Joe Trohman: 5 Things To Know About Fall Out Boy Guitarist Taking A Break From Group For Mental Health

Shortly after Fall Out Boy announced their new album, founding member Joe Trohman said he was 'stepping away' from the band 'for a spell.' Here's what you need to know.

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  • Joe Trohman (b. Sept. 1, 1984) is a guitarist and singer.
  • He’s one of the founding members of Fall Out Boy.
  • In 2023, he took a leave of absence from the band, citing his ‘deteriorated’ mental health.

Emo kids everywhere were given a reason to smile and cry on Wednesday (Jan. 18). Fall Out Boy announced their new album, So Much (For) Stardust, their first since 2018’s Mania. However, later in the day, founding member Joe Trohman posted a message to the band’s social media, informing fans he was leaving the group. “Neil Young once howled that it’s better to burn out than to fade away. But I can tell you unequivocally that burning out is dreadful,” wrote Joe. “Without divulging all the details, I must disclose that my mental health has rapidly deteriorated over the past several years.”

“So, to avoid fading away and never returning, I will be taking a break from work which regrettably includes stepping away from Fall Out Boy for a spell,” he continued. It pains me to make this decision, especially when we are releasing a new album that fills me with great pride (the sin I’m most proud of).” However, Joe assured fans that this was a temporary hiatus. “So, the question remains: Will I return to the fold? Absolutely, one-hundred percent,” he said.

“In the meantime, I must recover which means putting myself and my mental health first. Thank you to everyone, including my bandmates and family, for understanding and respecting this difficult, but necessary, decision.”

With the band preparing for the release of So Much (For) Stardust – out March 24  on Fueled By Ramen/Elektra – here’s what you need to know about Joe.

Joe Trohman Is An American Guitarist

Born Joseph Mark Trohman to a Jewish family, the future FOB guitarist spent his early years in Ohio before his family relocated to the Chicago area.

(Amy Harris/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

When he was young, he received The First Four Years, a compilation of the early releases from hardcore punk band Black Flag. “I was learning guitar at the time, and somebody taught me these two-finger, like Ramones, barely power chords but enough to get by,” Joe told Variety in 2022. “I was, like, ‘Oh, I can kind of figure out these Black Flag songs; I can kind of play guitar; I think this is what I want to do.'” After listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana on Cleveland’s WMMS radio, he branched out musically. He started listening to bands like Jesus Lizard, Hot Snakes, Refuse,d and Quicksand, all while being active in his local punk scene.

He Co-Founded Fall Out Boy

While in high school, Joe befriended Pete Wentz, who was playing in metalcore act Arma Angelus. When Joe was sixteen, he toured with the band one summer. “I definitely got initiated on that tour – they would rip my underwear off me every day,” Trohman told Rolling Stone in 2007. “I hated it, dude. I should have stopped wearing underwear.”

During that tour, Joe and Pete began discussing forming a poppier, more melodic side-project. Joe suggested forming the group with Patrick Stump,” a long-sideburned kid [that Joe met] at a Borders bookstore.” At the time, Patrick was drumming in a prog rock band. He switched to rhythm guitar, with Joe playing lead. Pete took over on bass. The group, taking its name from a character on The Simpsons, began playing around 2001 with a few drummers, but the band didn’t really form until Andy Hurley joined them in 2003. The group released its debut album, Take This To Your Grave, on Fueled By Ramen in 2003.

Over the next twenty years, Fall Out Boy would achieve success with songs like “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” and “Thanks fr th Mmrs,” pioneering the early 2000s mainstream emo sound.

Joe Has Struggled With Mental Health & Addiction

“I was taking pill-form heroin, but not seeing it as that,” Joe said during a 2022 episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast. “I was not being very smart with my youth, and I was wasting it away, trying to quell these illogical obsessive thoughts with drugs. that honestly didn’t seem that harmful because they were made in a laboratory and came in a prescription bottle.” Joe said that it was Scott Ian, the guitarist and co-founder of thrash legends Anthrax (who played with Joe in The Damned Things), who called Joe out for how sickly he looked.

“It took one person that I respected to tell me I looked like a junkie, basically, to make me go, I’m done with this now,” he says. “I quit in a dangerous way, too. You’re not supposed to quit cold turkey on that stuff. It can kill you.”

Joe has also detailed his struggles with OCD, Imposter Syndrome, and depression in his podcast, I Hate Myself. The show ran six episodes in 2021.

He Wrote A Memoir

In 2022, Hachette Books published None Of This Rocks, Joe’s memoir that “[revealed] stories from his youth and his experience of modern rock and roll stardom—taking on depression, his mother’s brain cancer, antisemitism, pills, petty larceny, side hustles, and pop punk at the turn of the century.”

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“I always thought of these types of books as what you do when you’re done with the band or done with the career, and you’re ready to just dish out all of the dirt,” he told Variety about writing the book. “I didn’t want to do any of that stuff at all.” When his literary agent said, “you can’t do it,” Joe took that as a challenge.

The result was a rock memoir that eschewed the archetype of sleazy tell-alls. “I’m going to mention the band,” Joe said in his talk with Variety. “I’ve been in it since I was a teenager, so it’s a big part of my life, but I found a way to write about it without making it some salacious brag about my bandmates and my band and really more about my life, my stories, and my perspective.”

He’s A Dad

In 2011, Joe Troman married Marie Wortman Goble. The couple has two daughters: Ruby (b. 2014) and Zayda (b. 2018).

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