Milwaukee native Hurley keeps the beat for Fall Out Boy
For traveling musicians in the middle of a grueling mega-tour, a hometown engagement can be a like an oasis in the desert; a much-needed break from zealous fans, hotel beds, room service, mini-bars and miniature shampoo bottles.
Fall Out Boy drummer Andy Hurley, who grew up in Menomonee Falls and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, isn't looking at his band's gig tonight at the Bradley Center in quite that light.
"We've only been on tour for a week," Hurley, who turns 27 on May 31, said during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from Minneapolis, where the band played the fifth show of the 2007 Honda Civic Tour.
"It's kind of not a big deal. Usually, it's nice to come home when you've been gone for awhile. We're just getting started, but it's always good to be home."
For the uninitiated, Fall Out Boy (the name is an homage to superhero Radioactive Man's sidekick on "The Simpsons") has sold millions of CDs, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone (March, 2007), recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and has a bass player, Pete Wentz, who makes tabloid headlines for dating Ashlee Simpson.
"It's weird to see yourself on MTV or on a magazine somewhere," Hurley said. "It's an adjustment. But when that happens, I just look at it and say, 'I guess we're still out there.' We're not trying to do things in a specific way. We're still trying to push it and take chances."
What does a member of such a hot band do during his brief period of free time in his home city? Hurley, who is in the process of selling one house and buying another, will prepare for his move and relax.
"I'll probably go to my mom's house and watch 'Heroes' and 'Lost' and 'Entourage,'" said Hurley, a vegan who spends much of his time in town on the East Side. "Usually, I can hang out in Milwaukee and it's not that big of a deal. I like that."
Relaxation time is about to get scarce for Fall Out Boy. Backed by +44, The Academy Is..., Paul Wall and Cobra Starship, the band will crisscross the U.S. through early July, with stops in Japan and UK the following month. As he looks at the ambitious schedule, Hurley feels excitement, not dread.
"I'm stoked," Hurley said. "The first four shows have been amazing, and they're getting bigger."
Hurley is excited about playing the Bradley Center. "I'm a sports fan and that's where the Bucks play," he said. In the crowd tonight, he'll host his mom and roughly two dozen friends while his bandmates, who hail from the Chicago area, will also have sizable contingents.
Unlike previous tours, ticket requests won't be a major headache.
"It's old hat now," Hurley said. "Everybody knows how to say 'No.' I let my friend Matt handle it. My mom usually brings five to 10 people. There are probably only about 20 others."
The audience at Fall Out Boy shows is dominated by teenagers, and several in the house tonight will likely come from Menomonee Falls High School. While a student a decade ago in "The Falls," Hurley honed his music skills and, to hear one former teacher tell it, fit the profile of a budding future rock star.
James Kuse, an English teacher at the school, remembers running into Hurley, literally, during the drummer's freshman year.
"Back then he was this little red-headed dynamo, full of energy and a lot of sass," Kuse said. "Even then it was easy to tell he was trying to figure out what he wanted to be by the way he was always trying out different personas."
Hurley, who was five when his father died, went through a rebellious phase, which is hardly uncommon. What was unusual, though, is how he came out of it.
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I'll buy him a beer a tonight if I see him out. None of that expensive stuff though. He can enjoy a bottle of Miller just like me, or even a pabst. depending on how I'm feeling.
Sounds like someone who truly deserves success, because he does not let it go to his head.
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