LAS VEGAS — There are plenty of ways to prepare for a proper rager. Perhaps you stock up on kegs of your favorite adult beverage. Or break out the S’Liquor Slide. Or maybe even begin arranging the shrimp cocktail ring (mad classy!). Or, if you’re Pete Wentz, you wake up in a hotel room, shake off the cobwebs and head over to a Vegas casino for a media event co-sponsored by the dudes who made “Halo 3” and the world’s leading manufacturer of “interactive wax figures.”
“Man, I didn’t get ’Halo 3,’ but I did do all the things necessary to get a copy soon,” the Fall Out Boy bassist laughed, shaking his head slightly. “We’ll see what happens.”
Welcome to the world of Wentz. On most days it could charitably be described as “hectic,” but since he and his bandmates have taken up residence in Las Vegas, it’s quickly become a full-blown maelstrom of private parties, personal appearances and photo opportunities. And things are only getting more and more crazed in the hours leading up to the MTV Video Music Awards, where FOB will be holding a concert/party in the Celebrity Suite at the Palms Casino Resort.
It all got under way on Thursday night, as Wentz manned the decks at a party for his label, Decaydance (see “Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz Rocks The Decks At Vegas Party; Panic Members Too Young To Get In” ). His whirlwind tour continued full-on through Friday, starting with a promotional appearance at Vegas’ Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, where he posed for photos next to a waxy, 7-foot tall replica of Halo’s protagonist, Master Chief, made by the people at Madame Tussauds.
That was followed by another schlep back across town to the Palms, where Wentz met up with MTV News to unveil his newest Decaydance signees, a plucky Vegas quintet called the Cab, and to tape a TV piece in which he discussed strategies for maximizing one’s success at the city’s many buffets. In between takes, he expounded upon his love of chicken nuggets (“I’m eating chicken nuggets all the time. Every day is like Christmas”), posed for pictures with rather shell-shocked fans who just happened to stumble upon their idol in a buffet line, and discussed strategies with his man-mountain of a manager, Bob McLynn.
Then some VMA producers rushed him into an elevator up to the Celebrity Suite, where he began rehearsals for the big performance (see “MTV VMA Race Is On: Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Lead Nominations.” ). Up in the suite, things weren’t running on schedule, so Wentz took a rare breather. But even on a break he’s in a near-constant state of motion, checking his BlackBerry and talking with FOB guitarist Joe Trohman about Charles Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye,” which the shaggy axeman had just started reading upon Wentz’s recommendation. (FYI, Wentz’s favorite authors are “those real super-macho guys, just consumed with being manly,” such as Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway and Arthur Miller.)
The suite was starting to fill with instruments, lights and sorta-pissed-off producers, so Wentz and Trohman made their way to the hallway, where they ran smack-dab into frontman Patrick Stump, who was trailed by even more VMA producers and a few photographers.
While Wentz and Stump talked, Trohman bonded with a security guard from the band’s hometown of Chicago. This was most certainly the calm before the storm, as rehearsals kept getting pushed back, and suddenly a photographer for People asked the trio if they’d mind heading up a few floors to a studio where the magazine was shooting portraits of all the VMA nominees and performers. This request suddenly necessitated the scrambling of label reps to locate drummer Andy Hurley. (Most things involving FOB operate in this sort of web of activity, as all four members are never in the same place for long.)
Now, with roughly 24 hours left until the FOB suite party — which, I’m told, will also feature a bunch of celebrity guests and surprises — they have yet to rehearse a single note, and they’re cramming into the elevator headed to People’s studio. As luck would have it, I’m behind schedule too, so I’m forced to bail on the FOB rehearsals before they even begin.
But as the doors of the elevator close, Wentz raises his eyebrows and shakes his head again. He looks pretty beat, and he’s still got to rehearse, meet up with girlfriend Ashlee Simpson, then attend another Decaydance event, this one co-sponsored by GQ magazine and featuring a live set by Wentz’s buddies, Cobra Starship. But you can tell that he’s gonna press on. After all, it’s his world. We’re all just living in it.
Wait — don’t cash out on the VMAs just yet! From Britney’s sultry comeback performance to the big winners, you saw it all — well, almost everything! Get yourself even richer with our wall-to-wall show coverage, party reports, videos and loads more at www.VMA.MTV.com. For reports, photos, video and much, much more from previous VMAs, dive into the VMA archives.