planning to give away designs of different album covers for each day they tour. One person from each show will receive this prize. The twist is (and of course there is one), each piece of artwork will have been created with blood from each of the four members of the band.

Fall Out Boy also appeared on “Last Call” with Carson Daly on Wednesday, February 20, 2007

In addition, Fall Out Boy has been confirmed as one of the acts playing in the Live Earth concerts on July 7 2007.

They also made an appearance on the March 8th issue of Rolling Stone, where the cover featured a shirtless Pete Wentz, along with with rest of the band. The cover read, "The Fabulous Life, the Secret Torment of America's Hottest Band." Fall Out Boy also made appearances on Spin and Alternative Press.

Lead Singer Patrick Stump has recently featured in a song with Gym Class Heroes, also signed with Fueled By Ramen, named “Cupid's Chokehold.”

The band has recently finished shooting a video for "thnks fr th mmrs," according to a blog on their website.

The Band and Drugs

Fall Out Boy is very open to discussing their drug use, eventhough most of them are straight-edge, meaning they do not indulge in any drugs or alcohol. Aside from Wentz, who admittedly takes prescription anti-anxiety pills and sleeping medication, Trohman, the metalhead son of a cardiologist, used his bar mitzvah money to buy his first "half-stack." He's the only Jewish guy in the band (his Smiths-themed tattoo violates Talmudic law) and the only one who's not straight-edge. During a 2003 trip to Tokyo, Trohman started drinking, and he's partial to weed now, too. "I smoke a decent amount," he said to Rolling Stone. "This is gonna sound like a total fuckin' pothead's logic, but it helped me put some things in perspective." The last year has offered a lot that needed to be sorted out. "It's like, 'Go do this thing, go do that thing. Go to Fuse, go to MTV,'" continued Trohman, who's dating a college student from back home. "It's not just like, 'Here you go. Here's a million dollars.' All of this stuff is awesome, but it's tiring."


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