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 Bands A-Z: Fall Out Boy
 News Archive: Fall Out Boy

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 "If I don't get some time off, then there's going to be an implosion." ...

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 "This girl gave me this note, and it said 'Meet me in the bathroom.' " ...

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 "I have to be very careful about who I let into my life." ...

Fall Out Boy:   Through The Years   (So Far...)

Inside Pete   Wentz's Mom &   Dad's House

  Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz Comments On ... You Know, Those Photos

  Fall Out Boy Working On Their Grammy Acceptance Speech

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— James Montgomery, with additional reporting by John Norris

CHICAGO — The Logan Square Auditorium is the kind of place where they hold "Enchantment Under the Sea" dances one night and six-band death-metal pileups the next ("Cattle Decapitation! Animosity! Misery Index!" one poster shouts). It's a rickety, gorgeous old hall with thickly lacquered parquet floors, dusty red velvet curtains on the windows and ancient metal fans wobbling precariously from the ceiling. There's a sorta sweet, sorta sweaty odor that seems trapped in the floorboards: It kind of smells like they just held a junior-varsity wrestling tournament there.

Outside, throngs of kids in tight black jeans and tiny hoodies mill about, smoking cigarettes, hammering away on their Sidekicks and looking professionally bored. The midday Chicago sun beats down on their white necks and skinny arms, and some have taken to sitting cross-legged beneath the trees that line Kedzie Boulevard, drawing wary looks from nearby shop owners and passing dudes in Cubs hats.

Can't get enough Pete? Check out highlights from our time with the overworked Fall Out Boy bassist, including a look inside his parents' crib, only in Overdrive.

They're here because they visited FallOutBoyRock.com this May morning and suddenly realized, "Holy sh--! Fall Out Boy are playing a free show at the Logan Square Auditorium!" Much texting and MySpacing no doubt ensued, and in less than four hours, they've all assembled on the sidewalk outside the venue. It's a cut-and-dried example of what people in the advertising industry call "viral marketing," that intangible something that corporations spend millions to create.

Fall Out Boy just decided to play the show on a whim — as a sort of homecoming present to their fans — and because they can.

In the year since they released their major-label debut, From Under the Cork Tree, they've become arguably the biggest emo-punk act in the world, and undoubtedly the most successful Chicago band since the Smashing Pumpkins. Cork Tree has sold 2.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, spawned three hit singles and turned four Chi-Town twentysomethings — frontman Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley — into bona-fide celebrities, hustling entrepreneurs and Internet demigods.

But back inside Logan Square, tucked away in a nondescript room for which the word "cramped" is an understatement, none of the guys in FOB actually look like multiplatinum rock stars. Aside from the diamonds that festoon Wentz's Billionaire Boys Club hoodie (a gift from his pal Pharrell Williams), there's nary a piece of bling in sight.

In fact, it's a majorly tame backstage scene: Stump chats about the records he's been listening to on the road (Feist's Let It Die, the Coup's Pick A Bigger Weapon), Trohman pokes at his reflection in a dusty mirror and Hurley sits on a chair twirling — and ultimately dropping — a pair of drumsticks.

If you didn't know any better, you'd swear this was just another band getting ready for an all-ages show at Logan Square: four kids with battered jeans and bags under their eyes who have just spent 13 months on the road. They look dead tired.

Fall Out Boy are in the homestretch of their Black Clouds and Underdogs Tour, and for much of the past week, they've been dividing their time between playing two shows a day (usually an afternoon "fans only" gig like this one, and then their standard 90-minute headlining set), attending meet-and-greets and doing awkward interviews with members of the foreign press.

"We did this really bad interview with some Canadian music channel where the woman essentially called me a monkey who follows the commands of his handlers," Wentz sighs. "It's been a long day already, and it's only like 3 o'clock. But we'll be all right. I mean, it's not like we have a choice."

If this doesn't sound like the effervescent Wentz we've come to know, it's because more than anyone in the band, he shoulders the public-relations load. Granted, this is mostly his fault, since he does about 95 percent of the talking for Fall Out Boy. But his commitments today don't just end with the Logan Square show and this evening's homecoming gig at the University of Illinois Pavilion. There's also the de rigueur afterparty, where the teetotalling bassist will DJ for about an hour and be propositioned by several women, all while drinking Sprite and shaking hands with everyone he meets. The following morning, he'll welcome MTV News into his parents' home in the nearby suburb of Wilmette, then take us on a tour of the city he grew up in, all while constantly answering his cell phone and typing away on his Sidekick.

You'd think that he'd be loving all of this: the fame, the shows, the work, the life. After all, he's a self-described "natural competitor and born hustler" who's got his hands in a record label, a film-production company and a clothing line — as well as the band that is technically his day job.

But all you have to do is take a good look at his sleepy eyes, his matted hair and the razor burn on his neck to realize that maybe all Pete Wentz really wants is some time off.

"I used to hear bands talk about this, and I used to think it's the most clichéd thing ever, but now I realize that it's not — and I really mean it when I say that if I don't get away for a bit, if I don't get some time off, then there's going to be an implosion," he says wearily. "I'm not going to try and kill myself or anything like that, but I just can't go at this rate. But I can't put my cell phone away, and I can't shut my brain off. I'm like a shark: I have to keep moving or else I'll drown."

This sounds really ominous, until he notes later that he's paraphrasing a line from the truly awful 1999 thriller "Eye of the Beholder" that was delivered by none other than Jason Priestley.

NEXT: 'This girl gave me this note, and it said 'Meet me in the bathroom.' ... ...
Photo: MTV News

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From Under the Cork Tree

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From Under the Cork Tree

  "Sugar We're Goin Down"
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  "Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy"
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  "Sugar, We're Goin Down" (Live)
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  "Dance, Dance" (Live)
Fall Out Boy performs on MTV's New Year's Eve 2006

  "Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy" (Live)
Take This to Your Grave