Pete Wentz Explains Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” And Why They’re Always Getting Beaten Up In Their Videos

Since we last spoke with Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, the band has completed their long-form video series The Young Blood Chronicles, performed at VH1’s SoundClash with T.I. and London Grammar, contributed a song to Disney’s Big Hero 6 soundtrack and collabed with fellow Windy City-native Lupe Fiasco on a new rendition of the Chicago Bulls’ “Only The Bulls” theme song. Most important to fans however, is new music in the form of the song “Centuries” and it’s expected epic video where the band gets their hands dirty in the gladiator pit and once again gets the crap beat out of them. Find out what Pete had to say about the song and video and when the world can expect a new Fall Out Boy record.

VH1: Tell us about the new single and video “Centuries.”

Pete Wentz: We were on tour with Paramore this summer and no idea that there would be a new song or any of that stuff and Patrick kind of came with this idea. When it was explained to me that it was this “Tom’s Diner”( Suzanne Vega’s 1987 hit) sample into this kind of anthem, it didn’t make sense to but then when I heard it, it just bodes really well together. And then we wrote this song that is meant to inspire. Like, we were never to be honest with you anointed to be this rock band that would be playing 10 years from now and on the radio. You know, kids get told that they’re weird or they’re not good enough or the thing that they’re doing is strange and it’s because they’re far ahead, you know? And I don’t want people being shut down who are thinking that kind of thing because I think for every person that’s like Michael Jordan who gets cut in North Carolina but then goes on to become Michael Jordan. There’s a lot of people that just stop and I think that’s what the idea behind the song is. That anybody can become a legend.

In the video, we grew up on event videos. We grew up on (Michael Jackson’s) “Thriller” and “Scream” and (Guns N’ Roses’) “November Rain” and these videos that were iconic moments that people had to tune in for. That’s what we wanted to create with “Centuries.” So we flew to Canada in the middle of the tour and shot this attempt to kind of look back at gladiators and what we would be like in you know leather skirts fighting a guy that’s you know two feet taller than us. (Laughs)

Having done The Young Blood Chronicles, which is an epic video cycle, was it easier doing another big production like “Centuries”?

I mean we’ve always kind of bitten off more that we could chew as far as videos go. Like, we shot a video where we were vampires that we needed to do wirework for and we’ve shot one where they had to teach me who how to dance. Then we did the Young Blood Chronicles, shooting a series of videos over like 10 months. It was insane just trying to keep the continuity there. It was really hard and that was the hardest part. So this felt like a breath of fresh air. Just to be able to do a one and done video. Unless Rick Ross comes out and kills us in the new one.

The Young Blood Chronicles visually referenced Walking Dead and other movies and TV shows you’re fans of. Are you guys big fans of the movie Gladiator?

I’m definitely a big fan of Gladiator the movie. I felt like I latched on to things in that film that were a little bit different. I think that there’s a hip-hop take on the “Are you not entertained?” I took away more looking at the character that Joaquin Phoenix plays. He sees his ambition as… he doesn’t see it as evil. That’s why we included the king and the queen and the nice guy who’s possibly angelic. I thought that the interesting thing about that film was these other relationships. Also we specifically referenced like, any of these movies, the most recent being The Avengers, where the heroes are beaten down and then there’s a spin shot around them and they have their backs to each other and are fighting. It’s always a team of guys it happens to. So like there’s a specific reference to that in the video as.

Why are you guys always getting beat up in your videos?

(Laughs) I feel like when we started The Young Blood Chronicles uh you saw some of this eternal victim stuff coming out of Fall Out Boy. I mean I guess I have a video where we don’t get beat up. Though I did notice a lot of people responded on the Internet whether we had stunt doubles or not. There were stunt doubles. I will not say whose thighs everyone is looking at, stunt doubles or Patrick’s. (whispers) They’re Patrick’s, of course.

What Is Fall Out Boy up to now and what are your plans for the next year?

Right now we are we’re in the studio and trying to get our new album finished. It was a bit of a different process doing this one obviously because the last one we had all the time in the world and no one knew about it so there was no real outside commentary besides the band. This one, we clearly set a deadline for ourselves by putting out “Centuries.” Basically you light the wick on the dynamite when you put out a song like that. And I think it’s good for us because it keeps us running. There’s no victory lap at that point. I think that this is the first time that Fall Out Boy’s existed in this 24 hour Internet cycle world. And I think that while you have the momentum you use it and anytime I see people coasting lots of times you see them kind of go away forever.  I would expect this album to be out in January, February of 2015 and from there we’ll do some worldwide touring. We’ll hit Asia, we’ll hit Australia, hopefully South America and then at some point we gotta do a U.S. tour as well.

Is Butch Walker producing the new record?

We did some stuff with Butch. it’s being put together piecemeal in that we did “Centuries” and we needed to kind of get that done and then we did this song “Immortals” for this Disney film Big Hero 6. It was interesting doing that song because it was like specifically tailored to a specific scene in the movie. But Butch obviously has his own music career that he’s working on, so he’s  been on tour and finishing his record with Ryan Adams. So we’ve been working a little bit with our friend Jake Sinclair. Him and Butch work together all the time and he did some stuff with us on the last record as well. Other than that, we have a couple of dark horses, that aren’t either Butch or Jake, that I’ve been told not to talk about yet.