Monthly Archives: January 2012

Interview with Ray Toro!

BEING LUMPED IN WITH A “BUNCH OF SHITTY BANDS” WAS THE WORST PART OF BEINGLABELLED EMO, RECKONS MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE GUITARIST RAY TORO. BUT MARKHEBBLEWHITE LEARNS THAT LONGEVITY IS THE BEST REVENGE ON THOSE EMO LUMPERS.“


Under normal circumstances, it’s impossible to tell whether someone is rolling their eyes over a phone line. But when asked about professional American right wing nut job Glenn Beck’s recent categorisation of the band’s track Sing (which was featured on the mega popular Glee) as “propaganda”, the sound of eyeballs sinking gracefully back into Ray Toro’s skull is almost audible. Not surprisingly, Toro is unwilling to grant the Beckmiester anymore of his time or breath, but he is willing to again address another charge often labelled against the band. That is that My Chemical Romance is – you know – the ‘E’ word.


“The emo tag doesn’t really bother us as much as it did in the past,” laughs Toro. “As we’ve developed as a band that charge has really gone away to the point where it only creeps up now and then. I think what was really frustrating though was that the tag itself was really indefinable – we kept getting called something that to us made no sense whatsoever. Second, it meant that we were lumped in with a whole bunch of, for lack of a better word, shitty bands.


“Our revenge on all those journalists and commentators who wanted to call us ‘emo’ as if to suggest we were a band that teenagers liked for a couple of months, was to survive and carry on making good records and playing good shows. And in doing that we’ve not only kept fans who have been with us from the beginning, but we’ve made new fans with each record; fans that appreciate us for a range of different reasons.”

So if Toro himself could go back in time and invent a catch all description for his band’s blend of punk fire, metal riffage and alt rock angst, what would it be? “This is going to sound so clichéd and I don’t want to offer up platitudes, but I’ve always felt that we are one of those bands that doesn’t fit into the traditional categories that people use to describe heavy music. When we first started writing songs, we decided that we didn’t want to have boundaries and that’s why you’ll hear everything from a straight punk rock song right through to big emotional ballads like Sing. Basically we don’t give a fuck – if a song sounds good we’ll use it and think about what genre it fits into later.”


It’s been a busy time of late for the Garden State natives. In 2010 the band unleashed the well received Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys LP before setting out on the mammoth World Contamination tour that has seen them play to sold out crowds across America, Europe and Japan. With those dates under their belts, the band is poised to once again hit Australia as part of the Big Day Out line-up. According to Toro, the tour represents a blend of déjà vu and excitement at the bright future the band see stretching ahead of them.

“We played Big Day Out back in 2007 and I can safely say it was one of the best festival experiences we’ve ever had in our lives,” he gushes. “We played with such a great line up – Tool, Muse, The Violent Femmes, Trivium – really diverse acts and I got to watch them all every night. It was fuckin’ mind-blowing. There’s something about that particular festival – it has its own unique energy that doesn’t exist in any other festival throughout the world. And trust me, we’ve played everything from the Warped festival to the big European shows and as great as all of them are, there’s nothing like coming down to Australia to do the Big Day Out.”

A big part of the Big Day Out’s appeal for My Chemical Romance is the fact that the festival’s very diversity means every band is in a sense being thrown to the lions. Playing to a partisan audience at a festival where every band sounds alike is easy. Stepping on stage in front of thousands of people who have never heard a note of your music is extremely hard. But Toro wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When you’re out of your element there’s a real challenge to get people’s attention,” he explains. “You have to push harder and play better than you would at one of your own shows. These aren’t people by and large who’ve gone out of their way to see you. They just happen to be there and at best are curious. But this situation, which could be seen as a negative, can bring with it a great positive. When you crossover at a festival – in the sense that you have the attention of those people – it creates a palpable energy for the band that you can never get anywhere else. When you know that a large group of people have become interested in you for the first time at that moment because of the music you’ve been playing, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”


However, it’s not only My Chemical Romance’s live schedule has Toro excited for the coming year. As it turns out the guitarist is anxiously awaiting the rebirth of one of metal’s greatest institutions.
“When I heard that Black Sabbath were getting together I just couldn’t believe it,” he admits. “What an amazing band and it looks like younger fans like myself who never got a chance to see them before [will]. Sabbath are the soundtrack to my life when we’re on tour. I just put my iPod on shuffle through all their albums and I don’t have to worry about anything. Every song that comes out of the speakers is fantastic.


