Category Archives: Big Day Out
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.”
“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.”
“I remember walking around and finding a guitar shop last time we were here … I think I bought an acoustic guitar in Adelaide.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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)
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.”
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 ‘Start’ 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 SIMON 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!”
2011 marks 10 years since My Chemical Romance formed. People first started tan for a chat with Kill Your Stereo to discuss picking set lists, their next album and exploding sinuses.king notice when the band released their 2004 major label debut, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge but their 2006 concept album The Black Parade really put them on the map. 2010 saw the band release their fourth studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, taking their sound in a new direction. Next year My Chemical Romance will be hitting our shores as a part of the Big Day Out as well as playing a string of headlining sideshows. Before the band begin preparing for the tour, guitarist Frank Iero sat down for a chat with Kill Your Stereo to discuss picking set lists, their next album and exploding sinuses.
Frank: Hey Gloria, how you doing?
Good thanks, how are you Frank?
Frank: I am alright, it is a pleasure to talk to you.
Well thanks for taking the time to chat with Kill Your Stereo, you have probably had a nice long day of interviews?
Frank: Actually we only started, maybe a half hour ago, so I think I am still fresh (laughs).
In a few months My Chemical Romance will be heading back to Australia as a part of Big Day Out. What is preparation for the festival like?
Frank: Yeah, well I am really excited I must say because this is the second one for the band but it is actually my first one. So I am really looking forward to getting on it because when the guys did it last time they only had amazing things to say about it and I love the country. We came once before they did the Big Day Out, and I was actually on that one (laughs), and it was great. I loved seeing the countryside and the people were amazing so I am looking forward to doing this tour, especially now I heard it’s the 20th anniversary so I imagine it is going to be absolutely amazing.
As far as the preparation, well it’s kind of cool I think, this tour for us is going to be exciting because Danger Days came out a year ago yesterday so we have already been doing a years worth of touring on the record and I think we have gotten pretty good at the Danger Days tour. So right now we are trying to think about the next stuff so it is really going to be smack dab in the pre-creative headspace of what the next record is going to be, so not it is going to be Danger Days fuelled but also possibly fuelled by whatever the new thing is. So we are going to get together, actually in two weeks, and start kind of brain storming about stuff and start playing together and I don’t know even know what the set is going to be like. I have been thinking a lot about it and I know how much time we have but I don’t want to pigeonhole us into “Well we are only going to play this stuff, we are only going to play that stuff” I kind of want to keep it open and if some new stuff makes its way in that would be really great, as for the vibe I have no idea what it is going to be. I definitely want to play some songs that I think the Australian fans haven’t gotten to hear live because we haven’t been there on this tour. There is going to be some Danger Days stuff, I think we should play some older stuff, and hopefully some of the new vibe will work its way in.
Frank: Well, unfortunately I can only speak for the first first time we came over to Australia. The last time I was all ready to go, we had a Japanese tour, I think it was a week long Japanese tour and then we were going to Australia and New Zealand and a couple of weeks before we left for Japan I had gotten my wisdom teeth taken out. So it was supposed to be healed, I got on the plane and as soon as I woke up in Japan we touched down and I had this fever and I was bleeding from nose, it was horrible. So apparently what happened was my sinuses exploded in my face (laughs), so they took me straight to the hospital from the airport, or I might have gone to the hotel and I was like “I really need to go to the hospital” so they took me to the hospital and I was there for a couple of hours and then I was on the next flight back home (laughs). So yeah, it was horrible, but a friend of ours came and filled in and unfortunately I missed the entire Japanese tour and the entire Australian tour on the Big Day Out that we had done last time, so I missed all of it. But I only heard great things from the rest of the guys, they were like “Oh man, it was so much fun, The Killers played and it was awesome because we got to watch them play every night” and I was just like “Ah, what the fuck?!” So I missed all this fun shit. But anyway, so I am really excited, really really excited about this one because, I don’t know, the first time that we went over to Australia we had so much fun and I thought it was beautiful. We got to hang out with kangaroos, that was great, it was amazing to me and I’d never got to do that before so I am really excited to just see a lot more of your country side because the first time we only did a small amount of dates but with the Big Day Out you get to travel a lot more and you travel with the tour so I’m looking forward to that and then you have your off days and the days you get to do your own headlining shows, so it is going to be amazing.
Well hopefully we can make up for you not being able to come here last time.
Frank: Oh yeah, as long as I can make it there this time and I can play (laughs), then we are already one up on the last time.
Frank: They will be absolutely different. The last shows were a part of The Black Parade tour so it is going to be 100 percent different from that in every way. Danger Days stuff has been a lot more colour driven and throughout the year we have added more and more stuff to it. But now I think, that’s the great thing about it, is that you are going to get a show that is smack dab in the middle of what Danger Days was and what it has now become and also what the new stuff is going to become. So it is going to be unique to any of the shows that has come before it and hopefully any of the shows that come after it. The set will be completely different but hopefully we are probably going to do a bunch of stuff of the new record that people haven’t gotten to hear but hopefully we will also do some older stuff that we didn’t get to do on Black Parade because we were mostly playing Black Parade stuff. So we will play some Danger Days stuff, some older stuff, and if everything goes according to plan, which it never does, but if it does there will possibly be some of the new vibe, whatever that may be that we are working on right now. What’s exciting to me is that Australia is going to get a really excited band, a band that is really creative, that feels like they are in a really creative moment and I don’t know what that is going to be, but that is the fun part for us. I am really excited.
