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Conquering Planet Earth

(Interview With Gerard Way Taken From Black Velvet 44 - Feb 2005)

By Shari Black Velvet

There are bands… and then there are bands. And then there's a band called MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE who are almost unlike any other band ever. They're different, which is quite rare these days. They stand out. They do things their way. And they AIM to make a difference. A difference for them and a difference for you.
We're at the Birmingham Academy and it's really early. Well, it's midday. Which is early for an interview anyway. It turns out the band haven't yet arrived. "Maybe go away and come back in a couple of hours time," the girl at the box office says. Hmm. I don't think so. Luckily, two minutes later Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Ray Toro, Frank Iero and Bob Bryar AKA My Chemical Romance arrive.
Gerard Way, the band's captivating frontman and I find a place to sit on the sofa in the balcony area. I have a lot that I want to ask. We start by discussing that difference they want to make…




MCR on the cover of Black Velvet 44.



Black Velvet: You've talked about being inspired to be in a band by Geoff Rickly of Thursday. You once said 'it seems like he's actually making a difference and he's doing something'. Frank has also said: 'our major goal was to make a difference'. What exactly do you want to make a difference in?
Gerard Way: When you want to play music or play live; we saw it as playing live, we didn't realise you could help people by actually making music too. Well, I didn't realise. When you play live it immediately responds in people. What you're singing about connects with them and it helps them like it's helping you. We're the kind of band that it was very much like group therapy live. And then I realised that when we made records it helped people too. We didn't always have to be playing shows to help people. That's the kind of difference; that kind of immediate response from people. You're helping them in their day to day life get through some really tough shit.

BV: Do you think not enough bands do that?
GW: I don't know, I think a lot of bands do. I think a lot of bands aren't interested and are interested in other things be it chicks, having fun, rocking out or whatever it is, money and shit like that. But I think there's a good number of bands that actually want to do some good.

BV: The band has great charisma and stage presence. Even on the Mariah Carey Christmas cover, 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' the band's personality and charisma comes through. Where does that charisma come from? Do you think you have the same aura and personality offstage and away from music or does it stem back to wanting to make a difference?
GW: That's what it is. It stems back to really wanting to make a difference. There's a certain kind of change that occurs, with everyone in the band, from about 20 minutes before we go on, while we start getting dressed, putting crap on our faces. There's something that happens and you get in the game, and it's this kind of reckless level of good-natured arrogance, just like a real passion, a desire and that kind of all just comes out live. I'm not like that at all. I'm not really a show-off in person. I'm not really over-the-top like that. I think we all have a really crazy black sense of humour. But on stage it really comes out, cranked up to 20. That's really what it is. We're all how we are on stage but it's cranked up so much.

BV: Why did you choose the Mariah Carey cover?
GW: One of our first tours in the US in a band in the winter, we really weren't going to be home for holidays. We weren't depressed but it was the first kind of wake-up call as to what touring was like. We were freezing cold in the van and the Mariah Carey song came on the radio and this was back when we used to carry knives and weapons and stuff 'cause you needed to. And there was something about that song because it would get me so excited, but it was really violently excited, and I just remember swinging a knife around and freaking out because the song made me so God damn happy. So instead of covering a classic song or instead of writing a new song, we decided to pick this ridiculous song and see what we could make of it.

BV: You've said about being onstage; 'it erases everything I hate about myself'. What do you hate about yourself?
GW: That's kind of hard to answer. Various stuff, everyone hates about themselves. I think what's more important is coming to grips with what you hate about yourself as opposed to what you hate about yourself and accepting it and being willing to change that stuff, or if you can't change it just be willing to accept it. The fact that I'm an alcoholic, I hate that about myself. The fact that I like drugs, I hate about myself. Those are the main things I hate about myself.

BV: Are you still off the alcohol?
GW: Yeah, I'm off everything still, but it's something that had taken me over for so long. It's a drag that the desire is still there. Well, it's always going to be - if you're an alcoholic that doesn't change, so…

BV: On a regular concert day, what emotions do you most often go through? What's the rest of the day like to you?
GW: I'm always mentally preparing. I think the other guys are too. If we have a day off we'll act very differently to if it's a show day. Even if we have 15 hours before we're playing. Like today, we have a lot of time, something like nine hours now. I'm always trying to keep my head in that space, or at least trying to prepare myself for what's about to happen at night. You can't do certain things, because certain things will take your head out of place. I won't go an amusement park. Let's say there's an amusement park a block away… I won't go there. I'll avoid stuff like that. It'll fuck with my head all day. I can't do anything that will really boost my serotonin level that much, or make me too happy or too upset. I avoid movies. I'll occasionally watch movies on the TV but we won't go to a theatre, we won't do stuff like that. We just generally walk around and be bored.

