Fall Out Boy guitarist talks about depression

Christine Guerrini

To the outside world, the life of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz seems perfect. He has everything imaginable at his disposal: money, sex, power. Magazines and music videos have the rocker shirtless, oozing sex appeal. But amid the hectic schedules and constant spotlight, the rock star isn’t as confident as he appears.

In a candid online interview through CPNewsLink.com, Wentz talked about his struggles with depression. Through Fall Out Boy’s tours and recording, Wentz says, “I secluded myself. I refused to get on airplanes or buses. I stopped talking to all of my friends completely ….I pretty much broke down in front of everyone but in a very secretive way.”

On stage, his performance never hints at his hidden depression. But behind the scenes, the lyrics he writes gives fans a glimpse in to his mind. Even as he lied to others about his struggle, his lyrics clearly display it.

“Patrick [Stump] knew because of the words,” Wentz says, describing how his bandmate discovered his depression.

The issue came to the spotlight in 2005 when the FOB guitarist attempted suicide in by overdosing on Averin. He then gave an eye-opening interview with Rolling Stones Magazine. After reading articles about himself, Wentz realized, “I couldn’t just tread water anymore. It became sink or swim.”

To help others dealing with depression, Wentz decided to become a spokesperson for the Half of Us campaign. He collaborates with MtvU and the Jed Foundation. The Jed Foundation, which works to prevent suicide and promote mental health among college students, was formed in 2000 by two parents after losing their son to suicide.

“We hope this will begin to address the massive denial surrounding the issue of mental health,” says Stephen Friedman, general manager of MtvU. “When someone breaks their leg, everybody is there to get them help, but when you feel depressed, you hide it. There needs to be a radical rethinking of this issue, and it starts with letting people know that this affects half of all college students.”

To read Pete’s interview or learn more about the Half of Us campaign, visit www.halfofus.com.