This past week has been the most stressful for the city of Boston because of the public transit being in complete disarray, the national guard coming to help clear out the massive amounts of snow (FYI there is no where to put it), and the amount of inhumanity I have seen in a long time; all in one week. Needless to say, I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time on the public transit where lately it takes me about two and half hours to get work and another two and half hours to get home. I have learned that my kindle is my godsend and my iPod is my savor; they have both gotten a workout trying to keep me sane. For those of you who don’t live in Boston, the commute is comparable to the reaction of George Feeny and Corey Matthews in “Boy Meets World” after they ride a death defying roller coaster. Basically an entire city speechless and wanting to scream…a lot.
On my lovely commute, I have had a lot of time to spend in my head. Have you ever had the music you are listening to become the soundtrack of your life, and you create this giant story line in your head from the people you meet throughout the day, then base everything on the lyrics and music on your playlist? Fall Out Boy’s new album “American Beauty/ American Psycho” has done just that. Fall Out Boy’s catalog has been in my music selection since their first album in 2003 “Take This to Your Grave.” Patrick Stump has a voice that you can get lost in and the band has become inventive with playing with voice pitches during choruses and harmonies as well as connecting with the digital synth technology and combining that with their rock sound makes for an edge to their new album.
The trumpet type sound that comes in on “Irresistible” creates a powerhouse introduction on what to expect is going to be big, and in Boston’s case it’s a transportation war. Stump sings, “Too many war wounds and not enough wars, Too few rounds in the ring and not enough settled scores.” As a city drowns in snow the day must go on even though it has been a constant struggle to get to work or home, but this city is full of fighters and as this thought rolls through my head “Immortal” begins to play. Stump says “Sometimes the only payoff for having any faith, Is when it’s tested again and again everyday” and with this line I see an old women get pushed over at a shuttle stop. As I helped her up it brought me to a realization that you can be someone’s superhero by having compassion and even for a moment you can be immortal. As my shuttle commute came to an end “Favorite Record” began to play, and as the guitar came in it reminded me of dancing with my friends at home this past Christmas to old school hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll, which made my frustration subside for a moment. The thought of a simple moment in time can make you laugh no matter how bad your day has been and bring you to a moment of peace.
Fall Out Boy, you showed me that music can bring you out of the dark, gave me a soundtrack that brought me back from the edge of this horrible transportation week, and are continuing to push the boundaries of your music through new technologies, power brass instruments, and lyrics that brought me back to a place of humanity. “You were the song stuck in my head. Every song I’ver ever loved, played again and again.”
Behind every favorite band their is an artist, and behind every artist there is a fan. Fans are what drive the music industry’s success, but without the blood, sweat and tears of the artist the music would never cease to exist. John Janick, current CEO of Interscope Records, started off as just a fan of music and rose to the business executive he is today. In 1996, as a young college student at University of Florida in Gainesville, he started his own record label with Vinnie Fiorello (drummer/ lyricist) from the band Less Than Jake. The clever man that Janick is, he named it after the one food that every college student eats because they are broke, and in his case really broke because he invested every last dime he had into the label. If you guessed the food was ramen you were right. The label is called Fueled By Ramen. In 1998 the company released an EP that broke the success of the label by a little band called Jimmy Eat World from Arizona. The success didn’t stop there. In 2003, the label released an album called ‘Take This To Your Grave’ by a Chicago group called Fall Out Boy. A few years later Janick and Pete Wentz (Bassist) from Fall Out Boy collaborated to start Decaydance Records (rebranded as DCD2 in 2014) which became connected with Fueled By Ramen. Decaydance Records and Fueled By Ramen success continued by the release of albums by signed artists such as The Academy Is…(2004), Gym Class Heroes (2005), Panic! At the Disco (2005), and The Cab (2008). After eleven years of success, Janick signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records and moved Fueled By Ramen to New York City where it still lives today (1). Even though Janick is now CEO at Interscope his legacy lives on at Fueled By Ramen where it all started with a kid’s love of music and a dream. So don’t give up on your dream. Continue to fight for what you want, and do everything in your power to build connections and knowledge.
Wanting to be involved in artist development, I am currently reading a lot of books on music business, reading liner notes from albums, and stalking music history of bands online. I have come to realize that everything is interconnected in the music industry and that almost every band I listened to as a teenager, and in my early 20s was because of this guy. So, I guess you can say that this post is a thank you letter to the man that is John Janick. Thank you for caring enough about the music and not the money, thank you for understanding that an artist needs to be involved in all aspects of their identity to have success, and thank you for introducing me to punk inspired rock/ pop that put me ahead of the curve in college.
Click on Spotify Playlist for some of my favorite songs and artists that John Janick had a hand in developing and releasing as Co-Founder at Fueled By Ramen. As Janick said in an interview for the book It All Begins With the Music, “No Food, No Sleep, Just Music.”