When Gerard Way confirmed Warner Brothers will be releasing a My Chemical Romance Greatest Hitscompilation next year, he also noted that he would be designing the packaging.
Check out Way’s most recent tweet below with what appears to be the artwork for MCR’s Greatest Hits, subtitled May Death Never Stop You:
Recently, the former MCR frontman also teased that he was “working on something special” with the following photo, which you will recognize as a piece from the full image:
With the promise of more details to come this weekend, former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero has announced a two-song solo release titled for jamia…, which is set for release December 10 digitally and on limited edition vinyl.
Check out artwork and Iero’s announcement tweets below:
Frank Iero, former guitarist of My Chemical Romance and current vocalist in Death Spells and a yet-unnamed solo venture, made a personal appearance at the opening of A&M Music Center in Lyndhurst, New Jersey today, where he performed a solo acoustic set.
Videos from the opening show Iero playing ”joyriding.,” which he recently revealed on SoundCloud, leading to a sing-along from the intimate crowd, “Stage Four Fear Of Success,” which he also played at his live appearance on the Going Off Track podcast and another new song for which a title hasn’t been posted yet.
Check out the performances below.
“Stage Four Fear Of Success”
New Song (no title available on YouTube)
Many thanks to the YouTube users who uploaded these.
Iero ended his day with the following tweets about the in-store performance and meet-and-greet:
wow I'm so unbelievably overwhelmed by the turnout today. thank you all for being rad and so nice to me and my friends. I am humbled.—
frnkiero (@FrankIero) September 03, 2013
ps sorry I was so nervous and sweaty… I'll get better at this solo thing soon I promise. xofrnk—
frnkiero (@FrankIero) September 03, 2013
Frank Iero, former My Chemical Romance guitarist and Death Spells vocalist, has released a new demo titled “joyriding.”
Read the song’s backstory and lyrics, originally posted on his blog, and stream the song below:
“hi…so today i ended up having a very nice conversation about music and other things with Sam Coare from Kerrang! Magazine. after i got off the phone i went down into my basement and wrote this song. Sam and i had talked about inspiration and creativity, and i told him i go through periods of making things and then a week later hating
everything i’ve made and destroying it all. i told him i’d like to try and experiment with creating something and releasing it before i have a chance to hate myself for making it. so when i wrote this song it almost seemed like a dare…
i’m not sure what they said, but if it’s true i’ll bet
it’s just one more thing i’ll regret.
i hate my weaknesses, they made me who i am.
‘yea it’s cool i’ll be ok’
as i felt your pain wash over me, so i dry your eyes and hide my shakes
because i hate that look that’s on your face.
these things inside my head, they never make much sense.
so i wouldn’t hold my breath…
i hope i die before they save my soul.
‘yea it’s cool i’ll be ok’
as i felt your pain wash over me, so i dry your eyes and hide my shakes
because i hate that look that’s on your face.
don’t hang up, because i don’t have anyone left here
don’t give up, don’t hang on to anything i’ve said.
i hate my weaknesses, they made me who i am
it makes no difference, i’m insignificant.
‘yea it’s cool i’ll be ok’
as i felt your pain wash over me, so i dry your eyes and hide my shakes
because i hate that look that’s on your face
and this is not the end for us.
Hear HERE the new demo “joyriding.”
This latest song from Iero lies somewhere between his more melodic leanings (as seen in arecent solo acoustic
performance for the Going Off Track podcast) and experimentation with elements of noise (a la Death Spells.)
The song also sounds slightly more in the vein of “This Song Is A Curse,” which he released in 2012. In a recent interview with Epiphone, he had revealed that in addition to Death Spells, he is also working on another new project, the sound of which he likened to something more like the above.
Though, this latest posting is obviously spur-of-the-moment and unattached to any project save for Iero’s personal SoundCloud, which once boasted a cover of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” (it has since been deleted) and a Christmas parody song.
July 23 is the fan-proclaimed International My Chemical Romance Day (better known as IMCRD), and though MCR announced their breakup in late March, the MCRmy is still holding strong to this holiday celebrated on the release anniversary of MCR’s first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.
“The most common question I’ve been getting since the break up was whether IMCRD would go on at all,” says Devan Mickell, a long-time fan who is manning the @IMCRD Twitter account which helps direct fans on the big day, this year.
“I was actually really surprised by how many people thought that MCR’s break up would jeopardize IMCRD. Yes, it’s about celebrating our love and appreciation for a band, but it’s also about the experiences we’ve shared, the friends we’ve made the family we’ve gained, and how we’ve all grown and changed over the years with one another. To me, IMCRD is far more about the MCRmy than anything else”
For many of fans of the band, it was tough finding ways to connect with other members of the fanbase, especially in the early days when beyond spotting other kids in MCR shirts, going to shows and lurking the now defunct WBR Street Network message boards, there was no way to really connect.
