Andy Hurley , 2009

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

When I was first introduced to Fall Out Boy live, it was as a second stage band on the Blink-182 tour. You have come a long way since then. Did you envision the band being this large?
I remember that. But to answer the question: No not really. I guess I never really envisioned anything for this band other than touring. It seemingly happened fast, but for us it seemed we were traveling around in a van playing in front of two kids for a while. But I never expected it.

 

The one thing about playing that second stage band or now touring and headlining sold out shows is your fans have always gone insane at your shows. What does that mean for you as a band?
It’s awesome. It is the think everyone would want in a band, I would assume. I remember growing up on punk and hardcore and it seemed that was what it was all about. It was about the fans and the dialogue. And although the bigger you get, the harder it can be to maintain but you can still keep that with a lot of the social networking sites. We try to maintain that bond as much as we can and that is a big part of it. We got to where we are because we had fans that supported us so crazily. Kind of like a cult, almost.

 

What is interesting is most of the time when punk or hardcore bands start to make it mainstream, their original fans leave to find something else underground. But your fans, much like Green Days, have pretty much stuck with you through this journey.
It’s awesome. It does seem that way. We have been fortunate enough to keep a lot of those old fans. There are a lot of kids from back in those days that I still talk to and recognize when I see them at shows. The usually are at all the secret shows because they are usually the first ones to know, and it is awesome. To me it is the most important thing, keeping those fans, because they are the ones that built us and made us who we are.

 

When people talk about punk, both you are Green Day are good examples that have remained true to your original roots even though you have bridged the gap between punk and mainstream. Does it get frustrating when people want to label Fall Out Boy as something you’re not based on success that has nothing to do but people liking your music and making a connection to the band in some way?
I think if you pay attention, those things can get under your skin. But generally I don’t pay attention and I don’t think the rest of the guys do either. Especially when it comes to labels because in reality labels are non-existent things. We are just guys with guitars, drums and a bass that write rock music. And whatever comes out and people take from it is beyond our control.

 

Touching on the writing a bit, many bands who have been around as long as Fall Out Boy can fall into a rut and become almost monotonous in writing. How does the band still keep the writing process fresh?
Pete (Wendt) as a lyricists is always trying to push himself to write from different perspectives and not continually write about pissing on someone to put them out because they are on fire relationship stuff. That was on the first record. I think that is part of it because I know that Patrick (Stump) is very influenced by the lyrics or by the cadence of the words. At the same time, Patrick, who is the main songwriter I guess, is probably the most prolific songwriter I know. For the last record, there were about 60 songs to choose from and it ran the gamut from reggae-ish song, which actually ended up on the album as America’s Sweetheart, which morphed into something totally different. And that is another thing. All the songs go through different integrations within their life span. So 60 songs and so many different styles. There was a period where he was writing things way more R&B that we have ever done and some that was so far off the grid that it really didn’t fit and then everything in between. And then Joe was writing songs and he comes from a very metal background. And all of us have different backgrounds and strengths in the style of music we make and I think all of that diversity goes into the writing process. And that is what makes us who we are and with every album we can explore a different size of us.

 

What I think your fans appreciate live is you are able to keep your songs tight, but still be able to have fun and interpretation on stage and not be so hung up on making sure every chord is exactly like the CD. How do you think this band has progressed live?
A lot of work. A lot of practice. We had never been a band that practiced every day and go through every song for six hours to make sure it was perfect even though you went through them 50 times before. And now with our schedule, there is just not time to do that anyway. Not when we are in the writing process or in the studio or coming up with ideas, but more on the other side of things that we can get a little lazy. Like our sound checks are usually like a song and a half at most and then we will just jam and play other songs and covers just for fun. I think we started off pretty sloppy, but just touring and playing together for this many years and honing our skills there have helped. But starting off, we didn’t have the discipline that you learn from being in the studio. But all that has made us better musicians as a band.

 

I can only assume that with each tour and each record, this band really does get as excited as it did with the first record. How much does having fun at sound check and those other little things help keep the band the way it is?
That’s a part of it. But I am still surprised that kids go as crazy as they do. We just got home about a week ago from Australia, New Zealand and Japan and I honestly think that was the best tour we have ever done and to be able to say that at this point in our career is pretty awesome. And we did all the secret shows in December and we thought those were the best shows, so it has been like every show is better than the last. We took six months off last year and were touring for six years straight before that so that was the first real break we had. And then we recorded so that was a few more months and finally we got back on tour so I think that was part of it. But we have been back in the grind for a while and the shows are still better. So I think coming back to America for a proper tour, where December was more publicity shows, secret shows and radio shows, I think is exciting. We are all real excited to be coming back to America to do a full US tour because it has been over a year now.

 

But doing a full tour probably means there is more business added as well. Where radio shows and things like that, it is more showing up and playing, where now ticket sales, press, all those things start to add up. Can you put a barrier up between the two?
I don’t really let it affect me. Any show that may not be what it should we are able to still have fun and turn them into something fun. Radio shows we always have a ton of our kids come out to, anyway. But I think we do make the most sense on stage or in the studio so those are always the things we look forward to the most. But at the same time, all the press and business comes with the territory. And I know that I would rather be doing that a few hours a day than work in an office.

 

With all the press, photo shoots, television you do, do you ever wish you can go back to the van days of just writing music, play the music and drive to the next city and do it all over again. Or is all that other stuff not as cumbersome as it would seem?
It’s hard work. I remember being a kid reading about all the stuff that goes into it, but until you do it, you don’t realize how hard it is. So there are definitely times where I wish that was all we had to do. But then I remember all the things we are able to do because we do the other work that goes into it to bring us to the point of touring the world, attempt to go to Antarctica or any of the crazy things we have attempted to do. If we didn’t do all the other things to enable that, we wouldn’t be able to do it. So it’s a give and take.

 

Lastly, I know you are coming to Columbus and Columbus always represents pretty well. Now that you have toured the country and come back several times to the same fans, does that make it easier or harder?
I feel that pressure more for the home shows in Milwaukee and Chicago. I am from Milwaukee and the other guys are from Chicago and I do feel more stressed playing there because the expectation level and we want to play our best. I think coming back to places we have played a lot like Columbus gives us a comfort level like we are back with old friends. And I love Columbus personally because I would say the person I love most in this world is from Columbus and goes to OSU (Ohio State University). So Columbus is always awesome for me to come back to because I can hang out with her then.