Earlier this summer, Fall Out Boy headed to Ryan Adams’ Pax-Am studio … where they over the course of 48 hours, they hung out, had dinner and “somehow” ended up recording an album’s worth of new music.
At the time, no one in the band — or at their label, for that matter — seemed to know when that music would see the light of day … but on Monday (September 30) we learned that Fall Out Boy would be releasing them as Pax-Am Days an eight-song album that marks FOB’s second release of 2013 (after their triumphant Save Rock and Roll comeback, of course).
The album is due on October 15, both as a digital standalone and as part of a double-disc reissue of Save Rock and Roll, but fans are already thrilling to the first single, a fiery slab of early-80s punk (and early ’90s hardcore) called “Love, Sex, Death,” which certainly seems to hint at a new direction for FOB … not to mention the raucous, raw recording sessions that produced their latest album.
“We really got along great with Ryan; we both have mutual admiration for Youth crew bands and the punk rock we grew up with,” Pete Wentz told MTV News. “Ryan is a blast. Sometimes we would be working out a part and yell down to him that we were ready to record and he’d be like ‘No, worries, I recorded the rehearsal and there’s no way you’re gonna recapture that magic.’ He’s pure energy and art and punk and [this record] is about as close to our band ever gets to recorded improvisation.”
Wentz said the energy inside Pax-Am studios is readily apparent on their new album — “It sounds like four friends just playing loud music,” he explained — and perfectly represented by the album’s cover star, tennis great John McEnroe, in the midst of a prime, racket-smashing meltdown. Turns out, the man known as Johnny Mac was sort of the Patron Saint of the entire Pax-Am process.
“Putting McEnroe on the cover was a conscious decision. Him and [FOB guitarist] Joe [Trohman] have been friends for a while … and I love tennis. I love the culture of it. I love the rivalries … how it’s sometimes just you vs. yourself, which is such a good metaphor for life,” Wentz said. “There’s a line on the record, ‘Johnny Mac punk/I’ve got enough fire for everyone.’ And I remember when John went over to Wimbledon and got called ‘Yankee punk,’ I think there was a fistfight in that happened in the press room over an answer to a question he was asked.
“There’s something about that kind of passion and that kind of rage that we really drew on; this EP is very ‘Super Brat.’ It’s sometimes how we feel in the world of pop music,” he continued. “Like, we have this rage and passion and we don’t look exactly right, but here we are to make some noise.”
And if the searing songs on Pax-Am leave some fans proclaiming “You Cannot Be Serious,” well, that’s precisely the point. This is Fall Out Boy making the kind of music that moves them, and releasing it on their own terms … in a lot of ways, it’s the reason they decided to get back together in the first place. Now that they’ve saved rock and roll, they’re looking to reinvent it from the ground up.
“I think we needed Pax-Am Days as much as it needed us,” Wentz said. “I think that maybe one of the reasons rock hit a lull is that it became to standard. Bands felt like they had to be boxed in by certain songs; Pax-Am Days is that for us… our follow up Save Rock and Roll will probably sound nothing like this, but who knows? That’s the beauty of being an artist in such a global world.”