When emo-pop-rock band Fall Out Boy came to South Africa for a one night only performance, Helen Herimbi didn’t expect them to blow her away. But all that changed after trading snaps before the show.

When the adorably chubby guitarist and lead singer, Patrick Stump, and bashful drummer, Andy Hurley, get on stage, flanked by guitarists Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman, it’s hard to reconcile them with the sweet troupe/group I met earlier.

Andy sits topless behind the group, exposing his many tattoos while his sticks come crashing down on the cymbal, drumming us into forever. Patrick leaps around with more energy than the Duracell bunny, strumming his guitar and simultaneously feeding the crowd vocally.

In the interview, however, Patrick is forthcoming, almost giddy. On stage, Andy seems in the zone as he charges furiously at the drums, but he is funny and laidback when off stage.

When the photographer asks Patrick to take off his hat for a better picture, Andy and I shoot the oblivious lensman our best death stares at the very thought of requesting Patrick to go sans his trademark gear. As if searching the floor for a more gracious answer, Patrick declines and explains in-between nervous laughter that this is his signature look .

Even as we leave Patrick still apologises to the cameraman for leaving his hat on, saying: “I don’t know which hat I’ll wear tonight.”

How about the cool fedora in the Thnks fr th Mmrs (pronounced Thanks for the Memories) video, I offer. “The hat I wore in Thnks fr th Mmrs is my favourite hat, actually,” he smiles. “I still have that hat. But it moves too much, so when I play it’ll fly off and I’ll lose it.”

That night Patrick wears a brown-and-white trucker cap. It doesn’t fall off although Pete and Joe’s acrobatic scissor-leg air-kicks threaten to send it flying into the wings. After the band has performed their renditions of Akon’s hit, Don’t Matter, and Michael Jackson’s Beat It, they indulge the crowd with their latest single, Thnks fr th Mmrs.

“You know when you’re with that one girl? And you just wanna chop her up and eat her because she tastes like you, but sweeter?” mumbles Pete before they crash into the catchy tune.

But, as Patrick says, the song is a lot deeper than Pete makes it sound on stage.

“Pete wrote that song about the difference between obsession and love. Just about how infatuation is not love, they are very different emotions, but sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart.”

Convincing everyone from the layman to Jay-Z that they are special must get them a lot of love.

Patrick shares: “Jay is one of the coolest guys. There’s like a wisdom to him. It’s not just that he’s smart.” Then he pauses, at a loss for words: “He’s a very wise person, he really knows what he is doing and I think he makes a lot of really amazingly well-thought-out decisions – in everything. I was supposed to work on Kingdom Come on a song that didn’t ever get used because I had horrible writer’s block,” reveals Patrick.

“Also, I think I was just in total awe of that record, too. I was really impressed with his album and really amazed to even be there, so I guess I just blew it.”

This article appeared in the Tonight on 25 July 2007