The advances in technology since then opened very simple ways to find other fans and to stay in touch, both online and in real life. IMCRD celebrates the beauty of that, of fan unity and of a strong community built around mutual passion for the band.
Throughout the years, this grassroots holiday has spawned large-scale fan meetups, charity fund-raisers, effortless Twitter trending and many creative endeavors from the fan community.
20 Ways to celebrate IMCRD 2013
1. Attend A Meetup
Head to the “Gangs” section of the MCRmy (which will continue to remain active) or to your local fan page to see if local fans are planning to meet.
2. Create Something (Anything!)
Any Killjoy worth his or her weight in spraypaint and Zone dust knows that “art is the weapon.” Likewise, anyone who follows Gerard Way on Twitter knows that “#ArtIsSmart.” So pick up your weapon of choice today and make something.
3. Donate to charity
My Chem were always great proponents of giving back. From their work with the Make-A-Wish foundation and Shirts For A Cure, to Frank Iero’s custom Macbeth “Fuck Cancer” shoes and the #SingItForJapan fund for tsunami relief spearheaded by Ray Toro, the band always gave back and would surely love to see fans honoring their message by doing the same.
4. Listen to MCR in a new light
A couple months ago, Gerard Way took to Twitter to have listening parties for each of the band’s album’s offering his perspective and behind-the-scenes facts. Listening to the albums while perusing his Twitter commentary is one way to enrich your listening experience.
5. Get an MCR tattoo
This is something that has been on my personal to-do list since I was 14. Why wait? Tomorrow doesn’t exist.
6. Spam your Twitter followers
This year’s official IMCRD hashtag is #MCRmyForLife. Use it to celebrate the band’s career and tell others why you’re in it for life.
7. Celebrate the new work of the MCR members
All four MCR members have announced that they are embarking on new endeavors, some of which you can already hear online. Check out Ray Toro’s solo song “Isn’t That Something?,” “Where Are My Fucking Pills?” by Death Spells (Frank Iero and James Dewees) and Gerard Way’s “Zero Zero.”
8. Bask in nostalgia
If you’re like me, you have overflowing archives of endless MCR information. Here’s a quick directory of AP issues on which MCR have been on the cover or have been featured prominently:
-May 2003 (AP 178)
-February 2004 (AP 187)
-August 2004 (AP 193)
-December 2004 (AP 197) - COVER
-January 2006 (AP 210) - COVER
-December 2006 (AP 221) - COVER
-July 2008 (AP 240)
-January 2010 (AP 258) - COVER
-March 2011 (AP 272) - COVER
-November 2012 (AP 292) – Gerard Way and deadmau5
-June 2013 (AP 299) – Death Spells
-July 2013 (AP 300) – Gerard Way’s reimagining of their first COVER
9. Pick up an instrument
Both Mikey Way and Frank Iero have signature instruments—the Mikey Way Fender Squier Mustang bass and the Epiphone Wilshire Phant-o-matic, respectively. Pick up a guitar today and start practicing and saving up for one.
10. Write a letter to Gerard Way
Shortly after MCR broke up, Gerard Way published an address and asked fans to write to him or send him anything that could fit in an envelope. When we spoke to the singer a month later, he told us it was tough, and he was surprised by the response, but he’s still going to try to get through all the letters he receives. Send yours to:
Warner Bros Records
c/o Gerard Way
3300 Warner Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505
Just don’t send any packages. And “don’t make it weird.”
11. Go on a scavenger hunt to find a new copy of Bullets on CD for a reasonable price
Seriously. We’re not sure what it is—Eyeball Records going out of business, opportunists scalping because of the breakup, or what—but for whatever reason, finding a copy of I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love on CD online is quite the task these days.
12. Catch up on issues one and two of The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
The comic series (which began as a comic series that informed the album, then became informed by the album) follows the life of “The Girl” depicted in the band’s Danger Days videos several years later. For bonus fun: Go on a hunt with some fellow MCR fans for the issues’ alternate covers! (Current issues and preorders available.)
13. Watch Life On The Murder Scene
You’ve probably seen it a million times, and you’re probably going to cry, but it never hurts. Plus sitting on your couch watching a DVD is “easy-peasy pumpkin-peasy. Pumpkin pie, motherfucker!” While you’re at it, you might as well whip out The Black Parade Is Dead! and ¡Venganza!
14. Dress up
Be fearless. Go to work in full Killjoys garb! Well, depending on your job or school, that is. If you can’t go to that extreme, or if you don’t want to go with the full on unholy living dead look, wearing a T-shirt, badge or subtle writing on your arm to show your support works just fine.
15. Listen to this two-hour 2005 Loveline interview
Yes, the sex advice show. NSFW.
16. Help out a fellow fan
Whether you’re an older fan who wants to welcome a younger one to the MCRmy or if you simply notice someone who wants or needs help, extend a helping hand and feel better for having done something nice.
