An Open Letter to Pat Stump

I feel bad for Pat Stump and I feel bad for him in myriad ways that can’t be easily summed up. A quick background for those of you who are stupid or old: Pat Stump is/was the singer of the uber successful pop-punk band Fall Out Boy. However, he’s not the guy you think of when you think of Fall Out Boy. That guy is Pete Wentz, who is the bassist, lyricist and unofficial face of the band and was briefly Mr. Ashlee Simpson (side note: AshlEE? Nice spelling, hicks). Though Pete was always quick to point out in interviews that Pat Stump was a ‘genius of pop songcraft,’ he never really got much credit in the band that he sang for. And when the world soured on Fall Out Boy, after the release of their album [something French that I’m not gonna look up] the two guys in the back (the guitarist and the drummer) regrouped semi-anonymously (and made a surprisingly decent song with the dude from Anthrax and the singer of ETID), Pete continued on his track of being a tabloid star who’s famous for being famous and Pat Stump lost a bunch of weight, got some hairplugs and put out a record called Soul Punk, which (and I’m guessing a bit here) was not well received.

It’s easy to malign Pat Stump. Lord knows I have, on more than one occasion referred to him as ‘the Pillsbury Doughboy if he shopped at hot topic and wore ridiculous hats.’ And that’s fine. That’s what happens when you’re famous. Dumb shitheads who have it vastly worse than you, who are uglier than you, who are stupider than you, who have no business making fun of anyone at all, make fun of you loudly and often. I don’t think that Pat is unaware of this universal truth. In fact, I know he’s not, because yesterday(?) he published this little piece about why he’s been super bummed out lately. I read it and it made me sad.

Right away, I’ll tell you that Pat’s piece is refreshingly sincere and unguarded while still being self-aware enough to realize that he’s gonna get even more shit for daring to express dissatisfaction with what many consider to be an ideal life. Again, that’s how it is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t want people being as cruel as they can possibly be to you, mercilessly mocking your looks, your abilities, your dreams, your ideas, your kids, wishing death and worse upon you and your loved ones (and this is if you’re a guy. If you’re a female, god help you. There is no persona that needs to be more bulletproof than a famous female), then you should never, ever attempt to publically express yourself, creatively or otherwise. This is the way the world is, and more to the point, this is the way human beings are. Humans can be nice in close quarters, but consider the fact that even your sweet grandmother has celebrities that she doesn’t like for reasons that she SHOULD be smart enough to understand are frivolous. She doesn’t know the Kardashians. She knows that the show is at least somewhat scripted and sensationalized. She respects the old timey values of maximizing every advantage that comes your way. She’s never met Kim, but she still just doesn’t like her. And that’s your nice grandma who even likes your shithead friends that even your other shithead friends can’t stand. Imagine how crappy the kneejerk reactions of your shithead friends are when they see Pat Stump up there, being rich and famous for doing things that they feel that they do better, completely stinking up the place with his bullshit. They’re ALREADY mean shitheads. Completely remove the humanity of actual interpersonal interaction and they’re talking about pissing on his dead mom’s grave and punching his ugly girlfriend in the stomach so she doesn’t give birth to his retarded baby (I have no idea if Pat Stump has a dead mom or a girlfriend. I’m merely illustrating the cruelty spree that is celebrity shit talking) before the chorus of Dance Dance even kicks in.

And nobody hates you more than someone who loves you. Listen to Yankees fans talk about the Yankees. Listen to linguists discuss modern vernacular. Listen to your mom talk about your hair. Think about how fucking infuriating it is when your best friend slurps their coffee or mispronounces that one word that he always does or whatever and you’ll realize this is true.

