Six international acts and eight local acts will take to the stage at the I w Joburg Music Festival on Saturday. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to find out what we can expect from them given their reunion to record Save Rock and Roll after a three-year sabbatical…
THE band from Illinois – celebrated as Fall Out Boy – went on to achieve multi-platinum status, top the music charts and dominate conversation and headlines at award ceremonies after drumming up attention in 2001 and tasting success with their debut album, Take This to Your Grave, in 2003.
But with the success came setbacks for band members Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley. Besides dis- sension in the band, especially between Stump and Wentz, Wentz also found himself trapped in the eye of a paparazzi storm after marrying Ashlee Simpson in 2008.
But industry pitfalls notwithstanding, Wentz says the band is stronger than ever after their hiatus from November 2009 to February last year.
Tonight squeezed in a quick chat with Wentz despite the terrible connection.
He reveals: “We are excited to be coming there. We have been to Joburg once before and it was one of the greatest experiences, especially from a cultural perspective.”
As for what’s on their playlist, he says it will be a mix of their older hits and songs from their latest album, Save Rock and Roll, which released last year.
During Fall Out Boy’s break, three members confronted a few demons. Stump battled image issues as he was at his heaviest, Hurley was in the clutches of depression and an overexposed Wentz, who is bipolar, became addicted to Xanax and Klonopin.
But there were positives that emerged from their dark phase. Stump recorded a debut album, Soul Punk, and moonlighted his songwriting and producing skills, while the entrepreneur emerged in Wentz which saw him venture into writing and television.
He notes: “We went from having a heavy schedule to no schedule. I think the time off was necessary. We needed to take time to figure out things. All of us are grown up now. I’m a dad (he has two sons: Bronx Mowgli (with ex-wife Simpson) and baby Saint Laszlo (with girlfriend Meagen Camper).”
“I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world.”
He continues: “Our relationships (the band members) have improved. More than anything, we communicate better. Patrick and I have good dialogue, which has helped with the creative process. We have all stepped out of our comfort zones, which is important as a band.”
In lieu of their previous success, did a reunion put them under any pressure?
“When we made the album, there wasn’t too much pressure because we made it in secret. I think if we had come back, then toured and made the record, it would have been too much pressure and nearly impossible to make a successful album.”
Wentz says the album encapsulates their new perspectives and all they have gone through.
How is he juggling his commitments as the owner of Decaydance Records, his clothing company, Clandestine Industries, his film production company, Bartskull Films, as well as his bar, Angels & Kings, amid his renewed commitment to Fall Out Boy?
He laughs: “Sometimes I juggle pretty well. Sometimes I don’t juggle as well as I would like to. It has been a journey, a change to your vision and, also, to what you want your legacy to be. There have been ups and downs. But the one thing that has stayed constant is our (the band’s) friendship with each other.”
That said, Wentz signs off by saying: “Now that we have a renewed energy and resolve in the band, South African fans can expect the biggest Fall Out Boy show we have played. We want to make it a one… until we’re back!”
Interestingly, Panic! At The Disco (signed to Wentz’s label) will be performing at the festival along with T-pain, Jason Derulo, Jessie J and B.o.B.
• I Heart Joburg Music Festival runs from 11am to 11pm at Ellis Park on Saturday. Tickets: R520 to R1 185 at Computicket.