In the mid-2000s I, like every other sad teenager with a side fringe, might have had a little bit of a crush on Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. After the release of the band’s star-making second album From Under the Cork Tree in 2005, Pete became, unwittingly and overnight, not only the de facto frontman of the band, but the poster boy for emo heartthrobs, guys in eyeliner and LiveJournal features for years to come.
It is no longer 2005, but these details are necessary to set the scene for just how coveted a date with Pete Wentz was (and is). It is 2018 and emo is dead, but after seven studio albums and a few controversial changes to their sound, Fall Out Boy are bigger than ever; managing to adapt in an industry that has moved on from their moment while maintaining a massive, obsessive fanbase. I’ve never really gone on a proper date that’s more than “shall we sit next to each other in the park until we get bored and snog?”, so all things considered my first date with Pete Wentz was also basically my first date ever. I was stoked to fulfill everyone's teen dreams.
Pete and I met at Nobu in east London. Sitting with your teen crush, being as clumsy and classless as I am, felt a little awkward – it turns out that Pete Wentz is not only cute and talented, but also an extremely sweet and considerate date. He apologised for how “over the top” the restaurant was, and offered to walk to find somewhere we could play ping pong. He asked the waitress to make sure my food was vegan and kindly reassured me that “it’s supposed to be messy” when I bit a taco in half and got most of it on my hands and chin rather than in my mouth.
After our time together was over, Pete asked for a second (more fun) date and tweeted me to apologise for his stomach ache and for being a bad date. Which, really, after a very pleasant afternoon, led me to wonder what exactly constitutes a good date in Pete Wentz’s mind. I guess I’ll find out on our ping pong-based follow up, but for now, you can read some of our first date, where we talked about Star Wars, skateboarding and, naturally, Fall Out Boy.
Noisey: Hi Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. What’s your favourite thing about England?
Pete Wentz: I like the accents. I like the weather as a break from the normal weather. I like Nando’s.
Same. Where would your dream first date be?
My dream first date is a movie, probably. With dinner before or something, but a movie that’s only kind of good. So you can talk during it and you don’t really need to pay attention. I’m talking like a true first date. One where you don’t even know them. Because then if there’s a break in conversation it’s not awkward, you don’t feel rushed to fill it. My nightmare first date would be sitting next to somebody on an airplane. What’s your dream first date?
Ideally an arcade or something fun where you don’t have to talk and you’re kind of engaged and you don’t have to just sit and stare at them.
Me and Andy [Hurley, Fall Out Boy’s drummer] went to this thing called Top Golf the other night, do you know that?
It’s like a driving range but with a bar. You’re elevated and you hit the balls and there are scores of where it can go to or whatever. Something like that would be cool.
[waitress makes Pete a really fucking intricate tea]
That’s wild. I guess now you’ve got to drink it with two hands.
It’s super Star Wars-y, right?
Did you like the new Star Wars ? This isn’t a test.
Okay, we’ve been debating this endlessly for the last two weeks. So I’m going to be honest. When I first went I didn’t like it. I went into it with all these crazy expectations like, ‘this is what they’re going to answer’, ‘this is where I see it going, this is going to be the Empire Strikes Back of this series…’
I expected that too. I thought The Force Awakens was setting up for that.
And it wasn’t! So I went to a midnight showing with the guys in the band and then I went again with my nine-year-old and enjoyed it – probably because I didn’t have those expectations. I was like, this is a Star Wars that isn’t being made for the last generation of Star Wars fans, which is cool. The two things I think, actually, is that it’s a little bit too long. There were a few too many jokes – and I’m fine with jokes because all the original Star Wars had jokes but in my opinion there were a few too many, you know? Would you say you’re a Star Wars fan?
Oh yeah, you are? My thing was that maybe there was so much invested in the way that we were seeing a new Star Wars movie with the old characters who I never thought I would see that made me really open to it. It was what the prequels should have been, to me: Lucas’s tone and everything, the storytelling was very similar.
It’s hard. There are so many people to make happy.
You’ve gotta make no one happy. It was interesting because it was really helpful for me with how I felt about it knowing how people who are into our band feel. It’s just really hard to be a fan. You love something so much and then it changes and you’re like, ‘oh my god, but I loved the other thing’.
I get that. Do you remember your first date ever?
I think I was like, 15 or 16. We went to this Middle Eastern restaurant… It was close enough that one of our parents drove us. I don’t think it went incredibly.
I feel like mostly people just kind of meet now, as friends or whatever. Then you just get drunk and see what happens. I don’t really know anyone who asks anyone out for dinner.
I think the 'first date' thing happened in the past but now you’re just hanging out. Most of the time when I’ve met people it’s like you’re hanging out in a group and you find someone you like and are kind of on the side.
You’re having another kid, right?
Aww. That’s exciting!
Yeah, there’s a lot of testosterone in my house.
Do you have any names?