17. Read Frank Iero’s writing
You can find the former MCR guitarist’s fiction-writing, poetry, rants, reviews, meme-generation and photography at frank-iero.com.
18. Celebrate with cupcakes
20. Heed this advice from Frank Iero:
“Your Imagination is the Ammunition.
Stay Dirty, and Stay Dangerous.
Create and Destroy as you see fit.
Embrace your Originality.
The Aftermath is Secondary.
You can and should do Anything.”
Now, GET UP AND GO!
How will you celebrate today? Reply with your plans and share on Twitter using the #MCRmyForLife tag. You might see your photo here later!
Our fearless leader acknowledges our efforts:
Guitarist Frank Iero is one of Epiphone’s youngest and most eclectic signature artists. With his Wilshire Phant-o-matic–designed in collaboration with Frank and Epiphone–he powered My Chemical Romance’s world tour supporting their hit studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Though Chemical Romance recently announced their break up, Frank is already at work on new music with his group, Death Spells.
Frank Iero’s enthusiasm for his craft–and for all kinds of music–was very evident in our recent interview in which artists as diverse as The Ramones, King Curtis, Richie Havens, and the Smiths came up as influences. The Epiphone Frank Iero Phant-o-matic was released to great reviews in 2011 and continues to be embraced by both new and veteran players. It features a Mahogany body, a vintage style Varitone™ control, and Alnico Classic™ pickups in a beautiful Antique Ivory or limited Emerald Green finish. And as you’ll read in our interview, Frank’s Phant-o-matic never rests.
Great to speak with you again, Frank. First things first–have your kids started playing your Wilshire Phant-o-matic yet?
Every time I pickup a guitar, they are all over it too. They are definitely intrigued by the instrument. And although I have been pushing the Phant-o-matic on them, my good friend Cara from Epiphone sent them these tiny Zack Wylde Pee Wee and Vee Wee guitars. So they have gravitated towards those for the time being. It’s pretty rad. They have their own little half stacks and everything. I’m super jealous.
They are officially little people now with opinions and personalities–no longer screeching amoebas–and it’s blowing my mind on a daily basis. They are without a doubt the best things that ever happened to me. They make life worth living. And they love music too, which fills me with such a sense of pride (laughs). They are not the best singers yet, even though they think they are, but their interpretive dancing skills are unsurpassed. My wife and I blast the Ramones for them and you can literally see the rhythm take control like a psychotropic drug.
The last we heard, My Chemical Romance was working on a new album in their studio in LA. But after the Conventional Weapons series concluded, MCR announced their break-up. What happened?
Yea, well you know, life happened. The band ran its course. We had an amazing 12 years together, which I wouldn’t trade in for the world. But it had just come time for the band to end and for a new chapter to begin.
What’s next for you?
Well, there’s lot’s to come actually. I’m currently working on a few different projects at the moment. One of which is Death Spells, a project James Dewees and I started a few months back. We have a bunch of songs recorded, and I’m actually finishing the vocals in the next week or so on some of those. We did a short tour last month just to stretch our legs and knock the dust off the songs We are looking to get back out on the road again with Death Spells as soon as we can figure out a release schedule. But it’s a really fun project. It’s always evolving and I get to play and think about music in a whole different way.
I have also recently been in the studio recording for an as-of-yet untitled project. I found myself with a bunch of songs that I wanted to hear come to life and decided to just go in and do it before they killed me in my sleep. I’m unsure as to what may come of this record I’m making. It’s way different from Death Spells, maybe more in the vein of what I did for the Frankenweenie soundtrack. But it feels like a crime of passion–something I’m compelled to create–ha–or destroy. We shall see who survives, the songs or me.
And then there are always a few other side projects and creative outlets I have to have going at all times. Fun death metal bands I dream up with friends, possible scoring opportunities that intrigue me, and I also started a website (www.frank-iero.com) where I’ve been posting my photography, poetry, and short stories. There’s also some music posted there from my SoundCloud page.
Do you feel pressure to create something that’s very different from My Chemical Romance?
No, I don’t think that’s ever really come into my head. No matter what I do next, it’s going to be different from My Chem. That band was special because of the 4 guys involved. Nothing any of us do on our own will ever be what that was. And that’s a good thing. There’s no sense in repeating yourself
So with a new attitude and the freedom of starting again, what have you been listening to?
Jeez, how long do you want this interview to be (laughs)? I’m always listening to stuff and trying to seek out new things–or at least things that are new to me. My dad just gave me the King Curtis Live at the Fillmore West record. Wow, what a listen that is. The incredible playing aside, I’ve been amazed at the mixing of that record. There’s such clarity and space. It’s really well done. I love the sound of the new Queens of the Stone Age record. I think Josh Homme did a great job on that. The Pissed Jeans records are on repeat a lot. My friend just got me into the Mummies, this California garage rock band from the 90′s that used to dress up like mummies–really rad stuff. And then the staples of course; The Pixies, The Smiths, The Stones–lots of Joy Division lately, Johnny Cash, Richie Havens. So sad about his recent passing, that really made me sad. Seeing Richie as a young kid with my dad literally changed my life, it made me want to start a band.
