Monthly Archives: April 2013
Way before My Chemical Romance quietly adjourned in late March, guitarist Frank iero and keyboardist James Dewees were already concocting abrasive electronic music under the name Death Spells. Free from obligation, Iero now finds himself in the driver’s seat with equal parts excitement, confidence, and abject terror.
Last spring, during demo sessions for what was intended to be the follow-up album to Danger Days:The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero flew his family from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be with him. When his kids became restless with California, the doting dad acquiesced and let everyone go back to their Jersey homestead. Iero moved out of the living space and into auxiliary keyboardist James Dewees’ dodgy apartment in North Hollywood. The complex they were living in was a non-stop bacchanal of shawties-in-waiting hoping to get a chance to do some work twerking in some rapper’s video- and the music constantly blaring reflected that.
“When the days in the studio were getting shorter, we started hanging out back at the apartment with all this weird dance music being played around us,” says Iero.”James and I would go for long walks and talk about what kind of music we’d like to make for fun, and it pretty much started from there.”
So Iero and Dewees filled up their new pad with plenty of synthesizers, hard drives, software, and effects borrowed from MCR’s studio and proceeded to create their take on electronic music- a dark, over-modulated, cathartic pulse with Iero out in front, shrieking his throat raw or intoning like the creepy villain from The Silence Of The Lambs. As Death Spells, the duo have created a different beast altogether, avoiding trendy dubstep wobbling, tired electronic-flecked metalcore and faux feel-good rave fodder for some seriously ugly and mechanized post-punk you could listen to while dancing, moshing, or vandalizing a police station. They liked the noises they were making, so Iero and Dewees signed on as an opening act for a week of shows supporting Mindless Self Indulgence in early April. But shortly before Death Spells’ live debut, My Chemical Romance announced they were going their separate ways, leaving behind a bunch of songs Iero describes as “almost another Conventional Weapons situation except there wasn’t anything finished, just things in demo form.” Coincidence?
Not really. Iero is adamant the pursuit of Death Spells had nothing to do with MCR deciding to adjourn. He rolls his eyes at some of the most ridiculous rumors circulating about the band’s break, especially the one positing the members are regrouping under a different name to get off of Warner Bros. ( a fallacy popular with fans and self-aggrandizing British music-mag editors who don’t understand the term “first right of refusal”). Having just arrived back from a redeye flight from Los Angeles, Iero is jet-lagged but excited to talk about his future, reflect upon MCR’s legacy, and address all the uncertainty anyone would feel when hitting the reset button on his or her career. “Be it immaturity, throwing caution to the wind or just being punk rock, we didn’t give a fuck about what anyone else thought”, he says about his former band’s decision to retire. “Unless we were happy with it, we weren’t going to do what we didn’t want to do. We played it by our own rules, for better or for worse. That’s how we started it, that’s how we ran it and that’s how we ended it.”
Being responsible for some of the more unlikely aspects of certain My Chemical romance songs , the fractured hardcore of Leathermouth and now Death Spells’ raw-nerve scree, do you think fans and critics expect a certain thing from you?
FRANK IERO: I feel comfortable in awkwardness. [Laughs.] I think for some reason, people need to define, expect and pigeonhole things. This past week, I was talking to a few people about doing things for different outlets like movies and TV. A lot of them were like, “So you do this kind of thing? “ And I said, “Well, let me play you some stuff. “ And then the response was like, “Wow, Really? You do this, too?” I like catching people off-guard. I think people expect a certain thing from me and it’s not necessarily what I’m like at all. But I like that, as well; I like that people expect a certain thing from me, but very rarely get it. [Laughs.]
Currently, there are a ton of subgenres in electronic music. What was the overarching concept with Death Spells that you agreed upon?
I think [James and I] were rebelling against what we were creating in the studio- the day job- and the night shift were these two dudes who still wanted to be making music 24/7. What came out was the seediness of the area we were living in, the ability to get really loud and dirty but not get kicked out of the apartment and to get as grimy as humanly possible. There was no expectation as to what it was going to turn into. James would ask, “Hey, this is pretty grimy. Does this move you?” And I’d listen to it and go, “Yeah, I can totally curse over this for three minutes.” [Laughs.]
I’d assume the music sounds the way it does because you’re in a crap neighborhood, there’s all this bad music and annoying people at top volume in the building and you miss your family. But knowing Dewees, he’s like the post-emo Tony Robbins, where, “Dude! Everything is good!”
