Fall Out Boy with the All American Rejects , From First to Last and more, at Ricoh Coliseum (100 Princes'), Saturday (May 13), 6 pm doors. $32.50-$34.50. 416-870-8000. And playing for free at Yonge-Dundas Square, May 13 at noon. Rating: NNNNN
Patrick Stump, vocalist of the pop punk/emo outfit Fall Out Boy doesn't want to talk about being straight-edge.
"It's not a band rule," he says, refusing to comment on his own substance habits.
I'm disappointed. There are gazillions of straight-edge pop punk and emo bands out there, but no matter how numerous they become, it always gives me pause. I just can't grasp the concept.
"I don't want to taint our music with anything external. I don't want someone buying our record because we're a straight-edge band, or not buying it because we're drunk. I think bands don't have enough anonymity, and people know too much about musicians' private lives."
Stump, 22, is on the phone from Virginia, gettin' ready to play a show. As one of the hardest-working bands in show business, darlings of the Warped Tour, for example, Fall Out Boy tour a lot. He mentions right away that they recently played Disneyland right in front of the castle, where, he says, typically Aladdin or the Chipmunks perform.
Big venues in general freak the band out, and recently they've been playing arenas.
"Hockey arenas. I've got more hockey jerseys than I know what to do with. With my name on 'em."
Recent press has made much of Fall Out Boy's oh-so-charming mixed feelings about the wild success they've achieved with the album From Under The Cork Tree (Island), which contains the hit single Dance, Dance. They go so far as to compare bass player and sensitive lyricist Pete Wentz to Kurt Cobain, commenting on his moodiness and good looks. He overdosed on anxiety medication while recording Cork Tree, which is totally the rock-world equivalent of missing teeth on an NHL player. Poor boys. Can they handle the success?
"You can be a band that wants success and you can be a band that wants to play, and we are definitely the latter. So we're not really interested in the sort of things that come along with being a rock-star pop band. None of us is dating an actress or a model. None of us drives a Bentley or pours Cristal on the ground. It's just kind of not buying into a lot of that crap."
Sensitive rock stars have real quandaries, like how do you handle the fact that the kids who tormented you in high school are now your biggest fans? And if your first major-label record was a success, in their case Take This To Your Grave, can you follow it with something equal or better?
That's why they have a song entitled Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year on Cork Tree. The song titles are all pretty amusing. Stump says it's a vestige of their days in the hardcore scene (which makes me giggle because he's 22) and Wentz's literary leanings.
Titles like Our Lawyers Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued (originally called I'm David Ruffin And These Are The Temptations), Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner and A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me are my favourite things about the record.
The disc does also feature some deliciously catchy and surprisingly clever pop punk melodies as well as a sardonic wit in the usual "poor me" emo lyrical trappings. I say surprisingly because this is a genre often totally lacking cleverness, the likes of Blink 182 being rare exceptions.
Stump has the typical nasal emo voice, but with a Broadway musical quality to it. He sounds a lot like the guy with the glasses in the movie Rent.
An acoustic EP/DVD comes out May 18, and Fall Out Boy are on their way to recording a new one this summer.
"It's kind of more rock, but, then, we're influenced by a lot of stuff; rap, R&B, metal. If people want to call us emo, that's cool, but other bands that get called that are rehashing stuff, and I never really cared for a lot of them. The big thing that we don't want to be is one of those bands. We don't want to be anything. We want to be our band, or rather, we just are our band."