By MIKE CHAIKEN
Fall Out Boy’s latest album “American Beauty/ American Psycho” doesn’t sound anything like the album that first brought the band to the public’s attention, “From Under the Cork Tree.”
But then it’s not as different as you would think
“From Under the Cork Tree” fit squarely in the band’s punk rock roots and with its clever word play fit squarely into the world of emo.
But “American Beauty/ American Psycho” brings in big drums, sound loops, and dance rhythms.
When “Uma Thurman” kicks in, listeners are hit with a sample of the theme song from “The Munsters.”
The new Fall Out Boy is different from the old Fall Out Boy. But at the heart, it’s still Fall Out Boy.
And that’s exactly what Fall Out Boy wanted for “American Beauty/ American Psycho “, said the band’s bassist Pete Wentz in a phone call from his home in Los Angeles.
Fall Out Boy comes to the Xfinity Theater in Hartford this Friday night with the Boys of Zummer tour, which also includes Wiz Khalifa.
Pete said his favorite bands have always been those who take the time to evolve, and who aren’t interested in putting out the same album again and again.
“I think the great bands we look up to—Metallica, the (Rolling) Stones, U2—they all experimented,” said Pete.
“The thing that makes them interesting is they don’t make the same record more than once,” said Pete.
Pete said you have to progress as an artist. And, as you do so, you have to cajole the fans to progress as well.
For this album, Pete said he and the rest of the guys in Fall Out Boy—singer Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley (drums)—had been taking notice of the current music scene.
The former darlings of emo observed how quickly hip hop artists, rappers, and DJs can respond almost immediately to shifts in pop culture.
And for the new album, “American Beauty/ American Psycho,” Pete explained, Fall Out Boy wanted to follow suit.
So rather than booking a slot of time in the studio to record the tracks, Pete said the band tried to experiment how they approached laying down tracks. They recorded on the road, sometimes in studios, sometimes in hotels, and sometimes backstage.
“It’s essentially a travel record,” said Pete.
The resulting album is probably one of the most joyful and exuberant entries in the band’s catalogue. And, Pete said that is a tribute to how the album was recorded.
The immediacy of the album is also reflected in how quickly it was released. “American Beauty/ American Psycho” came out just about a year after the group’s “Saves Rock and Roll” album.
For a top selling band on a major label like Fall Out Boy, it’s not unheard of for the group to take several years between albums. But, Pete said that’s the dinosaur way of thinking.
These days with the internet, Pete explained, trends come and go much quicker. Two, three, four year waits between albums is not the way consumers listen to music any more. Fans want new music immediately and they want it now. Pete said Fall Out Boy moved quickly to get “American Beauty/ American Psycho” as a recognition of that necessary immediacy in the music biz today.
Prior to the release “American Beauty/ American Psycho’s” predecessor, “Saves Rock and Roll,” the members of Fall Out Boy had gone their separate ways. They didn’t really break up. It was more like a sabbatical where they took on different projects.
Pete said the break offered the members a chance to “get some of the venom out.” It allowed them to try different things that might have been a “car wreck” if handled within the musical confines of Fall Out Boy.
The break also gave the band member’s some perspective, said Pete. They realized that Fall Out Boy “is an anomaly.” Although they all did projects aside from Fall Out Boy, none were as successful. “There’s something intangible, more special when it’s the four of us together.”
In the world of rock and roll, Fall Out Boy’s 15 years as a band – one with its most popular lineup in tact—is unusual. And even though they did take some time off from each other, Pete said it’s still fun to be part of Fall Out Boy.
“That 75 minutes on stage is a drug like nothing else,” said Pete. “It’s a rush and it’s cathartic,” said Pete.
Plus, said Pete, “These people are my brothers. I love them… We all know what each other will say in an interview… It feels good to know that exsists in te universe,” said Pete.
For the Boys of Zummer tour with Wiz Kalaifa, Pete was asked what fans can expect. He quipped the band will have 11 more songs to choose from.
But, on a more serious s note, he also said, “We’re doing a completely different stage show.” In the past, he said , the group had the typical rock and roll set, with the drums on a pedestal and walkways for everyone else to maneuver around.
Fans are going to see something entirely new, said Pete.
As for what’s happening beyond the Boys of Zummer show, Pete said the group has some European dates but nothing is certain beyond that.
And another album? Pete said, “We’re always working on stuff. It’s a constant process.” He said Fall Out Boy’s songwriting process is more like a drizzle than a down pour. Pete said they aren’t the type of band who will crank out 12 songs all at once because a new album is due. “We’re not actively writing. But we’re always writing songs.”
Fall Out Boy, with Wiz Khalifa, will be at the Xfinity in Hartford on Friday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m.
By MIKE CHAIKEN