With “Uma Thurman” & “Centuries,” Fall Out Boy Sample Their Way to Success

Credit: Pamela Littky

Fall Out Boy's number-one album American Beauty/American Psycho features the singles "Centuries" and "Uma Thurman,"  two songs that sound very different, but have one thing in common: they're both built around samples of previously existing songs. They're not the only tracks on the album featuring samples, either, and for the band, that creative risk has really paid off.

"I think the biggest risk we took on American Beauty/American Psycho was probably the kind of integration of sampling into what we do," frontman Patrick Stump tells ABC Radio. "Mainly because I think there’s a perception that rock music and hip-hop music are these totally alien lineages that have nothing to do with each other, and that’s just not true. I mean, rock music and hip-hop have been reacting to each other since they started, pretty much."

"Centuries" has a hook based on the 1987 song "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, while "Uma Thurman" incorporates the theme song from the popular 1960s sitcom The Munsters. In addition, the title track samples the Motley Crue classic "Too Fast for Love," and there are other examples as well.

"It just kind of seemed silly to us that there are things in rock n' roll that you’re not supposed to do," Stump laughs. "So we’re like, 'Screw that, we're gonna do it!' And I dunno, I'm very happy with that!"

Mixing rock and hip-hop flavor isn't anything new for Fall Out Boy, though. Jay Z made a guest appearance on their album Infinity on High, for example, while rapper Big Sean appeared on their last album, Save Rock and Roll, and pops up in the video for "Uma Thurman." The band also teamed up to perform with rapper Wiz Khalifa at the Billboard Music Awards back in May, and he opened for them on their recently concluded Boys of Zummer tour.  At the time, the rapper had the #1 song in the country with "See You Again."

Asked if he was surprised that Fall Out Boy fans were into Khalifa's set at the concert, bassist Pete Wentz said not at all. 

"He's a dynamic performer and I think our fans have been pretty open to music to different genres so, yeah, it was not that surprising," he tells ABC Radio. "And it was crazy that he had the number-one song for 12 weeks. I mean, that song, everybody knows!"

Fall Out Boy will kick off a European tour next month.

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