Have you noticed that your writing is changing, too?
It’s funny–that process is ever changing for me, especially now with having new bands and new capabilities in technology. It used to be the only way to have band practice was to turn up to ’11′ in a small room and just sonically punish one another. And sometimes that’s still the best way–depends on the band. But the writing process with Death Spells, for instance, has been a lot of communicating online. Sending files back and forth, tweaking things in Logic or recording ideas in Pro Tools and then bouncing ideas off of one another that way. It gives us a chance to really flesh out an idea or hear the song come to fruition early on. And that’s exciting.
When working on other projects where I am the only composer, working on my laptop has opened up so many doors. The fact that I can demo everything on my own relatively quick and know early on what works and what doesn’t has been amazing. Also, having a digital studio at you fingertips let’s less of those late night ideas slip through the cracks. This can be a great thing and a terrible thing by the way.
You’ve had your signature Epiphone Wilshire Phant-o-matic for over a year now. Do you use it for your writing?
Yes, absolutely. Everyday in fact. The Phant-o-matic has been my go-to instrument since the day it arrived, finished, in my hands. I love that guitar. It’s everything I wanted it to be and so versatile. It feels like an extension of my body.
It’s one of those things where at the end of the day, if the Phant-o-matic doesn’t happen to be the perfect guitar for recording a certain song I’ve made, you can be sure it played a major part in that song’s birth. That’s why there are so many guitars in the world, a song will tell you which guitar it needs in order to become whole.
You pulled double duty at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival in New Jersey performing with 2 bands on 2 days. You like to stay busy.
Yeah, it was quite a busy weekend to say the least. We did a Death Spells set on Saturday and then a LeATHERMOUTH set on Sunday. It was really hectic and crazy and stressful. But at the end of it all, it was really fun. I love playing music, especially with my friends. I have such an insatiable appetite for creating and performing that maybe it’s best for me to have 8 bands going at the same time, even though I find performing and creating absolutely terrifying (laughs). I don’t know, maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.
I’m a pretty high-strung person to begin with. I worry about everything and everyone constantly. And on top of that, I have weird social anxiety/stage fright thing. My wife just laughs at me. I do it to myself though. It’s kind of like how a stunt man finds joy in near death experiences. I have a love-hate relationship with music. It keeps me alive, but it will probably be the death of me. The Evel Knievel of rock and roll does have a nice ring to it though.
What can we look forward to this year? More touring?
Well, I’m in the studio now working and the plan is to have a Death Spells release out this year. I’d love to do a full tour with that as soon as it makes sense. And as far as the other projects I have going on, I’m just playing it by ear and letting the music tell me when it’s done with me.Via
“I WIPE THE MAKE-UP OFF; I TAKE THE SUIT OFF; I TAKE THE TIE OFF AND EVERYTHING. I’M NORMAL AGAIN. I’M GERARD AGAIN.” -Gerard Way
Pelissier, who now works as a mechanic back in Jersey, is still searching for answers, insisting, “I was flat-out told the only reason I’m being kicked out of the band is because ‘We don’t feel comfortable with you onstage anymore because one, you don’t play to the click track, and two, those couple times you messed up, we just don’t fell comfortable.’ Even through Gerard was drunk every night and messed up every night…” His voice trails off.”They haven’t even avoiding the subject.”
“People probably though it was weird that we didn’t make any kind of statement beforehand or really talk about what happened,” Toro responds, carefully. “It must’ve been weird for people to notice, ‘Wow! One of the members who started the band and has been in the band for three years is now gone, and they haven’t said anything.’ The main reason why we decided to do that is because we didn’t want to get into a pissing match, and we didn’t want to have this sort of he-said, she-said bullshit.
“There are obviously things that went along with that [decision],” Toro continues, ‘like a lack of getting along with him and a lack of being able to play songs the same way every night. But the main reason was that we weren’t having fun being in the band… he had to have known in this heart-whether he’ll admit it or not-that he wasn’t performing up to the way we needed to perform. You had to have been fucking blind to not see the relationship problems between each of us and him-that we just didn’t get along. When I started getting into the reasons of why we made the decision, he just walked away. That was the last time I spoke to him.”
Pelissier, obviously, doesn’t see things the way his former bandmates do. “I had Ray come up to me once or twice and ask me to play to a click track [a metronome-type machine that helps a drummer keep time] live, and I said no. Pretty much no drummer does, because it takes away the whole live feeling. And that was it. I got back from Japan, and only Ray come to my house with [manager] Schechter. It’s like your whole world comes crashing down, after I gave everything I ever did, everything I ever owned to make sure the band would survive, and that’s the thanks I get.”
