Category Archives: Mikey Way
Last week, we exclusively unveiled Electric Century, the brand new project featuring former My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way, Dave Debiak (Sleep Station, New London Fire) and Justin Siegel (ex-Stars In Stereo), in our 100 Bands You Need To Know cover reveal.
Today, get the very first listen to the band with their debut single “I Lied,” a track we say “forges an alloy of decades-proven electronic pop and the kind of sincerity found in bands like fun. and twenty one pilots” in our Electric Century article in the upcoming issue, out March 4.
“I Lied” will be available for purchase via iTunes on February 26, and the band are expected to release their currently complete debut album (recorded and mixed by D. James Goodwin at The Isokon Studio in Woodstock, NY) later this year.
Stream the first single below and tell us what you think!
Pre-order AP 309, featuring Mikey Way
Hear HERE the new song of Electric Century
Mikey Way began planning Electric Century long before My Chemical Romance hit it big, he just didn’t have the means to pull it off … mostly because he was 12.
“I was in my seventh-grade science class, and I wrote ‘Electric Century’ on a notebook, and I was like ‘I want to do this band,'” he told MTV News. “And right then I began filing away the kind of music I wanted it to be: Britpop, the party influence of bands like the Happy Mondays, New Order, Public Image Ltd. It was always something I wanted to do.”
And now, with MCR officially over, he’s finally (re)turning his attention to the project, teaming with David Debiak (Sleep Station, New London Fire) to make Electric Century a reality. The band was formally unveiled Wednesday, when Way’s image graced Alternative Press’ “100 Bands You Need To Know” issue, and since then, things have hit hyperspeed (EC is still so new that they don’t have an official press image).
But that’s fine with Way and Debiak … after all, they’ve been waiting for this moment for a while.
“We were supposed to have a little break after [My Chem’s 2006 album]The Black Parade, and I was like ‘Dave, me and you should really get together and start writing stuff,'” Way explained. “But unfortunately, we jumped right into another album after Black Parade, so we didn’t have a chance to do it … but we talked about it a lot.. And that basically continued for about four years. I told Dave ‘I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen.'”
“Mikey would send me an annoying amount of voice memos, just little musical ideas, and I’d listen to, I don’t know, a countless amount of them before something stuck,” Debiak added. “I’d start writing lyrics based on those ideas, until eventually, about a year-and-a-half ago, we had time to make this happen. Since then, we’ve written about 35 songs, and right now, our entire focus is finishing a full-length album.”
Debiak handled the lyrics, and Way wrote the majority of the music — “I’m doing a little bit of everything; guitar, keyboards, background vocals,” he explained — and slowly, Electric Century began taking shape. There’s a full lineup being assembled as you read this (Debiak assured me fans will learn the full lineup very soon), and the duo plan on meeting with potential labels in the next few weeks … which means that, after nearly 20 years, Way’s fantasy band will finally become a reality. And, after spending a decade shying away from the spotlight as MCR’s bassist, he’s ready to step to the forefront with Electric Century.
“You know, on the day I showed up for the AP shoot, I was like ‘Where are the rest of the dudes?’ It was kind of like jumping into the ocean, like, ‘Here goes,'” Way said. “When I started in My Chem, it was no secret that I had bad anxiety and depression and drug issues, but then, starting with Black Parade, there was a sea change, and I broke out of my shell. And it led me to this point, where I’m ready to take charge now. It took me years to get here, but I know I’m ready.”
And to that point, Way knows that there are some My Chemical Romance fans that will probably never give his new band a chance. Shoot, some are still holding out hopes for a reunion. But he’s not concerned with the past … rather, with Electric Century, he’s embracing the future.
“When people first used the term ‘Electric Century,’ it represented the shift from steam power to electricity, and it changed the entire universe. And, for me, this is a complete change in my life, on many levels,” he said. “No matter what, throughout time, whenever somebody who was in a popular band goes to another band, there’s people that unconditionally love it, and there’s people who unconditionally hate it without listening to it … you’ve just gotta take it on the chin, and do what’s right, and write the best possible songs.hat point, Way knows that there are some My Chemical Romance fans that will probably never give his new band a chance. Shoot, some are still holding out hopes for a reunion. But he’s not concerned with the past … rather, with Electric Century, he’s embracing the future.
