The hype surrounding this year’s Y-100 Jingle Ball might be centered on drama magnet Miley Cyrus, but the other acts on the bill still boast a bit of thunder of their own. The annual pop-music showcase comes back for a 13th year Friday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, and its lineup is sure to put Top 40 fans in the holiday spirit.
In addition to “Wrecking Ball” singer Cyrus, the concert features “Blurred Lines” soul man Robin Thicke; Boca Raton’s Ariana Grande, whose debut album “Yours Truly” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200; Carol City rapper Flo Rida, whose hits “Low,” “Right Round” and “Good Feeling” always start a party; plus Enrique Iglesias, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Avril Lavigne, Austin Mahone and more.
But it’s Fall Out Boy who rivals Miley the most in terms of buzz-worthiness. The clever Chicago pop-punk band – led by singer/guitarist Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz – was on top of the world in 2007 after its third album, “Infinity On High,” topped the charts on the strength of the hits “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.” But exhaustion and relentless tabloid attention hounding Wentz after his marriage to pop star Ashlee Simpson ended propelled the band to go on an indefinite hiatus.
And now Fall Out Boy returns, rested and rejuvenated and ready to rock Jingle Ball with tracks from its new album “Save Rock and Roll,” including the driving hit “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).”
Stump talked to Miami.com about the Jingle Ball tour, the band’s road to recovery, and how both Courtney Love and Elton John contributed to the new album.
How’s the chemistry between all the acts on the Jingle Ball bill? Do you interact with other artists much?
The travel schedules are so tight it’s really hard to interact much, but in general we’ve managed to spend a little time with everybody on these shows. Robin Thicke is a really nice guy. Fifth Harmony and Austin Mahone have been really cool to us.
The title “Save Rock and Roll” – is that meant to be tongue-in-cheek, or a literal commentary on today’s music scene?
A bit of both; I don’t think we’re necessarily the band that’s going to save it. In fact, I think what we’re kind of saying is it needs to be saved from the idea of “bands” in the first place. Rock-and-roll is adventurism and passion. It’s not a look or a sound, and I feel like a lot of “rock” music actively forgets that.
The album features collaborations with both Courtney Love and Elton John. Were you trying to find the two most polar-opposite artists to work with?
Ha ha – no, not consciously. We were trying to make a big statement with the album, again about what “rock-and-roll” really is. It’s honesty. It’s cockiness. I think in that way all the songs/collaborators all make a lot of sense.
How was it working with each, and how/why did each happen?
Elton actually came to us and said he was a fan. Quite an honor. Courtney we know through mutual friends. Both were a pleasure to work with.
Your hit “Light Em Up” is all over sporting events -are you guys big sports fans? What are some of your favorite teams?
This is a point of contention, because the band, being from Chicago, leans Bears. But [drummer] Andy [Hurley] is from Milwaukee and is a diehard [Green Bay] Packers fan. It’s a fun little rivalry we have going within the band. Other than that, I dig the Blackhawks a lot. In Chicago they brought the Stanley Cup onstage during our set. That was one of the cooler things I’ve gotten to experience.
The line “I’m on fire!!” from that song definitely sounds inspired by heavy metal – is it an homage to any particular singer or group?
Not really anyone specifically. It’s just more of us taking bits and pieces from all over the place and reassembling them in fun ways. I love taking inspiration from maybe five different musical ideas, putting them together, and creating one new idea out of it.
Fall Out Boy’s hiatus seems like it did the band a world of good. How does it feel to be back together?
Quite well, actually! Yeah, it’s funny – I think all of us intellectually understood that taking a break was a smart move, but then being there in the thick of it, all four of us hated not being a band together. It’s almost like the responsible adults in us took the band away from the whiny kids in us. It all really showed us how important it is to be grateful.
How did you guys come to realize it was time to start making more music together?
Well, we always wrote together, from Day One of the hiatus. It wasn’t until we’d finished some songs we all knew were strong that we said, “It’s time.” So the music really dictated the band coming back.
You all went through some rough times during the break – do you feel stronger now, together again, because of it?
The solo record I did was a lot like standing in front of a hockey net without pads on while somebody just whacks a hundred pucks at you; it toughened me up a lot. It also taught me how to be a frontman. So whereas I used to be the reluctant lead singer to Pete’s confident focal point, now it’s like both of us feed off of each other’s energy onstage. We’re a much better band overall, post-hiatus. Just happier, healthier, and we’re playing way better than we used to.