When Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer announced their joint touring venture, sales in Converse All-Star sneakers went up, eyeliner could no longer be found on any store shelves, and MySpace was resurrected – Top 8 and all.
While none of that can be proven and is far from fact, what is true is that here at The Aquarian we began thinking back on some of our favorite moments from working with these bands, covering their careers, and loving their ever-evolving rock and roll sound. We can’t help but adore the fact that these three bands, hella mega and all, have come together for live shows. On September 10, 2019, after weeks of teasing online, the trio of emo-spirited rockers officially announced The Hella Mega Tour. Finally, this past week (almost exactly two years later), it finally kicked off in all it’s edgy, melodic, mosh pit-ready, rambunctious, fun, earsplitting, and unimaginable glory.
Opening night in Arlington, Texas featured an almost six-hour long show with a setlist 43-songs-long of superhit after fan favorite after B-side from each band’s individual set. That’s not too unexpected, though, because Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer are beyond beloved and reside comfortably in the pop punk stratosphere while fans of all ages flock to their closest arena stop on this 30-something date tour. (This, of which is being ferociously opened for by LA’s own ska punk resurrectors, The Interrupters. They have their own eight-track setlist to begin the night with a punch.)
Whether they were covering the likes of Toto (Weezer’s “Africa” is still all over alternative radio), collaborating with Elton John (a dream that Fall Out Boy saw come true with “Save Rock and Roll“), or performing as The Network (one of Green Day’s many secret aliases that features The Office-inspired track, “Threat Level Midnight“), these three bands have covered so much ground over the past two to three decades. A chronological recap of their respective, stupendous, and occasionally perplexing musical careers would take up more bandwidth than most webpages can handle – we know that. A chronological recap of the various coverage one regional alt-weekly has done on them, though…. Well, we think that’s pretty Hella Mega.
Tré Cool talks Green Day’s ‘return’ to the punk rock scene via Warped Tour after Nimrod (1997) and right before Warning (2000):
“We just wanted to play a bunch of shows with punk bands. We always knew that the Warped Tour was there for us if we wanted it. We just wanted to make our record first and get out of studio mode and into live mode. It’s kinda like a low pressure kind of deal. We get up there and we run it up for half an hour.”
Cool on the then-impending Warning era and the idea of Green Day being photographed for the record’s cover (which is still the only time the band has been shot as a trio for an LP’s artwork):
“There’s a picture of us on the cover. We’ve never done that before. It’s a little different. It’s got stuff that will blow your mind, stuff that will make you blow your nose, and stuff that’s going to make you want to blow your buddy.”
Mike Dirnt reflects on the growth of the punk rock genre and Green Day’s roll in such:
“One thing I think that’s been important to us as a band growing and everything is that we never took for granted – no matter what our state of popularity was or anything – we always respected that and we never made a mockery of where we come from.
This band has never been a joke to us, it’s always been a very real thing and we treat it with that kind of respect. It’s its own entity for us, it’s a living thing to us, and it’s the thing we do best.”
Dirnt dives into following up the massive, political rock operasuccess ofGreen Day’s AmericanIdiot (which turned out to be the Grammy-winning 21st Century Breakdown – no big deal):
“We just want to wait and write the record. I don’t want to put our expectations too high. I think we just need to wait and write the record that we think is right for Green Day.”
Our review of Green Day’s concert at what is now known as Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino:
“The trio’s music is hypnotic and their showmanship will keep audiences going to multiple shows on this tour to get another dose of energy before it’s over.”
Pete Wentz on young girls suddenly coming to out to Fall Out Boy shows and the dichotomy of their (still very much alive and diverse) fandom:
“There are people interested in the band because of the sonics and the other segment, who are probably intrigued by your wordplay, and that’s interesting to see the two sects, whether they clash or come together. More than anything, when people come to shows or interview us or meet us, they see that we’re not the Backstreet Boys. We’re dirty, ordinary hardcore kids from Chicago in an extraordinary position and people realize that after they meet us and, hopefully, they stick around as our fans and friends.”
Wentz explains just as to where the Garden State ranks on Fall Out Boy’s list of favorite places to tour:
“New Jersey, outside of Chicago, is one of the best places Fall Out Boy has played. And it’s got to do with the history with the bands, like Lifetime and Saves The Day. There are a lot of people who don’t go into the city as much, and they go see shows in New Jersey, but it has been great there. There is Asbury Park, Princeton…it’s awesome.”
Patrick Stump comments on Fall Out Boy’s swift rise to fame… and handling it humbly:
“Well, there are two things. You wake up every morning, brush your teeth, look in the mirror and you are still the same person. There is no amount of attention from people that can change that. Secondly, you don’t see it. You are out there playing shows and you’re removed from seeing it in front of you. When we played to 100 people, it’s the same experience, day to day, as it is playing to 10,000 people.”