“As far as people saying ‘It’s too soon, My Chem just broke up,’ it’s like, ‘No, it’s just done,” he continued. “We’ve been formulating this in a laboratory for like four years now. We’ve written 35 songs. It’s time to do it.”via
When Gerard Way confirmed Warner Brothers will be releasing a My Chemical Romance Greatest Hitscompilation next year, he also noted that he would be designing the packaging.
Check out Way’s most recent tweet below with what appears to be the artwork for MCR’s Greatest Hits, subtitled May Death Never Stop You:
Recently, the former MCR frontman also teased that he was “working on something special” with the following photo, which you will recognize as a piece from the full image:
THE FORMER MY CHEM MAN IS WORKING ON NEW MUSIC WITH AN OLD FRIEND – BUT WHEN WILL WE HEAR IT?
FIRST THERE was Frank Iero, with his new band, Death Spells. Then there was Ray Toro, unveiling a new song, Isn’t That Something, through his personal SoundCloud account. And then, last week, Gerard Way revealed the lyrics to his latest track, Millions.
This week, though, it’s Mikey Way’s turn to unveil his future project in the wake of My Chemical Romance’s shock break-up five months ago.
Until now, the younger Way had been the quietest of the quartet – his post-My Chem movements remaining relatively unknown as Gerard, Frank and Ray revealed their plans.
Yet Mikey has evidently been just as busy as all three of his former bandmates, with the bassist joining the frotman of New Jersey-based band New London Fire, David Debiak, in the studio.
The band revealed the news last week by posting an image of Mikey laying a guitar – rather than a bass – on their Twitter page, @NewLondonFire (above). It would appear, though, tat the duo’s work is taking place outside of New London Fire, after the band’s earlier announcement that, “David will be taking a hiatus from NLF to work in a new project; new name, new songs, with an old friensd.”
New London Fire were labelmates with My Chemical Romance during the pair’s time on the now-defunct Eyeball Records, under which MCR released their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.
Quite what the project will sound like, or even when or if it will see the light of day, remains unclear, as the duo are staying tight-lipped on their plans.
One MCR man who has broken his silence though, is Frank Iero – and you can read our world exclusive catch-up with the frotman in Kerrang! on sale September 4. You won’t believe what he’s been working on , either…
Kerrang Magazine – Scan
Former My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way is currently recording with members of New Jersey-based New London Fire.
View some of their recent tweets below:
From the photos, it appears that both Dave Debiak (New London Fire) and Way are playing guitar during their current recording session.
Fans of MCR may recognize the name “New London Fire” as one that Way was credited with coming up with in the band’s 2006 documentary Life On The Murder Scene. NLF were previously signed to MCR’s first label, Eyeball Records.
Watch the video preview of the Gerard Way written and directed episode of The Aquabats Super Show featuring Mikey Way HERE.
“I WIPE THE MAKE-UP OFF; I TAKE THE SUIT OFF; I TAKE THE TIE OFF AND EVERYTHING. I’M NORMAL AGAIN. I’M GERARD AGAIN.” -Gerard Way
Pelissier, who now works as a mechanic back in Jersey, is still searching for answers, insisting, “I was flat-out told the only reason I’m being kicked out of the band is because ‘We don’t feel comfortable with you onstage anymore because one, you don’t play to the click track, and two, those couple times you messed up, we just don’t fell comfortable.’ Even through Gerard was drunk every night and messed up every night…” His voice trails off.”They haven’t even avoiding the subject.”
“People probably though it was weird that we didn’t make any kind of statement beforehand or really talk about what happened,” Toro responds, carefully. “It must’ve been weird for people to notice, ‘Wow! One of the members who started the band and has been in the band for three years is now gone, and they haven’t said anything.’ The main reason why we decided to do that is because we didn’t want to get into a pissing match, and we didn’t want to have this sort of he-said, she-said bullshit.