“I would never compare our band to Sabbath, but in a way they are like us because they had a willingness to write anything. You know, they’d go from something like Snowblind, which is really fucking heavy, to something like Changes, which is a piano ballad. I really admire them because they weren’t afraid to take risks with their music – and to me that’s the hallmark of a great band.”

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My Chemical Romance believes Big Day Out is here to stay

THE long-term future of Big Day Out may be clouded but not to My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. 
But he is confident the music festival is here to stay.
“It’s like anything else, everybody gets beat up, you’re gonna have great years and you’re going to have hard years,” Gerard says.
“It’s indicative of how music and the world is doing in general … but it’s not like we’d never play it again, it’s awesome, we’re having a really good time.”
Next year’s Auckland event has been cancelled and there were fears the festival’s Adelaide and Perth legs could suffer the same fate.
But the US rockers – currently touring with BDO – are hopeful of a speedy return Down Under and, in particular, to Adelaide, where Gerard has some fond memories.
“I remember walking around and finding a guitar shop last time we were here … I think I bought an acoustic guitar in Adelaide.
“There’s a cool kind of energy here.” he says of his last visit five years ago. Times have changed for the quartet from New Jersey, who formed just over a decade ago. All four band members – Ray ToroMikey WayFrank Iero and Gerard – are married while Gerard has a two-year-old daughterBandit.
“As new parents, we haven’t quite figured that out, how to make it work,” Gerard says. “It’s really tough (touring), you never get used to it.”
My Chemical Romance is playing at the Big Day Out at the Showgrounds on February 3.

Gerard Way’s contribution to the Metallica art tribute exhibit “Obey Your Master”

Gerard Way’s contribution to the Metallica art tribute exhibit “Obey Your Master”.
Way’s contribution to the exhibit is an installation of painted and fabricated landmines inspired by Metallica’s 1989 breakthrough track “One,” the video of which featured footage from the harrowing 1971 anti-war film Johnny Got His Gun.
 
“The original idea was to get a pile of landmines to do as an installation. I asked a friend of mine to fabricate and cast a ton of these so they’d be cost-effective. Getting actual landmines—decommissioned or even replicas of landmines—is pretty much impossible. There were a couple of approaches I tried, but I decided upon a pile of destroyed, fragmented landmines.” – Gerard Way.

My Chemical Romance’s ‘Kids From Yesterday’: Death Of Danger

Fan-made video for ‘The Kids From Yesterday’ looks back at the band’s rise to fame.

Really, My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys deserved better. A big, bold re-invention of their sound and swagger, it was, by the band’s own admission, a “missile” aimed at destroying the staid state of rock and roll, and perhaps because of that fact, it failed to catch on here in the states.
You could practically track its decline based on the videos MCR released off the album, starting with the big-budget “Na Na Na” and the equally flashy follow-up, “Sing,” in which they offed the titular Killjoys (who seemingly will never be heard of again). Their next single, “Planetary (Go!)” came coupled with a live video, and, to the best of my knowledge, a clip for “Bulletproof Heart” never materialized at all. My Chem actually seemed to address the matter in an interview with MTV News last year,  in which frontman Gerard Way lamented that the band had “gone through so many things” over the course of the Danger Days cycle, and hinted that, if there were to be any more videos off the album, they’d have to be financed by MCR themselves. So it’s somewhat fitting that, on Monday, they unveiled the final clip from Danger Days:  a fan-made video for “The Kids From Yesterday” that documents the band’s decade-long climb from Neo-Goth New Jersey rockers to interplanetary conceptual quartet. Like the song itself, the clip is a bittersweet thing, recounting MCR’s many triumphs (a pastiche of memorable live moments, it culminates with their headlining slots at Reading and Leeds this past summer), while leaving those who love to read between the lines to wonder if perhaps the band’s latest era also represents the end … not necessarily of My Chem themselves, but of a moment in rock that now seems to have all but disappeared.  Truly, MCR were the last bastions of the heady heyday of mid-aughts MySpace punk, and now, well, who knows what’s next?
Of course, much of the message behind Danger Days seems to be one of self-empowerment, of inspiring fans to take matters into their own hands and shaking up the status quo. That’s yet another reason why “Kids” is such a fitting sendoff; it was made in collaboration with a fan named Emily Eisemann, who had culled through live footage and initially created a clip of her own. There’s a reason why the video ends with the phrase “Art is the Weapon,” after all: it’s been the band’s clarion call this entire time.
It’s also something Way touched on during Danger Days’ release, when hetold MTV News that the album was not a conceptual piece, but rather “a complete allegory” for smashing the system and placing the power directly in the hands of their fans. And “Kids” is proof that MCR’s message was heard loud and clear, perhaps not by a majority of the record-buying public, but definitely — and most appropriately — by their fans. Sometimes, sales aren’t the only measure of a band’s success, and Danger Days is a testament to that fact. “Kids” may bring one chapter of their career to a close, but wherever My Chemical Romance go next, you know they’ll do so boldly; that’s what makes great bands truly great after all: the willingness to push the boundaries, to purvey inspiration, to shake things up … sometimes even at their own expense.