Absolutely. He is the silver lining embodied. He’d be baking stuff-cakes, soft pretzels-and bring it to the studio and make everybody happy. His demeanor is always jovial, but it’s in his musical sensibilities where he gets dark. I’m kind of the yin to his yang: He wanted Death Spells not to be his usual project. He was making music that was speaking to my dark side, and it started to work in a way we hadn’t expected to. With Reggie and the Full Effect, he wrote those parts and I just played guitar. When he was playing in Leathermouth, that stuff was written and recorded before he came in. When it came to My Chem, it was different. So Death Spells is the first time we gave birth to something.
What are plans for Spell-binding recordings? Because your name is obviously on MCR’s Warner Bros. contract, I’d assume the label gets first dibs on Death Spells material.
Yeah. I’m in legal limbo with a couple of things, right now. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen. We had plans on releasing some things, but I was told that is not the best idea right now. A few months ago, I put up [online] that Christmas song and that Ronettes cover (“Be My Baby” ), just to put them up and see what happens. And then I got the phone call. [Laughs.] We’ll see what happens after this article comes out and whether or not Death Spells have a home or are free agents. But I’m ready to get more stuff out there, more than just one muddled-and-muted- song on SoundCloud.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always saw you as the biggest cheerleader in My Chem. You’re kind of like a shark: Sharks don’t sleep; they have to keep moving. It seems like you’re always doing something musical or working on other unnamed projects.
You’re right. I’m a huge fan of music in general. I buy new music constantly; I seek out and listen to new music; I create it- whether it’s good or not- and need for it to be out there. I like to have things that I make not just heard by myself, whether I’m 100- percent proud of it or not. I need it to live and breathe out there. And sometimes it’s my own downfall. I was very much a proponent of keeping things going [in MCR]. Sometimes you bend over until your back breaks to keep things moving because you believe in it so much. In order for me to survive, I need to live outside the My Chem walls for a little while. I think that goes for everybody in the band: You reach a point in your life when you realize, “Shit, we’re not getting younger, even if we don’t act that way.” And there are things on the bucket list you don’t want to forget about. We’re all living our lives right now. Just going off and crossing off your list is healthy for everybody.
Was it a situation of ‘Kill the band,save the friendships?
Yeah. Listen, those guys will always have a piece of my heart.I love those guys to death.I grew up with them at my side. They are all my big brothers,and sometimes-to a fault-I will go out of my way to try to impress them or go out of my way to seek their approval on things. I have such a love for them. Second to my children,the band is the thing I am most proud of in my life. It will always hold a dear place in my heart. But I see where things needed to end in order for us to be the people we needed to be. A this point in our lives, it wasn’t in the cards. It’s hard to let go,but I know we ended it for the right reasons. Not only am I excited for my future, I can’t wait to see what those guys are going to do next.
Being a psychic cheerleader can be exhausting.
You give everything because you think it’s the right thing to do, and sometimes you’re forcing it for yourself. But I’ve always been a big proponent of “If you love doing it, well then fucking do it.” So that’s what I do. I love [playing and making music], so I’m going to do it.
What’s interesting to me is that you’re a full-on doting father and loving husband, but then you have the capability to make some crazy antisocial music. And since you’re kind of hitting reset on your career, how do you make this kind of decidedly non- commercial music and still provide for your family? How do you reconcile that?
I am a totally miserable fuck when I am not creating. I know deep down that in order for me to be the best father I want to be- the dude that my kids want to be around- I need to be creating. I can’t help it. If I’m not creatively fulfilled, I just crumble as a person. My wife understands that- she knew that from the beginning. But there are so many things that are new to me that I want to try. Things that make me think, “ I’d like to try my hand at that,” or “Man, I could totally fuck that shit up!”. Right now, I have nothing but dreams to fulfill- and that’s a scary and exciting and confusing and amazing time right now.
So then, Pencey Prep reunion this fall?
Ha![Laughs.] Move forward, man!
THIS MIRROR IS BIG ENOUGH FOR THE FIVE OF US
“This photo was taken in the downstairs dressing room at Hollywood’s Avalon in October 2006,” says K! photographer Lisa Johnson. “The band were set to debut The Black Parade live for a MySpace fan-only show that night, Gerard had just bleached his hair, and this was the first time I’d seen it.”
