Fall Out Boy is a band that most people either hate or love. Since 2001, the band has toured the world multiple times, seen indie and major label success, and crafted some of the most edgy, but catchy pop rock songs. Fall Out Boy has definitely left their mark on this generation, proving themselves over and over to be more than just a "flavor of the week" band.
This past December, Fall Out Boy released a new record, Folie A Deux, which immediately hit the top ten on the Billboard charts, and has sold many hundreds of thousands of copies since. They are currently on their first US tour in support of Folie A Deux, touring with All Time Low, Metro Station, Cobra Starship, and Hey Monday. Just prior to the start of their tour, guitarist Joe Trohman shared some words with Ultimate-Guitar.
UG: Hey Joe how are you?
Joe Trohman: I'm great how are you?
I'm good, where abouts are you right now?
I'm in Arizona right now. We got here yesterday and started doing some production rehearsals and we're pretty much going to do the same today.
Are you stoked?
Yeah I'm excited. When I got here yesterday my power amp broke. That totally sucked but I had a backup 212. It was good though, we're throwing some new songs into the mix. I like what we're doing production wise. It's kind of theatrical, everything is really planned out. Everyone is really involved in it and I think it's going to really entertain, possibly even captivate the crowd.
When you say theatrical, do you mean in terms of visuals?
Yeah. We're spending the last 48 hours preparing, editing, and compiling a lot of video content. It's somewhat interactive on stage as well. Hopefully it will end up being that way. Knock on wood. I hope it doesn't come out half baked. The cool thing about this is that on previous tours we had it all prepared by somebody else. For this tour, we've been the ones kind of making and controlling the content.
You've been rocking the long hair lately, who or what inspired the long hair?*
I actually used to have long hair before people cared about Fall Out Boy. It was really long, about this long. You know how as you grow older the texture of your hair changes? My hair used to be like the longer it wouldn't weight down, it would just go out. Now it weighs down. I think it has to do with me getting older and my hair texture just completely changing. It was weird. Our fans kept bugging me to grow my hair back out and I was like um yeah, sure, why not? I started doing it. It is cool for playing live. I've always noticed that dudes that have long hair when they're headbanging it looks like they're rocking out harder than they really are. I know that's the visual trickery of it. Of course all the cool, classic rock guitar players had long hair which made them look awesome. I like it. My hair is so thick and unmanageable that it really gets in the way sometimes of not just eating, but seeing too. Especially on stage it can be a difficult thing to do. I'm still learning how to balance enjoying my hair length and being able to see and play on stage.
When are you guys going to release Tiffany Blews as a single?
We're actually going to practice it today in our session rehearsal. We're still working on America's Suitehearts right now but it's definitely a possibility for our third single. We love the song and we know a lot of other people love it too. I'm not going to say that's our definite. We've never played it before as a band, but we're rehearsing it today. We're definitely working it into the mix because people like it so much and we like the song too.
Does it ever get boring or tiresome playing the same song over and over?
When you're doing the TV circuit you've gotta go in and play your single. I think the most boring part is that you get there early to soundcheck, and then you sit through a rehearsal of the entire show, then you sit around for the actual taping of the show. So you're there from like 10AM till 6PM just waiting to play one song. That's probably the most boring part of it.
You guys did an overseas tour already for support of this record right?
Yeah which is crazy thinking that we put out the record late last year and we haven't even toured in the US on it yet.
Did the tour go over well?
Yeah it went over really well. The Asia/Australia/New Zealand one was first. That was packed and great. Same with the UK/Europe tour. Again, that was packed out and had a great response. We played places like Italy and Madrid where we had never played before. That had a great response and the turnout was incredible. In different countries you release different singles depending on what they're into. It's cool to see how people react to songs on our new record. It seems like internationally our new record is becoming already more widely known than any of our older material.
"It is crazy thinking that we put out the record late last year and we haven't even toured in the US on it yet."
What are you thoughts on the bands that you'll be touring with on this upcoming tour?