“There are obviously things that went along with that [decision],” Toro continues, ‘like a lack of getting along with him and a lack of being able to play songs the same way every night. But the main reason was that we weren’t having fun being in the band… he had to have known in this heart-whether he’ll admit it or not-that he wasn’t performing up to the way we needed to perform. You had to have been fucking blind to not see the relationship problems between each of us and him-that we just didn’t get along. When I started getting into the reasons of why we made the decision, he just walked away. That was the last time I spoke to him.”
Pelissier, obviously, doesn’t see things the way his former bandmates do. “I had Ray come up to me once or twice and ask me to play to a click track [a metronome-type machine that helps a drummer keep time] live, and I said no. Pretty much no drummer does, because it takes away the whole live feeling. And that was it. I got back from Japan, and only Ray come to my house with [manager] Schechter. It’s like your whole world comes crashing down, after I gave everything I ever did, everything I ever owned to make sure the band would survive, and that’s the thanks I get.”
While Pelissier dealt with the blow, the rest of the band had to find a replacement. Enter well-respected soundman and secret MCR wannabe Bryar. “It was at Irving Plaza, maybe a year-and-a-half ago, and My Chemical Romance [were playing with] Finch and the Used,” recalls Bryar. “My Chem finished playing, and I walked into the back and said something to [their manager] like, ‘I wish I could do that.'” At this point. Bryar was just a cellmate the band met along the way. The band didn’t even know he could play drums, but after flying him out for a test run, there was no doubt Bryar was the perfect blend of personality and technical ability they were looking for.
No one in the band has talked to Pelissier since returning from Japan, except for Iero. “I called him right after it happened and was like, ‘Yo, I wanted to be there, but I understand why Ray wanted to talk to you alone. I hope that we can be mature about this after everything.
THE JETSET LIFE IS GONNA THRILL YOU
In three short years, My Chemical Romance have done things some bands only dream about-dueting with punk-rock royalty, hanging with hip-hop heavyweights and chilling with Frodo Baggins. But that’s not to say the men of MCR still don’t get starstruck. Here are their top three out-of-body encounters that had them scratching their heads, wondering. “Is this really happening?”
Attending a 2004 post-Oscar bash attended by the cast of The Lord Of The Rings and other A-List celebs.
“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘I don’t belong here. What am I doing with these people?'” remember Ray Toro, eyes wide. “I was sitting this close to Kirsten Dunst. I could’ve literally touched her.” In addition to lighting his hair on fire and seeing Countney Love moon a deck full of innocent bystanders. Toro and the rest of the band also watched as an actor (known to play an all powerful wizard) eyed Mikey Way “like he was a piece of chicken” Mikey refused to comment on the poultry comparison, but did say it ranked as his craziest night in Los Angels.
Giving Keith Morris vocal lessons during the recording sessions for Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
“I wasn’t coaching him,” Frank Iero insists, “but the was asking me how we wanted it.” The band invited the Circle Jerks singer to sing on “Hang Em High,” and it was all Iero could do not to pinch himself in the vocal booth. “Basically, I was like, ‘Do it like this.’ Then he’d do it, and I’d say, ‘Done one more take.’ We just sat down, ate Chinese food and he just talked to me for hours and hours. Ir was so fucking cool.”
Being invited to tea apt Rubin’s house.
After an MCR show with Piebald at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, a mysterious man came up to Gerard Way and said, “Rick Rubin would like to meet you.” Legend has if that the producer rarely leaves his house and hardly ever goes to see bands, so Way was intrigued. Rubin eventually invited the band over to his house to talk about abour music, and MCR jumped at the chance.
