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Here is an Extremely Interesting Article Taken From Blender Magazine
written by Andy Greenwald

Blender, December 2006

Milan: the shopping capital of the world. The ancient winding streets in the shadow of the magnificent Duomo are home to some of the most exclusive — and expensive — designers on the planet. Armani and Versace are there, not far from Dior, with its frosted-glass staircase (and equally frosty clerks). Across the way is Prada, where a display of thousand-euro walking sticks looms menacingly over the register. The Dolce & Gabbana boutique is so deliriously over-the-top it has what appears to be a self-service martini bar in the changing area.

Lost in the middle of this sartorial madness is Gerard Way, newly blond frontman for My Chemical Romance, striding down the stone boulevards in a tight leather jacket and skinny black jeans, a cigarette clutched in his fingers. As usual, Way is a man on a mission. Also per usual, his goals are lofty, his demands high. What could our gothic superhero be in search of now? A leather cape, perhaps? A utility belt? A giant inflatable pig? Actually, no: “I just want some casual clothes,” he says in his harsh Jersey rasp. “Some fucking corduroys. Something normal.”

Normal is not a word usually associated with My Chemical Romance — especially one month before the release of the band’s dizzying third album, The Black Parade. But it does seem oddly appropriate: After a spectacular five-year evolution from dampened New Jersey dreamer to platinum-certified, makeup-slathered glam-punk visionary, Way has now shed the mascara, gotten clean and gotten mortally serious. Even though The Black Parade is a sprawling, high-risk concept record about death, featuring strings, horns, power ballads and gas-masked characters with names like “Mother War” (played by — who else? — Liza Minnelli), he’s never seemed more calm or more confident. Ambition, it appears, suits Gerard Way even better than corduroy.

“Making this record was like somebody holding a gun at this band and we were just laughing at it,” he says excitedly, exhaling a plume of smoke. “We lost our fear because we felt that no matter what — if we were destroyed or killed, or if somebody did pull that trigger on us — we’d only become stronger. Somehow we’d become more powerful!” His eyes flash madness, and he stubs out a cigarette, and then Gerard Way, the fearless, self-appointed savior of rock & roll, officially abandons his quest for civilian garb and ducks into the nearest Games Workshop to ogle space orc battle sets.

Clifton, New Jersey: the capital of absolutely nothing at all. A blue-collar town due west of New York City, Clifton, on this September day, is almost purposefully ugly. The sky is a gunmetal gray above the Tick Tock Diner (“Since 1948 New Jersey’s Premier Diner-Restaurant!”), located across the street from a cemetery and in a tangle of highway Möbius loops, dead-end motels and dead ends. It was here that the members of My Chemical Romance hung out before and after every practice, downing coffee, sucking on cigarettes and dreaming of taking over the world.

The band formed in late 2001, after the September 11 attacks compelled the introverted, then-24-year-old Gerard to reevaluate his life of drawing unpublished comics in his parents’ basement. Taking inspiration from the punk shows put on by his friends in the band Thursday, he wrote one song (“Skylines and Turnstiles”) and declared himself the leader of a band that would serve as his ultimate escape: from shyness, from his cul-de-sac life, from Jersey. Younger brother Mikey — then a hard-partying extrovert who had always dreamed of rock stardom, despite no musical training — and guitarist Ray Toro (who had bonded with Gerard over Star Wars and heavy metal riffs) were the first recruits. Guitarist Frank Iero, the youngest and most extravagantly tattooed member, joined later. “I knew Gerard as the comic-book artist, as Mikey’s creepy older brother,” Iero tells me at the Tick Tock over an egg-and-cheese sandwich. “But then as soon as I saw their first show — they were drunk because they couldn’t stand to be in front of people — I was like, ‘This band’s amazing!’” (Drummer Bob Bryar joined in 2004, replacing original member Matt Pelissier.)

Offstage, the young band was still the same group of comic-book-collecting misfits that kept entirely to themselves. But onstage, Gerard was a leather-jacketed madman who would scream profanities at the crowd and wave his middle finger like a baton. “I always felt like the world was way too tough for me when I was a little kid,” he says. “But something about being in this band makes me feel tough.” Gerard had also quickly learned to drown his inhibitions in alcohol — and later, in cocaine — and he hid his cherubic, decidedly un-rock-star face behind layers of makeup and a mop of greasy hair, while hiding his personal demons in lyrics that focused on actual demons: vampires, blood-spattered lovers trekking through hell and other outlandish conceits.

