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Ten years after breaking into the music industry with their debut studio album, 2003’s Take This To Your Grave, Fall Out Boy’s fifth effort — a surprise release following a five-year hiatus — is taking the globe by storm. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Rock Albums, Digital Albums, Alternative Albums and several international charts, Save Rock and Roll feels like “vindication” for bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz.
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“It’s crazy to have Fall Out Boy have a No. 1 album in the year 2013,” Wentz tells The Hollywood Reporter. “To write an album that’s just for ourselves, kind of in secret, and then for it to be embraced on such a bigger level, it feels cool and it feels like some sort of vindication — but not in a negative context — just in the way that maybe we made the album the right way.”
Though Wentz frequently refers to his band as “outsiders,” they’ve found a champion in one of the industry’s most prominent insiders: Elton John, who lends his vocals to the album’s title track.
“We had heard that Elton John was a fan, and I think we’re the kind of band that always dreams a little too big,” Wentz confesses. “We were like, ‘Well, how big of a fan are you? Would you be into singing on the album?’”
Needless to say, John agreed, and has even stayed in contact with lead singer Patrick Stump following their collaboration.
“[He] said he really liked the idea of the album and that it was called Save Rock and Roll,” Wentz says. “We’ve definitely always felt like outsiders as a band so it’s kind of cool to have somebody who’s such an insider’s outsider give us accolades.”
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The outsiders-schtick has worked for the band all these years, and even the title of their latest album is an ode to feeling just a little bit different at a young age.
“I was in high school and I’d be like, ‘I’m this weird looking ,and I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere,’” says Wentz, crediting Green Day’s 1994 album Dookie with helping him to accept and thrive within his social status. “I’d be like ‘Oh, OK, these guys are different and they’re cool and they’re still being played on the radio’ and it made me want to pick up an instrument and want to play it. It also was a gateway for me finding bands like The Descendents and Misfits and stuff like that.
“The idea behind Save Rock and Roll is we want to inspire another generation of kids like that,” he adds.
With countless side projects on his mind (including hosting Oxygen’s Best Ink, airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m.), Wentz is setting his sights on finding the next big thing for his record label Decaydance — home to Travie McCoy, Gym Class Heroes, Panic! At the Disco, Cobra Starship and more.
“We get a lot of things that are submitted that sound like a lot of other things that are already on the label. [That’s] just not really what we’re looking for,” Wentz says. “We’re looking for what the next thing is that seems a little different, a little strange … We’re really about building an artist. Getting an artist from 0 to 80,000 units — I think that that’s a really hard thing to do. Finding an artist that already has that talent there, but we’re really able to build their base is what we strive to do.”
Take note, aspiring rockers.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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