While Pelissier dealt with the blow, the rest of the band had to find a replacement. Enter well-respected soundman and secret MCR wannabe Bryar. “It was at Irving Plaza, maybe a year-and-a-half ago, and My Chemical Romance [were playing with] Finch and the Used,” recalls Bryar. “My Chem finished playing, and I walked into the back and said something to [their manager] like, ‘I wish I could do that.’” At this point. Bryar was just a cellmate the band met along the way. The band didn’t even know he could play drums, but after flying him out for a test run, there was no doubt Bryar was the perfect blend of personality and technical ability they were looking for.
No one in the band has talked to Pelissier since returning from Japan, except for Iero. “I called him right after it happened and was like, ‘Yo, I wanted to be there, but I understand why Ray wanted to talk to you alone. I hope that we can be mature about this after everything.
THE JETSET LIFE IS GONNA THRILL YOU
In three short years, My Chemical Romance have done things some bands only dream about-dueting with punk-rock royalty, hanging with hip-hop heavyweights and chilling with Frodo Baggins. But that’s not to say the men of MCR still don’t get starstruck. Here are their top three out-of-body encounters that had them scratching their heads, wondering. “Is this really happening?”
Attending a 2004 post-Oscar bash attended by the cast of The Lord Of The Rings and other A-List celebs.
“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘I don’t belong here. What am I doing with these people?’” remember Ray Toro, eyes wide. “I was sitting this close to Kirsten Dunst. I could’ve literally touched her.” In addition to lighting his hair on fire and seeing Countney Love moon a deck full of innocent bystanders. Toro and the rest of the band also watched as an actor (known to play an all powerful wizard) eyed Mikey Way “like he was a piece of chicken” Mikey refused to comment on the poultry comparison, but did say it ranked as his craziest night in Los Angels.
Giving Keith Morris vocal lessons during the recording sessions for Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
“I wasn’t coaching him,” Frank Iero insists, “but the was asking me how we wanted it.” The band invited the Circle Jerks singer to sing on “Hang Em High,” and it was all Iero could do not to pinch himself in the vocal booth. “Basically, I was like, ‘Do it like this.’ Then he’d do it, and I’d say, ‘Done one more take.’ We just sat down, ate Chinese food and he just talked to me for hours and hours. Ir was so fucking cool.”
Being invited to tea apt Rubin’s house.
After an MCR show with Piebald at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, a mysterious man came up to Gerard Way and said, “Rick Rubin would like to meet you.” Legend has if that the producer rarely leaves his house and hardly ever goes to see bands, so Way was intrigued. Rubin eventually invited the band over to his house to talk about abour music, and MCR jumped at the chance.
“We get to his house, and they asked us all to take off our shoes and they hand us these giant bottles of water,” Gerard recalls. ‘We sat in his library with a huge stufed polar bear and picture all over the wall-original points of John Lennon photographs and Black Flag. He came in and sat across from us I don’t think he blinked at all. He stared right into our souls. And then somebody comes to the door and asks if we can close the two doors to the library, and it’s Cedric [Baler Zavala] We all turn to each other and go, ‘Was that Cedric?’ Then we ask, is that the Mars Volta in there? Can we meet them?’ We totally nerded out. So Rick gets right up, opens the doors and goes into the piano room. It was their last day. They were finishing De-loused In The Comatorum. He goes, ‘Would you mind meeting these guy?’ They were the coolest guys. I remember Omar [A Rodriguez Lopez ] went. ‘I really like your belt.’ What the Fuck? That was huge!” [LS]
Actually, they’re more of a pill-and-booze-induced haze. Since releasing MCR’s sophomore album on Warner Bros, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, nothing’s been the same. Exceeding anyone’s expectations, the sales were bigger (Revenge sold in one week what Bullets sold in nearly two years), the show were bigger-and the drinking problem that had been plaguing Gerard for years was now officially out of control. “I can’t believe that they’re even still a band,” says Rickly, incredulously. “Who can go from zero to 120 like that? I heard stories that Gerard was drinking so much and going so many drugs that I through, ‘Somebody’s gonna die; the band’s gonna fall apart, and it’s gonna be awful.’”
With an unyielding momentum, My Chemical Romance embarked on the Vans Warped Tour ’04 and soon started making fans out of their idols like Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. “I wandered out into the crowd. [MCR] started playing, and I got kind of the same feeling that I got going to see Naked Raygun shows,” Skiba remembers fondly “They were so good and sounded so great, and the energy exchange with the crowd was something that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had no choice. I had to start dancing. My drink was full when I walked in there, and five seconds later, it was all over a bunch of kids ‘heads.’”
Warped was one big traveling circus, and MCR were becoming the star attraction. But the devastating heal, the overwhelming schedule and Gerard’s increasing chemical addiction were starting to affect the band and their performance. Rickly saw the self-destruction firsthand when both bands were on the tour and he wondered if he should intervene. “It’s weird to say, because the’re a band and they can do what they want, ” Rickly pauses. “But those are our friends. You don’t want to see them get sucked into something you’ve had your band get sucked into.”