“Even when they first started, they commanded a crowd as if they were already a huge rock band,” says Jared Kaufman, an editor at, a popular fan-run punk Web site, and a longtime champion of the band. “They were using their band — their energy, their passion — as a medium to take over a scene.”

The group’s first album — 2002’s rough-and-ready I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love — got them labeled “screamo” and got them signed to Warner Bros., but it was 2004’s double-platinum Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge that revealed their quirky passions: that glorious, Queen-y guitar solo popping out of nowhere in the rant “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” the goth Busby Berkeley video for “Helena.” “People made fun of us!” sputters Mikey Way. “Emo was kids in recreation shirts and tight blue jeans, and we came out wearing makeup; we played hardcore shows at VFW halls, and Gerard dressed like Ziggy fucking Stardust. Everybody wanted to hate us. But we always had in our mind that we wanted to transcend this. We wanted to change the world.”

And in a way, they soon did: All the things that set them apart from their peers — the costumes, the cinematic videos, the Max Factor shipments — quickly became prevalent (see: Panic! At the Disco and Aiden, a face-paint-and-eyeliner band from Seattle so blatantly in debt to MCR it’s almost cute). “I’m actually glad when people cheapen what we do, when it becomes another cliché of ‘the scene,’” Gerard says. “It forces you to become more direct. The first song on the new record — ‘The End’ — is the end. We’re resigning from the scene; we’re not part of what you wanted. We’re gonna be what we want to be.”

Back in Milan, the sun is setting over the enormous terrace of Gerard’s hotel room. He’s in the middle of a European press tour, and despite his frequent proclamations that My Chemical Romance have constantly chosen the hard road over the easy money — they’ve made a habit of saying no to things other emo bands have gorged on, such as advertisements and lucrative publishing deals — he’s clearly gained a taste for the finer things. The hotel is one of Milan’s fanciest — and priciest — and his first order of business upon arriving was to upgrade to a master suite, which now serves as the opulent setting for a long talk about fear; specifically, the creeping, paralyzing kind that has plagued him his whole life and nearly undid the band during the recording of The Black Parade. Spread out in front of him are the essentials: the ever-present cigarettes and countless bottles of Diet Coke and sparkling water. Near-constant intake of nicotine and caffeine is the only vice that remains in Gerard’s life after bottoming out on booze, pills and blow in 2004. “What we achieve keeps me sober,” he says. “I know the minute I touch a drink again is the minute I lose everything that I’ve got.”

On Gerard’s journey from stage-fright-addled addict to world-beating frontman he has had two very different mentors. The first was Bert McCracken, the troubled singer for the Utah screamo band the Used. While touring together in 2003, Bert and Gerard became ferocious party buddies, wasting night after night draining hotel room minibars and bullshitting (a numbing existence eulogized to perfection on The Black Parade’s “The Sharpest Lives”). For a time, the two were inseparable — joining each other onstage, name-checking each other in lyrics and even collaborating on a charity cover of “Under Pressure.” But when Way cleaned up, the relationship soured and soon McCracken was trash-talking MCR. The last time Gerard saw McCracken was at the San Diego stop of the Warped Tour 2005. “It was really unfortunate,” says Way. “We were about to take the stage and he was standing with a megaphone trying to get kids not to watch us. We just hit the feedback and drowned him out.” (McCracken declined a request for comment.)

Mentor number two in the evolution of Gerard Way was a more stable figure: Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who took Gerard under his wing when MCR opened a leg of the American Idiot tour. “We had bought these toy lightsabers for Green Day’s kids,” Gerard remembers, “but we kept fucking around with them in the parking lot. So one night Billie and I had a lightsaber battle for fun — he’s a total red-lightsaber, Vader guy, by the way — and we talked about what happened to them after Dookie. He said the biggest mistake they had made was to be angry about the success. What I got from him was personal: Don’t hold back; be what you are and don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t be afraid to take it by the balls.”

