In this season of graduations, we would be remiss not to mention Fall Out Boy.
The band has traveled from top emo band to tabloid fodder to a four-year hiatus to regrouping and releasing a No. 1 album -- "Save Rock and Roll." Clearly the four band members are graduates of the School of Hard Knocks, as well as at least honorary grads of the School of Rock.
"It totally feels like a do-over," drummer Andy Hurley told Rolling Stone of the band's second phase. "And it seems like a lot of the baggage isn't there anymore. We're somehow maybe a little cooler now."
The band was pretty cool when bassist and the band's main lyricist Pete Wentz and guitarist Joe Trohman started it over a decade ago in Wilmette, Ill. With Hurley and vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump rounding out the line up, the band broke out of the underground scene in 2005.
|Fall Out Boy|
|» Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW|
|» When: 7 p.m. Friday|
|» Info: Sold out, though tickets may still be available through resellers; 800-955-5566; 930.com|
But personal issues and struggles -- including Wentz's addictions and his high-profile marriage to Ashlee Simpson -- caused the band to unravel. Soon the members took what looked like a never-ending hiatus. It was just about that time when Wentz's marriage unraveled.
"I felt like a loser already," Wentz said. "I'd basically gone from being the guy in Fall Out Boy to being the guy that hangs out all day. I didn't see how I'd ever come out on the other side."
At the same time, other members of the band were facing similar struggles and non-starting side projects. It got so bad that Stump -- after triumphing over weight issues and pouring money into a doomed side project -- reportedly put up a blog post talking about "life as a 27-year old has-been."
A call from Wentz to Stump put Fall Out Boy back in motion.
But the group was determined to reinvent its sound just as the members had reinvented their lives. The result is a more mature but fun rock sound. And to swipe and recast a lyric from Rod Stewart, the band wears its new sound well. Even though guests are plentiful (Courtney Love, Big Sean) the band doesn't take itself too seriously, and that combines to make some great music.
Emo may be dead but Fall Out Boy is back in a big way, as evidenced by the No. 1 album and reports of sold-out shows from coast to coast.
"When you're totally cool with yourself it's just different," said Stump. "I'm reliving 2005 -- but it's good this time."