What a Catch, Donnie

Album: Folie à Deux (2008)
Charted: 94

Songfacts®:

  • In a video interview, lyricist Pete Wentz told the New Musical Express that he wrote this for vocalist Patrick Stump. He added that this has a reprise in it and it's the first time ever that Fall Out Boy has done a reprise. Additionally Wentz commented that, "there is some headphone stuff going on."
  • The "Donnie" in this song is almost certainly a reference to Donny Hathaway, who was a famous singer/songwriter who killed himself by jumping out of a hotel window in 1979. Hathaway had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia episodes days before he committed suicide, saying that people were out to hook his brain up to a machine to steal his music and kill him. Hathaway had his greatest success with duets he performed with Roberta Flack, including "Where Is The Love?" and "The Closer I Get To You." In "What a Catch, Donnie," Flack is referenced in the lyrics, "Miss Flack said I still want you back."

    Pete Wentz has admitted to depression and his own suicide attempt. In this song, he could be drawing parallels between his life and that of Hathaway - a successful artist whose demons killed him. The relationship between Hathaway and Flack could be symbolic of that between Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump. In the middle of the song, the lyrics are: "I will never end up like him, behind my back I already am. Keep a calendar this way you always know." It's like Pete is saying to Patrick, "I'll never try to kill myself again." Then, for the chorus: "All I can think of is the way, I'm the one, no, you're the one who gave up on you." It's as if Patrick would reply, "I won't give up on you if YOU don't give on you." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Massillon, OH
  • Before Patrick Stump became the singer for Fall Out Boy, he was an impressionist, including "a bitchin' Elvis Costello impression." Rolling Stone asked Stump if he impersonates anyone on Folie a Deux. He replied that on this soulful piano ballad, "I sing really deep, and I was like, 'Wow, I'm just impersonating Bowie.' All of a sudden I had a British accent."
  • This features British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, Travie McCoy from Gym Class Heroes, Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship, William Beckett from The Academy Is...., Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco, Doug Neuman from Doug and Alex DeLeon from The Cab. The artists, who apart from Costello are all on Pete Wentz's Decaydence record label, sing lines from other Fall Out Boy numbers. The songs they quote from are as follows:

    Elvis Costello - "Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet"
    Travie McCoy - "Sugar We're Going Down"
    Gabe Saporta - "Grand Theft Autumn"
    William Beckett - "Growing Up"
    Brendon Urie - "Dance, Dance"
    Doug Neuman - "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race"
    Alex Deleon - "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs"
  • Stump explained to AbsolutePunk why this is probably his favorite song on Folie a Deux. "It's a really interesting thing where Pete was kind of writing in a character, and the weird thing is that it's like me, it's as if I wrote the lyrics, but I didn't. And I'm not being narcissistic, it's really cool, like it's impressive to me how well he has me figured out, so it just made me respect him that much more as a writer. It's weird, it felt like I sat down and wrote a confessional song, but I didn't. It feels like that to me, but I didn't. I was writing off of Pete's lyrics, but it's as if I was confessing through them."
  • There were rumors circulating that the song's music video would be the last one that the band would make. The possibility that this would be Fall Out Boy's swan song was given further credence by the clip's concept of Patrick Stump alone at sea, fishing items of band memorabilia as he pilots a craft into the sunset. MTV News asked Wentz if this was in fact the band's goodbye. He replied: "I think this video gives us the chance for this record to come full circle, and this song represents that as well It's got a reprise in it, and it contains lyrics to a bunch of other songs that were important to Fall Out Boy. So I think this video is a project of passion rather than, 'Oh, we've got to get this thing out for this' timing or something. We just always wanted to make a video for [the song]. I think Patrick, specifically, really wanted to make a video for this one. People might have expectations for what the video is going to be, but I hope it will be self-explanatory. It's metaphorical."
  • After releasing the album, which peaked at #8 in the US, Fall Out Boy embarked on a grueling tour that showed them exactly how a large portion of their fans felt about the album. And it wasn't good. In a February 8, 2012 blog post, Patrick Stump admitted the negative reception took the wind out of the band's sails. "Touring on Folie was like being the last act at the Vaudeville show," he wrote. "We were rotten vegetable targets in Clandestine hoodies." The experience prompted their hiatus, which lasted from 2009 until 2013, when they released their #1 comeback album, Save Rock And Roll.

Comments: 3

  • Pete from Manila, Philippines"They say the captain
    Goes down with the ship" the ship being Fall Out Boy the captain being Pete and he rebuild the ship now named Black Cards with new crewmates ............. too bad for Fall Out Boy T.T
  • Dayna from Milwaukee, Wiyeah that's the reprise they were talking about
  • Liberty from Somewhere, InIt quotes another song too. the lines,
    I will never end up like him
    Behind my back i already am
    keep a calendar this way you will always know
    are from Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Real or Spinal Tap

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Angelo Moore of Fishbone

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.