20 things you probably didn’t know about Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz

Think you know everything about Fall Out Boy bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz? Let’s see about that…

20 things you probably didn’t know about Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz
Jennyfer J. Walker
Pete photos:
Tom Pullen

Everybody loves Pete Wentz. Not only is he the bassist and lyrical mastermind behind Fall Out Boy, but he could easily snatch Dave Grohl’s ‘Nicest Guy In Rock’ crown straight from the Foos man’s brown, curly head. Some things we all know about Pete: he’s great at Twitter, he reeeeally likes Star Wars, talks almost exclusively in sports metaphors, and he’s quite partial to a car selfie. But here, we dig a little deeper to bring you some Wentz-flavoured nuggets you may not have heard before…

He literally only exists because of Joe Biden

Joe Trohman isn’t the only important Joe in Pete’s life. Without Joe Biden, there would be no Pete, and therefore no Fall Out Boy (yeah, not a world we want to live in either). And that’s because Pete’s parents, Roy and Dale, met on Joe Biden’s campaign trail (when Joe represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate). Pete’s ’rents were so close to Joe that he even came to their wedding. Check out tiny Pete with Joe below while we all let out a little “awh”.

He studied political science

Weirdly, it wasn’t his connection with Joe Biden that made Pete want to stick his nose into a bunch of political science textbooks, it was his favourite teacher at high school, Mr. Randolf. “That’s what he studied, and I was like, ‘I’ll do this, then I could end up a lawyer…’” We all know that didn’t happen, since Pete ended up dropping out of college to focus on Fall Out Boy full time, but he did write a song titled I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You), which is arguably better than a career in law.

He’s got a secret Instagram account

If you’re wondering why posts on Pete’s Instagram are sometimes a little thin on the ground, it’s because he’s probably keeping all the good stuff for his friends and family on his personal account @plkw (short for Peter Lewis Kingston Wentz). It only has a few followers and he won’t accept you or us (we tried). So we can only speculate about what he’s posting on there…

He has an aversion to pine nuts

When Fall Out Boy co-headlined Reading Festival in 2016, Pete told us he absolutely does not fuck with nuts from a stone pine tree. And when he found out other people like – and actively choose to eat – said nuts, he lost trust in his whole belief system. “I found out from [FOB drummer] Andy Hurley that other people in the world would actively choose to put pine nuts into something like hummus,” he said. “Whereas to me, that shit is fucking disgusting, and I thought everybody felt that way. And it activated all these other anxieties in side of me. Like, ‘Well shit, is the sky the colour that I think it is?!’” We’re not sure what happened to him when he found out people were eating Tide Pods, but he would definitely have needed a sit down.

He can be something of a micromanager

According to Patrick Stump, “Pete can be very controlling when he takes issue with something – but when he trusts everybody he’s totally happy to let everything happen.” While Pete says he doesn’t like to micromanage – and in fact he “detests” doing it – he’ll put his micromanager hat on whenever the situation calls for it. If you ever get a job for Pete Wentz, you have been warned.

He’s been a playful prankster in his day

Pete once stole Patrick’s driving licence from his wallet, and replaced it with a picture of former supreme leader of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini (yeah, fucking random, we know). It resulted in a vexed Patrick stomping up to Pete’s door, at 11pm at night, and ringing the family doorbell. Pete was then issued a bollocking along the lines of: “What if I get pulled over, Pete? Did you think about that?! You’re an asshole!’”

He loves a rom-com

Not just any romantic comedy – but Lifetime movies in particular (those crappy made-for-TV films, geared towards an older female demographic, that were big in the ’90s). Think: romance novels, but in TV form. Pete is a diehard and has seen every single one. And probably consumed several times his body weight in Ben & Jerry’s whilst doing so.

He felt like he let the band down around Infinity On High

“My life got really tabloidy,” said Pete of the time that record came out, “and I feel like I let my band down, on a personal level, because every interview was about that, and it was the wrong kind of attention. I was angry, but I was angry at myself. I hated that what I was going through at the time eclipsed what the band was doing. I felt like there was a part of me that wanted to abandon this ship and just go back and hang out in the suburbs of Chicago.”

Pete was the only one who didn’t want FOB to go on hiatus

Before Fall Out Boy went on hiatus in 2010, the band were physically and mentally done. They weren’t even talking and would only communicate through management. A hiatus had to happen, but it was hard for Pete to accept at the time. “I was the one in the relationship that didn’t wanna break up. For something that’s so essential [to my life] to be taken away, it was really rough. So all the things that you would do with an ex is what I wanted to do.” Lucky for Pete, you can’t drunk dial a band.