At the height of the band’s success on Warped, Gerard was going through $150 worth of illegal pills per month, mostly Xanax, and drinking a bottle of vodka every day to day and a half.
“I worked out a system,” Gerard says as he takes a swing from this bottle of vitaminwater, “where if we played at noon, I was basically just hung over, still drunk probably from the night before. If we were playing at 1 or 2. I was already drunk if [I wasn't] fully drunk, then I was trying to get drunk at any signings we had to do. After that, I would continue to get drunk well until the [day's tour stop] was done, until bus call. Bus call would come , or sometimes before it, and I would pop an bunch of Xanax and basically be cracked out. It was the only thing at that point that would put me to sleep and shut my brain off.”
The name My Chemical Romance was no longer homage to Irvine Welsh’s book, Ecstasy: Three Takes Of Chemical Romance; it was now Gerard’s mantra. The band jumped off Warped’s traveling punk-rock circus in mid-July, and immediately embarked on a co-headlining tour with Senses Fail. Both bands were sharing a tour bus and partying it up, but things went too far on a tour stop somewhere in the Midwest.
“I had done to see the Killers and got really drunk,” recalls Gerard. “I found a way to get cocaine, and I bought a whole fucking eight ball and pretty much did the whole fucking thing. I did so much cocaine that I was in the middle of the street, throwing up everywhere. My head was pounding; it felt twice its size. All the veins in my head felt like they were going to explode. The next day, I woke up, and I was more suicidal that morning than I had ever been in my entire life-and it was completely amazing to me. “Nobody in my band knew,” he adds. “I had a really good way of hiding stuff.”
Or if they did know, they certainly didn’t acknowledge it as a problem. “I think I was accepting because I was equally bad as he was at one point,” explains Mikey. “I was even worse than him at some points early on in the band’s career. I thought it’d be really hypocritical to say, ‘Put that vodka down!’”
“Any time you mix drinking with narcotics, something bad can happen,” adds Iero. “And depression-mixing the three of them is really bad. Every time you do it, it changes your whole body chemistry. When we were touring, no one really thought about it, because we were all doing it together.” After making a call to his manager, who talked him down for the next three hours, Gerard managed to snap out of his suicidal stupor in time to finish the tour and head back to Jersey to regroup-but not for long. The band were scheduled and the one place he feared he wouldn’t return from.
“I was terrified,” he remembers. “All I did was sweat two days before Japan, I sweat buckets, drank and loaded up on my pills for the trip.” He loaded up on liquor at the airport bar, popped a whole bar of Xanax and woke up in a completely different country. Doped up and unsure how he even made it through customs, Gerard was on autopilot. He overindulged in sake, entertained more thoughts of ending his life and played two of the largest shows of the band’s career completely wasted.
“My intention was to make it a memorable experience for everyone, and I did,” he says with a shrug and a sheepish grin. “But it’s kind of like marking a deal with the devil. I made it a memorable experience for everyone-but in the worst possible way.”
“It’s weird, because usually when we’re playing, me and Gerard can look at each other and no matter what’s going on, I can pull back to it and go for it,” say Iero. “When I looked for him [in Osaka] and he was underneath the stage being drunk, I just wanted to [put my guitar down] and go.”
“I walked offstage and I threw up for 45 minutes straight in this garbage can, like I had never thrown up before,” Gerard says as he lights another cigarette. “I puked everything out. The whole band was there, and I was sitting on the couch in the corner. Ray turns to Brian [Schechter, Manager] and says. ‘You need to get him to the doctor. Listen to him. He’s really sick.’ Sitting there, I still have vomit all over myself, and I just thought, ‘This has to be the end.’ I was still really suicidal and depressed, but I was just like, ‘I have to stop drinking. I don’t know how, but this has to be the end.’
“I didn’t know what was was going to happen when I got back to the U.S.” Gerard continues. “I got off the plane and was really upset, I knew what was going to happen to Otter, and I think that’s another reason why I was upset. I said goodbye to him and knew that I probably was not going to see him again. At the same time, I didn’t know if I was going to be alive the next day. I said goodbye to everybody and I had tears in my eyes because I wasn’t really sure if I was going to see anyone in my band again.”
“THE LAST TIME I SAW OR HEAR FROM GERARD,” say Pelissier, “it was when I gave him a hug at the airport.” While Gerard was dealing with getting clean, MCR were struggling with and ever larger challenge-building up the courage to ask their drummer to leave the band he helped start. “It was like the moment that you break up with someone you’ve been dating for three of four years that you used to love in the beginning of the relationship and things went sour, but for some reason you’re still together,” explains Toro, who, along with the band’s manager, went to Pelissier’s house to break the news.
