Watch the video preview of the Gerard Way written and directed episode of The Aquabats Super Show featuring Mikey Way HERE.
“It’s connected deeply to what I was before I started My Chemical Romance” – Gerard Way on new music
“I turned back into a pumpkin,” Gerard Way used a reverse Cinderella metaphor to describe his next step in music in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“What I’m doing is super organic and completely pure, and I’m positive the longer I continue doing it, it will stay that way,” Way said.
“It’s connected deeply to what I was before I started My Chemical Romance and had that adventure. It’s more connected to who I really am, because who I really was in My Chemical Romance, that changed and reverted back”
The former My Chemical Romance frontman remains exploritory and metaphysical while divulging more details about his upcoming project in his latest interview. indicating again, “I’m trying to figure out what I want to do and what the universe needs me to do.”
Way does clarify (or make more cryptic, depending on how you look at it) previous remarks he made about whether or not the project will be a solo or collaborative venture. “I don’t quite know how to describe it or what to call it or how to put a name on it, if it’s a band or solo thing.”
In a previous interview, Way had noted, “I’d have to be a lot older and I’d need a lot more life experience [to do a solo project]. So I don’t feel like doing that. It just doesn’t feel right.”
For our AP 300 creative partner and cover star, it appears that only the universe will, indeed, tell when it comes to his musical direction.
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ UNIVERSE TO TELL US…
What is solidly the horizon for Gerard:
-The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, the comic co-written by Way and informed by MCR’s final album Danger Days… is out June 12.
-“Anti-Bats!,” an episode of The Aquabats! Super Show! directed by Way and starring his brother and former MCR bassist, Mikey Way (who also recently confirmed a new band), is set to air on HUB Network June 29 at 1 p.m. ET.
The band’s former frontman, Gerard Way, and series star/creator Christian Jacobs talk to THR about collaborating on the upcoming episode in which the singer’s bass-player brother Mikey guest-stars.
The Aquabats! Super Show! gets some real-life rock infusion in its upcoming second season.
Hub Network’s live-action kids series — which centers on a crime-fighting rock band on a never-ending quest to right wrongs, destroy boredom and seek justice for all — will feature a forthcoming episode that was co-written and co-directed by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way.
The collaboration with Aquabats! creator/executive producer/star Christian Jacobs came about after MCR — which announced its split in March — appeared in another Jacobs-created series, Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba, in December 2011. Way and Jacobs kept in touch and decided to partner up again for an episode of his newest show, which is based on the real-life rock band that Jacobs (aka “The M.C. Bat Commander”) co-founded in 1994 with fellow Aquabat Chad Larson (aka “Crash McLarson”). (Incidentally, the series just received a Daytime Emmy nomination for outstanding children’s series.)
Their episode — which is titled “Anti-bats!” and airs June 29 — finds two competing bands who are seeking revenge on The Aquabats! uniting with evil Silver Skull to become the Anti-bats! Way’s brother and former MCR bandmate, bass player Mikey Way, guest-stars as one of the Anti-bats!
Ahead of the show’s season two premiere, Way and Jacobs talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their upcoming episode, their working relationship and what’s next.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did this collaboration come about?
Gerard Way: I had done an interview at San Diego Comic-Con — we were doing comics for the band — and they asked me what I wanted to do next. I had had Bandit, my daughter, and naturally I wanted to be on Yo Gabba Gabba, so I threw it out there. The universe works in awesome ways. Christian was on a flight with Frank [Iero, guitarist for My Chemical Romance]. … And then next thing I know, Christian and I are on the phone and collaborating on a musical segment. I realized how incredibly involved he is and how much he cared about every single segment. We hit it off and met on the set and stayed in touch, and he kindly offered me the opportunity to write for Aquabats!
Christian Jacobs: I saw that interview with Gerard. I thought, “That guy likes my show? Oh my gosh. That guy’s really famous and talented.” It was cool he was into our show, and it made an impression on me. And then organically I met Frank on an airplane, and we exchanged information and eventually scheduled a segment for My Chemical Romance to be on Gabba. Gerard was really the creative mind behind it; he really had a vision for what he wanted to do, and it just seemed like we hit it off. We became friends because we had so many things in common, not just influences and references but the way we are about things we like and our likes and dislikes. So a few months later, I asked if Gerard would be interested in doing [Aquabats!]. We collaborated on a few different ideas, and one script rose to the top and got shot.
THR: It sounds like you have a pretty easy working relationship.
Way: It was super easy, and when you find people who are inspiring, generally the smart thing to do is [continue working with them]. It’s hard work, but it’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to have the illusion of being easy, and it is, but it’s also long hours. Christian and I are the type of people who are very lucky to have people who want to support us and give us resources.
