For a minute, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy was most famous for his marriage and bun in the oven with Ashlee Simpson. After gracing the cover of Out magazine, though, everyone is talking about him for different reasons. We didn’t know all that much about him before, but this interview shows a level of personal insight and social awareness that we have to respect. There was a good deal of juicy info, so we just put the quote, straight from Out:
“Will you get flak for having someone like me on the cover?” he asks, sounding more concerned for the magazine’s reputation than his own.
It’s a convincing performance. Even his longtime manager, Bob McLynn, says he spent at least a year wondering. “I thought maybe Pete was actually gay,” McLynn says. “I know guys who are gay who would sleep with girls. I wouldn’t have been that surprised.” Asking Wentz did nothing to clear things up: “He would try to act like he was to push my buttons.”
Then there are the interviews in which Wentz refers to himself as “half gay,” says “anything above the waist is fair game,” and boasts of making out with boys, even when corporate sponsors or fans’ parents balked or boycotted. The more uncomfortable or conservative his audience, the less likely he is to give them an easy out. Plus, few reporters ask for further clarification when confronted with an ambiguous, moody rock star, so single sentences wind up as stand-ins for self-defining declarations.
He doesn’t seem to think he has much to prove to Out, and I ask a lot of follow-up questions. Wentz answers them all, even when he’s not sure I’ll like the answers. “When I said that I make out with dudes, there was a slight sense of sexual rebellion in that,” he admits. “And I probably even made it a bigger deal than it was.” He thinks the first time he kissed a guy was when he was 16 or 17, probably on a dare at a party: “Like, ‘You make out with this dude and we’ll make out.’ ” And of later experiments, at 18 or 19, he says it was more like, “I’m going to try this thing.” And most recently? He actually apologizes before responding. “A long time ago,” he says with a slight wince. “Probably when I was 22?”