It was his all-created-aqual attitude that inspired a sense of community within the scene. A band’s singer was no better than the guy who was checking IDs at the door, who was no better than the 15-years-old fan waiting after the show to get picked up by his or her parents. Mikey was interning for Eyeball at the time, carrying equipment, putting up fliers and basically doing anything to help out the scene he loved. It was out of this relationship with Saavedra that Gerard was introduced to Rickly and asked to draw some designs for Thursday’s T-shirts. “I was this hermit artist kid who was Mikey’s weird older brother,” recalls Gerard, laughing. “I met Geoff outside of a record store called St.Marks in Kearny, and I remember this really strange-looking kid who looked like he was in Joy Division. He had a black mop; he looked emaciated and pales-as-shit sick. But he was so nice, and we hit it off immediately.”
Although they met under the pretense of having a working relationship, a deep friendship was born. ” remember at these parties Gerard coming up to me and being really psyched on Thursday, having seen us and telling some amazing stories about the way it made him feel,” recalls Rickly. “At the time, I think he was sort of at a low point in his life. He would disappear and not come out for a month and a half.”
Adds Saavedra, laughing. “[Gerard] would just smoke cigarettes and draw Spider-Man all night long.”
“When you’d see him, he’d look just terrible, just bummed out,” Rickly continues. “He told me one night that Thursday gave him new hope and he was gonna start a band with his little brother. Not that it was a joke, but I thought, ‘Yeah, they’re thinking about starting a band, but how long does it take you before you actually start doing something good?’ He would sit there and play me songs on one of Alex’s guitars that was so hopelessly out to tune and broken with bad strings that I was like, ‘I love you and your brother, and sure, I’ll hang out. I’ll come to practice.’”
It was through a mutual friend that Gerard was introduced to Iero who was in the midst of making a name for himself with his band Pencey Prep, who had already been signed to Eyeball. Pencey needed a band to share their practice space, and MCR gladly accepted, “Pencey Prep, Thursday and us would practice in the same room,” says Mikey. “which was great, because you could just hang out and watch someone else’s practice, do your own, share ideas [and] show people what was going on, it was awesome.” Pencey eventually disbanded, and MCR adopted Iero as one their own.
Back at the Eyeball house, at one of Saavedra’s infamous ragers. Mikey played Alex the demo, and the label immediately added the band to its roster. In early 2002, the band, Rickly and Saavedra trekked up to Nada Studios in New Windsor, New York, to start recording Bullets. The sessions were plagued by torrential storms and Gerard’s health problems, but somewhere amid the madness the band managed to craft 11 songs that would book/mark the visual aesthetic and musical texture My Chemical Romance aspired to achieve.
“As soon as it came time for Gerard to do vocals for ‘Vampires [Will Never Hurt You]; this insane stor, hit,” Saavedra remembers. “Gerard was getting very frustrated because it was his first time recording, decently, in an actual studio. He was overwhelmed and he was over-thinking it… So I punched him in the face!” The blow loosened Gerard’s jaw and somehow grave him the motivation to take the mic and rip a bite out of the track.
Gerard laughs triumphantly. “I remember it hurting a lot, and going. ‘All right, I hope I can do this.’ I remember singing, and something clicked. I remember Alex’s face was just amazed that the song was finally coming together. I think it was the second take that we ended up using.”
Ask Gerard the best compliment he’s ever received, and he’ll tell you what Rickly said after he heard a finished version of I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. “Geoff told me the first time that he had heard it, he was fucking terrified of what we were capable of. He asked, ‘You ever heard of Ink & Daggers?’ I was like, ‘Not really. I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them or heard them.’ He was like, ‘You need to get some Ink & Dagger, Because it’s what you guys are doing-but you’re doing it better.”
LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW OF MCR’S ROOM at the Hyatt on Sunset, you can see people pouring out of hotels barns and milling around like denizens of an ant farm. The smells of car fumes, expensive perfume and stale cigarettes waft through the air. The House Of Blues sits quietly across the street, a silent reminder of a job well done. The band should be celebrating after tearing up the place just three hours earlier. It may’ve been the last leg of Face To Face’s string of farewell shows, but it was MCR’s long-overdue welcome to the major league of rock. As members of New Found Glory, the Bronx and H2O looked on, My Chemical Romance covered every inch of the stage with their unique concoction of organic musicianship and raw machismo.
But instead, Iero, Toro, Bryar, Mikey and the rest of the crew gather their duffle bags and guitar cases and load everything back into their van. Tomorrow they’re playing a radio show in Phoenix, and a long drive lies ahead of them. Their white, 15-passenger van is making an obnoxiously loud grinding noise. Good thing a tour bus is meeting them in Arizona , because it’s only a matter of miles before their beloved vehicle shits the bed.
