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About a Boy

Chicago’s North Shore hardly seems the crucible for edgy punk-pop. But with a new CD that’s already gone gold, and jam-packed concert crowds, Fall Out Boy has burst out of the suburbs (even though most of the band members still live with their parents).

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Photo: Paul Natkin

Meet Fall Out Boy: (from left) Joe Trohman, Andy Hurley, Patrick Stump, and Pete Wentz

Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz are standing on one side of the wire mesh fence behind the stage where their band, Fall Out Boy, has just finished performing a concert for a crowd of thousands of Chicago-area teenagers. Now scores of those kids, most of them girls, are on the other side of the fence trying to get autographs. They hand shirts and hats over the top and pass ticket stubs through the mesh, while the musicians scribble signatures at a wrist-wracking pace.

“Will you say hello to my girlfriend?” a boy asks, passing his cell phone to Wentz.

The bass player doesn’t miss a beat. “Was your day cool even though you weren’t here?” Wentz demands into the phone, still furiously signing autographs.

“Will you sign my pants?” a girl asks Stump.

“Absolutely,” he replies, sticking his pen through the fence to scribble on her leg. (“What a waste of a pair of pants,” he’d remarked earlier of the frequent request; he says he draws the line at signing butts and breasts.)

“They’re some of the nicest guys,” observes Ashley Winkiel, a 15-year-old fan from Lombard and veteran of multiple Fall Out Boy shows, as she stands off to the side. “They’re so genuine and they’ll do anything for a fan.”

The fans and the signatures keep coming for more than 15 minutes until the band’s skin-headed security guard, Charlie Mark, drags Stump and Wentz back to their tour bus. Even then, a few girls give chase, doing an end run around the bus to head them off at its entrance, where Mark shoos them away.

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