Emo Never Dies: How Joe Biden Helped Launch the Emo Music Genre


Photo: Us Weekly

President-elect Joe Biden holding toddler Pete Wentz next to his mother, Dale Wentz. The Fall Out Boy lyricist and bassist, 41, is best known for his impact on the emo musical genre.

When I think of emo music, I thought of Gerard Way, Patrick Stump, Brendon Urie or Hayley Williams. After the 2020 presidential election, I now know the truth: President-elect Joe Biden is the undisputed king of the Emo. Dear readers, let me tell you a story.

The year is 1972; Joe Biden is running for the US Senate in his home state of Delaware. While working on Biden’s election campaign, Dale Lewis and Peter Wentz II, two young legislative assistants, meet and fall in love. If, like me, you know emo, you probably recognize one of these names. Yes, Pete Wentz, the famous bassist of the band Fall Out Boy, was born because both of her parents campaigned for Biden.

Wentz himself recognized it in interviews around the 2008 election, stating, “Without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t exist as a human being.”

Joe Biden and Wentz’s parents are so close to Biden that he even attended their wedding and took photos with Wentz as a child. Wentz shared the photo on his Tumblr on Election Day in 2008, in which he officially endorsed the Obama / Biden presidential campaign.

So what does all of this have to do with emo, you ask? In 2001, in a quiet Chicago suburb, Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman formed an emo-rock group now known as Fall Out Boy.

Shortly after their formation, and after Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley joined the band, alternative label Fueled by Ramen signed the band. While Fueled by Ramen is a giant in the alternative music scene today, he was relatively unknown at the time.

FOB’s first studio album, Take it to your grave, sold over 500,000 copies worldwide and mapped to # 17 on Billboard. The band’s massive rise to fame also meant increased popularity for the label, and today they represent massive alternative artists like Panic! At The Disco, Paramore and Twenty One Pilots.

For all emos, past or present, FOB’s influence on Fueled by Ramen is directly responsible for bands like A Day to Remember, All Time Low, The Front Bottoms, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, Yellowcard, and of course, 3OH! 3. I guess in a way Joe Biden relates to the iconic lyrics “Tell your boyfriend if he says he’s got beef / I’m a vegetarian and I’m not scared of him.”

Under Fueled by Ramen, Wentz and Stump decided to create their own label called Decaydance Records. The very first group that Decaydance Records signed was none other than Panic! At the disco. A young Brendon Urie sent his tracks to Wentz on the old blogging-based social platform LiveJournal, and Wentz liked what he heard enough to sign the band. Obviously, with the group’s success and massive but sometimes irritating hits like “High Hopes”, Wentz made the right decision.

An organizational chart illustrating the various relationships that President-elect Joe Biden has with Pete Wentz and other famous musicians such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. (Media: organization chart produced by Twitter user @licecock)

This small label ended up influencing much of the music scene in the early 2000s. Soon after signing Panic !, Wentz signed a group called Gym Class Heroes. Although this band is iconic in its own right with hits like “Stereo Hearts”, it is even more meaningful for the personal bonds it has created between Katy Perry, Tyga, The Kardashians, Blac Chyna and Joe Biden. Most of the time, Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy is responsible for these connections through his old relationship with Katy Perry and his cousin Tgya’s relationship with Blac Chyna and Kylie Jenner. It is also important to note that Tyga once worked as an artist at Decaydance also.

Fall Out Boy’s influence extends beyond their label and the emo genre, into the music as a whole. In an article with Rolling Stone, Taylor Swift admitted that Fall Out Boy is one of his biggest influences. She specifically stated that their writing influences it at the lyric level.

While it pains me on a personal level, I also have to recognize Swift and Uriah’s connection to their pop chewing gum song “Me!” Fall Out Boy had a massive influence on both of these artists, and while I would like to forget the song exists, it just goes to show just how much Fall Out Boy’s influence has stretched since their debut in 2001.

And remember kids, none of this would have been possible without emo king Joe Biden and his Senate bid in the ’70s. Now in 2020, Fall Out Boy backed Joe Biden as president, bringing the story to a close. On January 20, when Joe Biden takes office, remember to thank him for his service to emo.


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