Interview with Ray Toro!
MX Citybeat Newspaper Sydney: Chemical Reactions – Thursday 22nd December, 2011. Passionate fans have the final word on Twitter about the MCR family reunion Down Under
It took only one tweet to send My Chemical Romance fans in the Twittersphere into a spin.
“Interviewing Ray Toro on Friday about MCR’s upcoming Oz tour. Any burning questions you want answered?”.
After all, it had been a year since MCR’s last album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and lead singer Gerard Way, bass player Mikey Way and guitarists Frank Iero and Toro haven’t had a lot to say since its release, apart from navigating some tricky territory after sacking fill-in drummer Michael Pedicone, who was accused of stealing from the band in September.
So why not get the fans from MCR’s two biggest fan clubs involved? And yes, they did get involved. Within 24 hours the call-out had been retweeted all over the world – from Argentina and Venezuela to Norway and Japan – generating dozens of questions for the curly-haired guitarist. But Toro isn’t surprised by the reaction, saying MCR know they have some of the most passionate fans in the world.
“Oh really, ha!” he says of the response.
“That’s because we have the best fans. It is kinda crazy because we’ve been around about 10 years and the dedication that the fans have for us, still to this day, it’s always super-flattering. And it means a lot that people still care about us and in a way they’re rooting for us.”
And fans certainly have been rooting for them, riding out the lull between the highly acclaimed The Black Parade andDanger Days while the band tried to figure out their new sound.
“We were in a strange spot when we got into the studio to do (Danger Days),” he says. “We’d been working maybe for like, half the year on another collection of songs and as we got closer towards the mixing stage, it didn’t hit us as much as the other records did. So we went back to the drawing board. (Then) the songs kept coming and when songs come fast, you know you’re on to something.”
Toro says the band’s looking to have a good time when they tour Australia for Big Day Out, their last tour before heading back into the studio to write.
“We do love Australia, it’s a no bullshit kind of attitude and people say whatever’s on their minds and that’s a cool thing,” he says.
He’s quick to hose down rumours that tour drummer Jarrod Alexander would be joining the band full-time.
“I think for us, My Chem is just the four guys and it’ll probably be that for the rest of time,” he says.
“We feel like we’ve gotten burned a few times, making wrong decisions with members. We know who the core guys are, who the true family is, and I don’t think we’re really ever going to change that.”
My Chemical Romance play Big Day Out, Sydney Showground, on January 26 and Hordern Pavilion on January 27. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Warner) is out now.
What the fans want to know:
If you could perform with any band, past or present, who would that be?
That’s so funny, I’ve been on a Black Sabbath kick lately, so I’d love that. I reckon it’d be so f…ing rad to be up there for just one song. There’s not a band that’s f…ing heavier than Black Sabbath.
How did you choose your Killjoy name?
It’s funny because Gerard and Mikey chose Jetstar for me but I’m not sure why – I wish I had a better answer! I do know the name of the (Killjoy’s) gun comes from Mikey and Gerard, that’s from their old band which was called Raygun Jones.
Are you working on a new album?
We haven’t started writing yet but we’ve been talking a lot about it. After Black Parade we wanted to take a break from touring and writing and the band and everything and right now were in a much better spot, mentally and physically. We wanna take a break from touring after this tour and get back into writing after the holidays. We’ve been building our own compound in LA where we can go and work every day and just keep creating more music.
What’s your favourite song to perform live?
Destroyer because of the energy on that song, the beat. It’s very tribal and very animalistic. It seems any time we play that song it brings out a certain side of each other on stage. We let loose.
How many guitars do you own and which is your favourite?
I own more than enough, I can’t remember how many! It’s got to be at least 25 or 30. My favourite guitar right now is a Harmony acoustic, I do a lot of writing on it. I picked it up in this shop in Pennsylvania actually, in a small music store, like in an attic. I picked it up for maybe $200. It was all beat up and torn but it sounds great.
What’s going through your head when you’re playing in front of thousands of people?
I try not to think and I find when I do I actually end up messing up – so I try not to think too much. I could just be looking around and catch a kid’s eye and you make quick eye contact and even for that instant you have a quick connection with that person, that’s cool.
Do you prefer Gerard’s hair red or black?
Black. It seems more him, you know? It reminds me of when we first started the band.
What’s your favourite horror movie?
Right now, The Exorcist. It creeps the hell out of me. Every time I watch it I can’t sleep at night.
Do you think your guitar-playing talent comes from your ‘fro?
My family has good genes. My dad kinda plays guitar but my older brother’s a guitar player and he showed me everything I know. So it comes from family, not hair!