Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz is proud of the band’s evolution — especially on its new album, Mania, which is due out January 19.
The song “Young and Menace” surprised fans with its electronic leanings, but Wentz says the change was necessary.
“I think ‘Young and Menace’ was definitely meant to be a palate cleanse — a hard reset,” Wentz says. “Beyond that, ‘Champion’ is a song that felt of the moment. It felt in the wheelhouse, thematically, of what Fall Out Boy has done. ‘The Real Ones’ really wasn’t a single. The time we live in, musicians put out music and whatever people latch on to becomes whatever.”
“The Real Ones” began organically, with the album’s producer playing around with different piano ideas. Wentz recalls he said, “This is the perfect anthemic sound.” Fall Out Boy, he adds, set out to write a love song to it.
“It’s a strange perspective for a love song,” he says. “I think of the little neuroses when I think about love. The best fit for friendships or relationships are when the neuroses line up.”
Fans can hear a sampling of the new songs when Fall Out Boy plays Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday, November 18. Like Fall Out Boy’s music, the show is a revamp of previous tours.
We’re having completely different staging than we’ve done before,” he says. “Obviously the setlist is going to be different. There will be three or four new songs from our album, Mania, that will be out in January.”
He’s excited to play indoors because the band can control the setting more than in amphitheater gigs.
“We can put on the exact show that we want to put on,” says Wentz, 38. “I’m excited about that. Blackbear and Jaden Smith are going to open the tour. It’s something that’s fresh and different.”
Fall Out Boy is celebrating the champions out there by inviting fans to post a video or photo on Instagram with #FOBChampion to nominate someone who is making a difference in their communities to be chosen as the #FOBChampion of their local tour date. Each city’s winner will receive tickets to their local Mania show, be acknowledged from the stage and honored during the set, along with a shout out on the band’s Instagram. In addition, a monetary donation will be made in the winner’s name to the charity of their choice via the Fall Out Boy Fund. For details, visit championofthemaniatour.com.
Wentz says it’s easy for bands to say, “The world is a f**cked-up place. But execution is such a big part of it.
“It’s great to have thoughts, but it’s super important, if you’re going to do that, execute that. This is our small attempt to move the needle and actually contribute to people who are going out, doing good for other people, for other causes.”
He goes back to Mania, a collection he calls a gutsy move.
“It was a blessing that Take This to Your Grave was an underground record,” he says. “The next record, we could do something different. After that, we wanted to do something different, but the label said it might be a career-ender for us.”
That was engrained in the band. Wentz explains it can be dangerous, because fans fall in love with a sound. Change can be hard.
“It’s like Metallica cutting their hair, or David Bowie putting Ziggy Stardust away,” Wentz says. “Those are tough for the fans, but instead of change, they adapted.”
Mania is the follow-up album to the band’s platinum-certified sixth studio collection, American Beauty/American Psycho, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 upon its January 2015 release. Hailing from Chicago, Grammy-nominated Fall Out Boy includes Wentz, singer/guitarist Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley.
Wentz admits it’s a little unsettling to know fans will record the new songs with their phones. “Your phone isn’t a studio recording,” he says. “That’s not how it really sounds. It changes night to night. In some ways, it’s a relief to put something out to the world.”
Fall Out Boy w/ blackbear and Jaden Smith, Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, 1.800.745.3000, talkingstickresortarena.com, 7 p.m. Saturday, November 18, $25.75-$65.75.