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“I wanted to be honest with myself and everybody else. I thought about it: ‘What do I include in the last spot? Do I put Joe Pass? Herbie Hancock?’ And I said, ‘I’ve gotta be honest. The title is The 10 Records That Changed My Life.’
“If you look at the rest of my list, I think you can get a sense of a kid who worked at a record store, a guy who had a potentially snobby outlook on music. Even though I included Thriller, there’s an almost elitist outlook on things. I’ve met people with the same list who I wouldn’t hesitate to call elitist.
“I was working at a radio station, and part of my job was to listen to new submissions from labels. This record came in, I listened to it and made the judgment call of ‘Well, it doesn’t really fit the format, so we probably won’t play it.’ At the same time, I loved it.
“It became something of a guilty pleasure for me: ‘Oh, it has melodies. It’s got distorted guitars.’ But it really wasn't a guilty pleasure – it’s a really wonderful record. And from there, I ended up in a pop-punk band, exclusively because of Through Being Cool. There’s no chance I would have been in Fall Out Boy if it weren’t for this record.
“A week or two later, I met Joe [Trohman] from Fall Out Boy and struck up a conversation with him, and that’s how we started the band. My understanding of anything like this, up to that point, was The Descendents or Kid Dynamite or Dillinger Four. Through Being Cool – there’s a freedom on the record. All those rules I was talking about? There’s no rules here. It’s just a good, energetic, young punk record that’s earnest and real.”