BV: What would happen if you did go to see a movie?
GW: I think the movie would affect my brain too much. I think walking around and always starting to think about the show, you constantly build this bored-ass nervous energy and it's boredom to the point that you're ready to tear something off the wall and I think we all need that to do what we do live.

BV: How do you feel when you get off stage? Does it feel like a release?
GW: Yeah. It feels like you've just sweat and yelled every good and bad thing out of your body. You really feel like a blank slate offstage. Unless something disastrously goes wrong or something breaks, like that night when the water hit the thing (when the band played Birmingham Academy 2 in September someone threw water over the PA), then you're kind of bummed on that so you focus on that and that's a drag. You sit there and go 'oh God, I can't believe that happened' and usually you'll joke about it with the guys. That sucks 'cause it's out of your control and you're not used to something spiking your momentum. We weren't too bummed; we actually had fun that night. We could've taken that a lot worse I think than we did, but instead we were like 'let's have fun. Whatever, we'll fix this. If we don't fix this, we'll still make it through the set'.

BV: Frank said 'when listening through this record we want you to go through different emotions like a ride'. What sort of emotions? Do you want listeners to experience sad emotions when listening to the album?
GW: Yes. 'Cause there are a lot of emotions, there's happiness, sadness, anger…

BV: Wouldn't you rather them just feel happiness?
GW: No, 'cause they can feel happiness from a lot of different records I think. I think with our records you can feel everything. Maybe not everything, but… you can feel a lot of things. The most present feelings on the record are sadness and hope. I think there's a lot of hope on the record so it doesn't matter to us that there's so much sadness or depression or violence or anger, as there's so many other things on there.

BV: And you like getting a range of emotions from someone else's music yourself?
GW: Yeah.

BV: Name an album by another band that has allowed you to experience a wide range of emotions.
GW: Probably the 'Murder Ballads' by Nick Cave. Because that's got all kinds of crazy shit. It's got really sad songs. It's got songs like 'Stagger Lee' on it which are just brutal. It's got really ironic ones. I don't think I felt happy at any one point of that album. No, definitely at the end, 'Death Is Not The End' with all his friends singing with him. That song makes me happy. But that's about the only one that makes me happy on the record.

BV: Kyle Bishop of Black Maria once said 'to me, a song is never finished, it always takes a new direction every time it is performed'. Would you agree and which of your songs would you say has grown and taken new directions since it was originally recorded?
GW: That's interesting that he said that. I would agree that the songs take on new directions for sure. I'll tell you which ones I feel. You never know how the song's going to be until you play it live. Sometimes it takes on a whole new life and you're just 'woah, that isn't what we thought it was going to be'. It's mostly good. I think they're finished. I see what he's saying so I do agree with his point. A song like 'Prison' is really super rowdy live and that's taking a kind of trashy, cabaret live, it's more punk than it is on the record. 'It's Not Okay' has gone from being this cry for help set to pop music to being this total freak-out, all these kids' bodies flying over the barricade and losing their shit. It's been really cool.

BV: Frank's been in bands since the age of 11. You only a few years ago decided to be in a band. How has the difference amount of time in bands worked? Has Frank got all the experience from being in bands previously while your outlook is maybe fresher?
GW: He does, he does. But the beauty of it is that everybody in this band was all part of the same musical community from a young age, so while we weren't in bands he was on the other side being in a band. We were always supporting by going to the shows, meeting the bands, being part of the community that way. He was always in the bands. So was Ray from probably about the age of 16 or even earlier. He was also in bands. It's interesting because he brings in those perspectives. I bring in an interesting perspective as being an outsider in a way, as someone who hasn't been in bands. Sometimes there's a fresher way of looking at things, while a lot of times he has really good insight too. Even stuff he learned at 11 years old. 'I've seen this shit happen in bands'. He's seen shit go down in bands, emotionally, how a band's structure works and all that.

BV: What's Bob brought to the band since his addition?
GW: Bob is an extremely unique and special individual. Bob's kind of a constant. Bob has your back. We all have each other's backs but Bob's a really strong person too. You know getting up that you can always count on him. You know that no matter what happens, he's going to make it work. I've seen the kid play sets with half a drum set. I've seen him play sets on other people's kits. I've seen him play on rented, broken kits. I've seen Frankie take out most of his cymbals and bass drum on national TV by accident and he's managed to finish the song. There's nothing I'm ever worried about with him. He makes us all feel very comfortable. There's a level of comfort that comes with him. There's a kind of love we have for him, it's just very exciting to turn around… It's gotten to the point where we look at him and it doesn't look weird to us anymore. It's Bob, he's in the band. He's been in the band but it's only been a few months, so that takes time, but it's gotten to the point now where we look around and we expect to see Bob. We're not surprised to see him. He's also someone that on an emotional level makes you feel so good and makes you laugh and it carries over live.

