Bassist Pete Wentz says the band delayed its new album because “a Fall Out Boy album in 2017 can be anything, but it can’t be uninspired.”
Music, Sat., Oct. 21, 2017
There will be no Mania available to consumers when Chicago rockers Fall Out Boy touch down at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
Oh, there was supposed to be a seventh album by that name out in time for this current North American trek: after all, one-time emo rockers Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley had already released the first single, “Young and Menace,” back on April 27 and followed it up with two more songs, “Champion” in June and “The Last of The Real Ones,” set for the album’s intended release date in September.
But Mania has now been pushed back to January, because, as bass player and lyricist Wentz reveals, the record simply wasn’t ready.
“We had a couple of songs done on the deadline that we needed to put it out in September, and I met with Pat one day and we kind of realized that neither one of us loved the songs,” Wentz explained over the phone. “And honestly, I think a Fall Out Boy album in 2017 can be anything, but it can’t be uninspired. Uninspired is not going to work. That’s why we pushed it back.”
Wentz stresses that the deadline to complete the album wasn’t one that was set or enforced by their label, their management or any other outside forces.
“It was just something we set ourselves,” he said. “So, I think it just made more sense to put out a record that we loved.”
Some may get the feeling that Fall Out Boy is a little more sensitive than most when it comes to quality control: after all, the band, known for such convoluted but catchy song arrangements as “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up,)” “Uma Thurman” and “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” went on a three-year hiatus and almost broke up, partially due to the mixed fan reaction to 2008’s Folie à Deux.
Their two follow-up albums, Save Rock and Roll (2013) and American Beauty/American Psycho (2015), both debuted atop the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
Wentz disputes the notion that fear of a repeat of Folie à Deux factored into their Mania decision.
“Not at all, because that was such a different time,” he suggests. “We put out a weird Fall Out Boy record at a time when pop music went to four-on-the-floor dance, 99 per cent. And that record got pushed back a month by our record label because they were waiting for radio to jump on and that kind of killed the record a little bit globally.
“But I like that record.”
Wentz compares Folie à Deux to a certain cult classic in terms of audience reaction.
“It’s like a roller-coaster — it’s not going to be all highs,” Wentz admits. “You’ve got to learn to appreciate other moments. For example, a band like Weezer: Pinkerton is one of my favourite Weezer records, but the fan reaction to that record is kind of terrible.
“So, I don’t think that factored in. If anything, it was kind of the opposite: we were making a record that to me felt uninspired — it felt kind of mediocre, the songs we had. So, we decided to push it back ourselves.”
Wentz said the Mania sessions began after singer and guitarist Stump played him the melody for what would eventually become “Young and Menace.”
“The idea is that we live in a manic time,” says Wentz. “Mania is often misinterpreted as the opposite of depression or the opposite of alone. It’s not really that. Mania starts as this happy, upwards momentum and then it ends with no sleep, paranoia, this ever-waking monster. And I think that’s kind of where we’re at as a culture and as a society right now — that’s what it feels like.
“I think that this album thematically deals with the idea that when you’re in your 20s, big emotions are really easy to tap into, but there’s more subtle neuroses that I think are way more interesting, and they kind of interconnect us as human beings. It’s like the Larry David-isms of the world: When I see somebody, I don’t wonder what they look like naked — I wonder what their therapist looks like. All of our little neuroses — but they tie us together, you know? That’s what makes us human.”
Aside from his 16-year investment in Fall Out Boy, Wentz has managed to pack a lot of outside ventures into his days, ranging from his DCD2 Records label that signed Panic! At The Disco and Gym Class Heroes, to a clothing line and a few nightclubs, and he’s currently shopping a TV show that he wrote called Permanent Vacation.
Where does he find the time?
“A lot of it is just trying to execute,” says Wentz, a 38-year-old father of two. “Everybody has pipe dreams, but you got to put them in action. For every idea that I or we have that works and that people love, there are eight or nine of them that don’t work or need to be adjusted and changed. But you don’t really know that until you try doing it, you know? That’s something that I really learned.
“And I think the other thing is finding people who are experts in their field. Working with other people that are really good at what they do and then learning from them is probably one of the best ways to getting things done yourself. I’ve always been encouraged to do that and I appreciate that. That, if anything, has gotten me different places in my life.”