They say you can never go back home again. Not unless you're former Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Not only is he coming back to his childhood home of Chicago this weekend, but he's gearing up to play the biggest gig so far with his new band, Black Cards, at the city's signature summer blowout, Lollapalooza. The dinnertime slot on Friday's opening day of the three-day fest is a coming-out party of sorts for Wentz, whose former band never made it onto the bill once Lolla set down roots on the Chicago waterfront and was reborn as a destination event in 2005.
We caught up with Wentz as he was making this way through Los Angeles International Airport for his Thursday afternoon flight and chatted about coming home, playing in front of his family and friends and how he feels about the inevitable whispers about a potential on-stage FOB reunion (former singer Patrick Stump is also on the bill, playing the same stage at around the same time on Saturday).
"I'm pretty excited about it because Lollapalooza is kind of a big summer event in Chicago and I've been going the past couple of years and it's hot and fun and [co-founder] Perry [Farrell] has done a really good job of having a wide range of bands," said Wentz. "For me it's really exciting. I've never played it before and to be able to play and hang out with my friends and family and have them see me play is really cool."
While Wentz is psyched for the Lolla audience to hear the electro pop sounds of his new band – who will also play an after party set at his downtown bar, Angels & Kings – he ran down his list of must-see sets.
"The great thing about it is you can see everything from Bright Eyes to Eminem," he said. "I don't think that there's a lot of U.S. festivals that engage in that."
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Wentz's survival tips:
"I'm the kind of guy that does the basics," he said. "I get the ones down that I'm sure I want to see, because there's nothing worse than being at a festival you realize that you just barely missed a band," he said. "But then I plan on audibles, where I see my friends are going to see this thing, or this band sounds interesting. That's how it was with Girl Talk for me [in 2008]. 'My God, what are all these people doing on stage? I hear all these samples, this is weird.' I went over and watched and it was phenomenal."
And as for what he expects will be the obligatory FOB reunion buzz, Pete will tell you right now it's not gonna happen. "It's funny, I know [FOB guitarist] Joe's [Trohman] gonna be in town and it's interesting because we're able to see each other doing things each other is passionate about," he said of his and Stump's very divergent musical directions. It's inevitable that people will say, 'Is there gonna be a reunion on stage at Lollapalooza?' I don't see it happening, man. In terms of the time and what we're both focused on. In some ways it's kind of cool, the separated brothers get to come together in some weird, odd way. It'll be good for the Lifetime movie some day."