“We get to his house, and they asked us all to take off our shoes and they hand us these giant bottles of water,” Gerard recalls. ‘We sat in his library with a huge stufed polar bear and picture all over the wall-original points of John Lennon photographs and Black Flag. He came in and sat across from us I don’t think he blinked at all. He stared right into our souls. And then somebody comes to the door and asks if we can close the two doors to the library, and it’s Cedric [Baler Zavala] We all turn to each other and go, ‘Was that Cedric?’ Then we ask, is that the Mars Volta in there? Can we meet them?’ We totally nerded out. So Rick gets right up, opens the doors and goes into the piano room. It was their last day. They were finishing De-loused In The Comatorum. He goes, ‘Would you mind meeting these guy?’ They were the coolest guys. I remember Omar [A Rodriguez Lopez ] went. ‘I really like your belt.’ What the Fuck? That was huge!” [LS]
Actually, they’re more of a pill-and-booze-induced haze. Since releasing MCR’s sophomore album on Warner Bros, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, nothing’s been the same. Exceeding anyone’s expectations, the sales were bigger (Revenge sold in one week what Bullets sold in nearly two years), the show were bigger-and the drinking problem that had been plaguing Gerard for years was now officially out of control. “I can’t believe that they’re even still a band,” says Rickly, incredulously. “Who can go from zero to 120 like that? I heard stories that Gerard was drinking so much and going so many drugs that I through, ‘Somebody’s gonna die; the band’s gonna fall apart, and it’s gonna be awful.'”
With an unyielding momentum, My Chemical Romance embarked on the Vans Warped Tour ’04 and soon started making fans out of their idols like Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. “I wandered out into the crowd. [MCR] started playing, and I got kind of the same feeling that I got going to see Naked Raygun shows,” Skiba remembers fondly “They were so good and sounded so great, and the energy exchange with the crowd was something that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had no choice. I had to start dancing. My drink was full when I walked in there, and five seconds later, it was all over a bunch of kids ‘heads.'”
Warped was one big traveling circus, and MCR were becoming the star attraction. But the devastating heal, the overwhelming schedule and Gerard’s increasing chemical addiction were starting to affect the band and their performance. Rickly saw the self-destruction firsthand when both bands were on the tour and he wondered if he should intervene. “It’s weird to say, because the’re a band and they can do what they want, ” Rickly pauses. “But those are our friends. You don’t want to see them get sucked into something you’ve had your band get sucked into.”
At the height of the band’s success on Warped, Gerard was going through $150 worth of illegal pills per month, mostly Xanax, and drinking a bottle of vodka every day to day and a half.
“I worked out a system,” Gerard says as he takes a swing from this bottle of vitaminwater, “where if we played at noon, I was basically just hung over, still drunk probably from the night before. If we were playing at 1 or 2. I was already drunk if [I wasn’t] fully drunk, then I was trying to get drunk at any signings we had to do. After that, I would continue to get drunk well until the [day’s tour stop] was done, until bus call. Bus call would come , or sometimes before it, and I would pop an bunch of Xanax and basically be cracked out. It was the only thing at that point that would put me to sleep and shut my brain off.”
The name My Chemical Romance was no longer homage to Irvine Welsh’s book, Ecstasy: Three Takes Of Chemical Romance; it was now Gerard’s mantra. The band jumped off Warped’s traveling punk-rock circus in mid-July, and immediately embarked on a co-headlining tour with Senses Fail. Both bands were sharing a tour bus and partying it up, but things went too far on a tour stop somewhere in the Midwest.
“I had done to see the Killers and got really drunk,” recalls Gerard. “I found a way to get cocaine, and I bought a whole fucking eight ball and pretty much did the whole fucking thing. I did so much cocaine that I was in the middle of the street, throwing up everywhere. My head was pounding; it felt twice its size. All the veins in my head felt like they were going to explode. The next day, I woke up, and I was more suicidal that morning than I had ever been in my entire life-and it was completely amazing to me. “Nobody in my band knew,” he adds. “I had a really good way of hiding stuff.”
Or if they did know, they certainly didn’t acknowledge it as a problem. “I think I was accepting because I was equally bad as he was at one point,” explains Mikey. “I was even worse than him at some points early on in the band’s career. I thought it’d be really hypocritical to say, ‘Put that vodka down!'”
“Any time you mix drinking with narcotics, something bad can happen,” adds Iero. “And depression-mixing the three of them is really bad. Every time you do it, it changes your whole body chemistry. When we were touring, no one really thought about it, because we were all doing it together.” After making a call to his manager, who talked him down for the next three hours, Gerard managed to snap out of his suicidal stupor in time to finish the tour and head back to Jersey to regroup-but not for long. The band were scheduled and the one place he feared he wouldn’t return from.
