AP #300 – The universe and Everything #1


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WELCOME TO ODESSA, TEXAS.

More specifically, welcome to Dos Amigos Cantina an old horse stable turned restaurant/nightclub that boasts beef on the hoof, the longest continuous bull-riding contest in the United States, and tonight, surprisingly the opening date of the Nintendo Fusion Tour starring Story Of The Year, Letter Kills and New Jersey’s finest, My Chemical Romance. Sure, the venues’s had it’s share of rock shows – like a confederate hootenanny with David Allan Coe and a thunderous set by the Fabulous Thunderbirds – but these  big-city outsiders can’t help wondering whether this gig got booked by mistake. Despite the backyard-barbeque decor (complete with picnic tables and bare feet) and the pony-tailed refrigerator-sized security guards packing heal, everyone can sit back in their folding chairs and appreciate seeing mullets and Wrangler Jeans frolic in their natural habitat.

As the sun begin to set, MCR take the stage-er bam. The audience throws up the requisde rock-show devil horns, starts jumping up and down as if their feet were bungeed to a trampoline, and hoots and hollers loud enough to make Willie Nelson proud. From the opening guitar riff of “Thank You For The Venom” to the bitch-slap ballad “The Ghost Of You,” My Chemical Romance sound like they’re successfully penetrating middle America. And  for frontman Gerard Way – dapperly clad in a black suit with a white and black horizontally striped tie smeared with spit, blood and sweat-who once was kicked out of a rock band because he refused to sing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” this overwhelming roar of acceptance makes the moment all the more sweet.

It’s truly a beautiful mess, much like the happy accidents and unforeseen obstacles that have aided and threatened the band’s career. The members of My Chemical Romance- singer Way, guitarists Frank Iero and Ray Toro, bassist Mikey Way and drummer Bob Bryar-formed out of necessity and lived out of urgency. They played basements, recorded in attics and rode to shows in the back of an AAA tow truck. They opened shitty shows for shittier bands, and enemies to fill the Pere-Lanchaise cemetery. Some drank away their sorrows until they almost drowned and others choked under the pressure. They refused to play by the rules, so they invented their own game. In a scant three years time.

There aren’t any celebrities in the crowd at the Odessa gig. There aren’t any industry types piling into the green room, drinking the band’s beer. There are no after parties. There aren’t even any drink tickets-not that the band members need them anymore. (After a trip to Japan where Gerard got slashed in translation, the energetic frontman kicked the bottle, and a couple of other bad habits, cold turkey.) Amid at least algunos cientos amigos at Dos Amigos, a member of the tour’s crew steps out of the bathroom and into the makeshift backstage bar. Still buckling his pants, he shakes his head in a_azerpent, muttering to no one in particular, “It’s like being trapped in a bad episode of Jerry Springer.”  One question: was there ever a good episode of Springer?

REWIND 72 HOURS. Before My Chemical Romance conquered the Lone Star State, they pillaged the City Of Angels. Thanks to their violent imagery and horror movie theatrics, the band have been asked for years about their participation in the occult. “As much as we shy away from the vampire, we know where it’r coming from,” rationalizes Gerard. “It’s coming from a whole fashion-scene. genre esque thing that they’re trying to find out about.”

But tonight, it looks like life is imitating art. After a 15-hours international flight from London to Los Angeles, MCR are practically walking zombies-and the fact that they’re unintentionally stumbled into an 80’s night at a sushi join down the street isn’t helping. A 20-something waitress, probably an aspiring actress/model/future American Idol contestant, shimmies up to the table wearing an almost nonexistent neon-green ruffled mini and an infinitely deep V-necked hot-pink tank top, and practically screams the specials to the band while Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” plays in the background. “You guys over 21?” she barks. “Y’all wanna do some sake bombs?.” Everyone at the table looks at one another, giggles and politely declines. Gerard simply smiles, uncomfortably.

The band have just returned from a triumphant trip to the U.K, where Gerard and his gang of modern-day Charming Men were practically treated like royalty. “British strongest elements [of our band],” he waxes “I think they heard emo and wanted something different. We are kind of the what-else-you-got of emo.” MCR have traveled the world seen a million faces and rocked them all-but nothing compares to Jersey.

“Really, I don’t know anything other than Jersey.”

With the exception of Bryar-who grew up just outside of Chicago-the members of MCR-including founding member and original drummer Matt “Other” Pelissier, who was recently asked to leave with their parents, and when the’re home (which isn’t very often), they still hang out with the same friends and frequent the same haunts that inspired them to write the songs on their Eyeball Records debut, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.

“Me and Mikey could’t really play where we grew up, which was pretty much the same story with everybody, because it was so fucking dangerous,” says Gerard, a withdrawn child who was more interested in drawing and making up stories than playing with other kids. “We had to construct our own world we lived in constantly.”

The rough-and-tumble streets in and around Essex Country, New Jersey, shaped the band members, from childhood to young adulthood. “My parents split up when I was pretty young, [and] mu mom was kind of left to take care of everything. There were times when we really couldn’t even afford milk,” says Iero, who spent most of this younger years in and out of  hospitals because of bronchitis ans severe ear infections. “I don’t know if it’s because I don’t see home anymore or [because] I’ll never change mu opinion on it. I would’t change my upbringing for the world.” [continues]  

Part 2

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Posted on 05/31/2013, in Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Mikey Way, My Chemical Romance, Ray Toro, Scans and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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