Here’s Frank taking five minutes out from whirling around onstage like a tattooed dervish. He’s wearing fingerless skeleton gloves, which would serve no real purpose if he was stranded on an ice planet. Anyway, if you want a pair of your own, you can find them on Amazon for a fiver.
TIARAS WILL NEVER HURT YOU
This poster features original drummer Matt Pelissier (left), who was replaced by Bob Bryar in 2004. Matt currently runs his own recording studio and drums for New Jersey band Revenir. We won’t mention the fact that Frank’s wearing a sparkly princess tiara. At all. Nice weather they’re having…
I TOLD YOU WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING
It doesn’t matter if you’re the singer of My Chem or not, everyone on a tour needs a laminate to get backstage. “I snapped this photo of Gerard on the Vans Warped Tour in 2005,” says our photographer, Lisa. “I think this was in Chicago. Gerard’s nickname on his pass is G-Way.”
THREE CHEERS FOR SWEET POSTERS
Here’s a shot taken following the release of 2004’s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Frank Iero’s wearing a bulletproof west. Did you know that one of the first forms of body armour was found in medieval Japan? It was made from silk, which is probably just as effective as lettuce.
GERARD AND MIKEY HANGING OUT IN A TRUCK
“This shot of Mikey and Gerard was taken just a few seconds before they took the stage in Milwaukee on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour,” says Lisa. “I loved this photo so much that I made prints for them. From what I’ve heard, Mikey had it proudly displayed on his fridge for years.”
THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS #2 (of 6)
Gerard Way (W), Shaun Simon (W), Becky Cloonan (A/Cover), Dan Jackson (C), and Gabriel Bá (Variant cover)
On sale July 10
FC, 32 pages
“Our home was sent to the heavens and there ain’t nowhere to go!”
Delve into the life of Korse, one of Better Living Industries’ most productive and violent Scarecrows! See the trials and tribulations faced by Blue, an android down on her luck! Meanwhile, find out who—or what—survived the original Killjoys’ deadly confrontation in Battery City.
• One of IGN’s Most Anticipated Comics of 2013!
• The follow-up to the album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys!
This week, former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and MCR auxiliary keyboardist James Dewees hit the road as Death Spells, opening several shows for Mindless Self Indulgence. Given MSI’s penchant for challenging their audiences’ expectations (they did call an album Alienating Our Audience, after all), Death Spells’ band of electronic miasma and unbridled ugliness should make potential attendees as uncomfortable as possible. The way Iero explains it, that very intention was seemingly built into the band’s name.
“My wife’s grandmother was having these moments where she would stop breathing for a second,” he begins, referring to the late relative. “I’d think, ‘Oh, my God, she’s passed away,’ but then she’d wake up. It was like one of these weird little spells—these weird little death spells where she would wake up and say, ‘No, I’m just really tired.’ To me, [the name invokes] these little introductions to another world and coming back from it—kind of leaving this world but not for too long, then snapping back to reality.”
Death Spells came to fruition after hours last year when Iero and Dewees were done in the studio working on MCR music. Iero moved into Dewees North Hollywood apartment, located in a complex overrun with would-be rap-video starlets listening to bad hip-hop and dance music. As a response, the duo decided to create their version of dance music, an ugly, blackened synergy of mechanized dance-beats, overmodulated noise and samples, as well as various goth-rock, post-punk and no-wave signifiers.
“Shortly after we started making a lot of noise, people started to move out of that section of the building. [Laughs.] At one point, James went shopping for large plants and put them all in front of the windows, so if you were to look in, it would be this huge jungle setting!”
Listen HERE xmas sux by Frank Iero.
