Friday, January 25, 2008

pssssshhhh i think it's cool

Rock Sound brings you an in-depth guide to My Chemical Romance. Part 1 – A - M

A is for…Acceptance
My Chemical Romance wouldn’t be here without it.
Frank Iero (guitar): “It’s what I felt about punk rock growing up. A show was a place where you could go and feel accepted for who you were. So when I started a band I wanted to create an environment where people could feel like there was somebody else out there who understood them and had their back no matter what.”
Gerard Way (vocals): “Acceptance is a huge part of this band. Punk rock accepted us as kids and in a sense saved our lives because of that. Punk shows gave us a place where we wouldn’t get shot or stabbed.”
Frank: “It’s about encouraging self-worth and self-respect.”

B is for…Bullet-proof vests
An indispensable part of the band’s onstage attire.
Gerard: “The bullet-proof vest is a metaphor. It symbolises the fact that this band feels indestructible.”
Frank: “It’s really based on the way we feel onstage. You get into a certain mindset where nothing really matters – you can’t get hurt and nothing fazes you. Together we feel unstoppable.”
Gerard: “It’s also about us relating to hip-hop artists. We come from the same world as a lot of them (Newark, New Jersey) and we relate to their drive and the way they don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks.”

C is for…Concept albums
Breakthrough album ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ put a whole new spin on the concept record.
Mikey Way (bass): “The album started out as this fictional story but then kind of melded itself into our lives. It’s like a comic book story about a man who comes back from the dead to avenge himself. But on moving to LA we had so many experiences that without us knowing it the album became a fifty-fifty mix between the story and us.”

D is for…Disney World
MCR drummer Bob Bryar has a secret past…
Bob: “When I was in school in Florida I got a job at Disney World to earn extra money. I thought I was going to do something cool but when I went to my initiation day and opened up the packet it said I was working on The Little Mermaid theme show. I was so pissed. My first costume was white pants, a blue and white striped shirt and a sailor hat. Later I played drums for the Aladdin stage show. I finally quit because they yelled at me about my sideburns.”

E is for…Everyday living
It’s not half as glamorous as you think.
Gerard: “Wake up, walk around, look for a book store, look for a coffee shop, come back, start to focus, do some press, get ready to perform, reflect, cool down and go to bed. Then get up the next day and start again.”
Frank: “My everyday living consists of Epstein-Barr virus. It’s chronic fatigue syndrome. I got it from touring. It means my immune system is always really low, I always feel sick and I have to take a bunch of vitamins every day.”

F is for…Fans
Otherwise known as ‘The MCRmy’.
Frank: “We have the best fans ever. They’re brutal, crazy kids. Our fans love, they hate, sometimes they’re angry, sometimes they won’t give you a chance to go pee, but they give it their all. I think The MCRmy existed even before people used street teams.”
Mikey: “Those kids would photocopy fliers for our local shows and go to other Jersey shows and put them on cars, guerrilla-style. It all began with those kids.”

G is for…Great Britain
Much more than just a home from home.
Mikey: “In the States we had a problem with distribution on our first record (‘I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love’). But in the UK it was released on a subsidiary of a major label, so you could buy it everywhere. It really took on a new life over here. We thought we were going to have to move here, like if we didn’t get big in America it wouldn’t be so bad. Even now we can play songs off the first album and you wouldn’t know the difference; kids here are into all of them.”

H is for…Harry Houdini
The legendary escape artist who’s a key inspiration for Gerard and co.
Gerard: “Houdini is very important to the first record. He’s also important to the next record because there’s a song about him and his wife on there, so it’s me going back to the story. For some reason he’s on the cover of ‘…Bullets’ hanging over New York City. Something about him was just so romantic and mysterious. There was something about the idea of an escape artist, about someone escaping what he came from and all the hurdles he had to overcome. It’s such a fantastic metaphor. To me, it really fitted in with our band, because this band is our escape.”

I is for…Irvine Welsh
The Trainspotting author is the reason they’re called My Chemical Romance.
Mikey: “I used to work in a book store and one day my manager brought over a stack of Irvine Welsh books. I was bored so I started flipping through a couple of them and reading the blurb on the back. A quote from a critic caught my eye. It said that Irvine Welsh’s books were ‘chemical romances’. I thought it would be a really good name for a band so I told Gerard and then we just added the ‘My’.”

J is for…Billie Joe Armstrong
The Green Day frontman taught Gerard Way everything he knows
Gerard: “Billie Joe was the first person to inspire me to pick up a guitar, learn how to play it and learn how to sing at the same time. He made it look so fun and effortless – there was no pretence about Billie. In the first band I ever started, Raygun Jones, I sang exactly like him because that was all I knew. With Billie, it’s all about the eyes. He couldn’t use his hands because he was playing guitar, so I learned to use my eyes to express things just like he did. He’s a huge inspiration.”

K is for…Killing the rock ‘n’ roll myth
Groupies, diva behaviour and over-indulgence are not where it’s at.
Frank: “We’ve mutilated, killed and disembowelled rock ‘n’ roll clichés! We’re not about anything that the “rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle” is about.”
Ray Toro (guitar): “This life is so crazy that the last thing you want to do after a show is party. We’re boring as hell!”
Gerard: “People definitely miss the Mötley Crüe antics but that’s not what we’re about because of the negative elements that go with it – mainly homophobia, racism and sexism. Punk rock and grunge made a difference but nu-metal set things back again because it was all, ‘Let’s beat the shit out of each other, get girls to show us their tits and fuck groupies’. So yet again, we’re trying to reverse that.”

L is for…Loved ones
Hit song ‘Helena’ was written for the Way brothers’ much-loved grandma
Mikey: “When we were growing up she taught us all of our extra-curricular activities, hobbies that kids our age and from our upbringing wouldn’t normally get to do. She taught Gerard how to sing and she taught us both how to draw and paint. We pulled some of our most important aspects from her. We didn’t see her for the last year of her life (the band were on tour). I didn’t even know she was sick. She was supposed to have some routine surgery. We came off tour for three days and she died then. It was so spur of the moment.”

M is for…Media hype
There’s no denying MCR are this year’s rock press darlings.
Ray: (Looking aghast) “I’ve never seen the words ‘media hype’. Are we over-exposed?”
Frank: “We’re in a lot of places. At first it was cool that my mom could buy 16 different magazines and we’d be in all of them. But then it got to the point where it’s just hype and bullshit. A lot of people are missing the point. It’s not about the hair and the make-up, it’s more about the message and keeping ourselves alive.”
Mikey: “It’s termed hype if you don’t live up to it, but our band lives up to it and then some. The reason we’re still in magazines is because anyone who tries to knock us down has no ground to stand on. That’s why we’re still the buzz band.”

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