By that logic, Pat Stump, no one hates your music more than people who love your music.  And you have realized this shitty paradox and it’s broken you for the moment. But you need not feel broken. Here’s why:

Firstly, you are the one that’s in charge, whether it seems like it or not. Here’s what I mean: everyone is an armchair quarterback. Everyone who likes something thinks they know exactly how to make it better or to keep it successful in the face of perceived mismanagement. This is a universal human trait (this is even MORE universal than the notion of people being cruel to public figures, in fact) and it manifests in sports, politics, writing, television and music. But those people (us, because all of us do this), about 99.9999999 percent of the time have NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT. People don’t respond well to change. That’s why, to be successful, you need to not only embrace, but initiate change constantly. It’s the single most important ingredient to success. People have all sorts of fancy words for this, like being ‘visionary’ or ‘out there’ or ‘fearless’ but these are all just euphemisms for being able to anticipate, precipitate and weather the storm of change. That’s all vision is. Ever.

If everyone really knew what Bill Belichick should do, or how Bob Dylan should style his career or what kinds of novels Vonnegut should stick to writing, they’d be able to do the things that these hyper-successful individuals with long, successful careers have done. The people aren’t right. They have no fucking idea what they’re talking about. Anyone who’s truly successful has become successful and maintained their success precisely BECAUSE they’ve confounded people at large over and over again. That’s THE WHOLE THING. If you never buck expectations you’re John Irving, and eventually your fans turn on you and say “that dude never tried anything different over the course of his career. Yawn.”

I’m not saying that there aren’t missteps along the way, but to doubt your own taste, the taste and ability to envision change and weather the inevitable storm that comes with any change, the taste that got you here in the first place, is the kiss of death, because in order to be able to stay relevant, you need to change. And in order to keep changing, you need to be confident. Everyone puts out a dud of a record or has a bad season or accidentally shits during a big double anal scene, but if you don’t fail, you’re not trying very hard. The key is to weather the storm and trust that people around you will some day catch up, and if they never do, well, fuck em. You’re already on to the next thing anyway, Pat Stump. Do you see what I’m saying?

You put out a record and no one liked it. That stinks. Then, you went solo, got your appearance in order and came out with a new record and no one liked the record and no one liked the fact that you’d cleaned up your act either. Yeah. That happens. Nobody likes to see someone else improve themselves, especially when it’s in matters of concretely fixable cosmetic things like hair and weight. No one wants to be fat and bald and when people see someone else taking steps to improve themselves, the kneejerk reaction is to call that person insecure, or to otherwise pooh pooh the results. The truth is, it takes a lot of balls to be the fat guy in the gym. It takes a lot of balls to lay your insecurities bare and face them head on.  So fuck those people who said you looked better fat. That’s one of the most transparently wimpy things someone can say to make themselves feel better about not improving themselves. You’ve gotta get a nutsack on you, Pat Stump. Which brings me to my next point:

You made a couple of albums people didn’t like. Boo fucking hoo. Even Willie Nelson has piles and piles of records that are completely dull and forgettable (in fact, I have a pile or two of completely forgettable Willie Nelson albums in my house). If you completely flip out every time you do something that isn’t the next Sugar, We’re goin Down, well, you’re in for a sad life full of disappointments. You’re only 27. You’re not dead, or even thirty, for fucks sake.  This is a remarkably cruel business (you know this vastly better than I do) but it’s pretty fucking easy to ignore. So you fucked up. Good. That means you tried something. So people don’t like you skinny. Fuck them. That means they’re dildos. And they’re probably fat dildos.

The one thing that I, speaking as a spokesman for the entire rest of the world who isn’t you, will not tolerate in our celebrities, Pat Stump, is a lack of confidence. It’s the kiss of death. Desperation is the Corey Feldmanian stench that accompanies a sapping of confidence. And that’s when shit starts getting gross. Your open letter/essay deal was actually, (as I stated way back at the beginning of this) a remarkably frank and brave way to grapple with your (sorry to use this word like this) ‘feelings’ but it treads dangerously close to being the death rattle of bravery.

Sure, you can crap out now and say things like “well, I guess I won’t perform anymore because none of you want to see it” which may be true and may be what makes you happiest, but do you see why it’s also kind of pathetic?

