“We’re at the end,” reflects Pete Wentz as the cycle for ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ finally comes to a close. “This album was an experiment. It was an experiment to see if a rock band could, like a DJ or a rapper, put out music back to back. So we put out music back to back and I think as an experiment it was an success. I do think we nearly killed ourselves doing it though. It was good to know we could go another ten rounds right away. I don’t know if we’d do it again in that fashion,” he adds with a grin. “And then this specific little run of shows, it’s an art project in itself. We wanted to do something special for these dates that was different from Wintour, so we created this project. The idea behind ‘Bloom’ being ‘sometimes before you bloom, you have to crack through the pavement. Hard things, tough things, don’t have to break you. They can carve you, make you stronger’. We made a short film for it and we have a stage show that was built around it because we honestly weren’t going to come out for festivals but then we got asked to co-headline. We had to do something special and different. It’s weird, you get to the end of the cycle and it’s like leaving school and going into summer. I’m fucking stoked it’s summer but I’m going to miss all my friends.”
And the million dollar question of what’s next? “I don’t even know, man. We’re the kind of band that we turn the treadmill on fast, stand on the sides and then jump on it, and try and not fall down. We don’t have anything written but I feel free. I feel really free. People ask ‘what’s ‘Bloom’?’ and I’m like ‘it’s an art project that you’re taking part in.’ It’s meant to be an experience, its not an album, its just a thing and that’s what’s great about right now. You’re free. You put out one song, you can make a Youtube cooking show. Whatever it is, if it’s something you believe in, people will give it a shot and if it’s good, maybe people will like it. There are no plans. There’s nothing on the books.” That said, the freedom Pete feels is both inspiring and liberating. The band have opened so many doors over the past few years, the future is wide open. “When we get Fall Out Boy rolling, it’s like Voltron. Do you know what Voltron is? Voltron is this giant robot, made up of four or five smaller robots. That’s what Fall Out Boy is. When we’re not doing anything, it’s just paused somewhere but we don’t want it to go rusty.”
Last time Fall Out Boy played Reading, it was straight off the back of their hiatus. People weren’t sure if they could do it, but that’s a feeling they’re used to. “I don’t feel like we’ve ever been a band people bet on first. They don’t necessarily bet against us, but we’re not the ones people are like ‘Yeah, they can do this.’ In a lot of ways, that really shaped our personality as an artist and we do alright in those situations. Not saying we always thrive in those situations, but we don’t feel gloomy or worry about it. Yesterday we went out and played with Biffy, in front of 35,000 people at their hometown show. There was a lot of Biffy Clyro fans there and it was a cool situation because it feels like we were going to earn their respect. They might not leave being a fan but I think they’re going to respect us. We respect you. In those situations, we bet on ourselves. Even if no one else bets on us, we bet on ourselves.”
Coming back and headlining, it’s not about proving a point. It’s about so much more than that. “I don’t know if we feel like underdogs but at the point we’re at right now, I want to be that band for people like what Metallica was for me when The Black Album came out. It was pervasive. It was fucking everywhere and it felt like, this one’s mine. I want to be that band for people. I want to be the band that you’re everywhere, you’re around the world, you’re pervasive but you’re there for the odd kids. I want to be there. I think that’s what, for me, being up there is a chance to have that. It’s a moment where the kids are part of it, and that’s cool.”
Despite the distance the hiatus offered, it’s still hard to step back and take everything Fall Out Boy have achieved in. “It’s a little like you’re in a basketball game because you’re playing, and you want it to go right. This stage show has a lot of moving parts. I just want it to work. However for a second in Leeds, I stopped for a second in my brain and it made me feel a lot of things. I looked out and everything looked right. The sky looked right, the kids looked right, it made me feel really good. I took it in and it made me really emotional.”
“I do think about legacy. It’s interesting to be in this band because we’re not just a legacy band and we’re not just the new band that’s trying to be on the radio. It’s fighting a war on two fronts because you want to do both. I want to make music that resonates in pop culture but I don’t want to do anything that’s going to damage our legacy. And at the same time, we’re a band that goes all in on everything. Some things work and it’s like, ‘fuck yeah, that was a miracle’. Some things don’t work and that’s ok, we believed in it and it didn’t work. The beauty of what our fanbase has done, is allow us to change and adapt. Sometimes we make the right decisions, sometime we don’t, but we’re never trying to make the wrong decision.”
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