By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
Contrast this reality check with the Boys' experiences at August's MTV Video Awards. Wentz and cohorts Joe Trohman, Andy Hurley and Patrick Stump won the viewer-chosen MTV2 Award for the clip promoting their breakout hit "Sugar, I'm Going Down," and the victory catapulted them to an exalted level of celebrity, at least for one night. "We were definitely among the least famous people there," Wentz says, "but we got to meet everybody from Ice-T to Paris Hilton. And we hung out a lot with the hip-hop guys at the Def Jam party -- Jay-Z, Ludacris." According to him, rap's rulers "seem to have an affinity for Fall Out Boy," despite their inability to name any of its members. "They knew us as the band with antlers in the video," he admits.
Luckily for Wentz and company, the '80s-esque mini-movie they made for "Dance, Dance," the latest single to jump off From Under the Cork Tree, their major-label debut, has also been embraced by MTV -- and it's entirely antler-free. (Wentz had to learn some choreography during the opus's filming, and for his instructor, he says, "It was like trying to teach a rock how to move.") Whether the followup's success portends a long-term career is another matter. Tree brims with hooky tunes that are distinguished from the pop-punk pack by Wentz's sense of snottiness; after being warned that he was courting legal action by naming the album's first cut "My Name Is David Ruffin and These are the Temptations," he switched the moniker to "Our Lawyers Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued." Too bad the Boys' audience is dominated by tweens and young teens who may not stick around for the long haul. Yet Wentz isn't complaining. "If we could be somebody's first concert, or the first band that gets them into other bands they think are cooler, that's not a bad legacy to have," he notes.
Besides, he can always retreat to his old room, which is packed with his favorite things -- most of them parent-approved. They include a Where the Wild Things Are poster; fliers from hardcore acts such as Bane; a platinum record by the Cure given to him by his manager; some imported Morrissey vinyl that he mounted on his bathroom walls; and some bitchin' doodads from his formative years. "I have Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain from He-Man," he boasts. "I have the Cats' Lair from Thundercats. I have so many toys it's ridiculous."
With cool stuff like that, why would he ever leave?