Ten years ago today, my band released our debut album Take This To Your Grave. We were just four unsuspecting Midwestern nerds named after a moderately obscure Simpsons character, living life like the background characters in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. We were totally unprepared for everything that followed.
Up to that point in the band’s history, we were merely something to do before we were forced to give in to the pressures of real life. We saw ourselves as a pretty cool excuse for a semester off of college. My accountant mother was also the ex-wife of a musician (my dad in point of fact). She knew empirically the odds weren’t in our favor and wisely advised me to consider planning on getting a real job. Instead of taking her advice, I went ahead and recorded an album.
Take This To Your Grave began as a demo…a supremely lucky long shot lightning strike of a demo. The band was a fractured and seemingly futureless mess at the time; No drummer, having also freshly lost our most recent of many revolving door rhythm guitarists. We had all entertained the thought that our collective candle for our little pop-punk odyssey was about to flicker out when the great Sean O’keefe offered to record us. We discussed a three song demo to be recorded at the legendary Smart Studios in Madison Wisconsin. We thought “What the hell? Why not?” We didn’t even have three new songs to record, but who doesn’t love a hearty bluff?
I remember writing “Homesick at Spacecamp,” on the plane home from visiting family only days before the session.
We’d asked our friend Andy Hurley to play drums on it. He said yes…granted he could make it to Madison in time after tracking an entire album earlier that day for another band in Chicago. I actually checked drums with Sean, under the assumption that I’d have to play them. We were literally about to start my first take of “Dead On Arrival,” when in walked Andy.
I guess in a lot of ways, in walked the actual beginning of Fall Out Boy as well; From that point onward, Joe, Andy, Pete, and I were a proper band. The three songs we recorded in what felt like two days (“Dead on Arrival,” “Homesick at Spacecamp,” and “Saturday,”) would go on to become three of our most enduring, and certainly the first time any of us heard ourselves in speakers and went “Huh! We definitely don’t suck!”
It laid the groundwork for many “Huh! We don’t suck!” Moments to follow on our four subsequent albums.
So here we are, ten years, two gold and two platinum albums, three MTV VMAs, a couple Kerrang awards, and a Grammy nomination later. Hell, we just had our second Billboard number one album a couple weeks ago! I guess I can say this now: Mom, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’m getting a real job.
Thanks to everybody who’s supported us over the years. It continues to be a crazy ride.
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