Ever since summer 2005, when I first heard “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” I’ve been a devoted fan of Fall Out Boy. When their founding member and guitarist Joe Trohman announced that he was releasing a memoir, I pre-ordered a signed hardcover immediately. Then on release day I got the audiobook, too! None of This Rocks is a frank look at Joe Trohman’s career with Fall Out Boy, his mental health, and his relationships with his family, friends, and bandmates.
For the last 17 years that I’ve been listening to Fall Out Boy, I’ve always seen guitarist Joe Trohman as the coolest and most chill member of the band. But upon reading None of This Rocks, it seems that Joe would disagree with me on those impressions. Indeed, his memoir candidly dives into a lot of his personal struggles – with mental illness, addiction, his mother, anti-Semitism, and disagreements within Fall Out Boy – and paints a picture that is much more real than my previously limited idea of him. (Nonetheless, I still think Joe is cool!)
While None of This Rocks does describe Joe’s induction into music and Fall Out Boy’s decades-long career, the first and perhaps biggest theme is mental health. It starts with his mother’s struggle with mental illness as a result of radiology used to eliminate a brain tumor she had. The treatment left her reasoning and emotional expression in bad order, and this impacted Joe throughout his childhood and into adulthood. From a young age, Joe also struggled with mental illness of his own. He was diagnosed with depression at only 11, and has faced ups and downs with it throughout his life. Joe is open about his experiences with therapy, medication, and suicidal ideation. I have close family members with depression, and I appreciated hearing about Joe’s experiences here.
Joe also goes into detail about his struggles with low self-esteem, feelings of anxiety, and overthinking. He touches on his drug abuse and addiction when he was younger, his tendency to overwork, and his issues with back injury and surgery. And as his family is Jewish, he’s also faced anti-Semitism, both as a kid and as an adult. There are a lot of themes that help paint a more profound picture of the man behind the guitar.
I enjoyed hearing about Joe’s relationships with his family and bandmates. He has a clear love and respect for his dad, and seems like such a warm and caring person. His love for his daughters and wife, as well as his affection for his friends, is obvious. It’s no wonder that his early role in Fall Out Boy was the connecter!
As a Fall Out Boy fan, I was particularly interested in hearing Joe’s side of all things band-related. He shares how he and Pete Wentz first met and eventually decided to start a band together. He describes the by-now-famous story of how he met Patrick Stump and got him to join as the singer. Joe talks about his role in Fall Out Boy early on and his personal struggles when that role started changing. I liked learning about Joe’s love of music and desire to compose songs of his own, even if it took him some time to find his voice. He doesn’t shy away from sharing his criticisms of Fall Out Boy and some of the music they’ve put out, but he also has obvious pride in what they’ve done over the past 20 years. I can’t wait to hear what’s next for them – hopefully the more guitar-oriented album they were working on, then apparently shelved, in the past year.
None of This Rocks is told in roughly chronological order, yet with increasing back-and-forth as it moves between different themes. There are also several tangents that can seem random and can go on for a bit longer than expected, but it always feels authentic and infuses extra humor into the narrative. Indeed, despite some weightier topics, this memoir is generally a light and fun read.
Joe Trohman narrates his own book, which I greatly appreciated. I always prefer to hear the author narrate their own work, especially if it is a memoir. He has a pleasant voice to listen to, and he injects plenty of personality and fun into the whole book. It is a quick and enjoyable listen that adds an extra dimension of closeness for the listener.
None of This Rocks is a great memoir that is candid, funny, and occasionally heavy. As a longtime fan of Fall Out Boy, I loved seeing the spotlight on Joe Trohman and getting this insight into his life. Even if you’re not a big listener of Fall Out Boy, this is a wonderful perspective from an undersung founding member of a major 21st century band. It is also an incredibly open account of depression and mental illness overall. If music or mental health (or both!) appeal to you, this is a memoir you need to read.
Get the Book
You can buy None of This Rocks here – it’s available as a hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.
|None of This Rocks by Joe Trohman|
|Audiobook Narrator||Joe Trohman|
|Number of Pages||272|
|Format I Read||Audiobook; Hardcover (Signed)|
|Original Publication Date||September 13, 2022|
Lead guitarist and cofounder of Fall Out Boy shares personal stories from his youth and his experiences of modern rock and roll stardom in this memoir filled with wit and wisdom.
Trohman cofounded Fall Out Boy with Pete Wentz in the early aughts, and he’s been the sticky element of the metaphorical glue-like substance holding the band together ever since, over the course of a couple decades that have included massive success, occasional backlashes, and one infamous four-year hiatus. Trohman was, and remains, the emotive communicator of the group: the one who made sure they practiced, who copied and distributed the flyers, and who took the wheel throughout many of the early tours. As soon as he was old enough to drive, that is—because he was all of 15 years old when they started out. That’s part of the story Trohman tells in this memoir, which provides an indispensable inside perspective on the history of Fall Out Boy for their legions of fans. But Trohman has a great deal more to convey, thanks to his storytelling chops, his unmistakable voice, and his unmitigated sense of humor in the face of the tragic and the absurd.
None of This Rocks chronicles a turbulent life that has informed Trohman’s music and his worldview. His mother suffered from mental illness and multiple brain tumors that eventually killed her. His father struggled with that tragedy, but was ultimately a supportive force in Trohman’s life who fostered his thirst for knowledge. Trohman faced antisemitism in small-town Ohio, and he witnessed all levels of misogyny, racism, and violence amid the straight edge hardcore punk scene in Chicago. Then came Fall Out Boy. From the guitarist’s very first glimpses of their popular ascension, to working with his heroes like Anthrax’s Scott Ian, to writing for television with comedian Brian Posehn, Trohman takes readers backstage, into the studio, and onto his couch. He shares his struggles with depression and substance abuse in a brutally honest and personal tone that readers will appreciate. Not much of this rocks, perhaps, but it all adds up to a fascinating music memoir unlike any you’ve ever read.
About the Author
Joe Trohman was born in Hollywood, Florida but grew up in Ohio before moving to the suburbs of Chicago. He is the cofounder and lead guitarist of the two-time Grammy nominated, multi-platinum, twenty-year-old rock band Fall Out Boy. Outside of his career in music, Trohman writes for television and is currently developing an animated series with Brian Posehn. Together, the two recently released a comic for Heavy Metal Magazine. Trohman has been Bar Mitzvah’d once, and currently lives on the Eastside of Los Angeles, California with his wife, two daughters, and an odd-shaped dog.
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