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Pete Wentz

“Your first gut feeling, if you’re in tune with your art, is probably right.”

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So back when I first got into playing bass, there wasn't the internet, right? So people that you thought were cool, you would just be like, oh, what does he play? So if I want to emulate what he's doing, I'm going to play Ernie Ball. And that kid whose band I was in, his older brother, they played Ernie Ball. So it just made sense. I remember getting the strings from, I think, Guitar Center way back in the day, play the Orange Pack. I went through the exploratory process that a lot of people go through where there was my parents' music, which was Temptations and whatnot. And then the music that was adjacent to my parents' music, which was like Michael Jackson and stuff. And then I got into rock music. But like Guns N Roses, Duff McKagan is awesome. When he plays within Guns N Roses, it's so iconically him. But at the same time, there's never moments where I'm like, oh, this guy's doing too much. You know what I mean? He just fits the pocket perfectly. And I always thought that was so cool.

We may take this to your grave. We didn't have any money. We literally had that amount of songs we're eating peanut butter and jelly and whatever. And so that was what that record was born of. I feel like you can hear it on the record. It's like, we didn't really know how to write songs together and you can hear it all. It's pretty raw. It's very punk. Our first record after our major label record, we were like, we can change now. And then we can always change and we can keep updating. Or we do this record exactly the same as the last record, and then we're doing that forever. I remember hearing a Bono quote. He said, don't make an interesting second record. And I get it in the way that make the art that you want to make that you think is cool, but don't make it interesting just for the sake of it being interesting.

But so cool to change and to adapt like The Clash or Bowie where it's these different iterations. Now I can pick or choose The Clash records based on my mood, and they're so different from each other. We really bond over films the most. And me and Patrick went, and we saw Josie and the Pussycats. And we got out of the movie and I was like, dude, that movie's like punk rock music made by someone who's like never been in the punk rock scene at all. It's perfect. We need that person to do a couple songs on a record. It was Babyface. He ended up doing thanks for The Memories, which was pretty magical when he did it.

And then we put out a record called Folie à deux. And I would say that's one of our records where we put out a kind of strange kitchen sink rock record at a time when pop music completely shifted to four on the floor dance music. We took a couple years off and then we put out two records back to back. These were probably the most difficult to do, I think, in the way that it felt like we were just surviving because there was literally no rock bands on the pop culture spectrum. You know what I mean? There was like two. We kind of just found ways to sneak into pop culture, but I think it led to a lot of frustration within the band where we were like, it feels like we're barely here. You know what I mean? And that's what our album Mania came out of.

And if you listen to the first single Young and Menace, it really feels like a frustrated song. You know what I mean? I think we were in a place where we were like, well fuck it. We're just going to make the strangest Fall Out Boy art we're going to make.

When our band first, us and My Chem, and Panic, or Paramore were coming up. I remember seeing Green Day and I feel like it was like the perfect time for Green Day to make an updated emo Green Day's first emo record or something. It would've been perfect, but instead they put out American Idiot. And there was this whole like, oh shit, they're like, it's Green Day. It's adjacent to what these guys are doing, but this is a big Green Day record. You know what I mean? And I think that that's what the idea behind Stardust was, is that let's do something adjacent to what's happening right now. I think it's like Machine Gun Kelly, and I think Willow and what a lot of these bands are doing is so cool, but I think what Fall Out was meant to do instead of doing struggle, we're going down Part two is do something that's just kind of adjacent to it. And that was the goal.

It is never been easier to cast your line out into the pond, and it's never been harder to catch a fish. You know what I mean? There's no easy one path for everybody. Sometimes some people just blow up on TikTok or a song or part of a song blows up. And if you have belief in yourself, and it's very important to stoke that, and to keep following that, but you really have to just feel it. I always ask the bands on my label, I'm like, what's your first gut feeling about it? When they ask me about, should it be this or that? Your first gut feeling if you're in tune with your art is probably the right one. You know what I mean? And so there's no one path anymore.

It is been like a crazy ride. This is the thing you dream about when you're a kid and you got to do one of the five jobs that you dream, or at least I dreamed about. I'm not a Bash Brother on the Oakland A. You know what I mean? There's a couple ones that I clearly didn't have the right thing for, but it's so cool that I get the chance to do this and do it with my friends. It's awesome.

My entry point into bass was so random. I was watching all these punk bands. It was this scene that I discovered. I was like, what are these bands? And then I had a kid in one of my high school classes and we'd go see these bands and then you were like, the stages are two inches tall. I could get on that stage. My friend's brother was in a big band and we were trying to be a little version of that or whatever, and they had two guitars, so I was like, I'll play bass. Perfect. Bass was the one that I fell in love with and I can't picture any other instrument now. That's the one that feels the most normal when I play it. Sometimes when I pick up a guitar, I'm like, this thing feels like a fork.