The affable Iero has always been a little perverse regarding his personal music projects. This past December, as a joke, he created a short drum-machine-and-distorted guitar rave-up, “Xmas Sux” (listen above) and slapped it up on SoundCloud. “That was a joke I did on Twitter that got a lot of weird venom shot back at me. [imitates snotty kid.] ‘Hey, fuck you, Christmas is awesummm!’ [Laughs.] I was like, ‘Wow! If only I would’ve done a complete song!’ I wish I could’ve recorded my kids crying in the background and actually made it better.” The first Death Spells song Iero and Dewees completed was “Choke On One Another,” a track with a marching-band cadence and a whole lot of gruesome noise thrown over the top, that had more to do with the various gear they borrowed from MCR’s studio, than trying to emulate dubstep, EDM or tired industrial rock. “We were geeking out over different keyboards and other gear we’d find in the studio and sneak home so we could fuck with things in a really small apartment,” he says, laughing. “I think it came from trying to blow up each other’s speakers!” The duo’s tracks run both a sonic and atmospheric gamut, from the aural epilepsy of “Where Are My Fucking Pills?” to the piano-based dark ambience of “End Of Life.” The diversity is another key to evolution of the duo’s working relationship. “Eventually down the road, I’d like to bring in a drummer and possibly a guitar player,” he opines. “But for right now, I think we need to figure out what Death Spells is. Right now it’s going to be Dewees controlling the brain, and me on a mike with some effects going through it. I have an order in for a three-foot neon cross. I hope it makes it in time for the first show.”
Both Iero and Dewees are going to be pretty busy in the ensuing weeks. After this brief run of dates, the duo will be pursuing other projects: Dewees will be teaming up with fellow Get Up Kids colleague Matt Pryor for a series of duo shows in May, as well as writing for the next Reggie And The Full Effect record, which is being funded via Kickstarter. If you go over to the website for the return of the Skate And Surf Festival, you’ll not only see Death Spells on the lineup, but a reconvened version of Leathermouth, the angular hardcore band Iero started in 2007. The one thing he won’t be doing is mourning the demise of My Chemical Romance. Not because he’s a jerk; he’s just too damn busy.
“It got to a certain point where it seemed like it wasn’t working anymore,”he says about the band’s decision to break up in late March. “I am Holden Caulfield-esque and don’t like to let go of things and prefer things to stay the same. And I was such a fan of the band—I never wanted it to end, even though maybe it should’ve. I would do whatever it took so it could continue to go for the greater good. Sometimes it breaks your back, but you do it for the right reasons.”
In the My Chem cover story in AP 221, Iero was unconcerned about any notion of self-sabotage of his previous band’s career. “I don’t give a shit,” he told this writer. “If I had to work at McDonald’s for the rest of my life to play shows and ride in a shitty van on tour? I’ve done it. I’ll do it again.” Now more than ever, that comment seems remarkably prescient. Having left a commercially successful band to play decidedly thorny music isn’t the kind of thing that puts food on the table. So don’t go looking for Death Spells to pull up to the front of a venue in a super-luxurious tour bus.
“I’m really interested to see what two dudes touring in a car will look like,” Iero says. “I think it’s going to be strange, scary and fun at the same time. I’ve always been a big proponent of a band setting; I’ve always liked the idea of ‘the gang.’ Now that the group has been whittled down, it’s kinda interesting to see what’s going to happen onstage.” Alt
Death Spells begin touring with Mindless Self Indulgence in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 11. New tracks and video clips can be experienced at deathspellsmusic.comVia: AltPress
My Chemical Romance’s journey has been astonishing. Growing up in New Jersey, they were at the heart of a scene that spawned the likes of Thursday and other acts associated with the band’s first label, Eyeball. Growing up, all four of the band say they were misfits. Gerard said his time at school was “pretty solitary. I didn’t have too many friends. I was really isolated and found solace at the comic book store. One of my first days in high school I sat all alone at lunchtime. It was the classic story – the weird kid in an army jacket, a horror movie T-shirt, long black hair. People were never really mean to me, though, they mostly just left me alone. I think I wanted to be alone, too”
Frank grew up sneaking into clubs to see his musician father play before joining local act Pencey Prep and gigging in halls, basements and anywhere that would have them. Meanwhile, Ray says he was one of the “invisible masses” in high school, and spent a childhood indoors trying to play Hendrix, Zeppelin and Metallica riffs while pondering a career in film. It was him, Gerard, Mikey and drummer Matt Pelissier who first came together as a band, kick-started by Gerard watching the Twin Towers collapse on September 11 2001, and realising that, with life so fragile, it was worth doing something with it. From that days on, he put down his comic book dreams and turned to music.
