Fall Out Boy Talk New Album, Motley Crue & Grateful Dead

Joseph Llanes

Fall Out Boy backstage at the 25th Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Forum in Los Angeles in Dec, 2014.

Fall Out Boy appeared on night one of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas, alongside such heavy rockers as System of a Down, Incubus, Linkin Park, Bush and Royal Blood. With a lineup of guitar-driven acts like that, there were no pretenses about this night being acoustic, but FOB's Pete Wentz was confused when he first heard the show's name years ago.

"There's a crazy thing where the first time we played this, we're from the Midwest and I didn't have any idea. I was like, 'What's acoustic about it? All these bands are heavy,'" Wentz told Billboard.

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They didn't consider playing acoustic this time, though Wentz would've been cool with that format. "We've gotten really good as an acoustic band," Wentz said.

However, frontman Patrick Stump has some acoustic phobias. "I feel like acoustic scares me a little bit," he admitted. "We did an acoustic set the other night, and something about it throws me off, I forget what my name is."

Wentz is sympathetic. "Scared Patrick is not fun. He's like a scared puppy: It's cute for a second, but it's like, 'Let's not scare the cute puppy,'" he said.

So there won't be any acoustic FOB shows in 2015, but the band will be very active following the release of their new album, American Beauty/American Psycho, due in January. "Then we'll be doing a lot of touring I believe," Wentz said. "We're doing an Australian tour that's pretty heavy, heavy bands, like Marilyn Manson, stuff like that. Then we go to Asia with Rancid and Rise Against, then we've got to figure out a U.S. tour at some point."

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The heaviness of the Saturday lineup will continue into 2015 for FOB -- appropriate considering the band samples Motley Crue's "Too Fast for Love" on the title cut. Just so happened on Saturday's show Crue drummer Tommy Lee was in the house.

"Tommy Lee is in the building tonight; maybe he'll be in the building next year and we can do it [live], if our drummer doesn't make it," Wentz joked.

FOB drummer Andy Hurley is happy to give up his seat if Lee wants to jam with FOB. "I'll be all right if Tommy Lee comes in," Hurley said.

We couldn't help but be intrigued by the title, which covers a lot of pop culture, with both the Grateful Dead and the Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey movie having utilized the title of American Beauty. And American Psycho comes from the Bret Easton Ellis novel and subsequent Christian Bale-starring movie. So when we jokingly asked if the album covered 50 years of pop culture, Stump said we weren't far off.

"In some ways, yeah, actually," Stump said. "Without giving too much away, there are some nods to a lot of cultures."

"We included 100 years of the last culture, 50 wasn't enough for us," Wentz quipped.

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Despite the nod to the Dead, there is no "Box of Rain" cover, though it would score Stump some points with his family. "I was talking about that record with some friends the other day. My dad is a huge Deadhead," he said.

The record was produced primarily by Jake Sinclair with the band, though Stump says, "There are a couple of songs that we worked with a couple of different producers."

"The title track we did with this guy, Sebastian, on Ed Banger," Wentz added.

"And Butch Walker is still kind of involved, but he was pretty busy with his tour. We're really excited about it," Stump said.

Both Wentz and Stump are very clear about the band's objectives on American Beauty/American Psycho. "The thing about this record is it is challenging in the way that our band, we need to fight on two fronts. We need to be relevant to pop culture, which means we need to be played on the radio," Wentz said. "But we also need to care about our legacy and we want to play big shows, we want to play stadiums and arenas and amphitheaters and show kids that are in the crowd now that you can be a big currently relevant rock band, but you can also sell out arenas. And I think that's the statement we're trying to attempt with this record if anything. And hopefully it happens."

Stump's goal is more song based. "And the only thing we wanted to try differently on this record was just I wanted if you skip around at any point in the songs you know which record you are listening to," he said. "There's a cohesion that I like a lot."