Thinking Out Loud: Pete Wentz

Pete Wentz at the Billboard Awards in 2016 in Las Vegas
(Image credit: Allen Berezovsky\/Getty Images)

In our regular feature Thinking Out Loud, we find out what’s going on in the minds of the great and good. This week, we peek inside the brain of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz.

“I think Fall Out Boy breaking up was the most important thing we ever did in terms of the band, our career and our friendships – but that’s not to say it was easy. It was very difficult for lots of different reasons. What was hard was that there was no schedule: there was no determined end and there was a chance the break would never end. That was hard to deal with. I think we would have imploded if we’d stayed on the path we were on though. The break gave us all time to grow and to change. You need that stuff to happen or you stay the same. For us, it was the right course and the right progression. But it was hard to do. It was scary, we went into the unknown. It’s not all rosy now, there’s tension sometimes. And there are times you wonder why you’re doing it. We took a prop plane to Hungary to play one show and there are times you think, ‘Man, what the fuck is this?’ You feel burned out. But then you get a moment at a show, or you see that your kid is proud of you, and that makes it all worth it. As far as the relationships, it’s a bit like this. When your brother goes off to college, he comes back a slightly different person. But you’re still brothers, so you figure out a way to massage that relationship. In Fall Out Boy, we know each other very intimately, but a lot of time has passed and we’ve grown up a lot so you have to give people room to be who they are now. It’s a different beast – and while it’s so familiar, it’s different. Having said that, the semi-adult version of Fall Out Boy isn’t wine and cheese backstage. But at the same time, it’s not Animal House. It’s somewhere in between.”

Fall Out Boy in 2008

Fall Out Boy in 2008 (Image credit: Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

“I need to be always be doing things. I send even emails on Christmas Day. That’s just how my personality is. We’re all focussed on different things. There’s a part of my personality that is manic. I go between two poles. Part of me is always thinking, ‘I’ve got to do this now, then I’ve got to do that, or call him.’ It’s so impulsive, I need things to be in front of me that second. The other part of me wants to move to a town in South America and disappear. What is that? I’m not really sure how you’d describe my personality. I’m probably obsessive but not obsessive compulsive, if that makes sense. It’s not perfection that I’m seeking but rather it’s an obsession to do things, to exist. Having no emails to chase or no phone calls to make doesn’t make me crazy. But, if I’m on vacation on the beach, then I find it hard to put down my phone. I need someone to physically take it from me. Even when that happens, my mind will still be thinking about those things. Does that make me a Type A person? I guess so. Type A people are always assholes, aren’t they?”

Pete Wentz doing his bit for charity

Pete Wentz doing his bit for charity (Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

“I annoy people with how much I complain. It’s probably an American idea that we should complain about everything and that everyone should listen. And the culture panders to it: every time you buy something there will be a number for someone to phone who you can complain to. Complaining is the most overriding aspect of American culture at the moment. When I watch someone else in a similar position, I think, ‘Wow. Do I sound like that?’ Then I’ll think about someone with real problems and, it’s not so much guilt, but disgust with myself. Someone else might have to worry where their food is coming from tomorrow and I’ll be complaining about nothing. It’s very boring.”

“The hardest thing about depression is that it is so addictive. If you let yourself get wrapped up in it, then it begins to feel uncomfortable not to be depressed. You feel guilty for feeling happy. That’s one of the most interesting struggles, to get to a point where you’re okay with feeling happy. I’m so far removed from the person [who made a suicide attempt aged 25]. That person is nearly unrecognisable to me. I didn’t know who I was then at all, I had no idea. I was in a complete haze. The decisions I was making were all over the place. There was a time, once, when my friend had a gun and I sat there and held it up to my head to see what it felt like. At that point, it was probably more of a cry for help. It’s hard to look back and understand whether I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to live’ or whether I was thinking, ‘Please help me’.”

(Image credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment)

“I’m very self analytical – that’s the absolute beauty of narcissism. Narcissistic people like me overly think about themselves the whole time. I have crazy levels of narcissism and insecurity that battle it out with each other. It means I’m never sure of myself but, at the same time, I’m very aware of what’s going on, how I’m reacting to it and how other people are reacting to me. Then I wonder how a normal person might act in that situation and I try to work out why I’m not reacting in that way. It’s ridiculous! It’s the psychological equivalent of constantly looking in the mirror. I’m completely addicted to how other people perceive me. I shouldn’t be. What does it matter if someone thinks I’m a douchebag, why should that affect me?”

Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz

Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz (Image credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment)

“For my last meal on earth, I’d definitely like the spicy raw shrimp from Nobu and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s a bad combination but it sounds good to me. And I wouldn’t have to worry how my stomach’s going to be later as I’d be dead. The chef at Nobu might not be too happy about making the sandwich, though. I’d spend my last $20 going mad. I’d definitely go somewhere cheap like Tijuana or Bali and go crazy. Bali would be best – I could get a chauffeur, a masseuse, and go the whole nine yards. $20 goes a long way there.”

Fall Out Boy co-headline the Leeds Festival (Friday August 26) and Reading Festival (Sunday August 28).

Tom Bryant

Tom Bryant is The Guardian's deputy digital editor. The author of The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography, he has written for Kerrang!, Q, MOJO, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the BBC, Huck magazine, the londonpaper and Debrett's - during the course of which he has been attacked by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and accused of starting a riot with The Prodigy. Though not when writing for Debrett's.