Patrick Stump has posted a blog entitled “We Liked You Better Fat: Confessions of a Pariah” reflecting on the challenges of moving forward post-Fall Out Boy. Read it below.
Thereâ€™s this really nice piece at underthegunreview.net by Jacob Tender that a friend forwarded me today. Itâ€™s about how important Fall Out Boyâ€™s album â€œFrom Under the Cork Tree,â€ was to him. After reading it though, nostalgic and well-written as it was, I really found myself more depressed than anything. Itâ€™s a complicated feeling, one that Iâ€™ve been incapable of explaining to anyone and have them fully understand. In spite of this though, I suppose I will give it the old-I-didnâ€™t-go-to-college-try:
Tender had one line that really hit home for me. I related to it in terms of my feelings towards other artists, but I also winced at the profound implications it touched on in my own professional life:
â€œI didnâ€™t like those pretentious assholes who didnâ€™t like anything after Take This To Your Grave. I now recognize that Iâ€™m one of those assholes, but I still fume when some of my favorite records are so easily discredited by ignorant semi-listeners.â€
The reality is that for a certain number of people, all Iâ€™ve ever done, all I ever will do, and all I ever had the capacity to do worth a damn was a record I began recording when I was 18 years old. That I can live with. Thatâ€™s fine and fair; I have those records in my collection that seem to stand out far above the rest of my favorite artists catalogues (and especially for artists in whom I only have a passing interest). I suppose thereâ€™s nothing wrong in thinking Iâ€™m at a point in my life where it seems Iâ€™ll never catch up: If anyoneâ€™s going to appreciate the work Iâ€™m making, it wonâ€™t be until long after Iâ€™m done doing it. Again, this is fine: Iâ€™m insanely lucky to even imagine anyone ever appreciating anything I ever do, let alone in real time. Countless artists far better than I have only achieved posthumous acclaim. If I am to be obscure and financially unsuccessful, thereâ€™s nothing disheartening in that. The thing thatâ€™s more disheartening is the constant stream of insults Iâ€™m enduring in my financially unsuccessful obscurity.
Fall Out Boyâ€™s last album Folie A Deux was our most critically panned and audiences openly hated it (it was also our poorest selling major label album even if one adjusts for the changing music economy). Now, thatâ€™s not to say it didnâ€™t have its fans, but at no other point in my professional career was I nearly booed off stages for playing new songs. Touring on Folie was like being the last act at the Vaudville show: We were rotten vegetable targets in Clandestine hoodies.
That experience really took the wind out of the bandâ€™s sails; It stopped being fun. I suppose Iâ€™m just not that thick skinned. So perhaps it was even more ill-advised when I went out and did something Iâ€™d always wanted to do; make my album and have it released by Island Records [my solo record Soul Punk]. I coincidentally happened to achieve another goal which was to lose the weight Iâ€™d been carrying around since a month-long drinking binge after a bad breakup. Those accomplishments were happy things. Living in the moments of achieving them were perhaps among the happiest in my life.
So when I went out into the world to show off the self I felt like I was happiest and most comfortable being, I suppose I knew there would be the â€œHatersâ€ [I loathe the clumsy/insufficient word but it seems the most universal]; The elitists that would always prove impossible to please. I had always been prepared for â€œHaters,â€ because thereâ€™s never been a moment since I graduated high school where I havenâ€™t been the guy in â€œThat Emo band.â€ First said emo band was dismissed as third rate pop-punk played by hardcore kidsâ€¦a pale imitation of Saves the Day. Then we were swept up in the emo backlash [I really didnâ€™t know we were an emo bandâ€¦thatâ€™s not what the word meant a decade ago]. To this day my favorite writer at cracked.com will occasionally take swipes at my band as one of the worst things to come out of the 2000â€™s. We were a (albeit funny) running joke on an episode of Childrenâ€™s Hospital.