No. I feel like, to me, you can get some ideas but you gotta meet somebody first. I was almost named Rusty.
That’s a dog’s name!
I would have been such a different person, right? It’s really the most fun to let the kids come up with name ideas because they’re like, so insane. So my three-year-old watches this show called “Blades and the Monster Machines” and he’ll be like, “we should name her Crusher”.
That’s great. You’d be setting her up to be the baddest girl at school. No one is going to fuck with Crusher.
No way. It’s crazy. But it’s funny to hear what their ideas are.
My sister was born in 2006 so I tried to name her Charlotte after Good Charlotte.
That’s funny. What did her name end up being?
That’s a good name.
What would be your big deal-breaker in a relationship?
Common interests. I want somebody who has their own thing, you know? But not to the point where you can’t talk about anything at all, or if their interest is like “I love Donald Trump” and you’re like “no thank you!” The first date is a tricky one, though, because you find out and learn so much more about a person as you grow with them.
It’s weird with the internet, too, because you know so much about someone before you meet them.
The internet is so unreliable, too.
I guess it’s weird dating when people know who you are.
It’s weird when you hang out with somebody and you’re like, ‘do they have a preconceived idea of me or not?’ and you don’t know. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Then you’re like, ‘is it potentially a negative preconceived idea? Am I working just to get into the black?’ Then you find yourself acting inauthentic in weird ways and you’re like, ‘I’m being nicer than I actually am!’ I should be myself and it’s either good enough or not good enough. It’s very interesting.
For me the most important thing is that even if they don’t like the same shit as me, they respect what I like. If I was with someone and they were into films and music but they were a dick about it, that would be a deal-breaker.
I did this Interview Magazine piece with Jaden Smith and we interviewed each other and talked back and forth and I was like “what’s your favourite movie?” and I can’t remember what he said originally, but then he was like, “my literal favourite movie is the Twilight series”. It was kind of great because he wasn’t trying to give me an answer he thought was cool. It was refreshing to talk to somebody who was that age that was so sure of themselves and OK being like, “this is just who I am”.
I did two degrees in film studies and I feel like I spent the whole time pretending to like stuff I didn’t and have the “right” tastes but then by the end of it I just got so frustrated and ended up doing all my essays on why taste doesn’t matter anyway.
I think I’ve found this with Fall Out Boy a little bit. But you like what you like when you’re a teenager, and we could say Fall Out Boy or we could say whatever. And then you go to college and you’re away from your parents and you’re with these new people and you think you’re supposed to like this new music and you try it and you experiment and then you come back from school and you’re in the real world and you’re like, “well, I just want to like what I like because why pretend to do this other thing?” The real world isn’t always the greatest so why don’t you just like the stuff you like because it makes you happier?
Word. What’s your favourite movie? One that makes you feel good, not the smart choice.
I really have an affinity for my own personal nostalgia, which is like Goonies and Neverending Story. I’ll re-watch them with my kids and they’re like, “these movies are terrible” and I get it. They do look fucking terrible. I also like Drive a lot. I really like the way it shows this romantic version of LA and parts of LA that aren’t usually romanticised. So it’s like, the river and downtown and all this stuff and it’s so beautiful. Then two other movies that I can watch basically any time they’re on are Sideways and Step Brothers.
I miss all of those films. What was your first email address ever?
I think it was at AOL and it was a straightedge one. Like an STX – you know? Maybe PSTXEDGE@aol.com, something like that.
My ex’s was fallout_atthedisco and I was so jealous.
Ryan Ross’s when I met him was blinkexists.
I would get a new one every week, like “I want this lyric now!”
So the funny thing is spent half my life without email and stuff and I can definitely pinpoint where it all changed. I’ll talk to my kids about it and my nine-year-old will be like “what was Wi-Fi like when you were little?”
I went until like, 12 or so before the internet eclipsed my life. My sister is 11 so she’s never known life without it.
It’s so wild.
What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on? Don’t say this one.
I went on one and the person was breaking up with me but they told me at the beginning and we still ate. It was just so awkward. I have the same thing that you were saying where I’ve never really gone on like a first date with someone I don’t know, but I can imagine they’re all kinda bad.
It’s the same with friends, too. It’s hard if you don’t click.
It’s rough. Something that’s a lot like a first date and I go on these all the time is like when my kid has playdates. My kid will have playdates and when you’re hanging with the dad it’s a lot like a first date where it’s like ‘I don’t know you and all we have in common is this’. You run out of stuff to talk about and they’ll talk about like MMA and race car driving and shit, and I’ll listen, but I don’t know anything about it.
Do you know any cool dads?
Me and Joel Madden hang out and that makes it a lot easier! The other dads are fine because your kids are friends with whoever, but it’s cool when someone like Joel understands the lifestyle and you can not talk for three minutes and it's not awkward.
Well, I hope this has been more enjoyable than a playdate with a random dad. Thanks, Pete!