With a client list that includes Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer alongside Lorde and Sia, Crush Music has in the past decade become one of the industry’s top management firms. But back in 2002, when it first took a chance on Fall Out Boy -- then a Chicago punk band that couldn’t afford a van -- co-founders Jonathan Daniel and Bob McLynn had little more to go on than a sense that bassist Pete Wentz was a kindred spirit.
“However good or bad my bands were, I felt that [as a bassist], I managed them better than the managers,” says Daniel. (He and McLynn both once played the instrument in touring bands.) When Napster and file-sharing upended the industry’s foundations, he saw opportunity: “I started looking for artists that were self-starters.”
Crush negotiated an upstream deal that called for Island Records to help fund Fall Out Boy’s 2003 debut, Take This to Your Grave, in return for an option on the band’s sophomore album from independent Fueled by Ramen. That album, 2005’s From Under the Cork Tree, had two top 10 hits and shot Fall Out Boy to stardom; the same year, the explosion of Panic! at the Disco (which Wentz discovered online and brought to Crush) vaulted the firm to powerhouse status within the emo-punk scene. “Pete brought us Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is...,” says Daniel. “These kids hit him up on LiveJournal, and he wanted to sign them, sight unseen.”