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
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
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]
“Kid loves lemonade,” said Rich as the pair studied the room. Jean pulled his waxed grey overcoat closer, feeling a chill it was dead quiet.
On the terrace overlooking the room, a door opened at the end of the ball, spilling out breakbeats and air tragedy. Two figures, one large, one small, stepped out from the doorway and paused. The larger figure crouched down so the smaller could climb its shoulders.
Rich and Jean looked up to see pink, seated on the shoulders of a nude, near-morbidly obese woman wearing a pink ski-mask, marking their way down the stairs. Gray light from the large windows bathed the room, the occasional bean of dead sun hitting them.
“Julius tells me you have a twin brother.” Pink spoke in his conditioned, monotone voice as his carrier made it to the base of the stairs. This always made anything he said more unnerving because you couldn’t tell when he was angry.
“I thought Julius was on Mars,” chimed Rich, trying to buy Jean time, who he could sense was shifting in his seat.
“He is. in Icaria. Running Thezatine”
A large male hiver stepped into the room through two, large, lower level doors bisecting Pink’s path. He made his way over to the serving tray, setting down the shotgun he was carrying on the table. He began to squeeze one of the lemons into pitcher. Rich and Jean watched. The obese woman kneeled down with some effort and Pink climbed down and onto the largest and most ornate chair in the room, at the head. The woman look a place at Pink’s side, standing by his chair. Then Pink turned to the pair and spoke.
“That’s where Julius said he met him.”
Jean shifted, and began.
“I’m not positive I have a twin. I mean anything is possible, but there isn’t a whole lot to go on. My psychic…”
“Julius said your twin fired a weapon at him before fleeing. Also t___ he is identical,” said Pink, as if the knew for sure.
The male hiver’s large hands squeezed another lemon into the flask of water. Jean locked eyes with Pink but Rich stared blankly at the squeeze.
“Maybe Julius is sipping into the Thezatine,” said Rich and he started to laugh Pink stared at him as the large hiver poured the o___re coffee can of sugar into the mix…He begun to stuff Pink said nothing.”
“Quan is dead,” said Jean.
The mal__ poured the lemonade into three glasses, setting the first down in front of Pink who grabbed it immediately and began to wolf it down in one of those the moments where his age betrayed him politely, Rich and lean look a sup. All sugar
“Quan is dead,” Pink repeated, after an exhale of satisfaction.
“Quan couldn’t be helped” he added, setting his glass down and staring at the two of them. It was refilled.
“Some days, I wake up and all I want to do is go outside and play,” he continued “But the world won’t let me play…”
“So I wake up and kill everyone instead.”
He drank the next lemonade even faster fuch and Jean just stared at him. When be half-flaished, he paused, looking at there.
“I just want to watch cartoons,” he said hollow.
At this started sobbing, as Pink drank more lemonade.
“this is fucked up,” Rich said to Jean, who was looking at the sobbing male.
Pink slowly finished his glass and for three long minutes the only sounds in the room were gulping and sobbing.
“i need both of ____ to kill the Geisha,” Pink finally said.
The male left the room the way he came in, and continued to weep until he became distant Three more minutes passed and rich started to quietly passed and Rich started to quietly chuckle to himself. The obese woman, who had been totally motionless at table, where she lifted the serving tray, revealing 1…0 black ensel pes bearing the digital seal of H.E.L
Rich stopped chuckling, Jean squinted his eyes, and the both of them stared at the ominous envelopes at the center of the naked white space.
“Those are real, aren’t the?” asked Jean, and be turned to look at pink.
Pink stared back.
“One way. Bargain Sleepers P.I Quarter nutrients. Two days time from now. Arrives a Electric next Thursday.”
“What if we say no?” asked rich
“Non-refundable,” added Pink in monotone.
“We’re gonna need some better tunes, ” said Jean
“Smooth jazz,” said pink
The pair stared at Pink, and Pink stared back.
And a faint crying could be heard.
END CHAPTER TWO OF THE HAPPINESS EXPRESS
behind him as he turned, lowering the ‘scope.