THR: Where did the inspiration for the episode come from?
Way: It’s not a tribute per se, but there are things [from my childhood] like Mad Max orSuperman 2. It’s the stuff that wouldn’t be so obvious to people — like the guy with the beard in Superman 2.
Jacobs: And we have homages to that in this episode. We put a lot of what’s called meta humor in the stuff that we do, it’s kind of a phenomenon going on right now. People are using references to tell different stories, and I think it works seamlessly in the episode we did together. It’s fun to create stuff like that; it takes real effort, but it feels effortless, and the end result is also very smooth and effortless.
THR: Gerard, your brother Mikey also guest-stars in the episode. How did that happen?
Way: It was super amazing and very organic. When we were trying to cast the episode, I knew that one of the most fun things, even though it would be challenging, would be to cast the Anti-bats! One of the things I’ve always loved is stunt casting. One of my favorite [Aquabats!] cameos is the Eagle Claw! spiritual mentor played in season one by Lou Diamond Phillips. And then Rip Taylor, that was a big one for me because I used to watch The Gong Show when I was a kid. So it was like, “Let’s get a musician to play this guy.” Christian thought of Mikey, and we thought it would be perfect. He said yeah right away. It’s cool because I know he always wanted to do something like that.
THR: Gerard, what’s your directing style like?
Way: Because I’m so detail oriented, I’ve always collaborated [on videos he’s directed]. I get so hung up on detail and would stand there and do a shot like 10 times. Sometimes that’s a benefit and sometimes that’s a hindrance.
THR: Do you want to pursue directing more projects?
Way: Any opportunity I get to do that and work with amazing people, I’ll take it. My music is — I don’t want to say my main focus, but it’s what comes most naturally to me. At this stage in my life, if somebody gave me $10 million to make an indie, and it’s just me, I don’t think I would do that. I like working in groups.
Jacobs: Take the money, I’ll help you.
THR: Gerard, are you working on new music now?
Way: I am working on music. I don’t quite know how to describe it or what to call it or how to put a name on it, if it’s a band or solo thing. I’m not even dealing with that. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do and what the universe needs me to do. What I’m doing is super organic and completely pure, and I’m positive the longer I continue doing it, it will stay that way. It’s connected deeply to what I was before I started My Chemical Romance and had that adventure. It’s more connected to who I really am, because who I really was in My Chemical Romance, that changed and reverted back to — I don’t know, I turned back into a pumpkin.
THR: Do the two of you have any plans to collaborate again?
Jacobs: Absolutely. We plan to. Hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to do some more episodes [of Aquabats!]. But beyond that as well, I’d love to keep working together and get more things going.
The Aquabats!, from Awesome Forces Productions, returns with new episodes at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Saturday on Hub Network. (The season one two-disc DVD was released May 21.) The second-season premiere includes a special appearance from pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. Watch a clip, which is exclusive to THR, below.
Coming up, The Aquabats! are set to perform July 18 during Comic-Con at San Diego’s House of Blues.
My Chemical Romance Vocalist Gerard Way Co-Writes Episode for Kids’ TV Series ‘The Aquabats! Super Show!’; Continues to Work on New Music
The rock ‘n’ roll kiddie TV series “The Aquabats! Super Show!” is about to rock harder than ever. For the debut of the second season, executive producer Christian Jacobs (“Yo Gabba Gabba!”) hired My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way to co-direct and help bring a new element to the music.
The episode, which airs June 1 at 1 p.m. ET, co-stars My Chemical Romance bassist (and Way’s brother) Mikey Way as the frontman for a death-metal band called Asthma. The group seeks revenge against the Aquabats after losing a battle of the bands because Aquabat Ricky Fitness (Richard Folomir) develops a crush on a contestant named Rachael Moonbug and unjustly awards her the $750 grand prize.
“My wife wasn’t so stoked that we had a death metal band on a kids’ show,” said Jacobs, who also plays lead Aquabat M.C. Bat Commander. “I said, ‘Honey, kids need to learn about these things early.'”
“The thing is,” added Gerard Way, “for anybody who’s bugged out by it, they have to realize that Asthma are the bad guys. So they should be a little scary.”
Scary, but funny. The death metal song was demoed by Way, but the directors chose to go with a version of a song by “Yo Gabba Gabba!” contributor Matt Gorney. And while the song rips like Behemoth, it’s not exactly typical death metal.
“The lyrics are about the mailman,” Jacobs said. “You can’t tell what they’re saying, but it goes, ‘When I’m walking down the street, you can hear the sounds of my feet. The mailman brings me mail.’ It was a winner.”
