Interview: Fall Out Boy Drummer Andy Hurley

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Fall Out Boy is returning to its roots somewhat tonight, by doing a show at the Creepy Crawl. (The quartet certainly played at the old Creepy location on Tucker when it was just another Chicago band trying to get ahead.) Tickets are $20 and are only available at the door. The venue's website says that doors are at 6 p.m.

The group's new album, Folie a Deux is out December 16. The songs released from it so far have the familiar FOB hallmarks: big, chugging guitars; vocalist Patrick Stump's vocal trembles; and clever, tongue-twisting lyrics courtesy of bassist Pete Wentz. But "America's Suitehearts" struts like Weezer doing a Broadway musical (with a bunch of falsetto back-up vocals reminiscent of Queen peppered throughout), and the single "I Don't Care" is a monster; to me it marries the galloping rhythms of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" to the grooves of Dazz Band's "Let It Whip."

Just before Thanksgiving, Annie Zaleski spoke to a very tired Andy Hurley, the morning after the drummer took a redeye flight from LA back home to Milwaukee. She'll have a full report on the show tomorrow.

For this record, what were you listening to, how did you get in the mindset to record this Fall Out Boy record?

Andy Hurley: I don't think I listened to anything to get in the mindset. Patrick [Stump] will send us GarageBand demos of all the stuff he's working on, and then we have pre-production before, to go over the songs - although this time, I didn't have pre-production, I just went into the studio and listened to the song and then recorded it, which I've never really done. Which was kind of exciting. I mean, I knew the songs, cause I had the GarageBand demos, but I didn't really know the completed version of them. I learned it and then played it five minutes later for the record. Everything I listen to does prepare me. Just like writers read, and that helps them write more? [laughs] I don't know. I'm really tired.

I'm a writer too, and the more I read, it's like... little inspirations. I'll read something and be like, "Wow, that's really good." I won't necessarily want to write exactly like that...

Well, yeah, little ideas. Like, I'll hear rhythms where I'll be like, "Oh, that's cool," or a fill, you know. It's something so small that maybe I never thought of doing before, and so I'll take a note and bring it into the next time we're recording. Wherever it fits.

What was your favorite thing about doing the record this time?
I don't know. I guess I really had fun with the fact that I learned the songs and recorded them right away. That kept me on my toes, and it kept me from overthinking things. I played what came first, which is cool, and I like doing. I played on a friend's band's record and it was kind of the same thing - I flew in and I learned the songs in two days and I recorded to, like, studio drumming. That's what studio musicians do. I just wanted to see if I could do it, and then I had a chance to do it with my own band. It was kind of cool. But at the same time, like I said, we did have the songs before, and I was kind of familiar with them. But we've never played them as a band before then.

Musically, describe how the record compares to previous records.
It's really different. It definitely has the spirit of other records. It's the closest to [2003's] Take This to Your Grave in feeling, just because of the fact that...we didn't give ourselves a ton of time. Originally, [Deux] was going to come out earlier, and we had to get it done by a certain time to make the date. We did it [quicker] on purpose, too, because when we recorded Take This to Your Grave, we had a week or two. I don't think we'd spend a week or two anymore, but to not spend three, four months...I think we took a month, a month-and-a-half or something. Which is pretty short nowadays for a recording. We all were just going with what felt right. A lot of the time, you get something better, more real, that way.

It's an evolution from Infinity [on High] - there's threads from that, there's threads from [Under the] Cork Tree. At the same time, it's a definite step forward.

Is there anything on the record that's going to blow people's minds?
I don't think so, really. I feel like we've prepared people enough. I thought "[This Ain't a Scene, It's an] Arms Race" was a step out of our normal boundaries, maybe. But it still had stuff that was totally us. It is totally us, but it was definitely a step in a different direction than people may have been used to. I feel like we've done things to prepare people. I felt like "Dance, Dance" on Cork Tree was way different than anything from Take This to Your Grave. At the time, we were really nervous that people would...whether or not [they] would be okay with it. Each record we take a gamble, we take a risk, and we're okay with writing something that maybe we didn't really hit upon on the last record.

I read the Alternative Press article and I liked that lyrically Pete [Wentz] was trying to put himself in you guys' shoes. I thought that was a fiction-type thing that was kind of cool. What were your reactions when he brought in stuff for this record?

I never really know the lyrics that well, but upon playing them and hearing it over and over in the studio, I was really blown away. We all feel like this is Pete's best album lyrically. I feel like he's stepped up his game so much. I think we all tried to step up our game to kind of match that. I think it's really cool too that he stepped outside of himself and just wrote from a bunch of different perspectives. It's a fresh take for him, but I think he's really good writer, so it's cool to see him attempting new stuff as well.

You can't write the same song over and over again. Especially because he's so much in the public eye, he's under so much more scrutiny. I can't even imagine the pressure that people feel. I always admire bands who handle that stuff well with grace, cause I would hate that. I know you live in Milwaukee, and I live in St. louis, you can kind of hide in the Midwest.
Yeah, exactly.

Now that you guys make music and are at a certain level, what's the biggest challenge for you?
It's a dream job, so it's the coolest thing I could ever imagine doing. The biggest challenge isn't too much of a challenge, really. It's just the exhaustion. I just flew a red-eye - I never understand why people would do that. I didn't want to do it, they just booked it for me. I'll be tired for the next week, which sucks. But flying so much like that and being all over the place every other day, really does take a lot out of you - whether or not you're flying the red-eye. In my opinion at least, that's the worst thing, and I don't think that's really that bad.

The biggest challenge on the big scale of the band is just, like you said, staying relevant and staying fresh. We never want to stay in the same place and write the same songs and write the same album and do the same tour. It's just figuring out new ways. I guess the biggest challenge is the state of the world - the economy the way it is, the reord industry is collapsing. Just figuring out ways around that. Doing the band and making music is what's important to us. Wherever those things go is fine. Money isn't the issue for us, it's just being able to write and being able to tour. Those things are just becoming harder to do.



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