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Patrick Stump talks solo debut, Fall Out Boy's future (or lack thereof)

patrick stumpFall Out Boy's Patrick Stump is going solo. (Lucian Perkins/TWP)

By Allison Stewart

After years toiling as rock's most anonymous frontman, Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump is set to venture forth on his own, with a new solo disc almost finished, and a series of solo dates that includes a stop at Sunday's Earth Day Climate Rally on the Mall (http://www.earthday.org/climaterally), as part of a lineup that includes Sting and the Roots.

The super-affable Stump isn't sure what label might release the disc, or when. He also seems genuinely uncertain about Fall Out Boy's future, though his use of the past tense in describing his bandmates isn't a good sign. Click Track talked to him about his upcoming career change.

Rock stars don’t necessarily need help with their confidence levels, but going solo is hard. Does it help your confidence, the more solo shows you have under your belt?

I think the one thing I have going for me is I've played - not only in my band, but I've been a musician for most of my life, which is weird to think about - so I'm pretty comfortable on a stage. So that's not really a problem, but there's not the familiarity of a set of songs people know from me. That's kind of a new challenge, because I'm not going to be playing the old hits.

I'm guessing there's always some drunk in the back yelling for a Fall Out Boy song.

I've been so limited so far [in the number of shows I've played], but I can say that:
A) That hasn't happened yet, and
B) I'm absolutely prepared for it and know that it will happen. I'll just weather it. It's part of the game, right?

(A funky first album, after the jump.)

How would you characterize your solo record?

It's really hard to describe. It's easier to say what it's not. It's definitely not a rock record. It has some elements of ... my dad was a folk singer, and so I think there's always gonna be an inherent folkiness to the lyrics, not necessarily in any other way. There's a lot of R&B, there's a lot of funkiness to it. I would definitely characterize it as at least some kind of outsider folk music.

Besides the fact that you play all the instruments on it, how was [its making] different from a Fall Out Boy album? It seems like you had a lot of say in that band as well. Or were you creatively stifled?

I feel like it's really different because at the end of the day, yeah, I wrote all the music for the band but I'm writing it on spec, in a framework of, this is what these guys like to play, this is what we're good at playing together. The lyrics had a lot to do with the way the band sounded because Pete [Wentz] had a very distinctive style as a lyricist and the lyrics always came first and we had to build something around it.

Having been in a somewhat popular rock band, I'm not really much of a rock guy. I'm not really comfortable with it, it's not really what I know. But it certainly is for Pete as a lyricist, so you can't write an R&B song to that, it just doesn't sing right, it doesn't feel right. So at the end of the day, it almost felt more like a Ouija board, where I wasn't really in control ... it just kind of directed you. I feel like this [solo album], I had a lot more say in.

In Fall Out Boy you would seem to have the best of both worlds. You're fairly anonymous, you probably get recognized a lot less than the average frontman who's sold as many records as you have. Or was it too much anonymity?

I don't get recognized at all. I'm not used to getting recognized. It really is a unique position. There's certainly not a lot of solo artists in that situation. I can think of other bands where the lead singer wasn't really the main guy, the focus of the attention. But I can't think of a lot of times where that guy then goes off and does a solo record. I think I have the good fortune of seeing [fame] happen to someone else very close to me ... so I think I have a very good handle on it.

Do you think about the future with Fall Out Boy? Is there even a future?

I don’t, I kind of ... what happens, happens. I'm pretty happy where I am right now. I'm kind of thinking of where I am right now, so first things first. What's that saying? The journey of [a thousand miles] begins with a single step? On most days, I don't really even [think about it]. I haven't even thought about the logistics of going on a tour, let alone the logistics of what's up with my old band, you know?

Patrick Stump will perform at The Climate Rally on the National Mall on Sunday.

By Allison Stewart  |  April 22, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags: Fall Out Boy, Patrick Stump  
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