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Global Community Seeks a Few Good Fall Out Men



By now you know their profiles.

Vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump looks a little like the title character from Babe and has vocals that soar as high as that creature's ambitions; perpetually over-caffeinated guitarist Joe Trohman spins like a record, bay-bee; bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz needs no further introduction; and drummer Andy Hurley is an anarchist.

Their records (the latest is called Infinity on High) earn the distinctions of precious metals usually reserved for Olympians, and their obtusely titled singles inspire waves of screen names while polarizing music communities everywhere. And through a campaign built around Wentz's shrewd business instincts, boundless ambitions, and acute self-awareness—not to mention the talents and good-natured "aw-shucks" element supplied by the other three—they've become practically unstoppable.

Of course, there have a few dramatic episodes involving members of this band—okay, usually just Wentz—over the years, but none did anything to hinder their momentum or so much as suggest their internal fabric could be torn. In case you've somehow avoided the squalor, there was the New York City nightspot they bought and customized, and rumors of kissy-kissy dalliances with Michelle Trachtenberg and, more recently, Ashlee Simpson, in and out of said club. Shout-outs in the press (and on record) from Jay-Z. The clothing line. The "hacked" Sidekick photos. The guyliner. The lawsuit from one of Wentz's favorite lyricists who claimed Pete & Co. borrowed more than a few of his lines without permission. A New York Times report likening the band's management to Lou Pearlman. On it goes. Not to mention the matter of the car company-sponsored arena tour they're currently pimping.

But the Boys also have a couple of strangely consequential events coming up: a date at Giants Stadium in New Jersey for Live Earth on July 7, and a trip to Uganda less than two weeks later.

While both gigs are noble, Live Earth features plenty of other acts to dim the focus around Fall Out Boy's involvement. Uganda, however, is a considerably trickier situation. The East African nation has been terrorized by some of the worst human right abuses imaginable and brutally severe attacks on political freedoms, both made worse by a terrible judicial track record that's allowed too many of those responsible for the tortures go unpunished.

At this point, it's anyone's guess whether Wentz, who's only one semester short of a degree in political science from DePaul, intends to actually offer insight into the country's many crises and intelligently discuss ways that reform could be implemented, or whether it's a sort of after-school special as humanitarian-field-trip orchestrated to show the band's serious, human side. This writer can't be sure, but he will offer a word of advice: Prove the skeptics wrong, Pete.

Not for yourself or the betterment of your band's credibility, and certainly not for this writer. Do it because, whether or not you've asked for it, there exists a generation of impressionable young people in this country who still find inspiration in your every word. So, when the time comes, show us something more than a stock answer. Say something significant. Because, whether it's your style or not, simply saying it like you mean it won't suffice in this case. In the words of some of your protégés, Pete, it's better if you do.


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