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Patrick Stump: The Gambler


Fall Out Boy’s frontman wagers his personal fortune on a new solo project, and he’ll sleep on the floor if he has to.

Patrick Stump says he made enough money as the singer for pop-punk chart-toppers Fall Out Boy to retire, modestly…to a suburb. But his band’s hiatus afforded him the chance to make what he calls an “outsider R&B” project, and he’s staking his own earnings to bring Soul Punk (out this summer) to life. “If I made it into 1,000-seaters, I would be golden,” Stump says. “That is success right now. Breaking even would be awesome.” Here’s the plan.

Stump spent a decade writing the music for Fall Out Boy, and singing lyrics mostly written by Pete Wentz. But another sound was percolating in his head, one that he struggled to explain to his label, Island Records, and management. “They were like, ‘Yeah, so it’s going to be kind of like a throwback soul thing? Like a dude Adele!’ I’m like, ‘No, not quite.’ So I took my money and I invested in properly recording what I was trying to say so I could get the ball rolling.” And while recording at home on rented equipment isn’t exactly Tusk, when you’re learning on the fly, time — literally — is money. “I probably could have done the same record for a lot less if I knew more about engineering,” concedes Stump, who also kept costs down by playing every note on the album himself.

“I spared no expense on my band,” Stump says. “I wanted to treat them really well. That’s where I spent everything.” Among his recruits: bassist Matt Rubano, most recently of Taking Back Sunday, and Casey Benjamin, who plays sax and keys for Mos Def and Q-Tip. While he couldn’t reveal what each guy makes, Stump says a quality touring keyboardist can cost up to $3,000 a week, before expenses.

“When you’re doing everything by yourself, you have all of the receipts, and you’re swiping the card,” Stump explains. “There’s no infrastructure aside from you.” The nest egg comes from being in one of the last rock bands to actually make real money off record sales alone. “I haven’t made a dollar on these shows,” Stump says of his solo tours. “I’ve lost a lot of money. Ultimately, it’s like opening a small business. It’s a good show, and hopefully, in the long run, it will even itself out.” But now Stump admits he might consider taking some tour support from Island, money that, theoretically, would be recouped through album sales. “I wouldn’t be asking for too much,” he says. “It might help get over that hump.”

While his band members usually stay in hotels, Stump cuts corners whenever possible, and actually slept on a friend’s floor during his band’s sold-out two-night stand in New York City last April. “Sometimes, you hear bands complaining, going through expenses and saying, ‘I can’t believe [the label] spent that much on travel!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s how much it costs,’?” he says. “I can sleep on the floor. I’m comfortable doing that — I’m taking the risk.”

Read the entire July 2011 issue of SPIN, available now for iPad.