Pete Wentz: A Music Mix Q&A on 'Band Hero,' lost-bet tattoos and why Fall Out Boy isn't breaking up
Tomorrow sees the release of Band Hero, the next evolutionary step from the same people who brought the world the ridiculously successful Guitar Hero series. As you might guess, band hero is Guitar Hero plus the rest of the band: vocals, drums and bass. No groupie avatar option yet.
Chicago pop-punk veterans Fall Out Boy are featured prominently on the game, with “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” and bassist Pete Wentz appears in an upcoming Brett Ratner-directed commercial for the game inspired by a certain ’80s film classic, alongside Blink 182’s Travis Barker, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and (yes) Taylor Swift.
Wentz took some time to talk to EW about Band Hero, what kind of music he listens to around the house with wife Ashlee Simpson and their one-year-old son, and the bet-related revenge he hopes to get on Cobra Starship‘s frontman.
PW: Oh, definitely a fan of Risky Business. Those are like the movies I grew up with, you know, the car going through the garage in Ferris Bueller and all that.
EW: Did you do any trial runs of the Tom Cruise underwear/sock sliding scene growing up?
PW: I’ve done that, but I do it more onstage when it rains. I’ll try to do it onstage and it will not end up so good generally. It’s not the easiest thing to do, in the way that you have to land on a beat, and depending on how much they would Lysol the floor [for the commercial shoot], you would go faster or slower. And you’re in your underwear, and there was three of us, me, Travis [Barker of Blink-182] and Rivers [Cuomo of Weezer]. And we had Taylor [Swift] in there, too.
EW: What was Taylor Swift like?
PW: She filmed hers the next day, she’s green-screened, but she came by and said “hi,” she was really cool.
EW: So when you play Band Hero, do you stick to the bass or branch out to other instruments?
PW: Well I’ve only played Guitar Hero, supposedly my copy shipped to me today. But I tend to actually stick to the drums. They’re the most realistic, when I’ve tried playing [makes bass noises] I totally suck. But I watch kids do and I’m just like, “they’re awesome, man.”
EW: Of course your son [Bronx Mowgli Wentz] is only a year old now, but are you looking forward to playing video games with him later?
PW: I have like a spirit in me where I really endorse the imagination. And sometimes we kind of kill it you know, so I try … I’m not like a big TV… well, my wife and I watch TV, but we try to invent things for him, things for him to do. But I’m also not dumb because I’ve been around my friends’ kids who are seven, eight, nine, and they’re fine and playing games just like I was. And I think a game like Band Hero or Guitar Hero is cool because, a) I can play it with him, which is pretty cool: it’s an interactive game. And the other thing is it’s cool to do things like this … all the sudden I wanted to do stuff like Band Hero and Yo Gabba Gabba! that’s kid-friendly. That he can be like, “oh, my dad had a song on this thing.” You know ten years from now, or twenty years from now when I’m all wrinkled or raving or whatever, it will be cool to have that.
EW: Will you have an avatar on the game—will your son be able to play with a Pete Wentz avatar?
PW: I don’t think his dad is in the game, but our songs are in the game. And then he can hopefully find a guy that looks like me. Yo, Band Hero, put me in the next game!
EW: So you guys recently announced Fall Out Boy is going on indefinite hiatus. Might you do any side projects?
PW: Well I want to say that first of all I think we totally confused everyone, made everybody think we were breaking up. We’re on indefinite hiatus: we’re not breaking up. We’ve been together for seven years straight and Fall Out Boy is my main thing. I think the thing that scares everybody is we don’t have a definite… there’s no definitive date where we’ll get back together, but that’s part of being in a band. I’m open to doing other types of things, but I’ve got a lot of things going on. I’ve got my label, I’ve got my son, so there’s a lot of other things that keep me busy.
EW: So Fall Out Boy will return?
PW: Yeah, I hope, man, it’s just gotta be when everybody’s ready.
EW: Do you write music, practice around the house when your wife is around? Would you and Ashlee ever collaborate?
PW: I don’t see there being like a Sonny and Cher. I’ll play the guitar and she’ll sing, or drums or whatever, just hanging out, but as far as professionally, we keep our lives pretty separate. That way we can be good bouncing boards for the other, so she can be like, “Oh, that song’s good,” or whatever. So that’s cool.
EW: So you have a tattoo of the Cobra Starship frontman, Gabe Saporta, on your leg because you lost a bet when their song “Good Girls Gone Bad” went platinum. Was there an “oh, crap” moment when he told you he wanted to you tattoo his face on your body?
PW: Nah, not in the slightest. We had a deal where it was nothing profane, nothing homophobic, or racist — not that he would anyway. There was a stipulation that I got to pick wherever I put it. It doesn’t really surprise me: Gabe, he is a Hot Mess, and he definitely would put his face on my body. And I am a man of my word… but if their record goes platinum I’ll have a little bit of revenge.
EW: What kind of revenge can we expect?
PW: It’s gonna be better than this. We have a little back-and-forth going on.
EW: Might it involve tattoos?
PW: Tattoos, yeah, it’s possible.
EW: Any other bets coming down the pike for you?
PW: Nah. When we’re on tour we’re always making stupid bets, you know, and whatever happens. But I’m a guy of his word, people are sometimes like, ‘oh, he was drunk when he did it,’ but I made that bet six months ago dead sober. I made a decision to do it, and Gabe is my boy, so whatever.
EW: What have you been listening to lately?
EW: Do you listen to all that with your son around?
PW: Yeah, I thought about it, because I was raised in the back of my dad’s car listening to Motown, and like, is my kid going to be raised listening to gangsta rap? But the truth is we have a wide range of music. Most of it is Backyardigans, Raffi, Yo Gabba Gabba, and he was born to Bob Marley. We listened to a lot of Bob Marley. We listen to a wide range of music and as he gets older—as he is able to process more as he gets older—we try to be like, “Okay, we’re probably not going to listen to this.” We’re not stupid. Certain things don’t need to be discovered at one years old.
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