Interview with Frank Iero, Big Day Out 2012: My Chemical Romance

 

2012 will see My Chemical Romance celebrating 10 years together, 10 years of uniting the teen masses with their anti-establishment messages and powerful punk glam rock.

“We’ve been going over all the memories and different keepsakes that we’ve acquired over the years, walking down memory lane together” guitarist Frank Iero explains.

“It’s kind of crazy when you lay 
everything out in front of you after 10 years, how much you’ve accomplished, how much you’ve been through together, it’s an amazing thing.”

They’ve gone from being a “bunch of kids getting together and making a racket” as Iero describes it, to a band of grown up men, with wives, kids and responsibilities. And Iero believes they’re at their best yet.”
They’ve spent much of 2011 on the road, but one of their highlights was having single Sing used in TV series Glee – a show the band didn’t know too much about until they were approached.Even the worst moments being in this band are better than any moment not being in this band. But this past year, it’s been a lot of good vibes. You spend your life thinking you’re never going to grow up, or being scared of it, and then when you finally do, sometimes it’s hard to just enjoy it, but I think we’ve found that secret.”

“I think it really fit in with the kind of record we were making, in that you have to get into the mainstream, infiltrate it, and poison it, so to us it made perfect sense to do something like that.”

Their reputation for fiery live shows precedes them, though they’ve got something to prove at this year’s BDO, having not toured here since 2007. They released their fourth album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in 2010, and having toured that heavily, they’re currently working on new material.

“We’re in the middle of finding what the new record is going to be and what the new aesthetic is, so not only is the show going to be Danger Days heavy, which is not something that New Zealand has seen yet I guess, but also it’s going to be a crossover of what the new shit.”
He won’t give away any hints as to what new directions they might be heading in, but he laughs: “I can tell you that I think about music in colour, and I see a lot of orange in the next record.”

Having impressed with pyrotechnics and crazy costumes on their Black Parade tour, the Danger Days shows have been more about lighting and colourful balloons, but their BDO show is likely to bring new elements again.

“Black Parade was very much about fire and feeling that heat, and I guess it was very fire and brimstone and anger-based, whereas Danger Days is more of a big party kind of thing, and it lends itself to a lot more colour, and confetti and balloons. But this isn’t gonna be like a show we’ve done before, so there are some new elements that we’ll bring with us.”

LOWDOWN
What: Power to the people pop rock
Where and when: Big Day Out Stage, 5.30pm
Listen to: Danger Days (2010), The Black Parade (2006)
-TimeOut

 

Interview: My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way on how Metallica influenced his art, music

Their most famous record may be known as “The Black Album,” but veteran metal unit Metallica have triggered a wide palette of aesthetic visions. This Friday, Los Angeles’ Exhibit A Gallery will host Obey Your Master, an art exhibition featuring works influenced by the group’s output over the last 30 years. In addition to works created by such acclaimed names as Shepard Fairey, Travis Louie and Gail Potocki, the curators also enlisted the participation of Metalli-fan rockers as Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack, Slipknot’s Shawn “Clown” Crahan and My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way.

