Pete Wentz: ‘Life is so short & it’s so long that you should try crazy sh-t’

Fall Out Boy’s first new album in five years, So Much (for) Stardust, is coming out on Friday. The band is doing a full social media blitz and some regular media as well, with late night show performances and music magazine covers. Pete Wentz, the lyricist and bassist and de facto frontman, covers Nylon solo. It’s part profile of Pete, part history of the band, and part commentary of their place in the current music scene. It’s worth a read in its entirety, but for a longtime fan like me, the parts that jumped out the most were Pete’s musings on the band, their new music, and his life as it is now.

On making a new album and touring: Still, for Wentz, things weren’t quite so simple as just catching the wave and making a throwback record. 2020’s lockdown had struck the bassist with a newfound desire to be at home with his family. “I was like, I don’t really know if I want to tour anymore. The mental part of leaving is much more difficult,” says Wentz. Plus, the idea of making a pure throwback record left Wentz with a bad taste in his mouth. “Whenever artists that I love, filmmakers and bands that I love, say that something is a ‘return to form,’ I’m like, ughhhh. He’s a multi-millionaire, how is he going to make speed metal?” Wentz says. “People think they want that, but if we do it, you won’t like it. And it’ll feel inauthentic.”

On adjusting during Fall Out Boy’s hiatus: In 2010, he was 30, raising a toddler and headed towards a divorce from Simpson. Fall Out Boy had decided to take a break. He’d spent most of his 20s in a whirlwind of escalating fame and near-constant travel, but he was also so stunted in some aspects of his life that he didn’t even know how to navigate the airport without following one of his handlers’ backpacks in front of him. “My life was just like… a bomb had gone off in it,” he says. And yet he was grounded enough to recognize what his mission was: “You’ve atrophied all of these life skills. I was like, ‘Oh. You have to figure out how to be happy as an adult.’”

On lockdown and his “mid-life crisis”: To hear Wentz tell it, the last few years represented a similar crossroads — or at least prompted an intense period of self-reflection and growth. Wentz leaned into the slothfulness of the lockdown, getting in the worst physical shape of his adult life. As he came back out of the other side, he was filled with the impulse to experiment in a way that resembled a more wholesome, premature version of a mid-life crisis. “Why don’t you just do the sh-t you want to do?” he asked himself. “Life is so short, and it’s so long, that maybe you should try crazy sh-t because it will break you out of the feeling of nihilism.”

[From Nylon]

The profile goes on to explain some of the activities Pete got into as a result of his early “mid-life crisis,” including more tennis (the whole beginning of the profile was devoted to his tennis hobby), gold, ketamine therapy, baking, pottery, 52 books in 52 weeks (I did that in 2020 too), and performing at an open-mic night at the Laugh Factory. Random, eclectic, and honestly sounds pretty great. He says: “I did a bunch of stuff where I was like, ‘Why would you not do it?’” and that’s kind of the vibe I want, so maybe I’ll take a page out of Pete’s book. His 2020 feelings on touring and leaving his family make sense and we know that Joe Trohman opted out of this tour cycle entirely, but selfishly I’m glad the band made a new album since I got tickets to their Queens show. The stuff about re-learning life skills was interesting, since he was already in his mid-20s when the band really got big, but I guess if people always do stuff for you, you forget how to do it yourself. And the profile and couple of third-party quotes in it note that one of Pete’s things was been connecting and it’s true that he was doing it long before social media in its current iteration. Instead of TikTok videos and AMAs, it was Pete just posting his thoughts and song lyrics to his blogspot. Anyway, Pete is as reflective as ever and still endearingly navel-gazing, but in a broader and more self-aware way than before. I can’t wait for Friday to hear what they’ve come up with this time.

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Photos credit: Cover Images, Getty and Nylon via Instagram

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11 Responses to “Pete Wentz: ‘Life is so short & it’s so long that you should try crazy sh-t’”

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  1. Treyath says:

    I appreciate his comment on bands that blew up when they were young “returning to form” being something fans think they want, but ultimately feeling inauthentic. That youthful moodiness / maximum feelings is just not who most people are any more by the time they’re in their 30s and 40s (the musicians and fans alike).

    Honk for FOB content! Makes my elder emo heart happy.

    Also Pete, that straw blonde hair ain’t it bb…

    • Frippery says:

      I kinda like the hair. It’s very him.

      HONK for Fall Out Boy articles

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yeah, I didn’t care for that hair either. And he’s right! Life is short! And long! So do some crazy stuff! Although his choice of crazy cracks me up: tennis, reading, baking…. Yeah, that’s some crazy sh*t all right! 😉

    • SophieJara says:

      Yes, I think about this a lot in hip hop too. Like there are certain styles within it where you have to evolve as you grow older and softer. Otherwise it’s an unsettling performance.

  2. CROWHOOD says:

    Pete, I simply LOVE the introspection and growth. For the love of whatever you believe in let’s make the next crazy thing you try be not that hair.

  3. wildwaffles says:

    Honk here, too! I took my daughter to see FOB in 2017 and it was an amazing show.

  4. Enis says:

    I’m just sending you all some love from the other side of the apocalypse!

    I’ve got my tickets and I am so excited. I had to miss Hella Mega Tour due to COVID.

  5. Kimmy says:

    Honk honk!!

    Fun fact: I met them after a show in Champaign, IL circa 2005-2006ish. I was 20, we went to IL bc you didn’t have to be 21 to get in some venues. My concert buddy back then had a knack for tracking down artists and sure enough, she found Patrick and dragged him over to sign something of ours. Pete wasn’t there, I can’t remember why I didn’t see him.

    Anyways, this elder millennial emo will always have a soft spot for FOB.

    • Suze says:

      I met Pete during a Black Cards show! They opened for Gym Class Heroes and he and Bebe Rexha were doing a little meet & greet at the back of the venue.

  6. detritus says:

    I have a soft spot for Pete. I hate his new hair, but also had the same hair in high school so can’t judge too hard.

    Sometimes you gotta try things once to learn to never do again. Like at home bleaching.

  7. PunkPrincessPhD says:

    Another elder emo / emo-lennial signing in.

    My now-husband and I saw FOB in Edinburgh in 2006. We’d flown over from Belfast that morning, I hadn’t eaten, the place was a crush (all standing/floor tickets), and I fainted during one of the openers. My hubs rushed me to the side of the hall where first aid crews got me checked out atop a bunch of equipment. I was just coming to when I heard voices near me, asking, “Is she ok? Do you need anything?” My hubs waited 20 full minutes to tell it was the FOB guys! My most “memorable” close encounter.

    In other news, Pete is channelling his inner Billy-Ray, and I’m not sure about it.