“I was in Hoboken, which is right across the Hudson River,” he said. “There were 400 people and me. Right in front of us, those buildings went down. It was the biggest fucking neutron bomb of mental anguish you’ve ever felt. From then on, I was in my parent’s basement with a very small practice amp and a very old Fender guitar. That’s when I wrote Skylines and Turnstiles [as a reaction to what he saw on 9/11] and some of the earlier material. I wrote those songs sitting in my pyjamas with notebooks all around me. It was me going, ‘All this stuff has been inside me for years and I want to get it out,’ I wasn’t depressed at that time exactly, but I mas certainly a hermit”
It was Gerard’s brother, Mikey, who found their name. He worked in a bookstore and, while flicking through the racks one day, came across the Irvine Welsh Book Ecstasy: Three Tales Of Chemical Romance. From then on, their identity was complete. They plagued Thursday’s Geoff Rickly to produce them.
“Gerard came up to me at a party and said, ‘Me and my brother are going to start a band.’ When your friends says that to you at a party, you think, ‘Okay whatever,’ ” recalled Geoff. “He said , ‘No, I’m serious. We’re going to be called My Chemical Romance.’ I laughed and said, ‘Well, at least you’ve got a great name.’ ” But they forced him to the studio in early 2002 and, a few months after they formed, they had made the rough diamond of their debut.
“The beginning of the band was a pretty magic thing,” said Gerard. “We felt like we were on fire, that nobody could touch us. Nobody could figure out what we sounded like, they just knew they liked it. There was this energy – we were like a fucking gang.” Needing an extra guitarist, they turned to their friend in Pencey Prep, Frank, and with the album made, toured it fanatically. It was there, on the road, that they discovered what they had. Something about their intensity, their openness and blackened poetry not only connected with the small crowds they found but inspired, too. From New Jersey nobodies, They became underground somebodies, their power and passion too potent to ignore.
By the time of second album Three Cheers Fro Sweet Revenge, though, the had been knocked off course. Gerard and Mikey’s grandmother died the night they returned from a tour.
“Se died the night I got home,” said Gerard. “The emotions I went though at that moment and over the next six days completely fulled…Revenge. All the fucking anger, the spite, the beef with God, the angst, aggression and the fucking venom all came from those six days. When I lost her, I felt like I lost my mentor.” He took out his frustrations by drinking heavily and popping Xanax, an antianxiety pill. Meanwhile, the pressure on his band to record a major-label album was tightening. “It was a very fucking insane place to be at that moment,” said Gerard.
The album was made in LA, and three of the band – Gerard, Mikey and Frank – threw themselves, at least partially, into a hedonistic lifestyle. “When we weren’t making music, there was such a fog. Some of us were experimenting with pills. We’d all just vanish for days when we weren’t in the studio,” said Gerard. But the record they made was extraordinary. Furious, ambitious, imaginative, howking punk-rock, it was stunning. In lead tracks like I’m Not Okay (I promise) and Helena, they had written anthems. Yet as it was readied for release, the band were in trouble. Drummer Matt Pelissier was becoming isolated – eventually sacked was becoming isolated – eventually sacked and replaced by Bob Bryar – while Gerard was drinking to the point of breakdown.
An eight-ball of cocaine, handful of pills and his daily bottle of vodka in Kansas in 2004 caused one collapse, while binge-drinking sake in Japan soon after persuaded him to get help. As he got clean, so Three Cheers…became a phenomenon. No rock band in years had created the impact My Chemical Romance had then. Their fans were not simply fans; it became almost a cliche for crowd to tell band they had saved their lives.
And so it built, through the recording of The Black Parade and on until Danger Days vibrant slashes of colour and sound. They were the biggest, most innovative, most glorious band of the last decade. Four kids from New Jersey did something when they came together that no other band in 12 years has equalled: they created music that gave people a reason to live. How many others can say the same?
Where they go from there is anyone’s guess, but it seems unlikely we’ll not hear more from them. Gerard has already proven his talents as a comic book creator with the The Umbrella Academy, while Ray is too gifted to keep quiet for too long and might make a brilliant producer. Mikey has hinted in the past that he might work on comic books, while Frank’s future is perhaps clearest: his Death Spells side-project is touring with Gerard’s wife’s band, Mindless Self Indulgence. But, for now, it looks like it’s all over. For good? Gerard Way has responded to a 16,00-strong online petition requesting a farewell tour saying, “I think it would be best to spend some more time with my letter though, as time and understanding will make it clearer why this cannot be.”
It would be a shame, though, if the most important, perfect rock band of the last decade should come to an end with a whimper rather than the grand explosion they deserve. So long My Chemical Romance.