Way’s contribution to the exhibit is an installation of painted and fabricated landmines inspired by Metallica’s 1989 breakthrough track “One,” the video of which featured footage from the harrowing 1971 anti-war film Johnny Got His Gun. He talked with AP’s Jason Pettigrew about his contribution to the Exhibit A program, his unwavering love for Metallica and how he’d be terrified to meet the band.

Your piece is based upon the Metallica song “One.” What were you looking to achieve?

GERARD: The original idea was to get a pile of landmines to do as an installation. I asked a friend of mine to fabricate and cast a ton of these so they’d be cost-effective. Getting actual landmines—decommissioned or even replicas of landmines—is pretty much impossible. There were a couple of approaches I tried, but I decided upon a pile of destroyed, fragmented landmines.

So you’re paying homage to “One” while conveying the ugliness of a silent, inanimate killer.

GERARD: Exactly. The key thing I wanted was to make them look “quiet.”

Which is not an adjective we’d ever use to describe anything in Metallica’s universe.From the standpoint of a Metallica fan, what I like about “One” is that it was the hit that never should have happened. It was the first black-and-white video I had seen in a long time. The band looked like nobody else who were regularly on MTV and there was nothing like it. It was amazing to see these guys doing exactly what they wanted to do without compromise, writing about a topic nobody was writing about at the time when everything else was dumb hair-metal or sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. It’s an important song for that band.

Is that your favorite Metallica song?

GERARD:  I’s up there. [Pauses] I think is “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” 

I’m really excited about this [exhibit]. Metallica are a band that really lend themselves to a visual element where people can actually go in and interpret the music in a different way. [MCR] have always strived to be a band like that. We have a legion of fans that are essentially artists, and I’d like to hope that we either attracted them or turned them onto being artists and they can take anything we’ve done and interpret it in an artistic way. Not a lot of bands are like that; Metallica and Iron Maiden are.

Metallica have certainly been the defining name in metal for a long time. They’ve also gotten a lot of massive flak for things like their war with Napster to the patently uncomfortable Some Kind Of Monster documentary to some of the later releases. But it can’t be denied they’ve cultivated one of the most tenacious and insatiable fanbases in contemporary rock music. Do you think there are aspects to Metallica people don’t see in the big picture that you are able to identify with as an artist?

GERARD: One hundred percent. The thing that frustrates people who don’t fully understand Metallica are the things that make them love Metallica, and they don’t realize it. The fact [the band] are extremely headstrong and that there was nobody like them when they started—there kinda still isn’t anybody who sounds like them—and the fact that they made unpopular decisions like telling people to fuck off while doing their own thing. People loved them for it, but five or 10 years later, [Metallica] continue to be those same people. In a lot of ways, I can completely identify with that: My Chemical Romance haven’t caused as much controversy in that way, but we are very much individuals that have very strong beliefs, and sometimes it frustrates people that we stick by [those beliefs]. Metallica had a problem with Napster and went after it. I never faulted them for that. And I think it takes a lot of balls to put out a movie like the one they put out.

So you have no problems with the ‘tallica. You even like the S&M record, I bet.
GERARD: Actually,S&M has some of my favorite Metallica songs, especially “No Leaf Clover.” For what it ended up being—which was awesome—to what it could have ended up, it was a huge risk for them.
Speaking of risk, I think Metallica were the first American metal bands to readily embrace punk and hardcore. You would see them wearing Misfits and Discharge shirts back in the days when the metal and punk tribes were still heavily segregated, culturally.
GERARD: Funny you should mention that: One of the really important things about Metallica that people don’t talk about is that realm of influence they had. I learned about the Misfits from the tattoo on [late bassist] Cliff Burton’s arm. Later on, Dave Mustaine—who used to be in Metallica—started Megadeth and covered the Sex Pistols. Because those bands were into punk, they in turn provided a gateway into that culture. That’s what Metallica meant to me: They were an alternative to all of that bad pop metal, while offering a gateway to a whole new slew of different bands. Me wondering what that tattoo was on Cliff Burton’s arm was kind of the beginning of that.
As a born-and-bred Jersey boy, do you want to admit that’s how you learned about Misfits?
GERARD: [Laughs.] I think I kinda have to, because when I started listening to Metallica, I was 12 or something. You don’t know who the Misfits are when you’re that age. Then when you find out they were from your backyard, you probably won’t admit to seeing that tattoo on Cliff Burton’s arm. That measure of influence always comes from musicians you like. A great band is a great band: Things like how you discover or access those bands stop mattering after awhile.
Have you ever met anyone in Metallica?
GERARD: No, I haven’t. I’m kind of nervous. It’s less about the being-a-fan kind of nervous and more about interpreting somebody else. It’s like doing portraits and putting your vision of someone else’s work. Every time you put yourself out there as an artist to another artist is kinda stressful. 