Wentz after being told he’s down-to-earth, perfectly unscripted, and anti-media trained:
“That rules. I don’t really know. I feel like when I interact on a non-personal level, I put more of myself out there. I don’t bullshit people. If I feel bad, I put it out there. If I call someone out or they call me out, it can be an awesome thing because people appreciate the honesty, but it can bite you. It was done to me recently. I’d rather have it that way, then have the weird thing where there is stock answers or media training.”
Stump chats about building off of Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree to createInfinityOn High (which would immediately shoot to No. 1 on the Billboard charts):
“It’s one of those things where you get older as a band and you do your own thing, you know? The older Fall Out Boy elements, from the early records, are definitely there, and this album is an extension of that.”
Pete Wentz breaks down Fall Out Boy playing the famed Madison Square Garden, but not exactly being nervous to do so:
“That’s not the kind of pressure I worry about at all. I have more of a social nervousness. I get nervous ordering food from waiters – I’ll stutter and mumble. But onstage is the only place I really feel at home, I guess.”
Our review of Weezer’s first headlining gig at Madison Square Garden, where Tom DeLonge‘s Angels & Airwaves opened:
“Weezer boasted all of the charm that’s been at the core of its success over the years; infectious pop, killer melodies, cheeky and outrageous lyrics, and frontman Rivers Cuomos’ electrifying and amazing guitar solos. Performing for at least 90 minutes, Weezer had plenty of very cool and calculated party tricks up their sleeve. In fact, a ton of effort went into ensuring that fans walked away with the impression that this band was one of the industry’s wackiest. After the first three songs they changed costumes, transforming from test-tube geek rockers into an even nerdier attire, sporting red jumpsuits and a mini trampoline on stage. The witty, talented and bizarre Cuomo, who greeted fans in Spanish and Italian before he uttered any English, made a point of sharing the spotlight with all of his band buddies, giving them each time to shine and connect with the huge crowd.”
Wentz admits fatherhood changed him in more ways than one:
“I always thought I was fighting the good fight, but I realized I was fighting a lot of little fights. I realize the complications of the things that got under my skin before are just so silly and trivial to me now. They just don’t mean anything.”
Wentz recounts Fall Out Boy’s exhilarating, collaborative (featuring: All Time Low, MetroStation, Hey Monday, and 50 Cent), but very much cursed ‘Believers Never Die, Part Deux’ tour:
“We’ve had two trips to the hospital and we’ve had a show that was cancelled due to lightning. There was a food poisoning that ran rampant through one bus, and then someone broke their ankle, or did something to their ankle. So we have a shaman coming in to bless the tour today, and we’re making the opposite of voodoo dolls, whatever that is. There’s a bit of a hex on this tour, but the show’s nuts. We’re doing anti-rain dances. We’re going to make it happen. We need this show blessed.”
Brian Bell discusses Weezer’s re-issuing of Pinkerton and allowing it to have a well-deserved second life:
“That album has definitely taken on a life of its own and became more successful after the fact and more accepted. At the time, it wasn’t, especially critically acclaimed. In fact, I think it was one of the worst records of the year by Rolling Stone that year, and then later it was hailed. […] That just goes to show the fickleness of the music business and industry. As an artist, you just have to do what you believe in at the time, whether it’s accepted or not. You just have to keep going with it.
Bell reminisces on Weezer’s iconic Hootenanny performance alongside fans:
“Sometimes it was cacophonous, too. That was part of the fun too, trying to keep the song going when somebody’s completely out of time with a tambourine or something. I don’t know how it sounded back to people, but seeing smiles on people’s faces playing along and really getting into it was quite enjoyable.”
Dirnt on the impact Woodstock ’94 had on Green Day’s claim to muddy, but not muddled, punk rock fame:
“As we were walking in, some people were walking out all miserable from just being stuck in the rain and mud for like three days, so at the show you’ve got people in there having a great time, but when we got in, there was like 300,000 people and it was just the craziest thing we had ever seen in our lives up to that point. We played the show and we were truly able to connect with the audience, have fun, and enjoy everything about the experience. And at the end of the show, I got tackled by a security guard. He actually sheared my teeth, and I blew like five teeth. Only one of them died. I fixed the rest of them, but he all sheared up the back of my teeth. It was horrible. But the great thing about it is that I was able to get out of there, and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to.”
Dirnt explains how music lovers consume music modernly and how Green Day approaches their releases because of it:
“We believe in [streaming]. That’s why we put out free records. Other people think, ‘Let’s get [our albums] out really quick [to avoid it being leaked],’ but that’s okay. You put something out that’s great, the fans are going to hold onto it. You make great music and it lasts forever, that’s the way we’ve always felt.”
