Fall Out Boy's Joe recalls 'Spinal Tap' moments

Fall Out Boy guitarist Joe Trohman has recounted his best and worst gig experiences – and both can be described as Spinal Tap moments.

Trohman’s worst onstage nightmare saw a prop which was meant to “shoot” him out onto the stage fail, leaving him struggling to free himself before falling on his backside.

But his favourite live memory was even more Spinal Tap – as it involved a guest appearance from Tap bassist Derek Smalls.

Trohman tells Musicradar: “We’re all huge Spinal Tap fans. When we played Conan O’Brien’s TV show last year, we decided to do our own Spinal Tap thing. We worked it out with their people that we were going to pay homage to the Derek Smalls scene from the film in which the bassist, who was played by Harry Shearer, got stuck in his pod.

“We had pods built, and we even got in contact with Harry and asked him if he wanted to be part of it. Luckily for us, he was super into it.

“We came out of our pods and started playing, only of course the pod that Pete Wentz was in, because he’s the bassist, wouldn’t open. But there was Harry Shearer to the rescue – he came out and started playing.

“The only weird thing was reading the reactions we got from some of our fans. I guess a lot of them are pretty young and they don’t know Spinal Tap, because they thought the whole thing was real. ‘Pete got stuck, and some other guy came out and played with them. What was with that?’ They thought it was all a big mistake. I mean, c’mon, people – pick it up a little. Go watch Spinal Tap. You’ll love it.”

As for his live show nightmare, Trohman says it came during a pre-hiatus gig in their hometown of Chicago.

He adds: “We had this big stage set up with all of this production stuff. The drums were on this super-tall riser – it must have been 10 feet or something – with these ramps that went up to it.

“We started the show with Pete, Andy and me underneath the riser, and the deal was that we’d get shot out onto the stage from these big toasters. They were literally that – they’d shoot you out like a piece of toast.

“It was a big deal for us to play Chicago and be the conquering heroes and all that. Only problem was, the weather was bad all day, and as we were in the toasters about to get shot out, the power died. The toasters got us out about halfway, so using our upper-body strength – or lack of upper-body strength, I should say – we had to pull ourselves out of this hole. The power was back up by now, but it didn’t matter – we made the slowest, most anticlimactic entrance of all time.

“I was already frazzled as we went into the first tune. I went up one of the drum ramps to try and get into it, and as I was walking backward from it I tripped and fell right over my monitor.

“So I did this not-very-awesome exit from the toaster, and then I fell on my ass backwards on stage – things were not going well at all.”

Last month, FOB confirmed they will release sixth album American Beauty/American Psycho on January 19 via Island Records.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.