The invitation-only opening of Obey Your Master is Friday, January 20, with open public viewings running from January 23 to March 23. For more information, visit exhibitagallery.com.

Mikey Way Builds Dream Bass!

For years, Mikey Way had thought about his perfect bass.

How could he combine the booming thump of a Precision Bass with the short scale of a Mustang?

With the unveiling of the Squier Mikey Way Mustang Bass, the My Chemical Romance bassist finally found his answer.

Working with Squier’s designers, Way amped up the typical Mustang with a large-flake Silver Sparkle finish and black racing stripes, a single seismic humbucking pickup with a black cover, and a black headstock with Way’s signature on the back. 

Way is one of the latest amongst a group of players to receive new Squier signature models, joining Avril Lavigne (Telecaster) and Jim Root (Telecaster). But Way is the first artist to lend his name to a Squier Mustang Bass.

“I tried to make an amalgamation of the two, like if a P Bass and a Mustang got into a car accident, this is what it would be,” Way told Fender.com as he held the completed instrument for the first time.  “It’s a hell of a lot of fun to play, really.  I love full scale too, but to play this live, you almost forget you’re playing a bass.”

What’s more, a 30-inch scale provides comfort and allows Way to nimbly work the frets.

Way said he’d been mulling ideas for his namesake bass since he first started playing professionally, dating back to one of MCR’s first tours with fellow alt-rockers Piebald in 2002.

“We were opening for Piebald, and when we left one show, somebody forgot to lock the trailer,” Way said.  “The bass and a bunch of other stuff flew out, and a semi-truck ran over it.

“I saved the mangled body, and it’s almost like this is the ghost of that bass that I loved.”

The dazzling color scheme is another aspect of the guitar that Way loves, as the gaudy silver and black – along with the vintage chrome tuners – pay homage to many of the bassists he grew up idolizing.

“It’s a nod to a lot of my favorite stuff with ’70s style, like with David Bowie or Ace Freeley,” said Way.  “When I was 18, one of the first things I wanted was an American Jazz Bass or a P Bass, but Guitar Center had a special edition that looked a lot like this.”

Way had consistently played a Fender Precision Bass over the years, but now looks forward to taking the Mustang on the road.

He’ll have the opportunity this month, when MCR embarks on a tour of Australia.

Thinking back to when he first purchased a guitar with his brother – My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way – Mikey could only dream about having his own signature instrument.

Now, those dreams are reality.

“It’s pretty surreal as a guy who grew up playing nothing but Fender,” said Way.  “All my heroes played it, so of course I was going to play Fender.  When I was a lot younger, my brother and I both worked at this supermarket, and we were both simultaneously saving up for instruments.”

“He got a Strat, and I got a bass. I always will remember that.”

My Chemical Romance ten years on

After ten years of touring themselves to the brink, My Chemical Romance knew they had to make a change. 

It had been a decade of world tours, losing and finding drummers and a trio of albums, but something had to be different for the band’s fourth release.

“We learnt our lesson. We toured into infinity on those last two albums and it really got to us.  It took its toll on everybody’s mental and physical sanity,” says bass player Mikey Way.

These days, in the wake of 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, the four-piece have cut their tour length down by half, which Way thinks makes things better for both the band and the fans.

“It helps us to tour more intelligently. We used to just get in the cannon, direct us at where we were supposed to go and just go, go, go and do, do, do. 

