The wait is over. Fall Out Boy finally descends on Charlotte's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Wednesday, headlining the 2007 Honda Civic Tour and supporting its most recent album, "Infinity on High."
Originally scheduled for early April with Charlotte as the tour's kick-off, the first few shows were delayed by "personal issues beyond the band's control" and rescheduled. The Charlotte date is mid-way in the 40 plus-city tour, now in its seventh year; it includes + 44 (featuring former blink-182 members Mark Hoippus and Travis Barker), The Academy Is..., Paul Wall and Cobra Starship.
Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart in late February, "Infinity on High" is Fall Out Boy's fourth album, its second on Island Records, following on the heels of the 2005 multi-platinum label debut "From Under the Cork Tree." That album nabbed FOB a 2005 MTV2 Award for the single "Sugar We're Going Down," the 2006 MTV VMA Viewers Choice Award for the video "Dance, Dance" and a 2006 best new artist Grammy nomination.
Pretty impressive for four boys from the Chicago area.
FOB -- Andy Hurley, drums; Patrick Stump, vocals/guitar; Joe Trohman, guitar/vocals; and Pete Wentz, bass/vocals -- hit the scene in 2000, relying heavily on an indie/DIY philosophy and firmly entrenched in the newfound muscle of Myspace marketing. It paid off. The band's fans are legion and faithful, and FOB has fast-tracked to major label wunderkinds via a feisty, innovative sound that's hook-heavy and surprisingly melodic considering their hardcore roots.
The edgy, but riveting, personality blend of FOB plays off the unusual, even quirky personalities of the band members. Hurley's burly bombastic beat kicks off "Infinity on High," following an intro by hip hop rapper/urban music entrepreneur Jay-Z, one of many unexpected musical cross-pollinations.
"I think a lot of things have happened naturally," Hurley says in a phone interview from Germany. "We worked with (R&B hitmaker) Babyface. I think a producer can give us something extra to work with, which is cool, especially when we have the opportunity. We worked with Kanye West. He's someone we've run into at different events and started a friendship. He liked a few songs and was interested in remixing them. So, yeah, it's mostly for fun, if it serves the song."
It's all about "opportunity that's real," Hurley says, "meeting people, like Jay-Z, who is also president of Def Jam Records, a sister label to Island. I think that the way he's on the record is really good, really classy. He gives a state of the union, I guess of the record and of the band, about where we are now."
From that start, the album is off and running.
"Pete writes the lyrics and gives them to Patrick." Hurley talks about the avalanche of pieces of paper, notes and pages where Wentz has jotted down words, ideas, thoughts, observations and the like for interpretation and dissemination by Stump, describing a yin and yang aspect. "There are books of lyrics, and Patrick is constantly writing things into his computer. They bring it all to the rest of the band, then we arrange it and put it all together."
That teamwork easily reveals the solid synergy of fairly unlikely rock stars, more like "geeks gone wild."
"I think all of it reflects myself and the rest of the guys as well, and represents our different tastes," Hurley says. "I grew up listening to a lot of different stuff, like the first thing I remember hearing was Queen, the 'News of the World' (album), so Queen is probably one of my favorite bands. The first record I bought was Metallica, 'Ride The Lightning,' so that's definitely a favorite band. From there I went to a lot of metal ... to bands like Public Enemy, into hip hop a lot ... got into more soul and R&B ... into punk rock, then hard core then back into metal.
"At this point in my life, it kind of all runs together," he says. "It all adds up, even for all of us, and for the whole band to be this entire equation that the sum of all the parts equals Fall Out Boy."
As for the Charlotte show? "We're getting to do a whole new show," Hurley says of the current tour. "(Expect) a lot of surprises, big things planned for fans."
What: Honda Civic Tour 2007 featuring Fall Out Boy with +44, Academy is Paul Wall and Cobra Starship.
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte.
Cost: $19.50 and $35; tickets on sale at www.ticketmaster.com.