When Fall Out Boy performed their rendition of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire' at this year's VMAs, Swifties came after them for daring to mention the 2009 moment when Kanye West stormed that very stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Video in the reworked song lyrics.As Fall Out Boy's vocalist-rhythm guitarist Patrick Stump points out, they were in the room when it happened. "The band, like, we were right there when that happened [in 2009],” he laughs.
"We were just talking about the fact that it happened, we're not saying it was a good thing or a bad thing, but it was amazing that it happened on MTV, and then we're singing about it on MTV."
The song picks up from Joel's 1989 hit, listing some of the political, pop culture and historical moments millennials have lived through since the end of the last century.
"I was reading an interview with Billy Joel and someone was asking about the song, and what made him write it was that a younger person was talking about something historically that he lived through, and getting it wrong, and he realised how quickly you lose these things; how quickly people forget things," Stump says.
"It's a weird thing being – I don't know what I am, a millennial, xennial, whatever they want to call it, this kind of older millennial – but you kind of realise 'oh, we've seen some really weird stuff, some really crazy stuff'. . . I feel like we just got barraged.
"Like every day, every week, you would get a new once-in-a-lifetime or once-in-a-generation event, and it happened so many times you start to wonder if this is once-in-a-generation any more."
Once-in-a-generation events like, for example, a global pandemic, which forced the cancellation of Fall Out Boy's last Australian tour.
"I feel like the pandemic was such a time warp, because when you really got out of it, you're like, 'wow, that was a long time'," Stump laughs. "It's like everything was on pause, and you wake up and it's been five years, like Rip Van Winkle or something."
"The fact that anybody's kids care [about Fall Out Boy] is mind-blowing to me." - Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy)
The band was initially scheduled to head down under in 2020 with Green Day and Weezer for the Hella Mega Tour, which was ultimately cancelled, much to Stump's dismay.
"We kept pushing back the European one and the US one, and then the Australian one it was like, 'we will never know when we could ever make this happen' because the travel restrictions were, rightly, very difficult, but it was impossible to predict an entire tour that way," he says.
"I kept being like, 'okay we're going to do it', and it was like, 'no, we don't know if we can do it any more', [and] the whole thing fell apart, which really broke my heart. I was really looking forward to it."
Now, Fall Out Boy is preparing to headline this year's Good Things Festival, alongside Limp Bizkit and Devo. "It's interesting that you name-checked Woodstock '99 in 'We Didn't Start The Fire' now that you're playing Good Things with them," I tell Stump.
"Limp Bizkit is definitely one of those things that was such a moment, that Woodstock '99 thing, when he's crowdsurfing on the wood," Patrick laughs.
"I wasn't there [at Woodstock '99], but you watch that from home and you're like, 'wow', it looked massive. It looked like a total moment. I'm excited for that show anyway. Devo's on that show, too, which is a big deal for me, I'm a big Devo nerd, so that'll be fun."
Stump says it's "silly", but the thing he's missed most about Australia is our vegetarian food. "The vegetarian restaurants in Australia, they crush ours," he says.
"I'm not a full vegetarian anymore – I eat fish – but I do appreciate a solid vegetarian meal, and there are some excellent ones in Australia. . . so it's a pretty easy place to eat for Andy [Hurley] our drummer, who's vegan."
Fall Out Boy's eighth studio album, 'So Much (For) Stardust', was released in March this year. The follow-up to 2018's 'Mania', the band took the album on tour across the North American summer, and found some surprises on the road.
"On this tour, something that really stood out to me was how many generations of fans there were; there really wasn't a general age group, and that really threw me off, because I don't pretend to know what worked about us in the first place: We're just a band doing what we do and trying to be the best we can be," Stump says.
"So then for anyone to care about it is always a surprise." Seeing audience members across all generations – from eight year olds to people in their sixties – enjoying a Fall Out Boy show together genuinely blew Stump away.
It also reminded him of being in the audience at someone else's show. "I saw Taylor Swift play at Giants Stadium and she had this moment where she kind of stopped and looked at the audience and was kind of awed, and I remember at the time thinking, 'oh come on, you're Taylor Swift, you know people are going to be here', you know?" Stump laughs.
"And then sure enough, there I was on this last tour, and I'm looking out at the audience and there were so many people still, after all these years, and I did the same thing – and I was like, 'oh, it was very genuine, wasn't it?'
"Because when you stop there and you look out and you see all those people, you can't help but be like, holy moly! The fact that anybody's kids care is mind-blowing to me."
Fri 1 Dec - Flemington Racecourse (Melbourne)
Good Things Festival 2023 Tour Dates
Sat 2 Dec - Centennial Park (Sydney)
Sun 3 Dec - Brisbane Showgrounds
Good Things Festival 2023 Line-UpFall Out Boy
Devo (The Farewell Tour Celebrating 50 Years)
Bullet For My Valentine
Taking Back Sunday
Boom Crash Opera
Make Them Suffer
Royal & The Serpent
Slaughter To Prevail
The Plot In You
While She Sleeps