Those examples of â€œHaters,â€ were people who never liked me (or at least never liked my music) and, by all rights, never really should. Such is the way of things. Different strokes for different folks as it were. What I wasnâ€™t prepared for was the fervor of the hate from people who were ostensibly my own supporters (or at least supporters of something I had been part of). The barrage of â€œWe liked you better fat,â€ the threatening letters to my home, the kids that paid for tickets to my solo shows to tell me how much I sucked without Fall Out Boy, that wasnâ€™t something I suppose I was or ever will be ready for. Thatâ€™s dedication. Thatâ€™s real palpable anger. Add into that the economic risk I had taken [In short: I blew my nest egg on that record and touring in support of it] the hate really crushed me. The standard response to any complaints I could possibly have about my position in life seems to be â€œYou poor sad multi-millionaire. I feel so sorry for you.â€
Quite right, I still have access to enough money to live on in order to avoid bankruptcy for at least a few years as long as I stick to my budget, but money really isnâ€™t everything and it never was. Perhaps those are the words of a privileged man who doesnâ€™t really know what poverty really feels like. Again, that would be a fair rebuttal; I wasnâ€™t raised rich, but lower middle class upbringing in early 90â€™s Midwest US of A is still a far way from the bread line. Still, thereâ€™s no amount of money in the world that makes one feel content with having no self respect. Thereâ€™s no amount of money that makes you feel better when people think of you as a joke or a hack or a failure or ugly or stupid or morally empty.
This of course isnâ€™t Tenderâ€™s fault. He never said anything negative and indeed only said great/supportive things. I guess Iâ€™m just angry because he illuminates why Iâ€™m a 27 has-been. Iâ€™m a touring artist and I feel Iâ€™ve become incapable of touring anymore with any actâ€¦whether I were to go out as a solo artist or do some Fall Out Boy â€œReunionâ€ [nope: Still never broke up] or start a new bandâ€¦there will still be 10-20 percent of the audience there to tell me how shitty whatever it is Iâ€™m doing is and how much better the thing I used to do was. Not only that, but that 10-20 percent combined with whatever notoriety Fall Out Boy used to have prevents me from having the ability to start over from the bottom again. I canâ€™t even go back to playing basement shows. As the saying goes: I couldnâ€™t get booked at the opening of a letter.
Itâ€™s as though Iâ€™ve received some big cosmic sign that says I should disappear. So Iâ€™ve kind of disappeared. I know a lot of you have wondered where Iâ€™ve been. Iâ€™m sure others of you are disappointed to hear Iâ€™m still kicking around somewhere (kiddingâ€¦sort of). But the truth is wherever and whoever I am, whoever I am whenever I release whatever release is my next, whoever said recording is recorded with: I will never be the kid from Take This To Your Grave again. And Iâ€™m deeply sorry that I canâ€™t be, I truly am (no irony, no sarcasm). I hate waking up every morning knowing Iâ€™m disappointing so many people. I hate feeling like the awkward adult husk of a discarded once-cute child actor. Iâ€™m debating going back to school and learning a proper trade. Itâ€™s tempting to say I wonâ€™t ever play/tour/record again, but I think thatâ€™s probably just pent up poor-me emotional pessimism talking (I suppose can be excused of that though right? I am the guy from That Emo Band after all).
Iâ€™ve managed to cobble together some workâ€¦Iâ€™ve been moonlighting as a professional songwriter/producer for hire and Iâ€™ve even been doing a bit of acting here and there. I have no interest (and evidently that sentiment is reciprocated) in performing music publicly any time soon but as Iâ€™ve said Iâ€™m sure that will happen when it happens. I have been debating releasing the unfinished follow-up to Soul Punk. Weâ€™ll see what happens there. Still no word on Fall Out Boyâ€¦I know Joeâ€™s working on his new record and Peteâ€™s mixtape just came out so I donâ€™t expect anything on that front in the near future. I, as always, would be super psyched to do the band again though. Iâ€™ve been watching a lot of Downton Abbey and Iâ€™ve finally caught up on the Office. Friends have been turning me on to all the records Iâ€™ve been too busy to listen to over the past couple years.
I do suggest reading Tenderâ€™s column if it sounds interesting to you; Heâ€™s a great writer and itâ€™s a fun/relatable little story regardless of who the band is within it (film adaptations of Nick Hornby novels should be proof of that).