Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump wants to make something clear.
“In no world did my [solo] record not sell and my thing flopped and then I go, ‘OK, well, I’ll go back to Fall Out Boy,’” the 28-year-old frontman says by phone from London. “[Bleep] no. Whether or not people like [the new album], I think it’s audible, you can tell in the music that we do that we are happy to be making this record. And that’s the kind of thing you can’t make out of obligation.”
You can say that again. On “Save Rock and Roll,” out Tuesday, the rejuvenated Chicago band’s first album since 2008’s “Folie A Deux,” Fall Out Boy sounds fearless and inspired, committing to a different, less guitar- and drums-based sound that feels more precise and successful with every listen.
Earlier this year the group announced the end to a hiatus that began in late 2009 and led to Stump releasing the Prince-influenced “Soul Punk,” bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz starting the electronic outfit Black Cards, and guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley participating in hard rock supergroup The Damned Things.
Stump, who says FOB always planned to return but had to find a new approach to their music and each other, in particular received a shocking amount of animosity from FOB fans unhappy with the other parts of his musical identity he explored on solo work.
“It was like standing in front of a hockey goal, just getting pelted in the chest with pucks for hours,” he says. “It toughens you up a little bit. There’s going to be people who don’t like this record, and that’s cool. They exist and I exist, and we exist parallel.”
“I’m happy,” he says with a laugh. “I think that’s a result of that kind of experience, I suppose.”
I was very excited to hear the band was coming back, and it was cool for you to reappear at Subterranean. What was going through your head during that show, and how, if at all, will the May 16 Riviera show feel different?
The crazy thing is that was the very first thing. The first thing back in four years--three years or however long it was. So there was still a certain degree of wonder and weirdness because … there’s totally the entire possibility you get offstage and go, “Nah, we shouldn’t do this.” You have that communication musically, but you never really know where everyone is. You experience a lot of times where you get offstage and you go, “That was a great show” and somebody else is like, “[Bleep] that show!” So that could have been something. I hate to say it, but the whole time I was kind of just savoring it and thinking to myself, “Well, I hope this goes all right.” The Subterranean show being the first show back, there was a little bit of a feeling of it could be a reunion show or something. I know a lot of bands come back every few years, and they play a great reunion show and then they go back to their lives and stuff. That totally could have happened. It wasn’t until maybe a couple shows later that it was like, “No, this is real, we’re totally doing this and it feels great.” That’s something that I look forward to doing at the Riv show because it’ll be us, the band we currently are, actually playing a show.
And not feeling a weight on your shoulders anymore?
Yeah, I guess, yeah. That’s a huge thing. It’s weird because you can really distract yourself, and it’s kind of a shame when you miss out on the things that are happening. [Laughs] I feel like the Chicago show I was so nervous and weirded out that I don’t even remember it really. I’d like to really enjoy one. [Laughs]
You’re already starting to talk about, and anyone who hears the record can tell, how you’ve grown and changed on “Save Rock and Roll.” What do you think the version of yourself that made “Take This to Your Grave” would think of the new one?
There are some moments that 18-year-old Patrick would think was weird. For the most part, I would still think this was something special for us. I think I would still be pretty psyched on it. There are things where it’s like, well, when I was 18 I just hated acoustic guitars and didn’t want anything to do with them ever. There are a couple acoustic guitars on the record, and I would probably hate that. Whatever. In general, as music and just some of the songs and some of the performances and stuff, some of the lyrics—Pete’s lyrics have gotten so strong—I don’t think there’s a time when I wouldn’t have liked this record. There’s not a time I wouldn’t have been proud of it.