“Filthy Rich and J. Jean are back…no Quan…”
Pink Wyrn sat on throne of electronic refuse and drugstore neon, and the cracked wall behind him was adorned with dried flowers and Polaroids of slain enemies and portraits from happier times, numbering in the hundreds. He was a child-clone warlord, which gave him the advantage over people that had an ethical dilemma killing kids (which many didn’t), but be had been tube-fed military knowledge and stripped of all emotion in the incubator. His face was painted in the cobalt and white of the Yasala, a tribute to his cell-origin. He stared into Harver’s chest for a moment before speaking.
“Make sure there are fresh lemons”
In the field toward the house. Rich and Jean slowed their pace, as they were now a safe enough distance from any conflict, and close enough to Deck Street House that no one would screw with them. There were scanner warlords than Pink, but he was certainly top five.
Deck Street was a mess. Through the black tire-fire fog, you could see it had long since served any function besides a torture house and a symbol of ominous threat. Every floor leaked rainwater and the basement was flooded with sewage and lye. The street in front on the house was a seen-barricade of autos that were once used in drive-by assassinations.
They made their way through the wrecks and onto the porch, skipping the loose boards and shaking off the dampness.
Jean used of the only thing that worked; the doorbell.
Only two articles of clothing were required at Deck Street a study pair of shoes to protect your feet, and a mask to completely obscure your face as the entire kill-hive practiced sexual-de-conditioning. By removing hormon… reaction, it focused your violence. Luckily Rich and Jean, as freelancers, would not be encouraged to risk hypothermia. Two (mostly) nude favers a man and a woman, opened the door. They never locked it —they didn’t need to.
“You guys are early,” said the woman, her celebrity caricature mask quieting her speech, an AK47 slung around her torso.
“Pink is almost ready,” she said, and turned down the hall. They followed.
The dining room was massive and a six-foot tall marbie bust of Piato overlooked the long sabie that Rich (no longer a cat) and Jean sat at. Everything in the room had been painted gesso by the havers, including the bust, and it gave the room a clean, uniform feel despite how filthy it had once been, or was becoming at the center of the table sat a tarnished serving tray with a pitcher of clean water, a large bowl of cut lemons, a coffee can full of sugar, and a squeezer.
“You’re full of shit!” Richard barked. He lit a Camel and turned to jean.
“Let’s get some eggs…”
Jean had a counterfeit slave-unit in his brain that gave him a constant chocolate-craving and occasionally glitched our. If also caused him to see the same four macro-lens images in his mind’s-eye every time he fired a weapon or sneezed. They would flash in rapid succession and it always went like this—
Jean fired the Lola, and his frontal lobe showed him the wonders of science and nature. Randora sparks of crimson-purple jerked and shifted around Quan’s head and body Born-holes so instant, it looked like a magician’s trick M.
Quiet and completely dead. blue vapor rose up from Quan’s body. Obscuring the crude Arabie graffiti on the curve of concrete behind him. Richard and Jean criade their way over to what used to be Quan, covering their mouths with old bandanas. Scoreh-vapor was toxic.
“How do you fell right now?”
Richard asked muffled
Zoned-out. Jean was staring at te Arabic graffiti.
“I don’t feel anything at all I think”
“What does this tag say?”
Richard looked up and squinted his eyes.
“It says ‘Everything Is Love.’
” He let our a small cough.”
They stared at the wall.
Jet’s had the best eggs and everybody knew that.
Richard and Jean finished matching over-easys at the sat__ time chaining orange juice with water, followed by coffee but never com__ing the three. They preferred paying the ch__ long before leaving and Jet’s policy of “bottomless cups” made this a po___ for chatty customers, though usually, they were not.
“I’m pretty sure it’s true…”
“Lake my gut is definitely saying so,”
Hushed and paranoid, Richard sipped
“Like looking into a mirror but the birthmarks are wrong” Jean was calm.
“We should get out of here.” he said
“Oh yeah…” and Richard startled to get up, remembering it was his turn to be the car, a gimmick they pulled to visually put people off their scent.
“I’ll meet you around the back.”
And he walked toward the restroom
Harver peered out of what was left of the top floor window on the Deck Street house. Behind him, the sound of commercial jetliners crashing set to break beats filled the room, the newest album by Quatro Sun.
The Statiscope Harver used was second-hand, its software pireled, but it mostly cooperated. Through its three dirty leases and the drizzle, he could make out one man (white) and one cat (gray), heading forward the house through the field of burnishing cars.
“Smooth___…” he sand to himself, and them he called…. [continues]