Back in his hometown of Wilmette, Ill., Pete Wentz was known to locals as an all-state soccer player.
Soccer was what Wentz "did" growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, but it wasn't his only love. He also listened to music -- a lot of it.
Wentz recalled one of his earliest musical memories in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine: "My parents had a house on the Jersey Shore, so my mom and sister would fly there, and me and my dad would drive," he said. "I remember hearing 'Build Me Up Buttercup' [by the Foundations] in the back of my dad's car. He'd listen to oldies all the time."
For Wentz, listening to music quickly turned into wanting to play music. So when he was about 14 years old, Wentz stole his friend's brother's bass guitar and started to fiddle around. He began playing basement shows and soon formed his first band -- called First Born.
Wentz went on to play with a few more obscure bands in the Chicago punk rock scene throughout the 1990, including Arma Angelus, Yellow Road Priest and Racetraitor, but he also continued his education, enrolling at DePaul University in 1997 to major in political science.
Just one semester shy of graduating, Wentz dropped out of college to pursue his music career. And one year later, in 2001, he reconnected with Joe Trohman, whom he knew from the Chicago music scene. Along with a few other local musicians, the two formed a new band.
The group remained nameless for their first two shows until they asked the audience for some naming help. One audience member suggested "Fall Out Boy" -- a reference to the sidekick of the Simpsons cartoon character Radioactive Man -- and the name stuck. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fall Out Boy's music has largely been described as emo, a style of rock music, and Wentz, who also serves as the band's lyricist, has been credited with shaping the sound of the group. Wentz uses irony and other devices to narrate personal experiences, as reflected in the song "7 Minutes in Heaven," which was based on his own attempted suicide in 2005.
Pete Wentz isn't only a bass guitarist, a lyricist, and back-up vocalist. He's also now a published author, a New York City nightclub owner, and businessman. So when this young star isn't rockin' out, what is he listening to?
Bob Dylan says it only took him 10 minutes to write "Blowin' in the Wind," in 1962 and called it a "work" song. Since then, it's garnered popularity as a protest song, posing questions about war and peace and freedom. For Pete Wentz, it's a song that made it onto his playlist because it triggers memories of comfort and safety. "I just remember hearing Bob Dylan a long time ago, you know, through friends, and uncles, and I'd be listening and it would be like…him playing 'The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind'…it felt like it was safe to be in nursery school or wherever it was being played or whatever, but the funny thing is how poignant, and, I kind of think, even how subversive some of the lyrics really are." Not only poignant for Wentz, but for a generation of people. In 2004, the song made it onto Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, listed as number 14.