The change in Way’s attitude was sudden and dramatic. The hours he once spent either building up or sleeping off a high he now filled with new projects: The Umbrella Academy, Way’s new comic-book series, is due in 2007 from Dark Horse Comics, and he’s been in discussions with Scholastic to write horror stories for young audiences. The songs took a left turn as well when the band gathered in early 2006 to write in New York City (all of the members still live in Jersey, save for Bryar, who is a native Chicagoan, and Gerard, who is currently homeless — hence the fancy hotels). “The benefit of writing so much on the road when every other band was partying was that we got Revenge part two out of our systems,” says Gerard. Instead, the group plunged headfirst into bizarre explorations that paid homage to their real idols — Billy Corgan, Freddie Mercury and especially Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Black Parade’s “Momma,” a gypsy-punk rave-up, is riotous evidence of the latter). Armstrong recommended American Idiot producer Rob Cavallo as the man best suited to translating MCR’s lofty ideas to disc, and the two parties hit it off immediately. “I came in and told them, ‘Let’s push it as far as we can go,’” Cavallo says. “That really opened their eyes. Once they had that kind of freedom they loved it.”

The band decamped to Los Angeles and took up residence in the Paramour Estate, an old, purportedly haunted mansion in the hills above the trendy Silver Lake neighborhood. Time and money were no object, and spirits were high. But suddenly an unexpected crack appeared in the band’s armor, and for a few weeks in Los Angeles, My Chemical Romance didn’t exist at all.

Hair artfully lacquered and with bright-blue limited-edition Tron Velcro sneakers on his feet, Mikey Way is gleeful as an 8-year-old on Christmas morning in Toy Tokyo, a Manhattan store devoted to all things tiny, kitschy and Japanese. Torn between the wall of Transformers and a shelf of limited-edition Lego figures, Mikey — glasses-free and muscled for the first time in his life — doesn’t seem to be the sort of person who could have any problems at all, let alone the kind that nearly derailed his band’s career. In fact, it had always been good ol’ Mikey Way who’d saved the band during the tough times — as older brother Gerard puts it, Mikey is “everyone’s kid brother,” the happy-go-lucky goofball who brightens any van ride or photo shoot. But sometime last year, the fun stopped.

“People would see me onstage standing still and think that I was just the dude that chills in the back,” he later explains between wolfish bites of a spicy tuna roll. “Little did they know I was having crippling anxiety attacks onstage.” It started as a nagging self-doubt — about his musical ability, about his role in the band — but during the late 2005 headlining tour it ballooned out of control. “Here I was, I finally had everything I’d struggled for my whole life, and it wasn’t fun anymore. I was standing on the stage looking out, not enjoying it at all.”

Mikey stitched himself together with drinks and pills during the writing of The Black Parade — and sought solace in the company of his new fiancée, Alicia Simmons — but inside it was worsening. “It was too much stimulus at once,” he says. “I never had a chance to come to grips with anything — my grandmother dying, my father having a [non-fatal] heart attack on our tour bus. I was a complete mess.” The band’s choice of accommodations in Los Angeles didn’t help matters. “Take a manic-depressive kid and throw him in a haunted house — with no cell-phone service, no TV, no heat — and put him in a room with one glowing blue light.” Mikey’s hands actually begin to shake at the memory of it. “I got there immediately and was like, ‘I know I’m not going to make it through this, I just wonder how it’s going to end.’”

Mikey found himself desperate to escape, zoning out of practices and bursting into tears in front of the group. After an intervention from Stacy Fass — My Chemical Romance’s attorney and unofficial band mom — Mikey left the house to seek treatment. Living with Fass, he saw a parade of psychologists — four times a week — and was relieved to find that his condition had a name, and that there was medication that could alleviate his depression. (Mikey describes his diagnosis as “very close to bipolar”; in the middle of dinner he swallows a rainbow-colored cocktail of pills that he says work “for now.”)

Back at the house, though, things fell apart. “I became extremely edgy and angry,” Gerard says. “We had something we wanted to bring to the world and we were basically forced to stop creating it. It was as if a plug had been pulled. It was a really dark period.” Adds Toro, “It started out as anger towards Mikey, because, like, doesn’t he know that he is causing things to come to a standstill? But that was completely the wrong reaction to have — we were just upset and confused. He needed time to get better.”

A record that had begun with such confidence suddenly seemed doomed. “When we saw it happen to one of us, it opened us up to fear and pressure in a big way,” Gerard admits. “It started to seep in and rise up, and the next thing you know you’re waist-deep in the fear. Are we gonna make a shit record? Are we crazy? Are we gonna break up?”

