YOU WANT YOUR MTV, AND PARAMOUNT+ HAS IT

Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump Speaks Out -- About Life, Celebrity And Folie A Deux

Media usually focuses on Pete Wentz, but FOB's often overlooked frontman has a lot to say.

Earlier this month, MTV News was invited out to the Pass Studios in Los Angeles to get a sneak peek at Fall Out Boy's upcoming Folie à Deux album. And while we were there, in addition to hearing a handful of songs from the record, we sat down with FOB frontman Patrick Stump for an hour-long conversation that started off being about his songwriting and production, but quickly turned into something more.

For better or worse, the media often overlooks Stump, focusing instead on FOB bassist/ e-mogul Pete Wentz, and while it's somewhat understandable, it's also sort of a shame. Because although he's one of the most soft-spoken frontmen in the business, Stump's got a whole lot to say.

So, for perhaps the first time, we've decided to just let him talk — not just about his role in Fall Out Boy, but about the ugly side of our "celebrity-obsessed" culture, his struggle to remain committed to the music in the face of overwhelming distractions, and about the past, present and future of his band.

"Every time we make a record, there's some preconceived [idea] like, 'I think this is going to be the record that does this, or says this.' And really, my only interest is making a record that says exactly what I want it to say," Stump explained. "To be entirely honest — and this is dead serious — I think [2003's] Take This to Your Grave said what I wanted it to say. [FOB's 2007 LP] Infinity on High said what I wanted it to say ... I don't think [2006's] From Under the Cork Tree did. I think it's very weighed by its better parts ... and I want to strive to be better than that. I was disappointed in myself on that record."

That might be news to most FOB fans. After all, From Under the Cork Tree was not only the band's breakthrough album, it's also their most successful to date. But still, Stump says he's not happy with it, and so, on Folie, he's worked hard to eliminate that record from his memory, something that has been much easier than expected, given the rather bizarre — and, as it turns out — decidedly dark world Fall Out Boy currently inhabit. It's one that Stump can't even begin to understand, but one that has certainly made its mark on the new album.

"One of the things that's very upsetting is watching the way pop culture has shifted ... kind of coincidentally with while we've been going [as a band]. When I was a little kid, my sister used to hang out with these four girls, and one of her friends was murdered," he said, referring, apparently, to the 1993 murder of Glenview, Illinois, high-school senior Tricia Pacaccio. "And, um, one of the strangest and most upsetting kind of feelings I've had — and this was something that happened over the course of the record — is that they attached the murder of my sister's friend ... to a murder out here, in Hollywood, of Ashton Kutcher's last girlfriend [22-year-old model Ashley Ellerin].

"And there's something that's so upsetting about it, because reality is so skewed for us right now ... [because] there's been this huge shift to the cult of celebrity, and it was really frustrating to see that something personal become this circus," he continued. "I think there's something so morbid and awful about the way culture is right now in the United States, where we focus on such awful things, but nothing important. I don't know Ashton Kutcher, and it's a horrible, horrible thing that happened, but the thing that's upsetting to me is that the focus isn't on that it happened to someone he knew; the focus is on that it's him. ... And so I think this whole record is definitely a huge part of that, [because] the world we inhabit is very strange, and it's just as warped for us as it is for anybody who's not in our band."

While that's certainly dark territory for a band not necessarily known for being morbid, Stump says that Folie deals with it — and a whole lot more. After all, he's worked hard to make it the most cohesive, mature and, well, artistic album of the band's career. ... Because he's an artist, and that's what he does.

"I love this record, [but] do I think anyone else is going to love it? I really don't know," he wondered. "I got into this fight over the course of making this record, and it dawned on me, 'Why make a record? Why do you have to make records still?' Why do we make records? Because we want to say something. Why are you in art? Because you want to say something. The second you don't have anything to say, you stop making art — you might start making product. And I'm interested in being an artist."