He’s an avid art collector

Pete’s most expensive habit and “one true addiction” would be the art hanging all around his home. If you have even the faintest clue about art, his walls feature works by former street artists Shepard Fairey and José Parlá, Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, and American artist and designer KAWS (one of those is a giant SpongeBob painting, pictured below). He also has Peter Gravelle’s photo of the Sex Pistols signing a record contract in front of Buckingham Palace) hanging above his mantel piece. He would have got a cut price deal on at least one of his pieces, though: the original Folie À Deux artwork by Luke Chueh. Nice!

His earliest memory involves his dad

The very first thing Pete can remember is being on a beach with his father, and his father throwing a horse shoe crab into the ocean. He turned that memory into a line on Folie À Deux track The (Shipped) Gold Standard, which goes: ‘The time my dad caught me a horse shoe crab, and I asked him if throwing it back into the sea would bring our luck back.’ Pete’s luck did come back. The crab is probably dead now and has no idea it’s been immortalised in song.

The Goonies taught him that it’s okay to be a loser

Pete credits Sloth and the crew with being the people who flipped his whole perspective on life. “I saw it in the theatre at a friend’s birthday party,” he told us. “I think it was the first movie I saw in theatres without my parents, but I don’t know that that was the life-changing thing. It was an ‘us vs. them’ kinda thing – like the anti-cool thing. Those were always the most relateable people in movies to me. That probably helped me through my life. Those guys were just a band of losers, so I felt like it’s okay to be a loser!”

He’s pretty green-fingered

Watch out, Alan Titchmarsh, Pete Wentz could be after your job. See, when Pete’s off tour, he loves pottering around in the garden. He can often be found digging up an old tree trunk, or tending to the spices and vegetables he grows and uses to cook with. He’ll even pop down to Home Depot and ask the staff for gardening tips.

He once told Rihanna he was bringing out a rap record

When Pete met RiRi in 2004, he told the unsuspecting popstar that he was coming out with his own rap album. She fully believed him, and now whenever he sees her she asks about said rap career, which he has to confess is going “not great”. Could just actually get on and make a rap album, Pete… something to do between Fall Out Boy records, isn’t it?

If he were in Game Of Thrones, he’d be a Stark

Stark was the first Game Of Thrones house that Pete found himself identifying with. “The gear they wore up there is equal parts Hoth, dark ages, nobility, and [designer] Balmain,” he told us. “Hard to deny the style of the North – we’re all about the layers. Dang, and every kid gets a Dire Wolf puppy! Sign me up!” Pete has his own GoT-looking dog called Bowie, but confesses, “He definitely is a bit too troubled to be a Stark Dire Wolf.”

His writing career started age eight

Pete first dabbled in writing with his friend Mark Donohue, with whom he’d write books about robots. The entrepreneurial pair would then wander from door-to-door in the local neighbourhood to try selling their books to people. “The stories were not good!” he remembers. “But I’m sure we had some pity-purchases.”

He got his first tattoo when he was 15

…which he does not recommend anyone else doing. “I think that you should wait until you’re really able to understand that the tattoo is gonna be on you forever,” Pete says. His very first tattoo was an eco symbol on his back. “I got it because I was pretty involved in environmental causes, but I think I really got it because all my heroes were part of this tattoo culture, and I wanted to be part of that. I was too young, but telling young people not to do something possibly only enhances their desire to do it.”

He also has a Rod Stewart tattoo

Pete has a banner on his wrist that says ‘Be free’, while Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes fame has ‘Young hearts’, which when put together, make up the Rod Stewart song, Young Hearts Be Free. “When we meet up we turn into Voltron,” he laughs. Pete once saw Rod Stewart in Starbucks, and wanted to show him said tattoo, but ended up chickening out. “I think I might have said hello to him and he basically tried to order a coffee from me. It did not go as I had planned it to go (laughs).”

Pete never got closure from the girl he wrote Take This To Your Grave about

Fall Out Boy’s debut – and one of the greatest break-up albums of all time – Take This To Your Grave was inspired by several different break-ups with the same person. The most angry he’d ever been in his life, Pete just vomited his thoughts and feelings into song. Vitriolic words, like hoping he wished people would catch fire, drive off bridges, and wrap their car around a tree. Pretty attention-grabbing… you’d think. But the girl in question never called him up to give her opinion on what was to become a classic album. “That record in some ways was me trying to get that attention,” he said. “But the dynamic of the relationship was that she was never gonna give me it, no matter what.”

He believes the meaning of life is pizza

To Pete Wentz, life is a journey. “Something that unfolds itself and you need to make mistakes and you need to find love and get your heartbroken and break a heart or two. It’s basically a search to find the best version of yourself, and to help other people find the best version of themselves.” And failing all of that deep stuff? Well, it’s simple… life is just “the eternal search for pizza”. Make ours a margarita! Stuffed crust!

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