Patrick Stump recently took a break from fronting Fall Out Boy to drop his new solo CD, Soul Punk (out October 18) -- and quite a few inches!
I recently chatted with the singer, 27, about both big projects and how he pulled them off. Read on for the full 411.
UsMagazine.com: How is it different not being with the band and doing it on your own?
Patrick Stump: Logistically it’s easier to be one guy than it is to be four. Performing is totally different, and the thing that's funny is when you're in a band and you come up together, you put up with a lot of behavior and engage in a lot of behavior that isn't really professional. Whenever I think back to some of the things I said or did, I’m like 'man, what a jerk! That's a jerk thing to say." But with this, all the guys do this for a living and they want to get called back so it's all easy, it's a very easy work environment when you’re working with a "for hire band."
Us: What’s up with the album title?
PS: It's funny talking about "carving out a sound" because I feel like I did kind of have to carve it out of a lot of external things. I had to remember what I was up to before Fall Out Boy because it was almost this beautiful accident that happened and we took this ten year pop punk vacation. But it wasn't really what any of us were really planning on doing. In Fall Out Boy, I noticed that I wasn't putting all that much soul into it. It was just kind of screaming I guess. I was just dying to get out of there!
Us: What is the biggest difference between this record and the Fall Out Boy stuff?
PS: Musically it's a total other universe. In Fall Out Boy, we were all playing with our pop punk influences so that was always within that kind of framework. I don’t really have a framework for this so that's kind of scary. I had to give myself little homework assignments and figure out how to string together an album of material that all made sense together.
Us: Do you feel in a way like you're starting over?
PS: I think it's much harder than it was the first time around because now, not only do I have to prove myself like any first time artist would, but I also have to find the audience because it's not necessarily a lateral shift. It's not as simple as talking the Fall Out Boy mailing list and sending out: "Hey Patrick Stump's new record is coming out. If you like Fall Out Boy you'll probably like this." Because you might not, and if you like my record, you really might not like Fall Out Boy. So that’s been a big challenge. It puts the impetus on you to work that much harder to make your stuff that much more valid.
Us: You also lost a lot of weight, so that's another way you are starting over.
PS: I think part of it is that it's just where I am -- you grow up and you change. It started because I was scared of attention so I reacted to it by hiding in plain sight kind of way. My fashion sense, or lack thereof, was directly related to how uncomfortable I was and how not confident I was. And then after awhile that wears off but you still have a closet full of garbage bags basically so that was me cleaning up and losing the weight. I lost the weight for health reasons, but embracing looking different was me reclaiming my identify because I was hiding for so long.
Us: When you say health problems, was there a trigger? Diabetes?
PS: No, but I was pre-diabetic and I had given myself asthma. I guess I still have asthma but my weight was definitely giving me asthma attacks that I wouldn't have had otherwise. My blood pressure was crazy and my cholesterol was insane for a 25-year-old. I'm 5'4" so I didn't look like I was that big but mass-wise, I was really, really, really, bad. I was really sick. And you don’t really think about it. I was really unhealthy and it was kind of a confidence thing; I was like, 'you know what? Screw it. I intend to stick around for awhile so I'm going to act like it and take care of myself!”
Us: What was the moment that triggered you to want to lose weight and how did you do it? And how much weight did you lose?
PS: I lost about 60 pounds. I don't really have a moment specifically that made me do it. I remember little things like when I was in Japan, I remember looking around at the portion sizes of a fast food restaurant and being like "well this has something to do with it." Americans definitely eat too much.
Us: So how did you do it exactly?
PS: Portion control and exercise. I wasn't Robert Downey Jr., and I didn't have a severe drinking problem or something like that, but I did totally cut it out my life. I never really ate that bad, I just ate too much. It wasn't like I had to switch to whole wheat bread or something like that. I really just had to eat less of what I was eating and I had to exercise more. It's an ongoing battle, and it's still something that I have to watch, especially with exercise because it sucks.
Us: Do you have a trainer?
PS: I do have a trainer, which was really for weights because that was something that I didn't know anything about and I didn't really know that was important. But I got into it and it definitely has helped me a lot. I probably use a trainer once or twice a week depending on my tour schedule. And then I try to run everyday but my knees are really bad so I have an elliptical.
US: Was it hard being in a band where your bassist, Pete Wentz, was a sex symbol and you weren't?
PS: I never envied his position. It was not fun for him and I could tell. It was never fun for him to take himself so seriously as a songwriter and then get on stage and have people just pay attention to how you look. I didn’t want that, and he didn't want that either.
Us: What have the girls' reactions been? Totally night and day?
PS: Yeah, and that's crazy. I've never gotten hit on this much -- ever! But I've been in a relationship for a while, and the girl I'm with definitely understands, and I'm really fortunate to have her to ground me. Confidence is attractive I guess.
Us: How did you feel when Pete and Ashlee Simpson split up?
PS: I didn't really see that one coming. Everyone has their private lives so I never really dug into that too much more than I felt comfortable with.
Us: And what really did happen with Fall Out Boy? Did you split up?
PS: We just kind of stopped touring, not with any degree of permanence. To my knowledge, the band is not broken up, but we did really need some space and a break, and there were really legitimate creative differences. None of those differences were interpersonal at all. I love those guys, I have nothing against those guys at all, and I definitely miss playing with them. But I don't want to play this music with them, and they don't want to play this music with me.
Us: So you guys could get back together?
PS: It’s definitely a hiatus, but we'll see. There are no plans to get back together, and there are no plans not to get back together.
Us: So you’re still on good terms? You talk to all of them?
PS: Yes, definitely. I'm a little bit of a flake, so I haven’t seen anybody in maybe a couple of weeks, but we still see each other pretty regularly.