Fall Out Boy and Paramore bounce back with big hits

 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PITTSBURGH - Monumentour is a co-headlining tour, not an arms race, so there's no need for Paramore and Fall Out Boy to turn it into a competition.

Right?

"You're on the same team, at the end of the day, and you're both trying to win for the team," Fall Out Boy guitarist-lyricist Pete Wentz said in a recent teleconference. "Paramore is an awesome, huge band that has a completely different vibe than us, and I think that raises the bar for us in wanting to perform every single night."

"To me, any competition is friendly competition," Paramore singer Hayley Williams said in a separate teleconference. "I just feel excited for it. For us, we just have to put on the best Paramore show ever. Everything has to top the last thing we did."

The bands hadn't crossed paths before but share "a similar DNA," as Wentz said, and a similar time and space in the pop / rock continuum.

"Our bands really did grow from the same scene, and we share a lot of the same fans," Williams said.

Fall Out Boy came out of the Chicago suburbs and hit the emo / pop-punk scene in 2003 with the Fueled by Ramen debut "Take This to Your Grave." The band jumped to Island for the second album, "From Under the Cork Tree," beginning a successful two-album run of singles over the next few years with "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," "Dance, Dance," "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" and "Thnks fr th Mmrs." By 2008, Fall Out was greeted by fan fatigue with the release of the more adventurous, genre-leaping "Folie a Deux."

The flop prompted a hiatus that ended with 2013's "Save Rock and Roll," a surprise chart-topping comeback fueled by a single, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)," that turned into a sports anthem.

"When we made ('Folie a Deux'), I think we maybe reached a little beyond what people kind of expected or were comfortable with at the time and some of it maybe fell short. ... But at the same time I think that that paved the way for us to do 'Save Rock and Roll' and move beyond what people would have normally expected."

A mixed blessing, he said, in terms of the band's commercial success is "the four of us have really disparate music tastes, and it's helped us bend around genres a lot."

Fall Out Boy played an arena tour in the fall before continuing the cycle with Monumentour.

"Being able to get into amphitheaters is great," he said. "I guess we didn't even have the hope of that when we started this album process. But doing that we have a lot of different content for this tour."

Along with different content on the screens, he said, "We have a couple of tricks up our sleeve. We went back and looked over big rock tours that we liked, like the Guns 'N Roses/Metallica stadium tour and an Iron Maiden tour. We just looked at different things and thought about what we thought would be iconic about them, everything from Eddie on stage with Iron Maiden to the snake pit that Metallica used to bring out with them, and try to do our own take on that."

Paramore is in a different kind of comeback mode. The group from Franklin, Tenn., launched as a teen band in 2005 with "All We Know Is Falling," also on Fueled by Ramen, and hit the Warped Tour the following summer. The second album, "Riot!," in 2007, brought commercial success with the singles "Misery Business," "crushcrushcrush" and "That's What You Get," and a Grammy nomination for best new artist. Williams stepped outside the band to experience her biggest success with a chart-topping collaboration with rapper B.o.B. on "Airplanes."

In the wake of that, founding members Josh and Zac Farro departed from the band, with Josh blogging that Paramore was functioning like it was Williams' solo band. That left the singer, with guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis, to regroup for what would become their fourth album.

"It was definitely a lengthy process for us because once we were down two band members, not only did we have to go through the emotional processing and the grief, some anger and some bewilderment, all those emotions we had to ride for a while, we realized we did still want to make music and it didn't change the way we felt about Paramore. Before we even got around to writing music, that took time. It took us making a valiant effort to get to know each other again as people."

She said in their initial writing sessions, "there was no electricity a lot of time" and they would "leave really discouraged." Once they had a breakthrough with "Proof," the songs started to come.

"We didn't set out to make a specific style of an album. We didn't have a concept in mind. It was, 'Let's just be whatever we're going to be. Whatever this song comes out like, if we love it, who says it can't make the record. We make the rules this time around.' It was the longest time we spent doing something together as a band. We had to become Paramore all over again."

The self-titled fourth album, debuting at No. 1, is more expansive, playful and up-tempo, with the hits "Still Into You" and "Ain't It Fun," the band's first venture into the Top 10.

"I don't think you should ever just assume a single is going to be your big hit or be a success," she said. "But this by far has just shocked all of us, and it's been so much fun. We kind of give Jeremy all the credit. This is our first song with slap bass on it. ... There's so much fun and passion on it. I hope people connect to that energy. At the moment it's my favorite song to perform."

The new album, she said, has made it both more fun and more challenging to write out a set list for the tour.

"It's crazy when you get into a place where you're having to fit so many songs into a certain amount of minutes, and you're thinking, 'How are we going to play, first of all, all the singles? How are we going to play all of the songs to please all of our old-school fans?' I'm really pumped about what we came up with, though. It's going to be very explosive and exciting for whatever kind of Paramore fan might be at the show, I feel like we're hopefully going to make all of them happy."

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