Fall Out Boy must have the golden touch: nearly every band it tours with or helps land a record deal (many on bassist Pete Wentz's label Decaydance) seems poised to hit it big. "We all want to be the biggest bands on the planet," Wentz says, "but I want it to be honest, intelligent pop music, not this simple thing [that] people get right away." Here's an update on Chicago's number-one-with-a-bullet band and some of its protégés-known hereafter as FOFOB (Friends of Fall Out Boy).

Fall Out Boy

chicago band Fall Out Boy In February, the pop-punk chart toppers released Infinity on High, the follow-up to their double-platinum 2005 smash From Under the Cork Tree. "We strived not to do the ‘interesting second record,' because that's when bands lose who they are," lead singer Patrick Stump says. Nonetheless, Infinity on High adds a healthy dose of funk (and a collaboration with R&B giant Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds) to FOB's trademark mix of careening guitars and anthemic melodies. The more varied sound reflects Stump's love of classic soul music-which he attributes to listening to local oldies radio DJ Dick Biondi while growing up in Glenview.

The Academy Is . . .

Chicago band And the Academy is This north suburban FOFOB caught its first big break when Wentz and Co. made them the opening act at a local concert attended by record execs. "We came up on the same scene, and we've grown up together," Wentz says. "In a lot of ways they've always been our little brother." The band's indie label début Almost Here has sold more than 200,000 copies, and anticipation is high for its April release, Santi, which pushes both the loud and soft ends of their bleating-buzzing-bustling rock. "There's more extremes on both sides," says guitarist Mike Carden. Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is . . . both recorded albums in L.A. last summer, and band members attended the première of Borat together. They'll spend even more quality time together on a tour that starts in April.

Panic! At the Disco

Chicago band Panic at the Disco A few years ago, this Las Vegas band posted several songs on Wentz's page at live journal.com, a social networking Web site. "We never expected to hear back," says guitarist Ryan Ross, "but [Pete] got in touch with us soon after." The first band Wentz signed to Decaydance, this FOFOB puts a theatrical spin on the genre's brand of emotional-roller-coaster rock. Its 2005 début album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, has since sold more than 1.5 million copies. Panic! expects to release its sophomore album this fall.

Cobra Starship 

Chicago band Cobra Starship Gabe Saporta, former leader of the New Jersey band Midtown, had already selected the name of his new solo project when bassist Adam Siska of The Academy Is . . . tipped him off to the forthcoming release of the movie Snakes on a Plane. Saporta added a serpentine chorus to a song he'd already written, and with Academy Is . . . singer William Beckett on vocals, the novelty tune "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" was born. The band's current dance-rock single "The Church of Hot Addiction" features FOB guitarist Joe Trohman. "Our biggest obstacle is to prove we're a real band, not a one-hit wonder or shtick," says Saporta, who toured with FOB when they were still playing to crowds of hundreds. He'll tour with Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is . . . this spring.

The Hush Sound 

Chicago band The Hush Sound Ryan Ross of Panic! At the Disco first heard this suburban Chicago band's chamber pop rock on purevolume.com. He brought the group to Pete Wentz's attention, and soon Hush Sound was signed. "Hopefully, we can get to the point where we can help people out, too," says Hush Sound's pianist/singer Greta Salpeter. They'll have plenty of time: Salpeter hadn't even finished high school last year (she's since graduated) when the band recorded Like Vines, which FOB's Patrick Stump produced. "I asked Pete if he'd give me a shot working with them . . . then I asked the band," Stump says. In between tours, The Hush Sound plans to spend 2007 writing and recording its next album.