“I was terrified,” he remembers. “All I did was sweat two days before Japan, I sweat buckets, drank and loaded up on my pills for the trip.” He loaded up on liquor at the airport bar, popped a whole bar of Xanax and woke up in a completely different country. Doped up and unsure how he even made it through customs, Gerard was on autopilot. He overindulged in sake, entertained more thoughts of ending his life and played two of the largest shows of the band’s career completely wasted.
“My intention was to make it a memorable experience for everyone, and I did,” he says with a shrug and a sheepish grin. “But it’s kind of like marking a deal with the devil. I made it a memorable experience for everyone-but in the worst possible way.”
“It’s weird, because usually when we’re playing, me and Gerard can look at each other and no matter what’s going on, I can pull back to it and go for it,” say Iero. “When I looked for him [in Osaka] and he was underneath the stage being drunk, I just wanted to [put my guitar down] and go.”
“I walked offstage and I threw up for 45 minutes straight in this garbage can, like I had never thrown up before,” Gerard says as he lights another cigarette. “I puked everything out. The whole band was there, and I was sitting on the couch in the corner. Ray turns to Brian [Schechter, Manager] and says. ‘You need to get him to the doctor. Listen to him. He’s really sick.’ Sitting there, I still have vomit all over myself, and I just thought, ‘This has to be the end.’ I was still really suicidal and depressed, but I was just like, ‘I have to stop drinking. I don’t know how, but this has to be the end.’
“I didn’t know what was was going to happen when I got back to the U.S.” Gerard continues. “I got off the plane and was really upset, I knew what was going to happen to Otter, and I think that’s another reason why I was upset. I said goodbye to him and knew that I probably was not going to see him again. At the same time, I didn’t know if I was going to be alive the next day. I said goodbye to everybody and I had tears in my eyes because I wasn’t really sure if I was going to see anyone in my band again.”
“THE LAST TIME I SAW OR HEAR FROM GERARD,” say Pelissier, “it was when I gave him a hug at the airport.” While Gerard was dealing with getting clean, MCR were struggling with and ever larger challenge-building up the courage to ask their drummer to leave the band he helped start. “It was like the moment that you break up with someone you’ve been dating for three of four years that you used to love in the beginning of the relationship and things went sour, but for some reason you’re still together,” explains Toro, who, along with the band’s manager, went to Pelissier’s house to break the news.
It was his all-created-aqual attitude that inspired a sense of community within the scene. A band’s singer was no better than the guy who was checking IDs at the door, who was no better than the 15-years-old fan waiting after the show to get picked up by his or her parents. Mikey was interning for Eyeball at the time, carrying equipment, putting up fliers and basically doing anything to help out the scene he loved. It was out of this relationship with Saavedra that Gerard was introduced to Rickly and asked to draw some designs for Thursday’s T-shirts. “I was this hermit artist kid who was Mikey’s weird older brother,” recalls Gerard, laughing. “I met Geoff outside of a record store called St.Marks in Kearny, and I remember this really strange-looking kid who looked like he was in Joy Division. He had a black mop; he looked emaciated and pales-as-shit sick. But he was so nice, and we hit it off immediately.”
Although they met under the pretense of having a working relationship, a deep friendship was born. ” remember at these parties Gerard coming up to me and being really psyched on Thursday, having seen us and telling some amazing stories about the way it made him feel,” recalls Rickly. “At the time, I think he was sort of at a low point in his life. He would disappear and not come out for a month and a half.”
Adds Saavedra, laughing. “[Gerard] would just smoke cigarettes and draw Spider-Man all night long.”
“When you’d see him, he’d look just terrible, just bummed out,” Rickly continues. “He told me one night that Thursday gave him new hope and he was gonna start a band with his little brother. Not that it was a joke, but I thought, ‘Yeah, they’re thinking about starting a band, but how long does it take you before you actually start doing something good?’ He would sit there and play me songs on one of Alex’s guitars that was so hopelessly out to tune and broken with bad strings that I was like, ‘I love you and your brother, and sure, I’ll hang out. I’ll come to practice.'”