You guys have a pretty massive catalogue of songs, how do you decide which songs you will actually play?
Frank: Normally it is one of those things, I will look through, like I have this master list of all the songs on every record and we just kind of pick our favourites sometimes. Other times it is like, you have too many songs within your allotted time slot so you kind of change it up a little bit from tour to tour, from week to week kind of thing. I don’t know, I think it’s just a vibe when you go into tour. I see things in colours so I am looking at art right now, so I am going through the songs, but I don’t want to put us in a box I don’t want to be like “Oh, we can only play this stuff” because if things come up and new songs come up it will be able to make the set one hundred percent unique. I think that was one of the biggest things that we had done, we had played a few shows in LA then we had gone and done Summersonic in Japan and we were right in the middle of recording the first time around recording Danger Days and we got to play three or four new songs that we have never played ever again because then they didn’t make it onto Danger Days, it was like a moment in time, it was a band that you will never see again but it was just us doing what we were doing in that moment and it kind of felt like if you were there you saw it, you got into it, and then it was gone. I kind of like things like that so I’m hoping, I kind of think that’s what Australia is going to be, I don’t know yet because nothing is set in stone but it is the same kind of feeling where we are in this moment in time and these shows on this tour are going to be unique to anything else we have ever done.
What is your personal favourite song to play live? Do you have one that you always like to see in the set?
Frank: Well (laughs), it is very cliché when you say, “Oh, well every song I have ever written has a special place in my heart” but it is true and they do, but I think there are certain songs that we have never played where these songs didn’t appear in the set, songs like ‘I’m Not Okay’ and ‘Helena’ never get old for us, I don’t know why that is but they are just the kind of songs that you can play with your eyes closed but at the same time there is a certain gravity and time for the songs, it just works and the reaction from the crowd is always different each time so that is always fun. So those songs always appear on our set list, I think it would be a jinx to take them off but some of the new stuff too has been more than fun to play, songs like ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Scarecrow’ have made it into the staple set list songs and have become some of our favourite songs to play.
With every record the My Chemical Romance sound has evolved substantially, how do you incorporate all those different sounds into one live set? Does that make it harder to choose what to play?
Frank: Well, I think that you are write, the sound has changed for every record but that’s definitely a conscious decision but I think that is part of the fun of our lives shows, is that you get to see songs that were written earlier in our career, but music is an amazing thing because it evolves and it grows, the songs become living and breathing things and they change from tour to tour because the band changes and grows. We could play a set list that we had played maybe two years before but the entire set list will be completely different, it sounds different, it feels different because it is a different band up there playing it. That is the beauty of music in general and also the beauty of the band, it is fun to see these songs take on a different light and a different shape, so it’s not hard to make a set list I think it’s harder to figure out what songs grow into and what story you want to tell every show but as far as picking the songs that is the fun part because the beauty is the outcome, to see what works and what you can do with your sound.
You mentioned possibly having some new songs to play, has any work gone into full-length number five yet?
and other weeks things were fresh but that’s the fun part about creating music is weeding out the good from the bad and see what will work, but I definitely think we are on our way.
Frank: I am looking forward to it. Thank you very much for taking my time Gloria, I appreciate it.
Frank: See you soon, bye.
Pull this pin, let this world explode! Let’s blow an artery! I’ll be your detonator! Gimme more, gimme more gimme more! … Whatever way they say it, My Chemical Romance’s return to Big Day Out is going to be explosive.
“Set openers don’t come much more high octane than Na Na Na followed by I’m Not OK. It makes you wonder if they’ve got enough in the tank to sustain a full set. Seems they do: MCR are close to the top of their game, a finely tuned machine that veer between frenetic and anthemic and frequently combine both, giving the MCRmy exactly what they want.” (NME, August 2011)
They broke out of the Jersey punk underground with 2002 debut I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, then 2004’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,before heightening the drama with 2006’s game-changing rock opera The Black Parade.Just when fans thought they couldn’t take it any further, 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys created a whole new world – a dystopian, disco-punk future where life is short, cars are fast, and where a raised voice is a lost soul’s best defence.
“My Chemical Romance wielded sonic superpowers … MCR proved there’s hope for rock’n’roll with Danger Days, and with more live shows like this they could save the world…There’s nothing more super than that.” (Artist Direct, November 2010)
As if they needed any more endorsement, in 2011 My Chemical Romance were blessed with such cultural honours as having their tune Sing performed on Glee, being accused of spreading propaganda by right-wing TV guy Glenn Beck, and being joined by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May on stage at Reading.
Still, no matter how much changes for singer Gerard Way, guitarists Frank Iero and Ray Toro and bassist Mikey Way, one thing remains true – their legion of dedicated followers. As The Guardian put it:
“The bond between the New Jersey pop-metalists and their fans is one of those phenomena that outsiders just don’t get.”
“They slayed, they dominated, they annihilated and controlled. MCR know they can veer in whatever direction they like and within a few seconds they’ll own everyone again.” (Rock Sound, October 2010)
As much theatre as live rock show, the My Chemical Romance experience is perhaps summed up best in their song Planetary (Go!):
“If my velocity starts to make you sweat, then just don’t let go, and if their heaven ain’t got a vacancy, then we just, then we just, then we just … Then we just get up and go!” That velocity will be in full effect at Big Day Out 2012.