You’re better than that, Pat Stump. You got your shit together and did something brave after you put out some record that people hated and apparently booed. You made a weird record that threw everyone for a curve. That’s ballsy. Now you’re sad because your weird album and transformation took people by surprise? What the fuck did you think would happen? Sounds like you’re giving up at the exactly wrong time. You’ve confounded everyone. Nowhere to go but wherever you want, man.

Call me. We’ll rap about this more in person.
Woot.

 

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46 Responses to An Open Letter to Pat Stump

  1. Brian K says:

    Didn’t you play a show or two with Fall Out Boy?

  2. Joe says:

    You’re a real bro, Brendan.

  3. thedollardrafts says:

    this is a good entry. solid advice

  4. fart master says:

    I saw fob open for less than Jake a long time ago. I had no Idea who they were. I just knew that they played some shitty music. A year or 2 later. My nephew was telling me he was into punk and fallout boy was his fav. I just remember thinking fuck, your idea of punk and my idea of punk are way different. Do you think if they wouldn’t have marketed themselves as a punk band things would have been different. I could care less what they call themselves. I just think if they called themselves a boy band or whatever people wouldn’t have shit on them so hard. Imagine if a band was calling themselves metal and putting out music like Phil Collins people would freak. But if that band came out and said were a soft rock easy listening band they’d be huge with older gay men.

    • Anonymous says:

      you truly are a fart master

    • Tom says:

      To be fair, I don’t think they ever labeled themselves as a “punk” band.

      • fart master says:

        Like I said I could care less if people call them punk or what. I just know how fickle and weird the punk community can be. And was just questioning if that could have something to do with why people hate this band so much. It might have nothing to do with it.

        • FranklinStein says:

          exactly how much less could you care?

        • ELs says:

          Listen.. ‘I could care less’ does not make sense.. ‘I couldn’t care less’ however definitely makes what you’re trying to say more applicable. By saying you ‘could’ care less means you could care less then you already do. This implies that you at least care a little bit, which goes completely against what you are trying to say! Now I’m not having ago at the American lingo. Of course the trunk of a car looks more like a trunk then a boot which us English people call it.. and yes, the side walk is the bit on the side that you walk on, makes perfect sense. But ‘I could care less’ ? That’s just fuckin’ stupid! Stop it.

          • Lemony Persnickius Presents What a Fucking Faggot says:

            Man, nothing ruins shit faster than spelling out the obvious. Way to go Hedwig McGrinovich.

  5. mg says:

    im not into label but I’d hardly call less than jake punk either.

  6. mg says:

    never mind I read less than jake but thought of bowling for soup for some reason.

  7. Housewrecker says:

    I remember playing a couple shows with Fallout Boy around 2002. I thought the band and the style were absolutely terrible. Not my cup of tea. However, I remember talking to them about touring and whatever…and Patrick gave me his cell number and said, “Call me if you ever need a place to crash in Chicago”. Whether he plays fire halls or arenas, that’s who he’ll always be do me – just a generally nice dude with different musical tastes than me.

    • db says:

      Yeah, I thought much the same after reading his blog that BK linked. It sucks when someone does something for themselves and gets shat on, even if you don’t personally like it (unless you hate it, in which case it’s fair game! trololol). I tried to post a comment there saying much the same thing, and link him back to BK’s letter, but I have to use Facebook (barf) and it’s not working; I’m sure he’s been informed about it already, anyway.

  8. matt burke says:

    this was absolutely incredible.

  9. Aww sheeeeit says:

    “whether the storm of change”

    lmfao

  10. Teresa says:

    This is very similar to your Bad Religion post from a while back. everyone’s an expert.

  11. muah says:

    haha patrick hates being called pat because pat is his mom’s name. nice anal sex poop reference. A lot of people enjoyed Soul Punk and Truant Wave, so yeah…

  12. Amanda says:

    I know a girl who used to date Patrick Stump. He’s apparently a sweet dude. She just couldn’t handle being attacked by fans and having to frantically run out the back when they were trying to go to the Schaumburg Olive Garden or having Paris Hilton make bitchface at her while she was just trying to pee at the VMAs.

