Thursday, January 25, 2007

Redux: My Chemical Romance

In the spirit of being lazy and trying to track down some of my old musings from long dormant websites, I found an ancient interview with My Chemical Romance. This Q&A was done in their van in the fall of 2002 while they were touring with Piebald and Minus the Bear. They were the opening act and were booed off the stage. Oh, how they've brought themselves up from the BS.

Chemical Imbalance
By Ryan Pangilinan

Dante: You hate people.

Randal: But I love gatherings, isn’t that ironic?

People are stupid. Plain and simple, people are fucking morons. Which why there is an audience for bands and singers like Simple Plan and Avril Lavigne – two artists who thrive on sulatio (that’s my new word for “sucking” and “felatio”).

But dear music fans do not fret or worry. The music industry cannot be overrun by New Found Glory knock-offs forever, especially with New York’s My Chemical Romance hanging around.

MCR – made up of brothers Gerard (singer) and Mikey (bass) Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, and drummer Matt Pelissier – is part of the new school of punk rock kids who are showing that substance and style does not begin and end at your local Hot Topic.

Their album, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love” (Eyeball), is a sonic shower of heartbreaking tales (“Demolition Lovers”) and straight up horror (“The Vampires Will Never Hurt You”).

When the world is full of sappy teen sex romps and fake xhardcorex (Evanescence), the strange mix of Alkaline Trio’s imagery and Gravediggaz bouts of suicide and love is a welcomed one.

During their first international tour (Canada counts) with Piebald, four of the five Romancers stopped to kick a little knowledge for the Halftimers.

How did you guys get together?

Gerard: Well basically what happened is I had a song called “Skylines and Turnstiles,” and I was really unhappy with my life. I basically wanted to change the direction of it and connect with people. I called Matt, the drummer, and we got together, played the song and he was feeling it. He called up Ray because he was the best guitar player we knew, then the band came together real quick after that.

Right before we made the record, Frankie was in a band we all really liked called Pensie Prep and they helped start us. But unfortunately that band dissolved, so we asked to join because we knew he was awesome.

Frank: They basically started so they could talk to me.

And get girls, right? So where do you get the motivation to right your lyrics because they’re pretty off-beat as compared to everything else that’s out there.

Gerard: The main thing I wanna do, personally with lyrics I write is that these guys are cool to let me write whatever the fuck I want and back it and they all feel it. If they didn’t I would change the lyrics.

Basically, they’re off-beat because I personally think we have to connect with people on an abstract level, instead of coming out and saying “Aww, my girlfriend dumped me,” and “I met you at a mall in New Jersey.” I’m not about that – we’re all not about that, so I wanted to be way more artistic, way more poetic, really connect with people. It works far better because people get more out of the songs. And I’m a big fan of indie movies like (director) Terry Gilliam and stuff like that.

So you guys got to work with Geoff Rickly from Thursday on the album, how was that?

Gerard: It was amazing. Picture hanging out with your best friend for two weeks straight that you never get to see. Your best friend that you never get to see, and you just sit there and he gives you awesome ideas on how to make a record. That’s really what it was, just the best ideas possible.

Ray: Tucker helped out, too.

Gerard: Yeah, Tucker was there, too. He helped out a lot. He was really good for moral support.

Do you feel any pressure for matching “I Brought You My Bullets…”?

Gerard: The thing about the next thing we do is that we know it’s gonna blow away what we’ve done in the past. Not that we don’t respect what we’ve done, but we’ve grown as a band. From just being on tour, we know that we’re just that much better and we know that our songwriting is that much better.

Frank: It’s a lot of pressure and stuff, but we basically say “fuck it.” We decided not to care about it. We wanna fucking write stuff that we like and challenge ourselves. We know what we wanna come out with and we know the direction that we wanna go in and if people don’t get it or think it lives up to what we’ve done in the past, then fuck them.

Matt: Not to mention that when me, [Gerard], and Ray first got together, the first thing we said is “We’re gonna make music, we don’t give a crap if people like it or not.”

Gerard: The fact that people like us amazes us, which is why we appreciate it even more. When we first started the band it was all about not giving a fuck what people thought. And from the first show, people accepted us and we were kinda like “What’s that all about?” We love it.

So much so that you have that weird video for “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.”

Gerard: We wanted to make something more abstract, instead of all of us in a white room rocking the fuck out.

Ray: So it’s us in a black and white room rocking the fuck out.

Matt: Everyone’s first video is a basement with 30 kids.

Gerard: Did Mikey tell you his idea for a video? It can’t be on the record, people steal that shit. Like that Weezer/Saves the Day shit (for “Keep Fishin’” and “Freakish” respectively). Turn it off and we’ll tell you.

