PLAYBOY: You make fun of it, but you’ve also devoted years to it.
WENTZ: I’m happy to be part of a culture where the guys who were made fun of in high school are now the ones the jocks go to see onstage. I like the idea that everyone can get depressed and that there is a way to get through it. Depression and misery are this great little house to live in by yourself. You know where everything is, and no one comes and bothers you.
PLAYBOY: But emo is more about community than about solitude. Blogs and concerts are ways of making connections.
WENTZ: People miss that idea. There is a community. I guess it’s a giant version of us versus them but in a more empowering way.
PLAYBOY: You’re a student of depression. How did that start?
WENTZ: As a kid I always went to therapists; the first time was when my parents separated on my sixth birthday, then on and off since then. I was diagnosed with ADD—see also: raised on sugary cereals and cartoons—and manic depression. So I was prescribed Ritalin for the ADD, and for the manic imbalances I was prescribed mostly benzodiazepines, which I loved, and antidepressants. The list of drugs I’ve been prescribed would read like a grocery list, everything from Klonopin to Prozac.
PLAYBOY: What medications are you on now?
WENTZ: Xanax, which I use to go to sleep and when I’m anxious.
PLAYBOY: When are you anxious?
WENTZ: Anytime attention is on me but I’m not in control of the situation. If I’m at someone else’s concert, that freaks me out really bad. If I have to meet a group of people, if I’m at a party, if I’m at an airport.
PLAYBOY: Is going through an airport a two-Xanax moment? A three-Xanax moment?
WENTZ: You wouldn’t want to know what my Xanax tolerance is. It’s very, very, very high.
PLAYBOY: In February 2005, the night before Fall Out Boy was supposed to leave for a European tour, you took an overdose of Ativan while sitting in your car. Why?
WENTZ: It had more to do with being depressed. I wasn’t thinking of killing myself. I’ve never really called it a suicide attempt. I just wanted my head to be completely turned off. I took a handful of Ativan.
PLAYBOY: How many?
WENTZ: Ahh, fuck. Probably 10. Enough that I was slurring my words, but I didn’t die in the car. I called my manager, then he called my mom, and she came and got me and took me to the hospital.
PLAYBOY: The official explanation was that you had missed the tour because of food poisoning.
WENTZ: Some members of the band didn’t even know what was going on, because I wasn’t talking to anybody. I was really, really, really weird. I was obsessed with death. I would lie with a blanket over my head and kind of just imagine what it was like to be dead.
PLAYBOY: Why weren’t you talking to your friends about how bad you felt?
WENTZ: I can’t be talked off a ledge. “Everything’s going to be fine” is one of the most annoying parts of Americana. Let me feel shitty. That’s the thing—we don’t let people feel shitty.
PLAYBOY: So what happened after the overdose?
WENTZ: I was like, “I’m going to quit the band.” I just wanted to sit in my room. I remember flying to New York, and my dad had to fly with me to get me on the plane.