While frontman Patrick Stump started work on his debut solo album, and guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley formed The Damned Things with members of Anthrax and Every Time I Die, Pete found himself listless and drifting.
"It was so strange," he tells K! "I became this guy in a plaid shirt and grew a depressed guy beard."
Despite filling in on bass for Craig Owens' Cinematic Sunrise project for several December shows and collaborating with Blink-182's Mark Hoppus on the 2010 Alice in Wonderland soundtrack song In Transit, Pete explains he found it difficult to find an outlet for the energy he'd devoted to the day-to-day running of Fall Out Boy's world.
"It was hard to go from every waking hour thinking about [the band] to nothing," he admits. "It was the thing that drive me to get out of bed and do everything. And because we all live in different places, we don't see each other as much as we did. I never realised how the band kept us as a tight-knit group of friends.
"I was bummed out," Pete adds. "I moved to New York with my wife for a little bit and went through a wide range of emotions."
According to the bassist, that's when the trouble began. Following an altercation in a New York City nightclub, details of which he is not at liberty to divulge, Pete found himself at his lowest ebb. Nursing a broken nose and multiple lacerations to his face, the self-confessed workaholic knew he had to find something to focus his energy on.
"I was as rock bottom as you can get," he says. "I was like, 'Dude, you're 30, you have a wife and a kid, get your act together. You're a big boy now and you play by the big boy rules!' When I would see people, [the injuries] would be the first thing they'd focus on. It felt like when I was walking up to some one, I had to explain myself. That kept me indoors. It made me realise that I had some things to figure out and needed an outlet for them - just sitting around was not doing it for me.
The night after it happened, I got on a plane and I was sitting next to Gabe [Saporta] from Cobra Starship," he adds. "He's a good friend and he cancelled my car when we landed and had his dad pick us up. He pretty much took care of me - that's a real friend, right there. After a while, I knew I had to get back on my feet. I needed to do something or I'd go totally crazy."
His epiphany came during a family holiday in Jamaica. Influenced by the island's laid-back dance hall music, club music and "old British stuff", Pete started writing songs for a new project, which he later named Black Cards.
"I talked about the idea with my friend Sam [Hollander, Gym Class Heroes producer] and started writing songs," says Pete. "It was weird at first. I couldn't imagine playing with any one besides Patrick. I haven't really had the chance to go 'Blah! Here's all my musical ideas' in an unrestrained way, so it's been cool to do that."
So, with Black Cards heading out for hows this month and a debut album almost finished, what does that mean for Fall Out Boy?
"Fall Out Boy is such an important part of my life and I hope it comes back and it's better than ever," notes Pete. "[But] if it comes back, we'll come back for the right reasons. It's got to be for the music and the friendship - it can't be for the money. I've seen bands get back together for the wrong reasons and it's so easy to see through that. I think it's important for every one to have a success [with their own project] before we even start talking about Fall Out Boy. I really don't know. Everyone needs to get stuff out of their systems and do different things.
"Sadly, in the age of Tweeting and having a two-year-old, we talk by text mostly - but it's weekly, if not daily," he adds of his current relationship with his FOB bandmates. "I saw Andy last week in New York and talked to Joe on his birthday. It's interesting - we talk more now than we did at the end of Fall Out Boy. It's a really good thing."
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