(At this point, the recorder was turned off, but their idea for a second video was bad-ass, and not at all sulatio.)

So that sounded pretty Andrew WK-ish. You guys have a lot of energy for a young band, would you say that you could match the energy of the WK and dance just as crazy?

Gerard: Wow.

Ray: I don’t know if that’s possible.

Frank: I don’t know if we have enough coke in the trailer.

Matt: That guy’s sick.

Gerard: That guy’s amazing. I heard the record, I was like “What the fuck is this?” Then I saw him live and I was believer after that. I was like “Holy shit, this guy is the real thing!” The stuff he does, I don’t even know how he does it. Must be all those protein shakes.

Frank: He takes like one chug and moves across the room. He doesn’t give a fuck.

What’s your ideal super tour now?

Gerard: Alkaline Trio, Thursday, Glassjaw, the Damned and Iron Maiden.

Matt: The Descendents.

Gerard: Our super tour would be an Iron Maiden world tour. That would be the best in the world.

Ray: But someone else got it.

Gerard: Sum-41 is touring with Iron Maiden.

Frank: How sick is that? If you’re reading this (Sum-41) kill yourselves.

Gerard: They have no right to be on-stage with them.

They’re too pussy, right?

Frank: They’re just too fucking –

All in unison: FAKE!

Ray: They’re not even metal. Well, they’re not even a real band, let’s face it.

I heard that their label wants them to act like that, just when there’s a camera around.

Gerard: I’m sure. It’s a joke, I think that kids today are smarter than that and they get it.

Frank: They’re being played.

What are you guys listening to right now, for this super long tour?

Frank: Good job man, that’s a good question. No one ever asks us that.

Gerard: I wanna say thank you to everyone who burned me a copy of “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, as well as “8 Mile.”

Frank: I wanna thank them too because I got the extra copies.

Gerard: We put it up on site, three hours later, we had a copy. It was amazing. We listen to a lot of old metal like Iron Maiden, At the Gates, Helloween and Glassjaw.

Frank: Bouncing Souls, Black Flag, Sleep Station.

Ray: I’ve been listening to Jimmy Eat World, American Nightmare –

Frank and Gerard: -- Bane!

Matt: We’ve been listening to Face to Face a lot, too.

Gerard: And Tom Waits, I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Waits.

Matt: And Coldplay.

Gerard: And Flaming Lips.

So what are your plans for the next six months to a year?

Ray: We’re gonna take six months off, play video games….

Gerard: No, we’re gonna tour forever. We don’t know when we’re gonna stop. Probably next October, we’ve been on tour since October, so that’s a straight year. We’re gonna have March off, but we’re still gonna work – write new material, work on the set.

We’ve been playing the set that we’ve been playing when we were still doing halls. That’s how fast it moved. Went from halls to playing with Jimmy Eat World and other bands. We have to work on our set, make it more diverse, play songs people wanna hear instead of a cover like [Morrissey’s] Jack the Ripper. We gotta take that out.

I heard this rumor that you guys are gonna tour with Taking Back Sunday in the spring.

Gerard: I don’t know if it’s a rumor. In the spring, we had kind of an offer – I know Thursday really wants to take us on tour. That would be our dream. Also in the spring, we got an offer to tour with Taking Back Sunday and From Autumn to Ashes and Recover.

Matt: And after that, at the end of April, it’s gonna be The Used and Thrice.

Gerard: We’re psyched about touring with From Autumn to Ashes, Taking Back Sunday, Recover. Those guys came up before us, but around the same time I met Dan from Recover – they’re good guys, hard working.

What would you say to the readers of our zine as a parting shot?

Gerard: I would say to the readers of this zine, keep reading the zine, supporting the zine because without stuff like that people can’t keep finding out about new bands and happenings in music and new movements.

Ray: Work your fucking ass off and you get what you deserve.

Frank: Anything can happen if you work your ass off and you want it bad enough. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not good enough. Fuck everybody. Kill everybody.

Gerard: Don’t ever have less respect for your band, or a band your opening for because we’re in this together. When you get up there, it’s your fucking time. Check out Little Joe Gould, Sleep Station, all the Eyeball bands. And don’t get into this for the wrong reasons, because if you do, you won’t last anyway.

Frank: And if you do, we’ll fucking find you.

Ray: And we need to go on tour with Iron Maiden.

Frank: Sum-41, watch the fuck out.

At this point, Frank began giving his address away, but due to legal concerns, that part will be omitted. You can get updates on MCR’s touring schedule and other cool stuff on their website,, and the video for “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” can be seen on the Eyeball Records site.

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