  13. The more I pay any attention to Brendan Kelly, the more I think he is an absolute knob. This guy is 30 whatever and thinks he is cool because he loves Lady gaga and puts out a shitty pop record. Mate fuck off eh?

    You’re ‘new direction’ is shite.

    You are an absolute toss-pot.

    Nobody but 400 Lawence Arms fans even cares about your opinions. And most of them are starting to give up.

    I wish you the best dude, but artistically? You’ve got nothing to offer me.

    I think I’ll leave you to your 2000s blog posting, and cherish the genuine beauty that is every single Lawrence Arms album that exists.

    Right now though? You’re just some bitter has-been.

    I realize the irony of this post, and I’m content with it.

    • mosh4jeebus says:

      In Brendan’s defense, I’d rather be a “bitter has-been” than a douchey never-been.

    • chupcabrando says:

      good lord that’s a lot of hostility. cat got your cock?

    • Hesher says:

      Is that you, punknews douchenozzle extraordinaire ‘EazyD3’? lulz~

    • Giant Orange says:

      Did you really say ‘toss pot’? What are you, fucking retarded?

    • Hamilton Martin says:

      “This guy is 30 whatever”

      Man, people aren’t allowed to get older. That’s so not punk rock. Aging, dude, that’s just like the total toss-pottiest thing that can happen to a major dude. You are a total douche

    • Anonymous says:

      Pontification? (18 Inches reference.) I think I <3 you! :)

    • Josh Rock says:

      As far as Brendan being a bitter has been: he’s always been talking and acting this way, so I don’t think it’s because he is bitter, maybe he just has some balls. and as far as the has been, I myself would like the comfort at times in thinking this but the fact is, he’s not. some of my friends describe him as a legend and whether or fact the guy is a dick sometimes or seems conceited maybe. the fact is he is the real deal and respected world wide. He is one of the faces of Chicago punk rock. I’d never call him a has been as long as he lives revolution and making a difference to make the world a better place. I’ll say this, I used to be friends with the subject over 10 years ago. we had a falling out because I believed a false rumor about him. He’ll never talk with me again as I’m sure he thinks im a piece of shit because of it, but no matter what, I’ll never be able to say the guy isn’t someone, he’s made a great impact and that cannot be discredited no matter how arrogant or cocky he may come across with his style of personality and writing. You may be able to accuse him of being a dick from time to time, but the thing is he knows what he’s talking about and is highly educated and should be respected. He’s up there with Brian Peterson with being one of the most important and respected persons in the history of Chicago punk rock. I may not go to his shows or ever talk to him again, but if I was walking down the street and it was 10 guys to 1 against that guy, I’d have his back and you probably should to.

      Sincerely,
      some guy they call Josh Rock

  14. Anonymous says:

    Vonnegut is dead.

  15. CM says:

    Am I the only one who cringed every time he called him Pat? Other then that I think this is good advice.

  16. Heiner says:

    A very well written and clever blog entry. I’m neither a Patrick Stump fan nor do I know you or anything you’ve done, but I could none the less enjoy this piece of writing.

  17. Jamie says:

    The part that bothered me most about Patty Pat Stumpington’s original post was: why does he think he can’t go back to playing basement shows? Everyone can go back to playing basement shows.

  18. Basement Shows says:

    No he can’t. We had a major falling out, boy, sometime around 2004 because he played me for a trick when I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

  19. SB says:

    People actually read your blog?

  20. dustyfloors says:

    Was “Soul Punk” really that bad? I took a 13 y.o. cousin to the Metro to see this dude’s show and the stuff wasn’t horrible. Was I that drunk?

  21. Alex says:

    I totally loved this post. The piece by Pat was really inspiring. I found this article in response to his post and I thought it really spoke to what you were saying as well. http://www.goradio.com/meta/news-trends/an-open-letter-back-to-patrick-stump-1.3310

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  24. fancy carrion says:

    dude you are a legend!

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