It was through a mutual friend that Gerard was introduced to Iero who was in the midst of making a name for himself with his band Pencey Prep, who had already been signed to Eyeball. Pencey needed a band to share their practice space, and MCR gladly accepted, “Pencey Prep, Thursday and us would practice in the same room,” says Mikey. “which was great, because you could just hang out and watch someone else’s practice, do your own, share ideas [and] show people what was going on, it was awesome.” Pencey eventually disbanded, and MCR adopted Iero as one their own.
Back at the Eyeball house, at one of Saavedra’s infamous ragers. Mikey played Alex the demo, and the label immediately added the band to its roster. In early 2002, the band, Rickly and Saavedra trekked up to Nada Studios in New Windsor, New York, to start recording Bullets. The sessions were plagued by torrential storms and Gerard’s health problems, but somewhere amid the madness the band managed to craft 11 songs that would book/mark the visual aesthetic and musical texture My Chemical Romance aspired to achieve.
“As soon as it came time for Gerard to do vocals for ‘Vampires [Will Never Hurt You]; this insane stor, hit,” Saavedra remembers. “Gerard was getting very frustrated because it was his first time recording, decently, in an actual studio. He was overwhelmed and he was over-thinking it… So I punched him in the face!” The blow loosened Gerard’s jaw and somehow grave him the motivation to take the mic and rip a bite out of the track.
Gerard laughs triumphantly. “I remember it hurting a lot, and going. ‘All right, I hope I can do this.’ I remember singing, and something clicked. I remember Alex’s face was just amazed that the song was finally coming together. I think it was the second take that we ended up using.”
Ask Gerard the best compliment he’s ever received, and he’ll tell you what Rickly said after he heard a finished version of I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. “Geoff told me the first time that he had heard it, he was fucking terrified of what we were capable of. He asked, ‘You ever heard of Ink & Daggers?’ I was like, ‘Not really. I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them or heard them.’ He was like, ‘You need to get some Ink & Dagger, Because it’s what you guys are doing-but you’re doing it better.”
LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW OF MCR’S ROOM at the Hyatt on Sunset, you can see people pouring out of hotels barns and milling around like denizens of an ant farm. The smells of car fumes, expensive perfume and stale cigarettes waft through the air. The House Of Blues sits quietly across the street, a silent reminder of a job well done. The band should be celebrating after tearing up the place just three hours earlier. It may’ve been the last leg of Face To Face’s string of farewell shows, but it was MCR’s long-overdue welcome to the major league of rock. As members of New Found Glory, the Bronx and H2O looked on, My Chemical Romance covered every inch of the stage with their unique concoction of organic musicianship and raw machismo.
But instead, Iero, Toro, Bryar, Mikey and the rest of the crew gather their duffle bags and guitar cases and load everything back into their van. Tomorrow they’re playing a radio show in Phoenix, and a long drive lies ahead of them. Their white, 15-passenger van is making an obnoxiously loud grinding noise. Good thing a tour bus is meeting them in Arizona , because it’s only a matter of miles before their beloved vehicle shits the bed.
Gerard passes up the drive and stays behind one more night in Los Angeles. Sitting Indian-style on one of the room’s double beds, he surveys his surrounding and sees that his bandmates have left the room a sty. The floor is stained, littered with smashed cigarette butts, while someone’s dirty underwear sits balled up in the comer, unclaimed. Gerard takes a deep breath and lights a cigarette. It’s practically the only vice he’s got left.
For this enigmatic frontman who eats, drinks and sweats rock ‘n’ roll, the past six months are a blur. [continues]
Toro, a quiet kid who wasn’t interested in anything but guitar, lived on a dead-end street on the border of Keaerny and Harrison, New Jersey. “There was definitely a funny collection of people who would hang around my block,” he remembers with an awkward grin. “There was this guy named Bertine who was a drug addict, who, every couple of months, would OD outside my house I would see an ambulance come and take him away.”