Thank you for the venom.
As yet, there are no reasons for the band’s break-up. They will, presumably, leak out over time. The band’s guitarist, Frank Iero, posted online, “Things that should be simple and easy rarely ever are.” Gerard Way, the band’s iconic singer, penned a lengthy tweet, stating that he felt a change in the way he felt about the band onstage at Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 19 last year, at The Bamboozle Festival.
“Something is wrong,” he recalled. “I am acting. I never act onstage, even when it appears that I am, even when I’m hamming it up or delivering a soliloquy. Suddenly, I have become highly self-aware, almost as if waking from a dream. I began to move faster, more frantic, reckless – trying to shake it off – but all it began to create was silence. The amps, the cheers, all began to fade“
There are, of course, rumours. None are rooted in fact. Could it be that the band were at war with their label? Could it be a cryptic message? Or could it just nod to the image that adorned album number one…Then there’s a tweet from Mrs Way, Lyn-Z of Mindless Self Indulgence: “A new adventure is about to take place and I for one will be on that ride! Who’s coming with me?” another Clue? There are those who work with My Chemical Romance who see it as something simpler still. Insiders in their record company have pointed out that Frank and Gerard have young families. But then those same record company insiders previously talked of the band’s Hollywood space i which they were recording over Christmas. There, in a hang-out-pad-cum-studio, they had been laying down tentative tracks, for a new album.
The Kill Hannah frontman, Mat Devine – a friend of the band, on whose solo album Gerard has sung, who obliquely tweeted “When one door opens another closes” on the weekend of the split – has heard the fruits of those sessions, saying the band have evolved, and adding that it was a new phase for My Chemical Romance. With six songs laid roughly down, now seems an odd time to bring things to an end. But then there were no release dates chalked down; no plans to unveil another grand album to the world. Perhaps, it was simply time.
My Chemical Romance have been here before. When they walked offstage at Madison Square Garden on May 9 2008, the lights not only went off in the venue, they nearly went down on the band too. They were exhausted- burned-out from touring The Black Parade. That night was a culmination, a triumph, and the end of an album cycle in which they’d gone from underdogs to world-conquering heroes. But as Helena’s last notes were drowned out by Cheers, backstage, Gerard and guitarist Ray Toro knew it was all over. “Ray said to me, maybe you need a break, maybe you need to go and get stuff out of your system,” said Gerard later. “I remember saying that night, if we never do this again, thank you. What’s scary is that it felt like it was okay to say that. It felt accurate.”
“We had an energy – we were a gang…” –Gerard Way
Then, though, the circumstances were different. The Black Parade tour had become a monster – something that picked them up and whipped them along the road to burn out. “There was injury upon death upon illness [during the Black Parade tour],” said Frank. “It felt like we were being run along a cheese grater. We were leaving bits of ourselves all over the world. When something drains you as much as it did after Black Parade, you end up not knowing if you want to do it any more. Tou still have the love, but maybe not the want. There was something in the back of my head asking, ‘Is this going to happen again? Are we done?'”
“That Madison Square Garden show really felt like it was the closing credits,” Said the band’s bassist Mikey Way. “It was weird. It felt like it might have been the end.”
It was a record that had always taken its toll on the band. Its birth was torturous: in a lonely, creaking LA mansion, the band turned in on themselves as Ray became such a taskmaster that he later publicly apologised to Mikey in the pages of Kerrang!. The bassist had other issues, thought; he hat to leave the recording, suffering from anxiety and problems with drugs and alcohol. Gerard, too, felt he was under incredible pressure. He took a moment out from the studio, high up in the Hollywood Hills, to gaze at glittering LA below him.
“I was wondering what the hell I was going with my life,” he said shortly after the record was released. “I went through a crisis. I was examining every awful thing about myself. I was cutting myself open and taking all the parts out and examining them. ‘Wow’, I’m not a likeable person,’ I found I was a coward. I became very susceptible to depression. “It wasn’t the happiest time. I was extremely intense. I was living inside the record. It really did felt Like Something Was coming after us. We couldn’t escape it. It was there every time we turned a corner. It was just staring at us. It was a dark Time.”
