Quick, name a member of the emo-pop band Fall Out Boy that isn’t Pete Wentz. Stumped? Unbeknownst to many casual fans, the Chicago-based rock sensation actually has three other members. Just because Patrick Stump (vocals), Andy Hurley (drums), and Joe Trohman (guitar) aren’t dating Ashlee Simpson, running a record label, opening a bar in downtown Manhattan, operating a clothing line and updating multiple blogs daily, it doesn’t mean they’re any less talented. In fact, on the night I see the group perform live at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, Trohman instantly stands out as the band’s secret weapon. The curly-haired Patrick Dempsey lookalike darts feverishly back and forth across the stage while flinging his guitar in a circle around his neck.
Trohman, the band’s 22-year-old guitarist, grew up in Ohio and Chicago, and co-founded Fall Out Boy with Wentz in high school. Resting at home during a much-needed tour intermission, he preemptively explains the band’s brief hiatus, “People want to know the scoop. â€˜Why do you guys need a break? Is there something wrong with Pete now? Is he partying too hard? Is it something with Ashlee? And we’re like, â€˜Chill out, man.’ We have been touring our asses off for years, we just put out a record and we need some time to refresh the energy for going back on tour.” The record Trohman is referring to isn’t just any record, mind you. _Infinity On High_, the band’s fourth sugary studio album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, sold 265,000 in its first week—an astonishing number in the age of downloading—and opens with a song produced by Babyface and featuring a Jay-Z cameo. “It’s hard to be comfortable around Jay because I’m still totally star struck. But a creative dude like that doesn’t limit himself to only rap. He listens to us and, well, he’s a fan.”
Granted, Ashlee Simpson, Babyface and Jay-Z are impressive names to add to your Blackberry but really, they’re no bassist from Anthrax. “One of the coolest experiences I’ve had recently is meeting Scott Ian,” Trohman brags. “We’ve totally become good friends. We had dinner and totally clicked like one Jewish dude to the other. You know, Scott wrote everything for Anthrax. He’s a rad dude.” What exactly does a 43-year-old heavy metal bassist with a raccoon tail goatee talk about with a guitar-slinging teenage heartthrob? Says Trohman, “I just recommended David Mamet’s book _The Wicked Son_ to him. The book’s actually inspired me to get back into religion a bit. It kind of opened my eyes.” Perhaps that’s why Trohman is currently sporting a lengthy, curly locks and a beard that’s grown beyond the initial itching stage. Or maybe it’s just laziness. But whatever the reason, that hair is definitely proof that the certified rock star is not a “boy” anymore. “We all think the band name pretty much sucks,” he says about the moniker that the group shares with a _Simpsons_ character, “And we’re stuck with being Fall Out Boy forever. But hey, so far it’s working for us.” Here’s hoping that despite their successes, Fall Out Boy does have the occasional reason for complaint, or the emo super stars might very well run out of things to sing about.