“Our parents were kind of scared to let us outside of the house, because where we lived was pretty dangerous,” remembers Mikey, Gerard’s little brother and partner in crime. Ask Donna Way, the boys mother about Mikey’s first steps, and she’ll tell you he didn’t start by walking: he’d watch his brother run, try to chase after him and end up falling on his face. “We didn’t have anyone else to hang out with. We had friends from the neighborhood, but it was mostly me and Gerard.”
“The way the Jersey is it’s very sheltering and you don’t have to develop,” adds Gerard, perhaps thankful that the wouldn’t want to live there-anymore. “You don’t have to grow. It’s kind of like this adolescence that lasts forever. I know 34 year olds that still live like they were in high school.”
If not for the band, Iero and Mikey would probably be college graduates, Toro might still be delivering film, and Gerard would still be living in his mom’s basement, trying to break into comics. It was the drive to make a difference, the lust for a life less ordinary and a fateful day in September that would eventually motivate five guys from the wrong side of town to form what would became My Chemical Romance.
WHEN THE TWIN TOWERS COLLAPSED ON SEPT. 11, 2001, it was a time of self-reflection and reevaluation for the entire United States. It was like a voice in everyone’s head perked up and said, What are you where you want to be? Are you happy? Are you where you want to be? At least, those were some of the inner conflicts Gerard Way was dealing with. He was trying to sell an animated television series to the Cartoon Network called The Breakfast Monkey. It was about a Scandinavian flying imp who talked like Bjork and harnessed a special power called Breakfast Magic, which meant he could manipulate and create an assorted menu of breakfast food. Cartoon Network turned down the pitch because they already had another food-relate show in production-Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Gerard was discouraged and wanted to move his life in a new direction. “9/11 happened and, literally, a week later, the phone calls were made.” One phone call and an impromptu meeting at Passaic’s rocker bar, the Loop Lounge, would eventually change Gerard’s life forever.
“I ran into Matt at a bar and said. ‘You know what? I’ve been writing songs. You’re not doing anything and I’m not doing anything, so let’s get together and give id a shot.” With a no-pressure commitment, Gerard played Pelissier a rough version of ‘Skylines And Turnstiles,’ and he liked what he heard. At the time, Gerard couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time, so the duo called on Toro, Pelissier’s old high school friend and former band mate. “I talked to him that night and said the same thing I had said to Matt : No strings attached; you don’t have to say yes or no. Just come, check it out and bring your guitar.”
The trio recorded a demo in Pelissier’s attic. “My attic had no walls,” he says, laughing. “It was a wooden, run-down piece of crap. I had a really cheap 16-track board, and we had a bunch of crappy mics. I basically had the drums and guitars playing upstairs and ran mics down the stars and had Gerard sing in the bathroom.” What came out of those sessions were the blue prints for “Our Lady Of Sorrows,” remembers Gerard. “And a lot of people loved the demo.” Including Mikey, who was so impressed that he decided to learn bass-having never picked up the instrument-so he could play in the band with his brother.
At the time, Mikey was a fixture on the New Jersey music scene. If there was a party, Mikey was there. And if there was an Eyeball Records party, everyone was there. The house of Eyeball’s owner, Alex Saavedra, was a funhouse decorated with horror-movie memorability toys and comics book collectibles, and soon became a punk-rock bed and breakfast of shorts, the meeting place for some of Jersey’s most musically creative minds, including members of Saves The Day. Midtown and Thursday.
“Sometimes the parties were totally impromptu. It was just a bunch of guys at the house getting drunk having fun, getting arrested and having to go to jail,” remembers Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, who ended up working closely with My Chemical Romance. ‘Then there were these huge parties Alex would throw that would be a few hundred people at the house. Half the Jersey scene would be there. It would be everyone from the kids who’d go to the shows to a lot of the bands to everyone who ran the clubs.”
“WHO CAN GO FROM ZERO TO 120 LIKE THAT? I HEARD STORIES THAT GERARD WAS DRINKING SO MUCH AND DOING SO MANY DRUGS THAT I THOUGHT, ‘SOMEBODY’S GONNA DIE; THE BAND’S GONNA FALL APART, AND IT’S GONNA BE AWFUL.'” -Geoff Rickly