“And now we are able to pause for a moment and tour the right amount.  It makes it cooler for us and cooler for the fans, it makes it more special.

“And as a band we always want to make something new, that became difficult in the old touring cycle. We’d have to play these songs, but maybe at that point we’d moved on, we’d re-envisaged the songs and we wanted to play something new and we couldn’t.”

But that’s exactly what the band are offering these days, and Way promises next week’s Big Day Out appearance will be no different.

“Our set is like a rollercoaster – there’re moments where it’s really calm and there’re moments where it’s really nuts.

“When we’re making set lists it’s like we’re making a mix tape for somebody – ‘we want them to hear this, and we know they’d want to hear this one because you’ve been asking for it’. 

“And we always through a curve ball in, something fun.  When we were fans going to shows, we’d be bummed out if the set list sucked.”

And after playing the Big Day Out in 2007, the local festival quickly became one of the band’s favourites.

“The 2007 BDO was like, oh my God.  It was an unbelievable line-up and this year is no different, solid amazing line-up.

“Some of the music is similar to us, but some of it is completely different. That’s what I respect about Big Day Out, they take different genres and put them together and I think that’s amazing – it makes it about the music and festivals aren’t always about the music.”

Since their first release, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in 2002, the band have had to deal with an unwanted label of “emo”, accidents on video shoots and a drummer who was found to be stealing.

But through it all, Way says the fans have always been along for the ride, especially the Kiwi ones.

“The kind of fan that My Chemical Romance has, you can’t buy that kind of fan.  They are so loyal and so devoted, they are in it with us.  We are all on the battlefield, slugging it out together. 

“And we talk about the trip to NZ all the time.  We use the UK as a barometer for fans reaction and enthusiasm, and New Zealand totally rivals them with the passion of the fans.

“I’m so excited to be coming back; I’m counting down the seconds.”

 

Mikey Way talks of Big Day Out 2012!

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE commemorated their ten-year anniversary on September 11th last year, which was followed up by the announcement a couple of weeks later, that the band would finally be returning to New Zealand – for the first time in five years – as headliners on the 2012 BIG DAY OUT.
Bassist MIKEY WAY gave  Coup De Main a call while doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Los Angeles at the close of last year…

COUP DE MAIN: My Chemical Romance are playing Big Day Out 2012!
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – MIKEY WAY:  Yeah, we’re super excited! Big Day Out  is one of our favourite festivals, it’s such an eclectic mix of so many different things and it’s really about music – which is what a good festival should be about. The reaction from the fans in that part of the world rivals our greatest territories and the kids are always very rabid and very appreciative of us being there, so we’re super excited to get back

CDM: Are you planning to bring any of ‘The World Contamination Tour’ stage set-up with you?
MIKEY: We’re going to bring as many of the elements as we can – the stage permitting – because bringing production to a festival can be tricky sometimes, but I think we’ve found a middle-ground. There’s definitely elements from that first stage-show, that are going to be present at the ones coming up.

CDM: What will your setlist be like?
MIKEY: Every tour is different. We like to give people a piece of something… as fans that go to shows ourselves, we like going on a journey of a band’s career, and so that’s kind of how we work out setlists ourselves. We give people a taste of different eras of us, it’s kind of like a mix-tape of us. We make a mix-tape of our songs every time we make a setlist, so that older fans have something to love on there and newer fans still have something to love, and we even throw a surprise or two in. 

CDM: Do you think you’ll play ‘Bulletproof Heart’?
MIKEY: That’s a strong possibility! We haven’t gone through the setlist yet, but that’s a song that we skipped on the Summer tour, so that coming back for this tour is highly probable.

CDM: Belatedly, congratulations on ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ – it was my favourite album of 2010.
MIKEY: That’s nice of you! Thank you so much.

CDM: Do you have any special plans for these upcoming shows, as they’ll be the end of the ‘Danger Days’ touring cycle?
MIKEY: I think we’re going to – us and the fans – we’re both going to have a good time. We’ve waited just as long as they’ve waited for us to get there, we’ve been waiting to play for them! We still talk about our tours in New Zealand and Australia, we still talk about them all the time, like oh how great they were! We can come to the UK and have the most rabid fanbase, but they [NZ/AUS] give them a run for their money, so it’s going to be something special and a good way to say goodbye to ‘Danger Days.