Gerard passes up the drive and stays behind one more night in Los Angeles. Sitting Indian-style on one of the room’s double beds, he surveys his surrounding and sees that his bandmates have left the room a sty. The floor is stained, littered with smashed cigarette butts, while someone’s dirty underwear sits balled up in the comer, unclaimed. Gerard takes a deep breath and lights a cigarette. It’s practically the only vice he’s got left.
For this enigmatic frontman who eats, drinks and sweats rock ‘n’ roll, the past six months are a blur. [continues]
Toro, a quiet kid who wasn’t interested in anything but guitar, lived on a dead-end street on the border of Keaerny and Harrison, New Jersey. “There was definitely a funny collection of people who would hang around my block,” he remembers with an awkward grin. “There was this guy named Bertine who was a drug addict, who, every couple of months, would OD outside my house I would see an ambulance come and take him away.”
“Our parents were kind of scared to let us outside of the house, because where we lived was pretty dangerous,” remembers Mikey, Gerard’s little brother and partner in crime. Ask Donna Way, the boys mother about Mikey’s first steps, and she’ll tell you he didn’t start by walking: he’d watch his brother run, try to chase after him and end up falling on his face. “We didn’t have anyone else to hang out with. We had friends from the neighborhood, but it was mostly me and Gerard.”
“The way the Jersey is it’s very sheltering and you don’t have to develop,” adds Gerard, perhaps thankful that the wouldn’t want to live there-anymore. “You don’t have to grow. It’s kind of like this adolescence that lasts forever. I know 34 year olds that still live like they were in high school.”
If not for the band, Iero and Mikey would probably be college graduates, Toro might still be delivering film, and Gerard would still be living in his mom’s basement, trying to break into comics. It was the drive to make a difference, the lust for a life less ordinary and a fateful day in September that would eventually motivate five guys from the wrong side of town to form what would became My Chemical Romance.
WHEN THE TWIN TOWERS COLLAPSED ON SEPT. 11, 2001, it was a time of self-reflection and reevaluation for the entire United States. It was like a voice in everyone’s head perked up and said, What are you where you want to be? Are you happy? Are you where you want to be? At least, those were some of the inner conflicts Gerard Way was dealing with. He was trying to sell an animated television series to the Cartoon Network called The Breakfast Monkey. It was about a Scandinavian flying imp who talked like Bjork and harnessed a special power called Breakfast Magic, which meant he could manipulate and create an assorted menu of breakfast food. Cartoon Network turned down the pitch because they already had another food-relate show in production-Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Gerard was discouraged and wanted to move his life in a new direction. “9/11 happened and, literally, a week later, the phone calls were made.” One phone call and an impromptu meeting at Passaic’s rocker bar, the Loop Lounge, would eventually change Gerard’s life forever.
“I ran into Matt at a bar and said. ‘You know what? I’ve been writing songs. You’re not doing anything and I’m not doing anything, so let’s get together and give id a shot.” With a no-pressure commitment, Gerard played Pelissier a rough version of ’Skylines And Turnstiles,’ and he liked what he heard. At the time, Gerard couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time, so the duo called on Toro, Pelissier’s old high school friend and former band mate. “I talked to him that night and said the same thing I had said to Matt : No strings attached; you don’t have to say yes or no. Just come, check it out and bring your guitar.”
The trio recorded a demo in Pelissier’s attic. “My attic had no walls,” he says, laughing. “It was a wooden, run-down piece of crap. I had a really cheap 16-track board, and we had a bunch of crappy mics. I basically had the drums and guitars playing upstairs and ran mics down the stars and had Gerard sing in the bathroom.” What came out of those sessions were the blue prints for “Our Lady Of Sorrows,” remembers Gerard. “And a lot of people loved the demo.” Including Mikey, who was so impressed that he decided to learn bass-having never picked up the instrument-so he could play in the band with his brother.
At the time, Mikey was a fixture on the New Jersey music scene. If there was a party, Mikey was there. And if there was an Eyeball Records party, everyone was there. The house of Eyeball’s owner, Alex Saavedra, was a funhouse decorated with horror-movie memorability toys and comics book collectibles, and soon became a punk-rock bed and breakfast of shorts, the meeting place for some of Jersey’s most musically creative minds, including members of Saves The Day. Midtown and Thursday.
“Sometimes the parties were totally impromptu. It was just a bunch of guys at the house getting drunk having fun, getting arrested and having to go to jail,” remembers Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, who ended up working closely with My Chemical Romance. ‘Then there were these huge parties Alex would throw that would be a few hundred people at the house. Half the Jersey scene would be there. It would be everyone from the kids who’d go to the shows to a lot of the bands to everyone who ran the clubs.”
“WHO CAN GO FROM ZERO TO 120 LIKE THAT? I HEARD STORIES THAT GERARD WAS DRINKING SO MUCH AND DOING SO MANY DRUGS THAT I THOUGHT, ‘SOMEBODY’S GONNA DIE; THE BAND’S GONNA FALL APART, AND IT’S GONNA BE AWFUL.’” -Geoff Rickly