The other main song in the episode is a Jewel-style acoustic number, for which Way contributed lyrics and Gorney wrote the music. “The lyrics originally went, ‘Everybody needs somebody touching someone somewhere,’ but we had to change that,” Way said. “I did it pretty naively and Christian was cool with it, but we brought it to the network and they said, ‘Yeah… Um, I don’t know about touching.’ So we changed it to ‘hugging.'”
In addition to directing and coming up with lyrics, Way helped concoct the bizarre plot. Originally, Asthma were turned into the Antibats by the evil “Silver Skull” and sent to seek revenge on the Aquabats. The rest of the episode was pretty much a slugfest between the two bands. But when a producer at The Hub pointed out that the characters seemed to lack motivation, Way added a new plot element, involving a donated brain that the government entrusts the Aquabats to deliver to a political leader called Governor Robot.
“We realized, ‘yeah, these characters are basically just beating the crap out of each other the whole time,'” Way said. “So I came up with the character Governor Robot, and the brain came from the Aquabats needing something to bring to him at the end of the show.”
There’s also a touching — if you consider poking a slimy brain to be touching — scene between Ricky Fitness and Rachael Moonbug, in which the superheroes track down the singer at an amusement park where she’s performing.
The seeds for the Antibats were planted when Way hooked up with Jacobs a couple years ago while the former was working for “Yo Gabba Gabba!” The vocalist was talking in an interview about watching “Yo Gabba Gabba!” with his young daughter; and Jacobs, who is a big fan of My Chemical Romance and Way’s award-winning comic book series “The Umbrella Academy,” decided to contact the vocalist.
“I thought, ‘We gotta work together! I love this dude!'” Jacobs enthused. But it didn’t happen right away.
“A year later, I was flying back from New York and [guitarist] Frank [Iero] from My Chem was on the plane. I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s Frank, I gotta talk to him!” said Jacobs. “I was sweating and nervous. I don’t know how to approach people without being a cheeseball. But I met Frank. Then Gerard and I talked on the phone and we had My Chem on the show. That was awesome and one thing led to another.”
“We hit it off right away,” said Way. “We started collaborating immediately without realizing we were doing it. He would have an idea that would give me an idea to draw something, and then I’d send him the drawing. We kept giving each other ideas, and as soon as we got on the set it was easy. Christian’s a great director and a great leader. Everybody really loved working with him on set and took his direction super-well because he communicated well.”
Way worked with Jacobs on four treatments, but so far “The Antibats” is the only one in which Way was involved. Yet even off the set, Way’s working harder than ever.
“I’m definitely not taking a break,” he explained. “I’m usually up until a minimum of 2 a.m. writing music and I’m up at about 7 a.m. with my daughter. So I’m sleeping four to five hours a night and I work from the minute I’m up after I drop her at school until I go to bed.”
While Way revealed that he has been tinkering in his home studio with multiple styles of music and playing different arrangements with various instrumentation, he won’t specify whether the songs are rock, punk, pop or something altogether different. “I’m just trying to figure out exactly what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I take a cue from the universe and I think about that pretty deeply and go with my gut 100 percent.”
He did, however, deny any interest in doing a solo record. “I’ve never seen myself as a solo guy. Some of my favorite artists, like Nick Cave and Tom Waits, are so far beyond me right now and I feel that if I was going to do something like what they do, I’d have to be a lot older and I’d need a lot more life experience. So I don’t feel like doing that. It just doesn’t feel right.”
That puts Way in an uncertain position that will probably be dictated by fate or the right meeting with the right group of people — though he said that right now he’s putting no effort into forming a new band.
“I really haven’t been doing anything concrete except writing tons of stuff,” he said. “I’m just having experiences. I’m playing tons of instruments, constantly writing music, and I guess I’m putting myself out there and not pushing anything away. The only way I can describe it is I don’t know who I was before I started My Chem. I know that answers nothing, but that’s the point. I’m just exploring and seeing what happens.”
My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way and bassist Mikey Way appear on today’s installment of Kevin Smith’s Smodcast. In the midst of the 2-hour episode, the Way brothers reveal details of their working on a new episode of The Aquabats Super Show.
Co-written by Gerard, the Aquabats Super Show episode titled “Anti-Bats Are Go” is described as “the Superman II version of The Aquabats.” It features a thrashcore band called Asthma, and Mikey Way makes his acting debut playing the singer.
Last month, Gerard tweeted about co-directing a television show, presumably the aforementioned one:
The brothers also discuss the challenges of writing music after being on the road for an extended period of time and how that translated to 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives
Of The Fabulous Killjoys, their musical upbringings, including the music they listened to when they were young and their first bands: an instrumental metal band pronounced “Drakkora,” a Rites Of Spring and Promise Ring-esque band, Raygun Jones, and a punk band called Nancy Drew.