Pete Wentz isn’t sure why he and his new band, Black Cards, got invited to perform at a Details party in Los Angeles as part of the magazine’s Details @ Midnight series, but maybe it’s because he actually reads it while traveling. “I buy Details at the airport,” Wentz says backstage at the event.
But it turns out a midnight show at a club on Hollywood Blvd. was the perfect vehicle for Wentz who, for now, is just looking for a good time musically. “This has been the weirdest year of my entire existence. I just want to do something that’s fun and escapist,” he says. “I don’t want to do anything where I am in any way emoting or in any way going through a process. I spent seven years in a band doing that. I just want to do something that feels like American house party music.”
Wentz doesn’t cite anything specific for why he considers this the weirdest year of his life, but likely one reason is his wife, Ashlee Simpson, filed for divorce in February. For now, Wentz says being on stage is healthy for his soul. “I think that’s where I’m truly having a good time and the smile feels real,” he says.
He and his Black Cards bandmates, frontwoman Bebe Rexha and drummer Spencer Peterson, kept their smiles in their high-energy eight-song set. Opening with “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Fame,” a song that sounded like a drum ‘n’ bass version of something by the Black Eyed Peas, the trio kept up that breakneck pace through songs like the Gwen Stefani-esque “Take Me Down.” In Rexha—who can sing pop with the best of them, but has a rocker attitude and look—Black Cards has a captivating presence who can personify the intensity Wentz wants in recent songs like “Frozen Heart” and “City Never Sleeps.”
Those tunes are indicative of where Black Cards is going musically. “We’re at the point now where the sound has been figured out and I think that we have almost an album’s worth of songs,” he says. So when will people hear that record? “There’s not an exact timeline,” he says. “People think I’m being coy, or there was a release date and we pushed it back. There just hasn’t been one, we’ll see.”
But Wentz is certain Black Cards will be on the road, wherever anyone wants to see them. “We’ll play just about anywhere,” he says. “I consider this a new band.”