CDM: It seems like there was a lot of re-writing of songs during the ‘Danger Days’ recording process – e.g. how the song ‘Trans Am’ turned into ‘Bulletproof Heart’ – how do you know when a song is complete or finished? 

MIKEY: It’s weird… with us, it’s like a song is finished when we run out of time and we can’t work on it anymore… we’ll go down to the very wire, because that’s how we are about the little details and fine-tuning. The interesting thing about a song like ‘Bulletproof Heart’ – it was [originally] called ‘Trans Am’  – the interesting thing about the amalgamation of that song was that the song also lived within us, like we all got to live with the song and it was around for about a year before we recorded it again, so the song got to really transform, which you don’t really get to do. Usually, when you write a song it’s like: “Oh it’s going right on the album and that’s the way it is.” And then like a year late you’re like:“Well I would have done this different and I would have done that different.”  So we were actually given the opportunity to amend things that we decided against, which is a luxury that bands don’t normally get. So that’s what was so cool, [in] getting to recycle some of those ‘Danger Days’ songs, was that we got to change them to how we were feeling about them at that time/minute, instead of the year-and-a-half prior, how we felt at that moment when we wrote it and it was called ‘Trans Am’ . Then we found a new direction and we found a new flavour to add to the song, so it sounded more like a ‘Bulletproof Heart’. It was a rare thing that bands don’t normally get to do – to re-explore a song before anybody’s gotten to it yet. 

 CDM: When you were musically experimenting with writing ‘Planetary (GO!)’, what was running through your mind?

MIKEY: ‘Planetary (GO!)’ is something that we’ve been going for since the very beginning of the band. We had a song called ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’ on the first album [‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’and that had kind of a dance-feel to it, like very subtly. And then as we got more along, there was always a song that was closer and closer to being a full-blown dance song, like on ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ we had ‘To The End’, and then on ‘The Black Parade’ we had ‘The Sharpest Lives’. ‘The Sharpest Lives’ is almost a dance-song, and then ‘Planetary (GO!)’ is full-blown. We wanted to go for it, we wanted to make a dance song, we wanted something to convey fun and a party-like atmosphere shooting through your speakers, and we wanted to channel some of our influences in the hip-hop world – and I think we finally accomplished that on ‘Planetary (GO!)’. 

CDM: Why does your Killjoy character KOBRA KID have “Good Luck” written on his helmet? 
MIKEY: That’s a nod to an old Nintendo  game called ‘Star Fox’When you hit the ‘S
tart’ button there’s this dog that shows up like a captain and would say “Good Luck” and it was just something that stuck with us for a long time. The game came out when we were teenagers [and] we always thought it was really interesting how the animals talked in that game. It also just means ‘good luck’  as well, but it’s also a nod to Nintendo and ‘Star Fox’.

CDM: Your brother Gerard has said that: “You’ll see in the future that the Killjoys are not good people.” Will there be any more Killjoys music videos to further explain this?

 
MIKEY: I don’t think we’re going to be making any more videos, but something is definitely on the horizon, the Killjoys story is far from over. I know Gee’s working with SHAUN SIMO
N on the Killjoys comic – and I think that will… I don’t know if it’s going to directly tie in with the story, but there will at least be a sense of what happened somewhere within the story I’m sure.
 

CDM: I interviewed Shaun back in 2010 about the comic – [click HERE to read our interview] – so that’s been a long time coming, right? 
MIKEY: That’s awesome, yeah! They’re working on it, it should be relatively soon that you should hear something [new] about the comic.


CDM: Does the band still have any plans to release a THE MAD GEAR AND MISSILE KID full-length album?
MIKEY: 
Oh absolutely! That’s something we talk about a lot, we just have to kinda find time. There’s more songs we have that are Mad Gear songs and actually, there are more songs that Mad Gear have written that we are yet to discover. So sooner or later, that’ll probably come to fruition as well.

CDM: If the 2012 doomsday prediction were to come true and you found yourself in a post-apocalyptic world, what would be the first steps you’d take to protect your family?

