Can you explain how FN MTV came about from idea to reality, and how you became involved?
Well, we had an idea for a show to be on a music network that would play only videos, play some vintage videos, and had the idea to be on MTV as the name is Music Television. They came back, Jesse from Den of Thieves Production came back with the idea of, "What if we put it on Friday nights this summer and gave it more of a live feel to it? We'll have live acts on there, no lip syncing, and it'll be FN MTV." I was like, "That's pretty sweet, Friday night, MTV." It was a back and forth because I don't think people really realize how large of a corporate world MTV is. The decisions don't happen overnight. But for me, when I post a blog, it sometimes hurries the decisions along a little bit faster because people react.
You were talking about the vintage videos. Did you have the creative control to choose them or was that something that MTV did? I had the creative control to choose from. There's some stuff that's harder to get than others. The interesting thing about is that when videos are played on TRL or something like that, they're considered played for promotional purposes and you don't have to pay for them. On a show like FN MTV, I think we actually have to pay for the videos. It's probably a little cheaper to get...Fresh Prince than The Beatles' "'68" in Germany. They gave me the video vault, and there's so many videos for me to choose from that it's insane. I thought it was going to be this kind of abridged list, but it's insane. Every video you could ever imagine is on the list.
Who should we expect to see in some of these older videos?
I went and did some man-on-the-street stuff for promos and actually 90% of the people came back and said their favorite video of all time was a Michael Jackson video. So we're definitely going to play something of Michael's. I'm probably going to play The Cure's "Pictures of You." I'm thinking about playing The Replacements. I was thinking about playing some Blink, too. A lot of people were saying they wanted to see some Blink. I have a little bit of leeway to mess around with, and the cool thing is that some of the new videos are actually really cool. This Snoop Dogg video is going to probably blow everyone's mind. I can't even explain what people should expect.
How does your new show differ from Steven's Untitled Rock Show?
Well, different network. I think that the difference between the two shows would be that we're showing as far as the videos that are being showcased, it's going to be only world premieres, so it's going to be the first time you ever see the video on TV. For example, this Snoop Dogg video is a country song that he did with Willie Nelson, and that's the first time that anyone's going to see it on TV. And then, I don't know if Steven's Untitled has a rule about lip syncing, but we're going to have a pretty strict policy of bands coming on and playing and playing it themselves. And then the format itself is a little different from Steven's Untitled. I don't want to give too much away, but we actually have a panel that's going to have two panelists that do color commentary afterwards and then we're going to have live blogging so people can be like, "Oh yeah, that video sucked," or "Oh, that video was awesome." And then we're going to have a special guest on that panel each week as well. So it's going to be more of an audience-based show. We're going to have about 120 people in the actual area next to the stage, and then in the whole place there's going to be between 100 and 200 people or something like that. There's going to be a big crowd. I don't know how it will feel yet because I haven't been on the soundstage; I've only seen pictures of it so far.
As you know, a lot of the readers on Absolutepunk probably aren't the most avid MTV watchers, even if some of them are still fans of the band. Here's your chance to sort of sell the new show to that group of people who might be a bit skeptical. This is what I would say. It's kind of stupid, but it's how the Internet works, but it's kind of stupid to hate something before you've seen it. Watch one episode and then decide how you feel about it. It's not going to be what a lot of people expect for many reasons, and some of it will be what people expect. We've got 52 minutes of airtime; MTV gave us limited commercial interruptions. Is there still going to be a commercial there? Yeah. Is some kid going to be pissed off about that? Yeah. I feel like a lot of times people complain because sandpaper is too rough, you know? I don't think that this show is going to revolutionize the world. It's not going to change music. It doesn't show that Pete Wentz is the hero of the MTV generation or anything like that. All I wanted to see is some more videos get played on MTV and I think a lot of people say that they hate reality TV. But I think that we'll see whether they really do or they don't from a show like this. There are other successful versions of shows like this. I like Steven's Untitled Rock Show. I think it's a great show. I think Steven's a great dude, and my band will keep participating in that. I think there are a lot of different outlets to see a lot of different bands and people should check it out if they get a chance, but if they don't, that's fine too.
I was reading an article in Billboard that said you guys have started writing a little for the new album. At this point, where do you see some of the songs going stylistically or thematically compared to Infinity on High? It's so hard to say because right now it's Patrick in Garage Band. So they all sound kind of like the soundtrack to The Goonies II videogame. Fall Out Boy has been a band that's been about natural growth. We've never tried to pull a 180. We've never made a conscious attempt to change direction or something like that. I don't know. It's way too early in the process to really tell.
Has hosting the new show given you any aspirations to get further into television and movies as your career continues? No, not really. I think that I'm pretty content with what I do. I realize that I waited around for Snoop Dogg to show up at my house yesterday and I realize that being on the other end of things isn't the greatest or the easiest. I've been dipping my toe in the water. If I had been able to talk to myself ten years ago and say that Snoop Dogg's going to be taking your dog for a walk on camera, I would have just punched myself in the face and said "You're a liar." I don't really any bigger aspirations than that. I can't believe that it's where it is right now.
Is there anything you'd like to add to our readers about the show, about the music, anything? That I am actually genuinely excited about the show. I think there's going to be a couple of things in the first episode that are going to shock people a little bit. A couple of collaborations that are going to be a little bit weird and kind of cool. I think people should watch out for that. Other than that, I'll try to die in a car accident for the readers that need that.
Thanks to Pete for taking the time to do this, and also to My-lan from Fanscape and MTV for making this possible.