I felt the need to write this, because over the past months - okay, the past years - this man has caught a hell of a lot of flak in the industry and the press for a whole damn range of things, and I really think that people need to wake up. Don't bitch at me for this; it's probably going to ruffle some fur, and it's kind of stupid that I'm claiming he is but I don't care, I think that this needs to be said.
From Rolling Stone Magazine, September 2009: by reporter Leah Major.
Today has been a sad day for rock music. Perhaps, as Patrick Stump, recently bereaved vocalist of the now dissolved superband Fall Out Boy said today at the graveside of the 'bravest man in rock', this day proves once and for all that the human race has not moved forward, will never move forward, since the days of pointless warring that defined last century's days of shame.
"Pete was a best friend, a husband, a father, an idol, a visionary. Nobody else, in today's materialistic world, was brave enough to do what he did. Today we bury the bravest man in rock, and today is the end of an era that I honestly thought - we all thought - might be the end of this unending fight, this stupid fucking bickering, between the kids who think they're cool and the ones who know they're not. Pete died for the kids he loved, he died for the music he treasured, he died for no fucking reason other than that some bastard thought what he did was wrong. Today I'm saying goodbye to the best friend I ever had - my fucking brother. My brother, Peter Lweis Kingston Wentz the Third, the only genuinely good and pure person the press ever got the chance to fuck with. Today we're all satying goodbye to Pete." Stump said, biting back tears, to the assembled crowd. This was the private ceremony; I was the only journalist invited, because Patrick knew that Fall Out Boy's fanbase deserved to know how the day went; Pete belonged to them as much as they belonged to Pete.
Pete's musical proteges took the stage humbly, dressed all in black for what was, despite what the press may say about them being 'emos', perhaps the first time in many years. Brendon Urie, Gabe Saporta, William Beckett, Patrick Stump and Travis McCoy sang an acoustic version of Hum Hallelujah, none able to keep the catch from their voices as the lid of Pete Wentz' coffin closed and his body was lowered into the ground. The crowd was silent, and certainly many attendees were still in shock; a week ago, Pete Wentz was his usual smiling, sure and happy self, on the stage, proclaiming the political message he felt responsible to deliver to the fans he loved. Most of the people here were on that final tour. Ashlee Simpson, Wentz' wife, and their son Bronx, just over a year old, stood with Stump, silent and pale throughout the entire ordeal. Many members of bands influenced by Pete and his bravery spoke, and to say it was a compelling speech was an understatement.
"How do I feel? I feel cheated. Pete was so young, so alive, so full of energy. He was smiling, he was laughing, he was missing his wife and his son all tour. And now - now he's been taken away, long before he was finished with this world. It's unfair to Pete, but it's worse than unfair to his son, who will never be able to grow up with a father now; to the band, who have lost their best friend in the world, to all of us, who have lost our mentor and friend; god knows, maybe most of all this is unfair to the kids who've supported everything he has done, who've felt able to accept themselves because of his words, who have found light in the darkest times of their lives thanks to Pete. I feel like... like I've lost the best father figure I ever had. Pete being gone is... is like... I can't, I'm sorry-" Brendon Urie's speech was cut short as the young singer of Pete's 'pet' band Panic! At The Disco was overcome by tears, to rush from the stage into the consoling arms of Ryan Ross, his band's ex-guitarist, the two having been recently reunited by their close friend and mentor's death. It should be mentioned that there has been shocked silence on the fanfiction forums since Pete was murdered - it seems there is newfound respect for the musicians on this particular scene amongst the teenage girls of the world, now that Wentz is gone.
Urie is exactly right, I feel. The world has been cheated of one of the greatest musicians we have seen in a very long time, but much more than that. The tabloids exploded the day Pete Wentz was assassinated in his LA bar, Angels & Kings, during a party after the final show of the Blink-182 tour, but what they failed to point out was what a loss he really is. Blink were present also, bassist Mark Hoppus, a close friend over the past year, too overcome to even attempt to speak. It seems hideously ironic, that Fall Out Boy's final headlining tour was named 'Believers Never Die'. I guess we can only hope that Pete believed - but we know that he did; he believed in his band, his friends, his wife and son, with a wholehearted love and kindness that was extremely difficult to find in any other member of the music scene in 2009. I hope that the paparazzi can leave him alone now, at last; I hope desperately that the world can have a chance to remember Pete as the good person that he was.
From his appearance on the cover of controversial gay rights magazine Out, to his work with charity organisation Invisible Children, whose mission statement is to free the child soldiers in war stricken Uganda, Pete Wentz has been one of the greatest forces behind human rights the world has known this century. And yet, the thanks he got? An anti-homosexuality insurgent shot him dead in his own bar, at a party with his best friends, who had to witness their best friend die. In the end, it seems, the hate prevailed.
"Patrick called me at about one in the morning, he was a mess. He couldn't even say the words, he was so choked up and horrified. I knew something terrible must have happened from the moment I picked up the phone; I could feel it." William Beckett, frontman of The Academy Is..., the band that prompted Wentz to start his side label Decaydance Records. "But Jesus Christ, when I heard him say... oh, god... heard him say that Pete'd been shot... I crumpled up. Fell to the floor, I was just so- so shocked. Pete was so alive. He was the best person... I owe everything in my life to him - if it weren't for him, I don't even know... I'd probably be working at a McDonald's right now. Pete Wentz is the reason that my life is good. And now... now he's gone."
Gabe Saporta, lead singer of Cobra Starship, another band on Decaydance, refuses to release a statement concerning 'Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We're Famous', a track off their new album Hot Mess, but today as the band got up to speak, he informed the crowd that it will be their next single, the video a comemoration of the rock legend's short life. "For Pete." his keytarist, Victoria Asher (a.k.a. Vicky T) said simply, before leaving the stage. "This is for Pete."
Bassist of My Chemical Romance, Mikey Way, was a surprise addition to the guest list. He got up quietly after Vicky T had left, and took the stage, surveying the crowd solemnly. "I've known Pete since both our bands were playing basements to crowds of three and four people. He's been one of my best friends since 2005, when we were both going through really difficult times because of our bi polar. He was always there for me, and I... I am so grateful to him. He didn't deserve this. He was so brave. I... I just wanted to say, thanks Pete, you... you might be the best friend I ever had. I- thank you." he said, before ducking back to his seat at the back of the assembly.
Truly, there were not many people in the world who could have had such a profound effect on the world from such a young age. News of his death has shaken the world at least as hard as that of Michael Jackson, twice his age and a beloved mentor. His music, message and work with campaigns like NO H8 and charities such as Invisible Children has achieved more, it culd be argued, than Michael Jackson ever had at Pete's age, despite already having been in the spotlight for over 20 years. Through his life, his message and his music. Pete Wentz made a stand that nobody else dared make. I can only hope that now, the world will forgive and forget their prejudces against Pete Wentz, the only man who was strong enough to make that stand.
Let the evening in the back door- filled the room, ceiling to the floor...
- Et Memoria