Aerosmith and Run D.M.C. did it in 1986 with the single “Walk This Way.” Linkin Park and Jay-Z did it in 2004 with the album “Collision Course.”
And right now, Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa are doing it: shrewdly marrying the rock and rap genres, that is – in this case not to make a song or a CD, but as the basis for a major summer concert tour that smashes to bits the mold typically used for major summer concert tours.
The two acts are co-headlining “The Boys of Zummer Tour,” which stops at PNC Music Pavilion Sunday.
Rapper Khalifa is officially the King of Summer, with his “See You Again” (an ode to the late Paul Walker used in the blockbuster action movie “Furious 7”) still sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 after 11 straight weeks.
But we can only assume Fall Out Boy – riding high on the success of “Munsters”-theme-song-sampling hit “Uma Thurman” – is the tour’s primary draw, since in two dozen previous shows the rock band has taken the stage last.
We spoke with Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump prior to the two acts hitting the road last month, and here’s what we learned about egos, identities, legacies and making music that’s big with football fans.
Yeah, Wiz goes on first, but FOB would have been happy to lead off, too. “That’s lawyer stuff. I don’t even care,” says Stump, 31. “We’ve never really been a big ego band. When we have a tour together with another band, we never say, ‘Well, we want the bigger dressing room and we want this...’ And in that regard, he (Wiz) is on the same exact level. He’s like, ‘I’m here to play a show. I don’t care.’ We’re both just there to make everyone have the best night.”
In some ways, Wiz and FOB aren’t as different as they seem. The band’s brand of rock is amorphous – emo-punk might be the closest one can get to a label – and punctuated by Stump’s soulful voice; Khalifa, meanwhile, often incorporates a sing-songy delivery into his raps that sets him apart. “Wiz is a very similar kind of creature to us, in that we’ve always felt a little bit like an island,” Stump explains. Also: “Wiz had his own following in Pittsburgh, before he had major labels calling and radio and all that other stuff, and there’s something about that that we really relate to.” FOB, led by bassist Pete Wentz and his early grasp of social media, laid a foundation for success by making a name for itself in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Ill.
For Fall Out Boy, staying relevant means staying open-minded. Stump says the challenge is: How can the band – which also includes guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley – react to the times while maintaining its identity? But he’s also got a pretty good answer. “All four of us have completely different taste in music, and that has helped us to have different frames of reference. ... If you have a genuine love of lots of music, then (your own music) is gonna resonate that much more; it will come off as honest when you try new things. It’s not some put-on. ... It makes more sense for us to put out the same record over and over again. We just don’t like doing that.”
At the same time, the band realizes it can’t go too crazy with its music. “You have to consider your legacy,” Stump starts, then interrupts himself: “I still can’t get over the idea that I really actually do this for a living.” But back to his point. “It’s hard to fathom that we’re a band that 20 years from now... I mean, we’ll never be Led Zeppelin or the Beatles, but in our own little way, there will be someone who is like, ‘Oh yeah, Fall Out Boy!’ So that’s a responsibility that – as not-seriously as we take ourselves sometimes – you do have to take seriously, with every record.”
And then there are the things you just can’t prepare for – like creating a song that becomes ... something you never intended for it to be. Take “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” (Thanks for the Memories) and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” two Fall Out Boy hits that became go-tos on running playlists, in gyms and at pro sports events. “It’s all surprising to me, but I love it,” Stump says, “because you see different sides of your own music. Like, in a weird way, I never heard ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark’ the way other people heard it until I heard it in a sporting arena. And there’s no way to know when you’re writing a song. It just doesn’t happen that way. Unless... you know what? Next time we write a record, I think we’ll rent out Soldier Field and we’ll hire 100,000 people to be there while we write it,” he says, chuckling, “and we’ll just see what they all sing along with.”
Fall Out Boy
The rock band co-headlines the Boys of Zummer Tour with rapper Wiz Khalifa.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.
DETAILS: 704-549-5555; www.livenation.com.