Patrtick Stump talks Bongs, Bowie and Bald Spots

It’s kind of hard to imagine Patrick Stump, lead singer of Fall Out Boy, as someone afraid to sing. After all, the man has an amazing voice and, by his own admission, “range like no motherf-cker knows!” And his voice is one of the most fantastic features of Fall Out Boy’s upcoming album Folie a Deux.

But according to an interview with Rolling Stone, Stump didn’t used to practice singing so much as he practiced imitations. “I started out by doing a bitchin’ Elvis Costello impression. I can do a good Tom Waits and a good Prince. I was totally bashful about singing in front of people, but when you’re making a joke of it, it’s a completely different story,” he says. In contrast, his first performance with Fall Out Boy didn’t go so well. “I couldn’t even sing, I was so horrified.”

Fans all over are probably grateful he got over that fear eventually. And apparently that had a lot to do with Fall Out Boy’s Grammy nomination in 2006. Stump recalls thinking “I don’t belong here.” “Elvis Costello was sitting across from me, and Stevie Wonder was up onstage, and I said, ‘I need to step my game up, just so I don’t feel disrespectful.'”

But that doesn’t mean he’s given up his vocal imitations. He even mentions channeling David Bowie on a track on Folie a Deux. Stump says that while recording “What a Catch, Donnie,” his deep vocals made him feel like he was impersonating Bowie. “All of a sudden I had a British accent.”

With a background in imitation, and apparently a penchant for picking up accents, it’s surprising that Stump hasn’t sought out more acting opportunities since his appearance on Law and Order where he played Marty Dressler, a fish loving psychopath you kind of just wanted to hug. And of course, he, unlike Stump, is not also into hats. Though Patrick defends his headgear as not being related to his bald spot. “It goes back to that naked feeling of singing. Once I have my hat on and take my glasses off — so I can’t see past the first row — I can relax.”

Part of that relaxation seems to come with listening to music, and Stump isn’t afraid to share his thoughts and feelings on modern artists. “Kanye West is the best thing happening in pop music right now. He’s the Prince of his generation. He’s doing whatever the fuck he wants, dragging pop music with him kicking and screaming. McCain says he’s a maverick. No, Kanye’s the maverick.”

Stump also relaxes occasionally with a drink (despite his fear of bartenders) but maintains that Fall Out Boy is not a partying band. “I’m too busy to get drunk. I’ll have a glass of wine at dinner, but that’s about it.” So don’t worry, ladies. While Patrick’s not exactly straight edge, he’s not an alcoholic either. He’s hit that sweet, sweet middle ground that does, in fact, exist.

But what about other “substances?” Patrick doesn’t cop to smoking weed in the present, but does take time to tell the story of the first time he got stoned. Apparently, some friends got out a bong, convinced Patrick to take a hit under extreme protest, and then he drove home doing 20 miles per hour. And then? “I don’t want my mom to know I’m stoned, so I race up to my room. Now, I know this is blasphemy to so many people, but I was never a huge Pink Floyd fan. But I had a copy of Dark Side of the Moon, and I was like, “If I’m ever going to do this, it’s right now.” It’s the only time I’ve ever listened to that record. It was amazing!”