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the online live music gig guide for the midlands

Jim Gardner
Surge Music Gig Guide

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26 March 2017

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Band Info


When he was a little boy, Fall Out Boy bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz enjoyed reading “Curious George,” “Babar” and Richard Scarry books, but his favorite children’s book was “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf. The story, about a giant bull who sits under a cork tree and smells flowers instead of getting into the ring and battling a bullfighter, was so inspirational to Wentz that he titled the band’s breakthrough record From Under the Cork Tree.

“I think it’s an amazing metaphor for how people can be,” Wentz says. “There’s something really honorable about following your own path and not doing what’s expected of you.”

It’s a lesson Fall Out Boy have taken to heart. When the Chicago band finished touring for their debut album, Take This To Your Grave, they were flooded with accolades from critics and fans, which clamored for a follow-up. However, rather than jump right into writing and recording mode, as they had for their debut, Fall Out Boy took their time experimenting with different sounds and textures in order to make From Under the Cork Tree as crafty, infectious and enduring as possible.

“We could have easily regurgitated our last record which is what certain people expected us to do,” Wentz says. “But when it’s all over, we want to be remembered as a rock band that pushed limits and was sincere and totally honest to itself and its fans. When we are 90 years old and on our death beds, it will matter to us that at least we took chances.”

From Under the Cork Tree bursts with the energy of a championship sporting event, and resonates with the vibe of good party, while retaining the honesty of a confessional conversation. The first single, “Sugar, We’re Going Down” is a dynamic blend of surging guitars, slamming drums and longing vocals; “Dance, Dance” starts with a buoyant bass line reminiscent of the Cure and mutates into a stomping rocker with an undeniable refrain and “Champagne For my Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends” swells with one catchy riff after another, and is colored by transitory drum machine clatter and point/counterpoint vocals.

“When we wrote Take This to Your Grave, we were listening to Green Day and the Descendents and a lot of hardcore,” explains Wentz of the new album’s diversity. “But now we listen to a great deal more music and let it influence us without getting away from our roots. I think it's important to know your place, but there's a colossal spectrum that you can explore within that.”

Another difference between From Under the Cork Tree and its predecessor is the way the songs came together. Last time, Stump and Wentz wrote all of the songs together. This go round, the process was more collaborative, involving guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley. As a result, the music came out more smoothly, leaving Fall Out Boy with 25 songs to chose from for the album. In addition, Stump often created songs based on the feelings he got from Wentz’ words this time instead of the other way around. “It’s always a struggle to figure out how to put someone else’s lyrics into music you’ve already written because everyone’s vocals have a different cadence and that can change the whole thrust of a song,” Stump says. “So, I’ve found stuff I really like in his lyrics and made music beneath it that compliments it.”

One of the best ways to understand what Fall Out Boy are is to realize what they are not. Their music contains elements of punk and pop, but they aren’t pop-punk. Likewise, their songs are emotional and their lyrics can be poignant, but they’re certainly not emo. By tapping into elements of their favorite styles, the bandmembers are able to attain their own sound whilst standing apart from the pack.

In an effort to stamp their music with their own seal and avoid confusion with other bands, Fall Out Boy incorporate their dark sense of humor within their songs, which abound with clever, biting lines like “written on my wrist says do not open before Christmas” (“Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued”). Similarly, track titles like “Champagne For my Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends” and “You’re a Concrete Boy Now (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)” are funny as hell, but just north of absurd. One of the most amusingly titled numbers is “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More ‘Touch Me’.”

“I used to get Circus magazine when I was little, and there’d always be these little ads in the back where you could order posters,” recalls Wentz. “And there’d always be this super-amazing, awesome dirty picture of [topless model turned pop singer] Samantha Fox, who sang “Touch Me.” My mom would never let me order the poster, so I’d just cut the picture out of the magazine and carry it around with me. And, we grew up near Shermerville, which is right near where all the John Hughes movies are set, so that’s where the Sixteen Candles reference came from. It’s really funny to me because no

Genres: Rock Punk Pop

Fall Out Boy Gigs


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