And this was before My Chemical Romance went out on the road for two years. There, life got darker still. The response to the record was, rightly, phenomenal. But inside the band, that was harder to accept than it might sound to an outsider. In the course of their time on the road, they became as hated as they were adored, dividing opinion across the world. They became the figureheads of a genre they wished to have no part of – emo – and sensationalist journalist blamed them for the suicide of a teenager.
They were held responsible for the beatings of black-clad teenagers in Mexico, and were prodded and poked at by the world’s media. Their music seemed to have been forgotten in the whirlwind, while they themselves felt lost inside the thing they had created. “We created something and unleashed it onto the world and then, a year later, it had taken on a new life,” said Frank afterwards. “It was like a bastardised version of what we had done. It got weird.”
“It was a record that was so misconstrued on so many levels,” agreed Gerard. “It was really difficult and it took a toll on me. People in Mexico were getting hate-crimed on because they wore black and so anywhere we went that’s what people would talk music. That upset me. They were just talking about mascara and bullshit like that. I felt so small.” And so that’s why they wanted to bring it all to an end in Madison Square Garden. And it would have been a fitting finale, too; for that watching the Smashing Pumpkins in 1992. It was there that one brother turned to the other and said. ‘ This os what we’ve got to do.’ For them to have pulled the plug after that show, in the same room in which the after that show, in the same room in which the nascent band first began, would have been the sort of fitting farewell you might expect from My Chem.
This now? This feels like something else. This is not a band tired from the road, nor one rattled by media, fans or exhaustion. This is a rested band who quite deliberately retreated from The Black Parade hoopla with the stripped back Danger Days… and who had crafted a new space in which to exist. Somehow, this doesn’t feel right – this doesn’t feel like how it should end.
Rock Reacts! The stars took to Twitter to joig you in mourning MCR…Click Here
So, My Chemical Romance – The band that defined rock for a decade – Are gone. But what a journey it’s been. The writer who knew them best, tom Bryant, looks back over their story, and asks: what next?
What a curious way to go. When My Chemical Romance announced their decision to break up, they did so with no fanfare, no fireworks and no dramatics. Instead, a simple 82-word post on their website called time on perhaps the most important rock band of the last decade. It just seemed so un-them… In the last 12 years, MCR have unfurled grand albums with ticker tape parade videos, marching bands and bombast. They’ve caused demonstrations outside newspaper offices and inspired a generation to be themselves.
They’ve headlined festivals as pyrotechnics have fizzed behind them, and become global megastars with whirling, glorious concept albums of both spiralling technicolor stark monochromes. All around them has been an air of something grander, more wonderful, than the picture we’re present with. From darkness to glory, through depression to flamboyance. Style? They oozed the stuff. And then this, posted on their website on the evening of March 22:
“Being in this band for the past 12 yeas has been a true blessing. We’ve gotten to go places we never knew we would. We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We’ve shared the stage with people with admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.”
So long and goodnight, indeed. It brings an end to 12 years of music: the early promise of 2002’s I brought you my bullets, you brought me your love – raw, jagged and underground – bled into the breakthrough, heart-bleed punk of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004). Next, their grand piece of pomp and circumstance: 2006’s giant concept album, The Black Parade, which made them giant stars – figureheads for a who delved deep into the vision they created. And then 2010’s Danger days: the true lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, in which they tore it all down and started again, redefining themselves as only the greatest can. Their departure leaves a hole: where are the other bands daring to create whole worlds in their music?. Who can inspire legions of fans to adopt the alter egos in Danger Days? What other bands can get the Daily Mail into such a lather that they brand them a suicide cult? Rock without My Chemical Romance is a far less thrilling place to be.
AS THE DUST SETTLES ON MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE’S SPLIT, KERRANG! RE-EXAMINES THE LAST 11 DAYS’ FACTS…
“Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing. We’ve gotten to go places er never knew we would. We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We’ve shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.”
After 12 years, four studio albums, countless world tours and with rock forever changed by their influence, just 82 words called time on My Chemical Romance in the early hours of last Saturday morning (March 23).
The announcement was a stunning and dramatic – if unsuitably abrupt – end to one of the most innovative rock bands of the past two decades.
Formed in New Jersey in 2001, each of the band’s four albums, from 2002’s debut, I brought you my bullets, you brought me your love through to 2010’s Danger days: the true lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, set out to not only reinvent the band, but the rock genre.
