Mikey Way , 2007

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

This record is not only success-wise huge, but huge in sound as well. I remember seeing you guys opening for Simple Plan and wearing leather jackets and looking out of the book The Outsiders. And have the photos to prove it.
Ohhhh. Yea, that was eons ago.

 

Yea, you guys were young, which was probably five or six years ago.
Oh, all right.

 

How do you feel about this band's growth from that to where The Black Parade is as far as musical intelligence?
The thing is, we have always had that in us. It has always been there, but it just took us time to get to this point. When we started with the first record, we were just a young band trying to find our feet. And as we went to our first major label release, we were beginning to establish our own identity. And then we toured on that so long, we toured on Revenge so long that we became a new band while we were touring. So if you notice from when Revenge came out to just a little while after it was because we were touring so long that we already moved on to something else even before we really captured that time of the band. We are all fans of classic rock records. We are all huge Queen fans and (David) Bowie fans, and that is what we really wanted to make. We really wanted to turn My Chem into a band like that, this is our favorite music and we always wanted to write songs in this vein.

 

So, did it develop over time, or did you reach this sound in the studio?
Well, the more we went into pre-production, and the more we wrote the closer we got to our goals. We didn't just start out asking, "Okay, what is our first weird song going to be?" We got out there and we were like let's write some songs. And all we did was listen to classic rock at the time. And that is what came out of it.

 

So, it has been well documented the trials both personally and professionally for this band during the making of The Black Parade. So I should have asked this first and apologize, but how are you doing?
I am doing great. Thanks for asking.

 

So I wanted to get that out early and sorry for not asking right from the start.
No, totally okay. And again, thanks for asking.

I think most people know someone who is either on that road or heading there, so we should all make sure if we know someone with substance issues, we give them support whenever we can.
Totally, and I am doing great. I think everyone goes through something like that when they are 25. And I was 25 when it happened. I mean, going through the making of the record wasn't the best timing, but you can't pick and choose when this stuff is going to have a nervous breakdown.

 

Too bad you can't. You could totally get out of stuff you don't want to do!
I know, right? I would have scheduled it for another time. But you take something like that and you learn from it.

 

I sounds like the band almost re-found itself during that time in reading about the struggle that went on, but then the victories of the band at the end of that road.
That is exactly what happened. You go through so much as a band, especially something like that, and it makes the guys just get closer and closer. And that is exactly what happened. We are the closest we have ever been, period. Everybody went through their own shit during that recording process. We were there together for months, and we were writing for months. So it was just one of those curve balls that gets thrown to you, and in the end, you find out who your real friends are. So you just work from there, get through it and we are where we are today. We are having the most fun we have ever had on tour.

You mentioned how long you were on tour with Revenge; do you plan on being on the road that long again?
Probably longer. [Laughing] They are talking that we have a ton of singles left. We only did our first headlining tour. The album just went platinum. Yea, it just began.

 

You are also playing an arena show, and you mentioned the bands of Bowie and Queen, both who can really pull off an arena show. A lot of bands today forget that a show, especially an arena show, is more than just playing music. What is My Chem bringing to the table for this tour?
I think that is what we did, if you talk to anyone who has been to one of the headlining shows. We kind of channeled all that. We have the most unbelievable big light show. We were planning the headlining tour, and everybody was talking about what we should have, and I was like, "This is going to be awesome." And then we get there the first day and I looked up at the light rig and was like, "Are you kidding me?" We've been on tour with some ginormous bands and I have still never seen a light show like we have. It is like some of my favorite bands growing up and then being wowed when seeing them live. This is hard to explain, but it is unbelievable.

 

As a photographer, I like what you are saying more and more!
Yea, and not to forget the fire and explosions; a bunch of stuff going on.

 

The band always seems to have a dark side, and when a band becomes as successful as My Chem, it is hard to believe there is still that struggle. How has the band been able to keep itself grounded and not get caught up in its own hype and still understand what its like to be a human being?
It is kind of like this, there are always things to keep you grounded wherever you go. Basically, we all just sit around all day and we have just been having so much fun joking and having a great time that there is no tone of seriousness backstage at all. Unlike past tours where people were just in their own zone, we are completely different now. We have one of our best friends out playing keyboard with us, James (Dewees) of Reggie and the Full Effect and the Get Up Kids. And no matter how big the band gets, I am inside the bubble, so I don't really know the scope of how big we are because I don't watch TV because we are on the road all the time. I don't read magazines regularly and the only thing I know is the amount of kids that come to our show. That is the only way I can gauge it. But there are always things that keep you grounded like when your mom comes out to a show and acts like your mom even when you are 26. Stuff like that.

 

You mention the kids that come out to your shows, but you have that many if not more comments on your Myspace page. Can you ever wrap your head around reading or hearing such personal details of people you may never meet?
No, I can never wrap my head around it. It is mind-boggling. I met some girls last night that said they were listening to our record while their mom was going through cancer and she was just crying and touched by it and you are just like, "Wow." You hear similar things like that several times a day and then try to multiply that by the number of records you sold or who listen to your music and then the number of people that might have had a similar experience, so it's hard to grasp something like that.

If you ever get to the point where it does become normal or you can grasp it, do you think it is then time to call it quits if that makes any sense?
No, I get it. We always said that as a band, that when it stops being fun and stops meaning anything, then we stop. We don't want to be one of those bands that are on tour until we are 50-something and hating each other and are in it solely for the money. We never want to be a band like that. The minute it stops meaning anything, we're out.

 

I remember talking with your brother Gerard (Way), a few years ago during Taste of Chaos about him yelling out, "Do you want to fuck my band?" Not as a literal question, but as a way to challenge stereotypes, male sexuality and other idiosyncrasies. So even the banter after songs was thought out. Is there as much seriousness in that respect to the live show this time around?
That is another thing that goes along with us having fun, as I was saying earlier. Everyone on stage now is just having so much fun and if something goes wrong we don't let it get to us anymore. When we were a younger band and something would go wrong on stage it would ruin our lives. We just have to step back a moment and realize we are playing to an arena full of kids which is something we have dreamed about all of our lives. So we don't want to take that for granted and realize these kids live vicariously though you and it gives them something to hope for.

 

As you get older, or more mature as people say at my age, the band is still able to put out music relatable to young kids but you are also getting an audience that is more than high school children.
Everyday we will meet kids and their parents are with them wearing a My Chemical Romance T-Shirt. Though their kids they have gotten into the band as much as their kids have. It's great because we are making something that is bringing a family closer together because they all have something in common they can do. The mom will come and say, "You guys were fantastic tonight, we have seen you six times! I saw you on (Jay) Leno." And I am like, "Wow!" And that happens so much it is not an isolated incident. I meet older people every single day. I look out in the crowd and there are older people everywhere. And I think as this cycle goes on it will get even more so.

 

We haven't talked too much about Black Parade too much, but after everything that went on with that record, is there a favorite track or moment with this record?
My favorite song is Disenchanted. If I envision of what I want this band to be, that is the song that to me encapsulates this whole era of us as people and this record.

 

I know you are short on time, so when your fans walk through the arena gates and the lights drop and the intro starts, what should My Chem fans expect from this tour?
It's a lengthy set. We basically give everybody what they came for. I don't think anyone will leave saying, "They didn't play that." I think they will be saying we played everything they wanted to hear.