One night about two weeks into Mikey’s absence, Gerard wandered down to the basement in his bathrobe to find Toro absentmindedly noodling with a song-scrap titled “The Saddest Music in the World.” “Gerard looked defeated,” says Toro. “But then he picked up a guitar, and we started writing and suddenly we knew that things were going to be OK.” A once-directionless (and chorus-free) song took on a new life as Gerard poured all of his anxieties — about his band, his career and his brother’s health — into a powerful and surprisingly direct refrain: “I am not afraid to keep on living.” The result was “Famous Last Words” — The Black Parade’s last song, second single and crowning moment. “Right away I felt like I was singing about the thing I was most afraid of,” Gerard says. “It felt like what it meant to be in this band, it felt like it was about Mikey, and it felt like it was about our lives, thinking of yourself as despicable or hated.”

Mikey eventually returned to the house — as a commuter — heard the new song and fell in love with his band again. “When I came back it became triumphant,” he says. “And ‘Famous Last Words’ is the anthem.” New songs were quickly written — including the stark ballad “Cancer” — and a vision began to coalesce. A strange, ­3-year-old herky-jerky number called “The Five of Us Are Dying” metamorphosed into the first single, “Welcome to the Black Parade.” “It was a snowball effect of contagious madness,” Cavallo says. “It’s insanely gleeful,” Gerard says. “This record is like running around a field of flowers with a butcher knife. It’s a guy standing on top of a hotel completely naked, screaming at the world. It’s that crazy, that expressive.”

“We always wanted to say something to everyone,” concludes Mikey. “Now it’s our time. We want people to be fearless, to be proud of themselves, to take a stand.”

This message may be harder to communicate than the band anticipates: The debut of The Black Parade at this summer’s Reading Festival in England was marred by some antagonistic fans chucking bottles and batteries at the stage. Indeed, there is a long history of rock groups proclaiming themselves ready to take over the world and the world responding with a yawn (or a well-thrown bottle). My Chemical Romance’s new mantra of fearlessness can mean different things to different people — something especially true for Gerard, who still cops to sleeping with a night-light.

But for one evening in Italy at least, fearlessness means embracing normalcy. Looking out over Milan, Gerard fires up another cigarette and shouts: “F**k yeah, I’m going to get some comfortable pants! Why stop there? Maybe a nice cable-knit sweater. Maybe I’ll buy a house for my thirtieth birthday next year. I’m gonna get a Dodge Stratus. I’m gonna go to Blockbuster. I’m gonna get whatever shower curtain I want. Because I deserve it.” And then the cackling starts again, the deep, raspy laughter of a not-at-all normal man who has suddenly found himself with little to fear and much to look forward to.


So you know how there are two I'm Not Okay videos (well of course you know that or I'd just be amazzzzzzzzzzzed at your stupidity), I just noticed the first version is labeled I'm Not Okay (I Promise) and the second, more popular, one is just I'm Not Okay! I don't know I could just be insane but, yeah I just thought that was interesting.

I'm feeling oddly talktive. I haven't been on in forever so I'm updating like crazeh! so yeah my glasses broke I want to get some new ones like Mikey use to have. gotta love them Ways. Those ones with the white tops and thick black rims...ya know?

This probably isn't interesting to anyone but me but I am in fact the same height as the darling Mr. Frank Iero.
I know that isn't even very special considering all the people in the world who are 5'4


Oh Yay! I won the Mrs. Frank Iero contest on Dementia Layouts! Woo!
If you like MCR...which yeah obviously you do if ur reading should check that site ouuuuttt!
its wayyyyy cool.
Fav. Songs-
Thank You For the Venom
Vampires Will Never Hurt You
Cemetary Drive
Kill all Your Friends
Famous Last Words
I don't Love You
I'm Not okay ( I promise)
You know what they do to guys like us in prison
To The End
This is how I disappear
Under Pressure
Hang 'em high
its not a fashion statement, its a deathwish
I never told you what I do for a Living
Honey this Mirror isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us
Bury Me in Black
My Way Home is Through You
Our Lady of Sorrows


So I pretty much just LOVE My Chemical Romance!!!!!!! I want to marry Gerard Way, lol. I saw them in concert Feb. 28!!!! It was THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!!!


  • ms.gerard.way

    nice profile, long, but I like it ^_^

    ms.gerard.way, September 6th, 2007 at 04:21:08am

  • Larry Queen

    ok then

    Larry Queen, August 31st, 2007 at 05:30:14am

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