Pop & Hiss

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A revealing look at fame from Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump

March 6, 2012 |  2:23 pm

Patrick Stump
What becomes of a former rock star? Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump last week offered a warts-and-all look at his life since his famous pop-punk band went on a hiatus, writing, "it’s as though I’ve received some big cosmic sign that says I should disappear." The artist in 2011 released the well-received but commercially ignored "Soul Punk," an album of vintage, '80s-inspired pop. 

Pop & Hiss is late to Stump's pouring of his heart, but reasoned that it was worth mentioning as suggested reading, as seldom do artists, even in this social-networking-obsessed age, offer such a revealing look at the effects of success. Fall Out Boy was always a band that took a direct approach with its fans, albeit one that was largely accompanied by a wink.

Promotion for the act's 2008 album, "Folie à Deux," was delivered with a mix of self-referentialism and self-depreciation. The video for "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," for instance, made a tabloid mockery of the band's history, just one example of the band beating critics to the punch and obscuring the line between art and artist. 

Yet did such openness create a too-close-for-comfort relationship with his fan base?

Stump writes that he had less of an issue with those who criticized his band than with the fans who seemingly had difficulty grappling with his artistic ambitions. Stump notes that touring for "Soul Punk" was a chore, and he wrote that music stopped being fun when audiences didn't openly embrace the genre-busting power-pop of "Folie à Deux," an album that Pop & Hiss described as owning "left-turn melodies, multipart harmonies and a Cheap Trick-like knack for a hook."

Of his solo tour, Stump wrote, "What I wasn’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 'We liked you better fat,' 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 wasn’t something I suppose I was or ever will be ready for. That’s dedication. That’s real palpable anger."

Financially, Stump notes that he's still a few years away from bankruptcy, but added that he's contemplating heading back to school to learn a proper trade. Part of the problem, Stump wrote, is that his success in Fall Out Boy could sometimes be artistically paralyzing. "Whatever notoriety Fall Out Boy used to have," he wrote, "prevents me from having the ability to start over from the bottom again."


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-- Todd Martens

Image: Patrick Stump in the fall of 2011. Credit: Getty Images