"I am going to be ... a thorn in your side" declares the newest member of the not-a-Pete-Wentz-fan club.
The Fall Out Boy bassist has long had to deal with message-board naysayers, chat-room haters and blogging detractors. And most of that has been his own doing, what with his near-constant presence on, well, message boards, chat rooms and blogs.
But through it all, he's always maintained a "love thy neighbor" sort of approach to things, talking openly onstage about helping out your fellow man and stomping our racism and homophobia. Thanks to one of those onstage calls for unity, he's suddenly been forced to take on a whole new breed of foe: angry mothers.
Or, more specifically, one angry mother, whose enraged e-mail to Island Records now adorns Fall Out Boy's Web site. After taking her daughters to the Tuesday stop of FOB's Black Clouds and Underdogs Tour at the Cricket Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina (see "Fall Out Boy Start Divulging New Tour Dates — The Real Ones, That Is"), that mother was apparently so upset by what she termed Wentz's "personal political testimony" that she wrote the band's label to complain and declare her moral outrage.
"The ticket said 'all ages,' and your band was very foul-mouthed and anti-morals. Charlotte is not the demoralized city that liberal San Francisco and other cities across the North and West are," the e-mail read. "I had looked forward to this concert with my girls for months [and] I didn't spend over $200 on gas, food and, unfortunately, shirts for you to give your own personal political testimony. ... This was a concert, not some liberal homosexual rally."
So what exactly did Wentz say from the stage? Well, as far as doctrine for "liberal homosexual rallies" goes, it seemed pretty light.
In a post on FallOutBoyRock.com, Wentz wrote: "The only thing I said in Charlotte was, 'You can leave this show and say, "I think this guy is an arrogant jerk," or think, "This band is better than this one," because these are your opinions. The only thing we consider unacceptable is for you to engage in sexist, racist or homophobic behavior. If you do, we don't want you as a fan. Return our merch and leave.' "
The woman went on to promise that she would contact the national news media and the arenas that Fall Out Boy would be playing on future dates, and predicted that the band would lose "a lot of financial support" from concerned mothers like herself.
"I am not the only parent with morals that had children at this concert ... your responsibility was to sing your songs. When you opened your mouth to talk, you blew it," she wrote. "Here's to your band being just another Spice Girls, looking back and remembering the good times and 15 minutes of fame, because you [underestimated] who pays your bills. By the way, my children will not be a part of your sick idea of family."
Wentz included the angry letter in his online post, adding, "Being in a public position with a spotlight, I think it is extremely important to use this pedestal to enlighten younger kids to certain things about the world."
Wentz went on to (sorta) apologize for any onstage profanity he may have used, writing, "I have a mouth like a sailor, it frustrated my mother growing up." But he stopped short of offering a mea culpa for his call for unity. After all, he was just trying to spread a message of peace.
"I try my best to be the best person I can be. I want to be a good role model for younger kids. I don't smoke, drink or do drugs. I censor myself the best I can, but at the same time, I am not going to change in order to simply make myself more lucrative," he wrote. "I encourage fans of our band to grow up to become good people and to change the world. Unfortunately, I don't believe that treating other people as inhuman is acceptable. If that is offensive to you, I apologize, but we don't want you to be part of our fanbase. [Our show] is not a liberal homosexual rally, but at the same time, it will never be a Ku Klux Klan rally. We don't need to sell tickets that badly."