“Wait, Overcast Kids is OVER?!?!” I screeched, my voice rising a few octaves, after reading the above fan club email last week from my favorite band, Fall Out Boy. My first instinct was to call my mom and cry about the end of an era — and my childhood. Why would Fall Out Boy want to forget where they came from? Were they abandoning their previous fan club in hopes of escaping the pop-punk genre people always viewed them as? I was upset, but I knew that it was ridiculous of me to think that my favorite band since childhood would stay the same forever.
You see, Fall Out Boy fans, it’s their ability to evolve that has helped them stay relevant in music. Fall Out Boy is unique because, unlike a majority of pop-punk bands I started listening to in 2005, they are one of the few who can still sell out an arena and produce chart-topping hits. While changing their sound in their sixth album, American Beauty/American Psycho, pissed off more than a few people, they have been able to grow their audience. Though they have disbanded the fan club I joined 10 years ago, they won’t be losing me as a supporter.
Once I opened that email, I somehow reverted into the pre-teen girl who felt Fall Out Boy’s complicated lyrics and beautiful storytelling understood her teenage angst. While the girl whose closet was full of Fall Out Boy shirts came back for a moment, she had grown up — my concert experiences don’t involve mosh pits, my wardrobe is not centered on band T-shirts, and my taste in music has changed drastically. Sure, their sound has become more pop and is far from their old From Under the Cork Tree days, but they’ve always made a point of engaging their fans.
It all started in the summer of 2005.
“You HAVE to listen to this song! It’s my favorite, and I know you will love them,” my best friend said, typing the band’s name into my family’s iTunes account. Fall Out Boy had surfaced on MTV’s TRL by releasing a music video for the single, "Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down," that starred an antlered-guy who lusted after a girl he wasn’t allowed to be with him.
So I listened once and decided that they were “too rock,” and maybe this would be something my dad would listen to instead of me. After she left, however, I began watching the music video, and rewatching it, and rewatching it, until I finally memorized the entire song. I had no idea what a “notch in your bedpost” meant, but I was belting it out as I washed my face and got into bed that night.
Within a few months, I found myself “researching” Fall Out Boy all the time: “Where does Pete Wentz live?” “Could Fall Out Boy ever play at the Rec Center in Carroll, Iowa?” “How can I win tickets to a concert?”
Despite not being able to attend one of Fall Out Boy’s earlier shows in Iowa, I begged my parents to take me to their show the next time they returned to the Midwest.
After getting over the heartache of not seeing Fall Out Boy in concert, I decided to move on from everything I had ever known by diving headfirst into the music scene. My closet transformed into an emo-kid’s Hot Topic dream, featuring a ridiculous amount of band T-shirts, as well as pieces from Wentz’s clothing line, Clandestine Industries. The record labels Fueled by Ramen and the former Decaydance became my go-to sources for new music, and I followed every blog Wentz name was associated with. (I even followed “HeyChris,” a former friend of Fall Out Boy’s as well as a frequent visitor in their old live DVD’s.)
I was obsessed, and not even to the point where I knew this was a phase, but I knew this would be something I would stick with for years to come. Once Fall Out Boy announced a new tour that was going to make a stop near me, I got tickets to the show as soon as they came out.
I had become a member of the band’s fan club Overcast Kids, which allowed me to apply for a meet-and-greet pass. After waiting for what felt like an eternity, my best friend and I found out that we won the access to meet Fall Out Boy and were also able to take a picture with them.
Even though I lived and breathed Fall Out Boy, I started to pick up on other components that were closely related to the band. I admired Wentz’s style of writing, so I followed his lead by spending time writing between classes at school and whenever I got the chance to at home. My new hobby of writing made me want to become a music journalist.
I started regularly watching concert DVDs, collecting as many CD's as possible, and writing about music in papers for classes. Thanks to Fall Out Boy, I felt passionate about music.
For my first outdoor concert I got pressed up against hundreds of people who had been waiting in the sweltering heat for Blink-182 all day. I would be entering high school as a freshman the following week, and the last time I had seen Fall Out Boy felt like ages ago.
My anticipation for the concert was met by an outstanding performance shaped around their two most recent albums, Infinity on High and Folie a Deux. I had recently jumped on the “I miss old Fall Out Boy” bandwagon, and found myself hoping they would play older songs dating back to the Take this To Your Grave days. To my surprise, this would be the last time I’d see Fall Out Boy for another few years. They ended their tour with a three-year-long hiatus that had fans questioning whether or not the band would ever get back together.
It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I heard about them again. I was sitting against my locker, scanning my instagram feed, and their name came up on the screen. Not only was the hiatus over, but the band had released a single, a music video, the album, and also a tour for the upcoming year. I practically attacked my friends with the news once they approached me.
Then just before I started collect, I was able to see Fall Out Boy for the third time in my life. My mom volunteered to drive me and my friend to Kansas City since there weren’t any dates included in Iowa. Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy’s fresh-start album, came out months before and left a permanent spot in my car’s CD player. Save Rock and Roll was an excellent portrayal of how much Fall Out Boy had grown, and the album even spotted guest-appearances from Courtney Love and Elton John.
After finishing off my third concert with Fall Out Boy, I abandoned my mom’s wishes to come back to the hotel right away, and decided to stick close to the gate in hopes of talking to Fall Out Boy after the show. We waited for two hours, and before we gave up hope, Patrick Stump made an entrance and made thirty fan’s nights by stopping by.
I then got the chance to tell my idols how much they had affected my life. After Patrick made his way down the line, Pete Wentz made an entrance and surprised all of the fans who were repeatedly told that nobody would be coming out to say hi. I waited alongside squealing girls and readied myself for what I was about to say. As I handed Wentz my ticket to sign, I started mumbling about how Fall Out Boy had become a gateway band. I remember how interested he looked once he asked what music I listened to because of Fall Out Boy -- and then I froze because I was stunned he actually cared about my music.
He laughed it off as I mumbled. The butterflies I felt in my stomach stuck around for the rest of the night.
I was a fifth grader when I joined Overcast Kids in hopes of getting a taste of Fall Out Boy's culture and musical perspective. The group gave me the opportunity to meet my favorite band, click with like-minded kids, and pull together other fans in my area.
After listening to the release of their brand-new album, American Beauty/American Psycho, I now understand why Fall Out Boy has decided to let go of Overcast Kids. They understand how to survive in the music industry. They do not sound like “Dance, Dance," nor do they produce titles like “I’ve Got This Ringing In My Ears but None on My Fingers" anymore. Fall Out Boy has evolved, and even though their song titles are now lines from the chorus, and their alternative-emo-edge is gone -- they will continue to have my support.
I love their new pop sound; I love their involvement with fans; and I love that Wiz Khalifa is touring with them this summer. I’ve watched Fall Out Boy change over the past decade and I will continue to stick by their side, if they choose to change their sound again. Although pop-punk isn’t my preferred music genre anymore, I know that I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without this band’s influence or fan base. So, yes, it’s been a long run, Overcast Kids. It’s been an amazing journey. But I know it’s time to close the doors to the past and look forward to the future.
Do you have any bands that you were over-the-top obsessed with growing up?