MIKEY: I think the safe bet would have to be: get canned food, you get your family, and find a bomb-shelter. <laughs> And then wait for everything to blow over, or try and come up with a solution from a safe haven, I think that would be the best course of action.

CDM:
What do you think the spirit animal – or patronus – of each member of My Chemical Romance would be?
MIKEY: What’s funny, is that we’ve all collectively talked about this, because it played into our characters of the Killjoys. Gerard’s spirit animal is a gazelle – that’s how he’s always answered – Frankie would definitely be a wolverine, I would be a shark because of my inability to sit still, and Ray? Ray would be… I’m thinking super intelligent, super articulate, I would think owl.

CDM: What was it like performing on ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’?

MIKEY: That was a real dream come true! We’ve been huge fans of that show from its inception, because it had that feeling of those old Sid and Marty Krofft 70’s kids shows – and there was a huge void for that in TV, for a kid’s show that adults can enjoy on a different level. And the songs are always fantastic! I think FRANKIE IERO ] was on an airplane with someone that worked on the show and they got to talking: “Yo, if you ever have an opening, it would be an honour for us to be on your show.”  And they were also interested in us being on their show, so it was like one of those things where we both admired each other’s work, and [then] we got to work together being on the show. And then they let us write our own song, which is even cooler, which was our own take on a Christmas song [‘Every Snowflake Is Different (Just Like You)’]. The experience was incredible, the atmosphere on the ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’   set was so relaxed, and everybody on that set is really good friends and they’re all just having fun. It’s all positivity, which when you shoot television shows, sometimes that’s not the case – but yeah, super positive vibes on that set, the nicest people and so intelligent

CDM: Are there any plans to release a follow-up DVD to ‘Life On The Murder Scene’?
MIKEY: It’s actually something we talk about a lot, making a spiritual successor to ‘Life On The Murder Scene’. If you were a betting person, I’d say absolutely. It’ll happen probably sooner than later, I’d say.

CDM: What did the band do to celebrate My Chemical Romance’s ten-year anniversary?
MIKEY: We played ‘Skylines And Turnstiles’  on our Summer tour – we hadn’t played that song in six or seven years – and we did a little bit of a different rendition of that song. We did it on the tour with us and Blink-182 , so that’s kinda what we did, pay tribute to what had happened on that day [September 11th, 2001], and to celebrate the history of the band.

CDM: Have you begun thinking about or working on the next My Chemical Romance album yet?
MIKEY:  We’re kinda always writing, so it’s like we’re always thinking about what’s next, so that’d be a yes. We’re always constantly wanting to get onto the next thing or the new thing. So as soon as Big Day Out ends, we’ll probably jump right back into trans-ship. 

CDM: Tell me something that no-one else knows about each member of the band, including yourself…
MIKEY: That’s a tough question! For me I’d say… a fact that nobody knows about me is that I hate eggs, they gross me out. It’s this weird thing from childhood, I don’t know what it is, but I just think eggs are disgusting. I can’t really think of anything for anyone else, I think people know almost everything about us! <laughs> But I could say for me, I hate eggs.

CDM: Apparently you’re a self-confessed fan of Britpop – who are your favourite Britpop bands of past and present, and why?
MIKEY:   Oh man, there’s a lot! Some of my favourites… there’s the classics like Blur and Oasis and Pulp, Suede and The Charlatans, The La’s, The Smiths, The Cure, stuff like that. That was a huge part of my teen-years and bands I still listen to right through to this day, but it had a huge bearing on me as a teen and it was some of my favourite music, and is still to this day some of my favourite music.

CDM: If you had a full day off in New Zealand, what would be number one on your bucket list?
MIKEY: I’d love to go visit the ‘Lord Of The Rings’  set! That’s something that we always want to do, but we don’t ever have the time. Maybe this time we can squeeze it in, but that’s always the top thing that we always want to do when we get to that part of the world.

CDM: Lastly, do you have a message for your New Zealand fans?
MIKEY: Thank you for waiting for us! We miss you as much as you miss us – and we promise that the wait will be worth it and we can’t wait to see you there.
…and with that, our time with Way is up. We thank him and he says: “No worries! Word up, we’re very excited to come back. Excellent, bye!”