NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rockers Fall Out Boy may have called a time out on music, but bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz isn’t wasting his celebrity status. At 30, he is now an author, entrepreneur, charity spokesman -- and a smiling dad.
Wentz, who was propelled to fame when Fall Out Boy’s mix of energetic, guitar-powered music and angst-ridden lyrics found a home with frustrated suburban U.S. youth, is on a break after the band decided in February to temporarily call it quits.
That means no more Fall Out Boy -- at least for a while, said Wentz, but he did not rule out the band coming back.
“Rather than get to the stage where we would break up or not be friends with each other, we chose to just take a break,” Wentz told Reuters. “If and when we come back it will be for the right reasons, because it’s fun again, (because) we want to be on tour.”
The success of Fall Out Boy was built on its inspiration from likes of punk band The Descendants, pop punk outfit Green Day, as well as The Smiths. Their 2005 album “From Under the Cork Tree,” reached double platinum status after selling more than 2.5 million copies.
Wentz now talks about an aversion to being pigeonholed as a musical artist, no matter what future projects he performs.
“Why do I have to be limited by something that has this 4-4 time signature,” he said, referring to the beat of most pop music.
“I have ideas that extend beyond that and I guess I scratched a lottery ticket enough that, because of my band, people let me do these (other) ideas, and some of them are good, some of them are not so good,” he added.
BEYOND MUSIC, UNICEF VOLUNTEER
These days he is also known for his marriage to Ashlee Simpson, a pop singer, actress and sister of actress Jessica Simpson, as well as a host of other projects he began as his band’s fame rose.
In 2004, he published a book “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side,” also the title of a song by The Smiths.
He also started his own clothing label and film production company, and he owns bars in New York, his former hometown of Chicago, and Barcelona.
Now, add to that charitable work. This week he was named national spokesperson for UNICEF’s Tap Project, the United Nation’s scheme that aims to raise funds for providing clean drinking water to children around the world.
Wentz said he felt inspired to support the cause after a trip to Uganda. Recent floods and landslides in that country have displaced thousands of people, and stagnant water in some areas is posing the risk of disease, according to UNICEF.
UNICEF says 900 million people around the world do not have access to clean water and nearly half of those people are children, who are particularly at risk from waterborne and sanitation related illnesses.
“I think it’s important to use whatever celebrity you have” to help cure social ills, he said.
He and Simpson currently live in California, and the couple have a son, Bronx, who was born in late 2008.
While some couples struggle with the pressure of combining fame, career and a family, Wentz said Bronx brought new depths to their relationship.”
“One of the greatest things I can see is that my wife stepped into the role of being a mother,” he said. “It gave me a whole new appreciation and attraction to my wife to see the mother inside of her.”
Wentz, who has suffered from depressive bipolar disorder, says his son is the perfect remedy. Father and child spent many hours together when mom performed in stage musical “Chicago.”
“He is the best antidote to any problems that I have had mentally,” he said. “His laugh can make me smile.”
Additional reporting by Natasha Israni, Editing by Christine Kearney and Bob Tourtellotte
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