The bands are great. I'm excited. The Cobra Starship guys I know really well. Ryland is one of my good friends. All Time Low I don't know too well but since the whole Twitter phenomenon happened some of the guys in that band have twittered me so we sent some goofy twitters back and fourth so I'm looking forward to hanging out with those guys. Metro Station I don't really know too well. Hey Monday we just did some international gigs with them. They're really excited to be on tour with bands that they like, which is really refreshing. We also have 50 Cent who will be taking over the days that Metro Station won't be playing which is great for two reasons. First of all, we're really happy that he agreed to be part of the tour, and secondly it's nice to mix it up musically. You can kind of test peoples' musical prejudices that way, and you can hopefully open up peoples' minds to different kinds of music.
If 50 Cent were to go out on tour with a million other bands, people would question it. What do you think it is about your band, or this particular tour that makes a guy like 50 Cent fit appropriately? Do you think he might even feel uncomfortable?
He doesn't seem like a guy that's so insecure that he's going to feel uncomfortable. I think he's excited. He's a smart guy. He's really excited about exposing himself to people who have never really given hip hop a true chance. I also think he knows that he will probably be bringing some of his fans to our show and he knows that will be good for us. So I think it's really good for everyone all around regardless of how polarizing it is for one side or another. I think some people are kind of weary of it. It's interesting, we just did this remix of America's Suitehearts, and going back to Twitter, I love Twitter because I can just like really interact with my fans. I can poll, who likes it? How many of you like it? How many of you hate it? I really polarize. I ask again, do you hate it because you don't like the song, or do you hate it because you don't like hip-hop? There's a lot of guys that don't like hip hop, but I can tell it's because they've just never really given it a chance. Sometimes you have to see someone perform for them to win you over. I'm excited, I've never seen him perform live. I think it's really good for everybody all around. I think even if there's a negative backlash. Polarization is truly important. We're a polarizing band. I think it keeps us relevant, and it keeps us interesting to people. We really cause this extreme love or extreme hate.
There's always different influences on your records.
Within the band, we overlap on things, but we have a lot of independent interests as well, and we combine to really create what Fall Out Boy is all about. Our band is always evolving with every record as well.
What do you get out of doing a large-scale pavilion type tour that you don't get out of a smaller club tour?
You get different venues with different vibes. Obviously you can fit more people into a big pavilion than you can into a small club. That's not the purpose. We're doing some House of Blues-size venues on this tour as well. So we're kinding to the gamut a little bit. It's a different vibe. Also, we're able to bring our production out on a bigger-venue tour. Some of the smaller venues we're not really able to go all out with our production and do that full grandiose thing that we're trying to do. That's one of the big reasons that we're trying to play some bigger size places, just to bring our production out and give everyone the full experience.
"It seems like internationally our new record is becoming already more widely known than any of our older material."
Do you have a preference between bigger and smaller venues?
Not really, they're kind of different beasts. I used to get this question a lot like do you prefer recording in the studio or playing live? They're different beasts, it's apples and oranges. It's that way with different size venues. A 500 person club is really fun but it's like a party. Playing like a House of Blues like club is a different club. You go and play the bigger places and again it's a different vibe. It's going to sound different and it's going to feel different, you're going to have more people or less people. It's really hard to compare.
Your band has been in the limelight lately, popping up in more mainstream publications and such. Does it concern you how you personally, and how your bands mates, are viewed by the media?
I go back and forth between that I suppose. Sometimes it's abummer when people have this really wrong perception of what your band is. You get people sometimes and they assign rolls to people in the band and they have nothing to do with the bad and they don't even understand the band at all whatsoever. I think that can be kind of a bummer at times. Sometimes you have to remember that they aren't in the band, and to an extent sometimes we're all a little bit like Mr. Burns sitting behind the desk tapping his fingers together saying excellent in a very snakelike voice. To an extent sometimes I feel like we get to pull the wool over peoples' eyes. What comes along with that is really inaccurate media coverage. It is what it is. Sometimes people get it right, sometimes they don't. The good thing is that when people get it really right we always try to go back and have relationships with those people because it's fun to do interviews with people that understand you and your band. I think some people get it, and some people don't. It can equally fun to do interviews with people that don't get it because you get to kind of pull a fast one. That's how I feel sometimes. Sometimes we're kind of like the puppet masters sitting behind the big desk watching everything happen.
Thanks so much for this interview man!
* Trohman has since cut his hair.
Interview by Brandon Weiss
"We have a lot of independent interests, and we combine to really create what Fall Out Boy is all about."