‘Boy’ just wants to have fun

Five years ago, Chicago natives Fall Out Boy weren’t there to see their hometown become a breeding ground for an invasion of pop-punk bands. The band’s hook-laden sound was out making waves across the country while setting the standard for aspiring musicians back home. But while most trendy pop-punk bands didn’t last very long, Fall Out Boy is still going strong.

Born from backgrounds in metal, hardcore, soul, punk and hip-hop, the members of FOB first pooled their interests in 2001. Energetic pop-punk sounds attempt to break the music industry’s monotony with Patrick Stumph (vocals), Joseph Trohman (guitar), Peter Wentz (bass) and Andrew Hurley (drums).

“We kind of just got together to do a band and it was just going to be fun,” Stumph said. “We really had no plan as far as what we were going to sound like. (We’re different) because we’re not trying to be ‘so and so’ from ‘such and such’ pop band.”

After playing around with its sound, FOB recorded its first EP, Take This to Your Grave (Fueled by Ramen Records) in 2003. Throughout the year, FOB played more than 280 shows and made a name for itself across the country.

“I don’t like to think of it like a job,” Stumph explained. “The amount of time that you’d spend at a full time job or school we spend on tour, but we don’t take off summers.”

On the road, the band perfected its live performances while supporting shows with Less Than Jake, All American Rejects and Yellowcard.

“We spaz out like a hardcore band, which a lot of pop-punk bands don’t really do,” Stupmh said. “I’ve seen a lot of other bands where they roll around on stage or moan (instead of singing) – I kind of try to sing. We actually try to play our instruments and flip out too.”

FOB signed on to Island Records (home of Bob Marley, Mariah Carey, The Bravery and others) after a whirlwind 2003. Throughout 2004, FOB continued to tour with Mest and Blink 182, released another EP and headed into the studio to create its first full-length album.

Stumph said he hopes FOB’s album will show fans an older, more musically mature band. From Under the Cork Tree (Island Records) is set for release May 3. Stumph said that while the group had always recorded demos in the past, for this album, band members sat down and recorded for three straight months. “Hopefully the songs are a little tighter and a little more concise,” he said.

“Things are a little different than the last album because, now, people are listening,” Stumph said. “There are new kids that might just buy the record – that’s a new ground for us.”

Stumph said that they’ll stay true to the fans that have been with FOB since the beginning. “As much as our kids belong to us, we belong to them. With this album we’re going to give back to them.”

Unlike most bands, FOB willingly accepts the pop-punk label. On the new album, the tracks “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” demonstrate the band’s subtle punk style and laid-back pop melodies that may inspire singing and dancing.

“We take ourselves just seriously enough not to wear baggy shorts, but that’s about it,” Stumph said. “There are bands on the other end of the spectrum that think they’re Wilco or Radiohead. We are a pop-punk band and we’re okay with it.”

Fall Out Boy is headlining the Fueled by Ramen & Friends tour with The Academy Is … , Gym Class Heroes and Silverstein at the 9:30 Club Friday. The show is sold

out.

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