The one-paragraph statement appeared a cold, almost clinical end to a band into which these four had poured a lifetime of creativity and energy. It answered. Conspiracy theories and their wider family spread. Less than 48 hours later, though, Gerard Way elaborated in a 2,200-word blog post that went some way to clarifying the situation.
“There are many reasons My Chemical Romance ended,” Gerard Way said. “The triggerman is unimportant, as was always the messengers – but the message, again as always, is the important thing. But to reiterate, this is my account, my reasons and my feelings. And I can assure you there was no divorce, argument, failure, accident, villain, or knife in the back that caused this. Again this was no-one’s fault, and it had been quietly in the works, whether we knew it or not, long before any sensationalism, scandal, or rumour.”
Gerard’s brother ans bandmate, Mikey Way, had earlier tweeted to address rumours that his private life informed the band’s decision to split.
Gerard further pointed to a refusal to accept MCR’s ideals becoming “compromised”, as well as the aftermath of a show at the Bamboozle Festival in the band’s hometown in May 2012 as catalysts behind the decision. “I hollowed out, stopped listening to music, never picked up a pencil, started slipping into old habits,” Gerard explained of the following weeks. “All of the vibrancy I used to see art or magic in everything, especially the mundane. The ability was buried under wreckage.”
“When one door closes, another opens. You should not despair” – Mat Devine
At the time of going to press, guitarists Frank Iero an Ray Toro had not commented. Kerrang! approached representatives from the band’s management and record label, Warner Bros, but any further comment was politely declined.
My Chemical Romance had for some months been working on their fifth album, and Kill Hannah frontman Mat Devine – a close personal friend of Gerard – told Kerrang! as recently as March that he’d heard four of six songs that were to make up the album. Speaking to Kerrang! last week, Mat remained upbeat as to what the future held for his friend.
“MCR fans shouldn’t despair,” Mat said. “when one door closes, another opens. The best artist aren’t simply talented; they’re bold, fearless, committed and, most of all, honest. Be thankful Gerard is one of those artists, and your belief in him will always be rewarded.”
Frank Iero, meanwhile, is scheduled to play America’s Skate And Surf Festival in May with LeATHERMOUTH, the hardcore side-project he established in 2007. Furthermore, James Dewees of The Get Up Kids last week confirmed that he was starting a new band, Death Spells, alongside Iero.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure, but Gerard wants to do other stuff [and] Frank wants to do other stuff,” he told U.S website Property Of Zack, of My Chemical Romance’s break-up. “They all want to. It doesn’t mean it’ll never happen again, but that everyone wants a real break.” So, as just a handful of words marked the band’s end, it seems fitting that a handful more bring the curtain down on the news. “Since I am bad with goodbyes. I refuse to let this be one. But I will leave you with one last thing,” Gerard closed his personal statement. “My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die. It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside all of you. I always knew that, and I think you did, too. Because it is not a band. – it is an idea.”
After 12 years My Chemical Romance has come to an end, but just as the band and its music live on, so too will Dark Horse’s upcoming comic set in the futuristic world of their alter-egos, The Killjoys. MCR frontman and acclaimed Umbrella Academy creator Gerard Way, co-writer Shaun Simon, artist Becky Cloonan and colorist Dan Jackson’s The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1 is still cruising full speed ahead to its June 12 release date, following an initial Killjoys tale by the team in Dark Horses’s Free Comic Book Day issue on May 4. In anticipation, Dark Horse has shared Way’s finalized variant cover for Killjoys #1, which joins covers by Cloonan as well as his UA collaborator Gabriel Bá. You can take a closer look after the cut.
Following the news that My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero has formed a new experimental band with James Dewees (The Get Up Kids), the pair have announced that they will be releasing a 1 minute demo clip each day for a week starting tomorrow. You can read the statement in full and listen to the Death Spell’s debut track below.
“Greetings and Salutations. Starting this Tuesday, April 2 2013, death spells will be posting a 1 minute clip of a new demo every day for a week. The 1 minute demo clips will be posted to our soundcloud page and will also be conveniently located in the sounds section of our website…but you must be diligent, because each demo will be posted for one day only. For example; demo clip #1 will be posted this Tuesday, but on Wednesday demo #1 will be taken down to make room for demo #2 and so on. The week long reveal will culminate in the release of a special surprise to get everyone prepared for our tour dates with Mindless Self Indulgence starting April 11th in Baltimore MD. kill.”
Listen here Where are my fucking pills?