Pete Wentz Explains Why Fall Out Boy’s Updated “We Didn’t Start The Fire” Isn’t Chronological And Doesn’t Mention COVID
Earlier today, Fall Out Boy put out an abominable version of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” updated with events from the past 30+ years. Pete Wentz talked about why he did what he did in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. He explains the choice to not have it be in (mostly) chronological order like the Billy Joel original and why he didn’t mention COVID, certainly something that has happened in the last 30 years.
“Dude, honestly, this idea has been brewing for so long,” Wentz told Lowe. “I’ve been trying to get somebody to do this for so long because it just seems so perfect.” He continued:
30 years later … I’ve been trying to do it. So we’re 34 years later, I think. And so I’ve been trying to get somebody to do it for … four years. And finally Patrick [Stump] was like, “We should just do it.” And listen, this song was just a … I remember listening to the original when I was little and I was like, “I don’t know what half this stuff is.” And it made me look up a bunch of this stuff. So, it was just interesting thinking about the stuff we would include versus you wouldn’t. Because there’s some stuff that was in the original that kind of is lost to the sands of time. You know what I mean? So yeah, we just did it. We put it together. It’s just a fun, goofy thing, you know what I mean?
Listen, we did our best. It’s very, very, very difficult. His is not totally in chronological order, but it’s more in chronological order than ours. We just wanted the JFK blown away line, and clearly, I think that the World Trade one was a little more… that was probably… People probably felt a similar way. You remember where you were or whatever. So it’s just a little bit out of order, but it is what it is. Listen, we wanted the Internet to still have something to complain about.
I think that the beauty of the way that music and art works now is that you put something out there. If it misses, it kind of just doesn’t go anywhere. And if people like it, then it becomes a thing. But you can put a lot more things kind of out into the ether and it just becomes white noise, if people don’t like it. You know what I mean? People don’t go, “The Fall Out Boy cover of ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ ruined their career. They were good until then.” It just doesn’t exist in that way anymore, really.
“There were things that were in that we kind of bailed on because we thought other things were more important and less important,” Wentz continued. “The thing I liked about the original is that it’s just kind of a time capsule, so it’s just got things in it, but there’s no judgment on it or whatever. It’s just of like, ‘Here are these things that happened.’ There’s triumphant characters and there’s despair and it’s just kind of the tapestry of human existence. And so, I think we kind of tried to do that.”
As to why no COVID? “It’s like, that’s all anybody talked… You know what I mean? I don’t know. It felt like there was a couple of things that felt like a little on the nose. And then there were a couple of things where it was like … Bush V. Gore, we needed the rhyme.”