Since emerging from the humble origins of the greater Chicago punk scene, Fall Out Boy have ridden the roller coaster of mainstream success and all that comes with it. Hit records, underground backlashes, celebrity status, gossip page appearances, personal drama, band drama and so on and so forth. After almost breaking up in 2010 the band went on hiatus before reconvening to start work on what would become their fifth album, 2013’s Save Rock and Roll. Produced by pop rock hit-maker Butch Walker, the album was a return to form for the band artistically and their most commercially successful release in years. In support of the record, the band embarked on an ambitious video series entitled The Young Blood Chronicles. Creating a running narrative through all eleven of the album’s songs, the band has been releasing them one at a time with the final two installments premiering on Palladia Wednesday May 21st at 9/8C. Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz sat down with us recently to talk about their latest album and where it stands in the FOB legacy. Also be on the lookout this Thursday May 22nd for Patrick and Pete’s exclusive Young Blood Chronicles video commentary on VH1.com where they share the stories and motivations behind the series.
VH1: Tell us about what you wanted to do when creating your most recent album, Save Rock and Roll.
Patrick Stump: One of the things with this record that we wanted to do was more or less reinvent our sound. A big reason for that is we wanted to establish for ourselves that we want to be doing this for a while. We don’t want to be caught up in the past and just keep repeating ourselves. Not just for our own enjoyment, but also because many of the artists that we really respect did that. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes. I think a huge struggle as a band ages, as you get into your second decade – which is crazy to think about for us – but as you get there I think one of the biggest challenges is trying to get an audience to understand where your new material fits in with your back catalogue. You know, we’ll play a show and we have so many songs now from so many records so where does this new song sit in there? There’s a degree of importance to making all those new songs count.
Pete Wentz: And there’s a legacy at this point. Everything has to be for the legacy of Fall Out Boy. It has to be important because we all have families back home now, so everything that we do has to be important enough to us to, like, leave the country for.
Patrick: Yeah, that’s true too. Every show, every video, every song has to really mean that much to us to be away from our families. When you have all these people that you care for and that care about you, even our crew, we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders so everything has to be done right and everything has to matter.
The record has a real album feel to it, it doesn’t just sound like a bunch of singles. How important was that to you?
Patrick: I think the album format and the experience of listening to an album is really important for someone to be doing. I’m ok with people doing singles and people just focusing on that. That’s cool. I’m glad that there’s a world of that because I feel like singles are getting more exciting. But I think the album is suffering and I don’t want that art form to get lost because I think I think it’s really important for people to remember how to do it. And the big challenge is how do you take singles and make them into an album. How do you make a song that someone can get in three minutes and thirty seconds, but also conceptualize it in a way that it makes sense next to (the other songs) and tells part of a story.
At the same time, when you look at the history of music and the idea of albums, it’s tempting to say that’s where the art is. No, in the first place, the whole idea of the album was to try and trick people into buying more product, you know? Back in the day that’s really what it was about. But artists looked at that and went “Well, we can try all these other things.” I think that’s one of the things musicians and artists are always going to do when you present them any opportunity to express themselves, they’re going to find a way to do it. So for us, I feel like if you’re going to put out an album in the first place, we couldn’t not consider the album as a whole piece.