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I’m an idiot, because I don’t just sample things, I try to write something that is inspired by a thing I like a lot.
So I wrote this whole new song around this string part, but come to find out that there’s a pretty popular German hip-hop song that actually samples the exact same moment from the Shostakovich symphony.
As you get older, you reach college or your 20s and you decide that music should be challenging and all art should be smart. There’s not a lot of hands to hold in that ship, and Elton got it 100 percent, and not only that, he taught us more about it.
So you start to think it makes you like high art more to put down things you consider low art. That’s the other thing that I think comes from that age: Elton has survived in the charts long enough to have seen every manner of genre and style come and go, and cream rises, and the only thing that matters still are good songs. His career is amazing because even the stuff that is considered lesser Elton John material is still pretty amazing.
Pete and I had been throwing around a lot of ideas, and sometimes Pete speaks in really funny kind of riddles.
Good music is good music, regardless of where it comes from.
I think that’s a really important thing to carry with you. When you’re a little kid, you just like music that makes you happy and is fun. We were a little bit on an island in that way, because here we are these old punk rock dudes looking to make a quirky pop record.
As a trained musician, I thought, “Those things literally can’t go together.” But in trying to do it, not only did I surprise myself, but he was going, “Yeah, that’s it! It’s a great song and an important song to have on the record, but the most important thing is the story behind it because it was the song that really opened up the record for us.
And there’s a hint of where we wanted to go on that, because it sounds a lot like old Fall Out Boy and nothing like old Fall Out Boy.
We tweaked it a lot, but the bones of the song were done on first inspiration. How did Elton John end up singing on the title track?