There is simply no avoiding the eyeliner-wearing fashion plate in the proverbial room. That’s what happens when the gossip rags cover bassist Wentz and Ashlee Simpson’s every trip to Starbucks. Is it distracting for the other members of Fall Out Boy that the bassist increasingly takes on his own media-fueled identity outside of the band?
“Not really,” says Hurley, nonchalantly. “It’s not something he’s going out and seeking. I don’t think when he fell in love and married Ashlee Simpson he was doing it for any other reason than he actually loves and cares about her. It just happens that this is what comes with it.
1 24" x 16" Bass Drum
2 14" x 6.5" Snare Drum
3 13" x 9" Tom
4 16" x 16" Floor Tom
A 14" AAX X-Celertaor Hi-Hats
B 18" AAX Bright Crash
C 21" HH Raw Bell Ride
D 19" AAX X-Plosion Crash
E Trigger Pad
Andrew Hurley also uses DW hardware, Vic Firth sticks, Remo drumheads, and Shure microphones.
“But, you know, I’ve been friends with him since I was 16, so I know him and I know who he is and I know that he hasn’t changed and that the way he’s presented in magazines isn’t really who he is. The context they frame him in isn’t who he is. Sometimes they get it right. Not often. Pete does a great job of deflecting it. Now when we do group interviews he doesn’t really talk.”
So far, the strategy has been a success, forcing journalists to talk to bandmembers not featured in Us Weekly. “And that’s not what matters to me anyway,” he continues. “I’m in this band to make music. I like the fact that I can be home in Milwaukee and go out and no one cares. I don’t want that attention.”
It’s what you’d expect the introspective Hurley to say, but Milwaukee? The Ringo of pop-punk chooses to live in one of the country’s coldest cities known for its shuttered breweries and Jeffrey Dahmer?
Hurley is slightly annoyed at this clueless characterization of his hometown. It turns out the Cheese State’s biggest city, which once elected a socialist mayor, could not be a better spot for this Marx-reading drummer. Liberal paradise that Milwaukee is, Hurley doesn’t get much time to enjoy it, spending most of the year going through the showbiz meat grinder.
That means facing the lopsided glare of the press every time the band is back on the road, so you might say “I Don’t Care” is the band’s flippant response. The chorus, “I don’t care what you think as long as it’s about me/The rest of us can find happiness in misery,” is one of those Wentzian zingers that will infuriatingly take up residence in your head for days. If the celeb-dating lyricist is declaring certain topics off limits in interviews, he’s saving it all for the songs.
“It’s kind of just a statement on pop culture and culture in general,” says Hurley. “It kind of goes back to the title of the record, Folie À Deux, which is the shared madness of two. It’s kind of like the relationship between the tabloids and Britney Spears, let’s say, or the candidates and the voters – any relationship between two entities.”
The track perfectly illustrates Wentz’ ability to write from different viewpoints and to leave interpretation open-ended – the perfect canvass onto which people can project their own neuroses.
Hurley’s interpretation is more bleak: “This is kind of the anthem to how pop culture is getting – people just don’t care about anything unless it directly affects them.”
D’oh! ... If nothing else, Fall Out Boy are savvy pop-culture interpreters. They’re so damn savvy they’re able to skewer it even as they participate directly in its manufacture. From having their own clothing lines to dating starlets, it’s the kind of two-step that could bite them in the ass some day. Hell, it almost did, like the time they narrowly dodged Simpsons creator Matt Groening slapping a cease-and-desist on them for taking their name from one of his characters.
“The [show’s] producers made a T-shirt with the original Fall Out Boy, Millhouse, and thought we were going to do something legal to them,” Hurley laughs. “And when we found out, we were like, ’No, we thought you were going to do something.’ I think Matt [Groening] made an off-handed remark like, ’Any band that has a Simpsons name I’m into and could be on the show.’ It hasn’t happened yet.”
Unfortunately, Hurley has bigger worries, like the future of life on this planet as we know it. Obama signals a new era, but anarchists are suspicious of any polity, no matter how good the intentions. “Republican or Democrat, it’s all the same – I think civilization is the problem,” he reasons. “I don’t think humans were supposed to form groups teetering on 7 billion people, and a one-world economy, and one-world system … this blanket, factory-made way of living. People on this Earth live the same way. Everybody gets their food the same way, through industrial agriculture.”
Speaking of sustenance, Hurley is very careful of what he puts into his body. His discipline off the drum riser, including at least an hour of stretches and up to eight separate sticking exercises before each show, account for his stamina while on it. “I think living a clean lifestyle, being straight-edge and vegan, I think that helps. And the fact that I work out every day, because you can be vegan and still eat potato chips all day.”
Fifteen Seconds. As of press time, all the videos are in the can, including the one for “I Don’t Care,” which, like Infinity On High’s award-winning “This Isn’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” was directed by Australian hot shot Alan Ferguson. Hurley makes a point of saying the vid debuted on iTunes because MTV is no longer in the music video business. Now VH1 has just put it into rotation, a network where the band didn’t previously have a lot of adds. Call it just rewards for the soul-destroying process of making music videos.