“One of my favorite parts was when Wentz started talking about how his dad would come to shows and be bored and how rock and roll is dying, yet both bands – Fall Out Boy and Paramore – have hit singles on the radio. The group started to play Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ for any of the parents in the crowd who came with their kids, which slowly went into their song ‘Save Rock And Roll.’ The song is originally with Elton John on the record titled Save Rock And Roll,but Stump does a great job singing his vocals to sound similar to Sir Elton.”
Pete Wentz pinpoints the mindset Fall Out Boy had heading into the creation of American Beauty/American Psycho:
“The idea was that when we looked at rappers and DJs and how they respond to pop culture, it happens instantaneously. They can make tracks on airplanes and they can record in hotel rooms, and so we wanted to make a record that had that feeling; a record that had kind of energy and immediacy.”
Wentz considers what advice he would give to the decade earlier version of himself:
“I would say that you can’t have so much anxiety over every day and every little thing and every little decision. If I could tell myself something 10 years ago it would be that it was all going to turn out okay, even the wrongest decisions that you’ve made will all put you on a path to where you’re headed, ultimately.
There were times where I would agonize over a decision that I thought was the wrong one, or knew that it was the wrong one, and then I would get dark. I think I wasted a lot of my time in my 20s worrying about what other people would think about me and how people in the magazines would perceive me. None of it really matters 10 years later.”
Our review of Fall Out Boy’s headlining spot on the Pandora Holiday Concert at Pier 36 Basketball City:
“Fall Out Boy performed a high energy pop rock set whose unfettered intensity was the only element that hearkened to the band’s punk roots. Otherwise, the songs were rich with agreeable melodies and infectious hook lines. The audience responded heartily to the string of hits, with Stump engaging the fans to sing the chorus of ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ and other songs.”
“When the lights turned off for Fall Out Boy to finally come out, the large screens on stage lit up with a video that made you feel like you were riding through a snowstorm. Instead of the usual confetti explosions, this set began with a snow explosion to make the fans feel like we were right there in the screen.”
Pete Wentz illustrates the idea of the thoughtful and important Fall Out Boy fund:
“A few things we’re funding from the fund is a breakfast program that’s going to be part of the Chicago public school systems that we are supporting. I think it is in support of an organic farm system there. I think that it’s super important, that’s where we obviously grew up, to give back. And the champions of the city will be receiving money from the fund also, which is important to us because I think that helping people or putting a spotlight on people that are doing good or trying to do good in the world is super important too, so that’s what we’re trying to do with that.
But the great thing about having our own fund is that when we see something that we believe in or we see something that is not receiving enough money or we think could do great things if they just had money, we’re able to allocate money for that, which is something that we’ve always thought about trying to find a way to do. I’m glad that we finally found a way to do it.”
Wentz praises honesty and artistry in a tense political climate:
“I think being authentic and having an authentic voice is super, super, super important right now. I think you’ll actually find it helpful for your career. It won’t hinder it. People who believe in the same things will get behind you or you’ll have dialogue with people who believe in different things.”
Our review of Fall Out Boy’s electro-rock, purple-tinged M A N I A:
“Amid synthesizer laced tracks and Stump’s crazy vocal range, a true radio hit emerges. ‘The Last of the Real Ones’ is catchy, upbeat, and was written a week after the album’s first release date of Sept. 15, 2017. It is a quintessential, heart-beating fast, romantic, pop song that makes me quite happy for the push back on the original release date.”
Patrick Wilson discusses if Weezer ever expected to release cover songs – and have grand success with them (such as their cover of Toto’s “Africa” being certified Gold):
“No, never! [Laughs] I think Rivers [Cuomo] really came up with the idea. He was saying how ‘Africa’ was being received so well, so we should cover a whole bunch of songs, but we shouldn’t tell anybody that we were releasing it. It would be a surprise and a mind-blower.”
Wilson talks about building a setlist for Weezer with too-many-albums-to-count to their name:
“I was thinking about it the other day, actually, this new album is going to be, like, our 13th album…. And all of them have at least one fairly popular song on it, so yes, it would be easy to just look at Spotify data and say ‘Oh, these are the songs that everybody wants to hear!’ But not everybody is on Spotify, so you really have to feel it out. For me, it’s really a feel thing. I fundamentally don’t trust a data-based approach to music, but, that said, I can’t argue with it when it seems to work… even 13 albums in.”
Our review of Green Day’s Father of All Motherfuckers:
“No matter your political affiliation, you must be tired of both parties’ constant rhetoric. And, with no end in sight, you must be yearning for some form of escapism. Thankfully, Green Day have delivered just that with Father of All Motherfuckers, on which they dispense with the social commentary of their recent records in favor of 10 brash blasts of irreverent fun.”
THE HELLA MEGA TOUR COMES TO CITI FIELD IN QUEENS, NY ON AUGUST 4 AND HERSHEYPARK STADIUM ON AUGUST 13! MORE DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE!