Creating art is a lot like taking a crap, says Fall Out Boy guitarist

trohman

The AV Club is one of my favorite sites on the web. I love many of their features (as I’ve noted in the past, the New Cult Canon column by Scott Tobias was what directly inspired me to recruit Grant and get this site going).

Probably my least favorite recurring feature on the site is HateSong, in which they ask minor celebrities what their least favorite song is, then ask them to elaborate. It’s basically asking people (most of whom aren’t comedians) to be funny on command.

A couple of the articles have been insightful in somewhat obvious ways (“I think Weezer has put out some songs I really hate because they’ve also put out a lot of songs I really like”), but most of the six or seven entries in the series that I’ve read have been a waste of time.

There’s something special in this week’s rant by Fall Out Boy guitarist Joe Trohman, though. The target is “Mambo No. 5” but the discussion veers off into a few interesting topics: Using singles to evaluate the overall value of a band, sampling older songs, Tommy Tutone, the interviewer’s friend who used to always dress like Lou Bega at parties, and — my favorite — the analogy between creation and defecation. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve read in awhile. You can read the quote below and the full discussion here, which I recommend.

I can think of songs that Fall Out Boy wrote, some of our older songs, that are really not my favorite. I’ve learned to not try to throw myself under the bus too much, though. Or my band members.

I’m also a guy who will make a record or a song, and I won’t be able to listen to it afterward. It doesn’t mean it isn’t good, it’s just—this is a really bad way to say it—but it’s like taking a shit. Like, “Oh that felt great! I’m so glad, that was so cathartic.” But I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to hang out with it. But here’s a difference: I do have to hang out with it. Often, I have to hang out with those little shits.

At the end of the day, I like the music and am proud of that stuff, even the bad stuff. It’s like having tattoos. I have a lot of tattoos and probably, at the end of the day, regret the idea of having tattoos. But I have a lot of good tattoos, and I have my bad tattoos I started out with. I can’t have my good ones without my bad ones, so I kind appreciate the bad ones even more. And I feel that way about the worst songs I’ve been a part of making. I have to make those. I have to be completely naked in front of people and show my disgusting body to people so that I can learn to maybe tone it up a little bit. Maybe look a little better naked.

Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

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