By Jay Tilles
Pete Wentz has checked off quite a few boxes on his bucket list. In 16 years, the Fall Out Boy bassist has graduated from playing in underground hardcore bands to teen heart-throb to television host to successful entrepreneur and is still looking to add to his list of accomplishments.
The launch and subsequent tour for Fall Out Boy’s fifth album, Save Rock and Roll, took fans by surprise and soon after they began rolling out a series of violent videos called the Young Blood Chronicles boasting surprise cameos and a plot twistier than Lombard Street.
But the band hasn’t stopped there. With a successful video game launch already under their belts with the Oregon Trails-inspired Fall Out Boy Trail, the band seized an opportunity last month and released Fall Out Bird, an app that pays homage to the wildly popular and now unavailable Flappy Bird. On the heels of that success, the band will soon launch an updated version 2.0, inadvertently solidifying themselves as bona fide players in the app world.
“To me this game’s done on a lark. It allows us to have a conversation with Pop Culture,” says Wentz.
Radio.com caught up with Wentz to discuss the band’s surprise comeback, their foray into video games, and how they just want to be like Metallica and what it means to be a successful entrepreneur.
Radio.com: The band’s comeback announcement shocked a lot of unsuspecting fans. Does that sound accurate?
Pete Wentz: I think that some people expected a comeback tour, a reunion tour, that kind of thing but I think that because there was an album, an immediate song and that we were playing a show right away, I think that took some people by surprise. It’s hard to say what the reaction was because for us it was like ‘if we get a cult reaction that’ll be cool. That’d be enough.’ So for us to be able to go out on tour and do a couple headlining shows with Paramore and to get songs on the radio, that was a big deal for us. It was not something that we really expected in any way.
You released a song, album and tour announcement all at once. How much thought went into the relaunch?
Yeah, that part of it was crazy. I was thinking about bands like… If The Smiths every got back together, or bands that we’re fans of… As fans, how would we want to receive it? For me it’s like, you want a song right away, you want to be able to go to a show that night and know that an album’s already recorded. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for everything. Like the announcement comes then you have to wait for everything. That’s why we tried to come out fast.
The track “My Songs Know What You Did Last Night (Light Em Up),” was a smash at radio and is still getting airplay. Did you have any idea what kind of legs it would have?
No, not at all. It was one of those things where we played it for some of our friends… I played it for one group of friends and they said, ‘Oh my God, there’s like an ‘80s hair metal scream on this. This is not a good idea.’ And then we played it for a buddy of ours, 2 Chainz, who was in the video, and he was like, ‘Oh my God, this is awesome. This sounds so different and should be all over the place.’ So it was really polarizing initially so we really didn’t have that expectation at all.