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Q&A: Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump

April 12, 2013|By Matt Pais | RedEye Sound Board

You sing, “We’re all fighting growing old” on “Rat A Tat.” What’s something recently that’s made you feel old?
[Laughs] Oh, man, there’s so many things. It was weird because for a while I was younger than a lot of the people that were coming to our shows. Right when we started. Because Joe and I were the youngest in the band. Then this weird moment happened where then everyone was my age, and everyone coming to my shows looked my age and we had exactly the same frames of reference and everything made sense. You get used to talking to people with that in your mind. Now, I’ll talk to our audience assuming that we have all the same frames of reference, and every once in a while there will be something wildly out of place. Somebody was asking about Pokemon the other day. “What’s your favorite Pokemon?” I’m like, “I’m 28; I don’t know. We didn’t have Pokemon when I was a kid.” [Laughs] And they’re like, “No way; you totally had Pokemon.” And I’m like, “Nah, man. I’ll be honest with you; I was really into Power Rangers, but I was too old for that [bleep].” You just find yourself in these really funny frames of reference. There’s also, I have noticed you start to get a little bit paternal in terms of like, you want the best for your audience and things like that. Sometimes there will be a fight at a show, and it’s a totally different reaction than what it used to be. Because it used to be, “Hey, stop fighting with each other.” Now it’s like, “Hey, stop fighting with each other or I’ll turn this car around.” [Laughs]

 I’m having a vision of people who think Jaden Smith is the original “Karate Kid.”
I know, that’s what I’m saying! It’s crazy. It’s crazy because obviously anyone that knows our records knows that pop culture references are always going to be something that happens, and it’s weird when you make a pop culture reference and it goes right over people’s heads. I was talking to some kid the other day about “Dumb and Dumber,” like, “Oh, yeah, it’s a great little movie,” and they’re like, “What? What movie?”  [Laughs] I’m like, “Oh, man!”

Pete was talking that at first when you started to get back together for this album you tried to write songs together but they weren’t right. As you came back together, how much friction was there while everyone brought things back that didn’t seem right in the band?
There were definitely moments where it was like, “OK, doing this power chord right now is what old Fall Out Boy would do, and it’s what we would do to keep in touch with old Fall Out Boy, but it’s becoming a put-on where it’s like maybe that’s not the thing that we need to do and maybe we need to think about how would old Fall Out Boy say something.” I think a big effort was like, “Let’s take all the broad stroke affectations out of it and focus more on what are the actual definable exciting things about Fall Out Boy.” That was a big part of it, [and that’s] why the guitars sound so different. That’s the thing a lot of people talk about is how not wall-of-sound, white noise guitar--which I guess is a thing we were known for. Because I think it was almost, it wasn’t something we were—I guess it was something I as a writer did out of fear almost. “I know people will accept it as long I have lots of distorted guitars.” And so I think to a certain extent, I give a lot of credit to [producer] Butch Walker. He would be like, “Hey, why play a power chord here when you can play one note?” That kind of stuff. “Why not go for simplicity?” And the same with my voice. I used to just layer—I’m just scared of my voice. It’s kind of weird. I was talking about this today with somebody. It’s not something I was ever comfortable with. I’m a drummer first and foremost and that was the thing that I loved doing. I started singing and it was kind of this, “OK, I’ll do it if that’s what I have to do in order to get songs written.” Because I like writing songs. I never really saw myself as much of a singer. It’s really hard for me to listen to myself by myself. When you’re recording and stuff, you record a vocal and you go, “That’s cool; let’s do six more layers on it so it doesn’t sound like a human being.” [Laughs]

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