BV: 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge' was a part concept album in which you incorporated yourselves as you went along. If you were told right now to finish the story, or write the song that would serve as 'the end' what would the ending be like?
GW: I just figured out the ending to the story yesterday. This is the total truth too. I was doing an interview and I didn't say it during the interview but I actually figured out the end of the story. It's weird because I never came up with an ending to this story. It's really bleak though, but it would have to end this way if it was a movie, right? So the guy has to bring the devil the souls of a thousand evil men to be united with the woman he loves. I'm sure a lot of people saw this coming but I never realised it. So obviously he kills 999 evil men and then he realises the last evil man he has to kill is himself. I thought of that and was like 'man, why didn't I think of that before?!' But at the moment I don't know what it'd be like as a song.

BV: Celebrity Big Brother recently graced UK TV screens. If you had to share a house with six celebrities, who would you choose and why?
GW: I wanna mix it up. I don't want to pick obvious. What would be interesting? See, they all used really interesting people already though. I met Ron Jeremy in person. They have this kind of Big Brother in the US. Have you seen it? In the second series they had Ron Jeremy in it and I actually got to meet him and he was really cool in person. Probably Rip Taylor, Liza Minelli… let's see who else… This is tough… Ashlee Simpson and Lindsay Lohan, 'cause they probably wouldn't get along very well. Let's pick some actors… Edward Norton… because I'd need someone to hang out with in that house… he'd probably be the only one I could hang out with. That's five… I just need one more. I dunno, any MTV VJ or something like that. That'd probably be funny.

BV: How would you get on living in a house with six others? Are you easy to live with?
GW: Yeah, I think I'm easy to live with. I think all the guys in the band are too. We never have any problems. We all have our moments of complainingness or bitchiness and stuff like that.

BV: Is there anything that might annoy you living with celebrities?
GW: Oh yeah, I'm sure a lot. I'm sure that they're all used to being pampered and taken care of, none of them probably wash dishes, none of them probably clean the toilet, they probably leave scum in the shower, they probably have crazy fans trying to meet them all the time so there's no privacy, that kind of stuff.

BV: Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers has been missing for 10 years. Do you think someone could run away and go missing for ten years and still be alive?
GW: Yeah. Me and Mikey love the Manic Street Preachers. I didn't know it was that long. That's crazy. I think he's missing. Once you develop a persona that carries over into getting any sort of fame or recognition, it's very easy to reverse the process, and it's very easy to change who you really look like. For me, very simply if I cut my hair it'd be very easy. And if you move somewhere where people really don't give a shit about music, which is actually a lot of places in the country and in the US too. A lot of places in the Midwest or the Northeast you could just vanish. You'd have to move away from everybody you know but you could do it.

BV: Some musicians think of music as salvation. You've said that the next album is more about 'damnation and salvation'. Can you comment more on that?
GW: Sure. It's just all the feelings that we've gone through from the rise of the band and the introduction of sobriety to my life. It brings up a lot of subjects of damnation and salvation. It's not religious in terms of Jesus Christ or organised religion of the church, but it's more like the band is your salvation and the music is, and you start looking at it that way and the band takes on a whole new light. The songs feel obviously more mature, obviously more evolved, but they all feel more honest, more direct, more desperate, a little less poetic, but only from the standpoint of brutal honesty and from a need to really be direct with people.

BV: Prior to the UK tour you were on TRL. How was that?
GW: It was really weird. It was really interesting. Kind of like a science experiment is the best way to describe it. They introduced us and brought us out. It was probably one of the scariest things ever because not only is it live television, but you are literally thrust into this TRL world. Forget everything you know about the normal world. They bring you out and there are all these kids screaming. There are these bright colours everywhere and Times Square is right out the window and you're like 'oh my God'. You look outside and there are hundreds of people, there's NYPD, there are signs, and screaming and cars whizzing by almost hitting all these people, and you're like 'oh man, this is not normal'. I think I said it on the air, I felt like we were from Mars. Frank had said he'd asked if they were sure they had the right band. And all I heard from people who watched it was that we just looked very mean… which we weren't trying to do on purpose, I think we were just a little overwhelmed. Yeah, it felt like we'd come from another planet and people were like 'welcome to planet earth!' and we were like 'wow'.

BV: Did you feel like you conquered it?
GW: Definitely. We at least gave a performance that had never been given on TRL. It felt like it. It's a victory just to have a band like us on TRL I think. A lot of people could view it in a negative way, but I think those are people that like to view anything in a negative way. They could view it as 'oh, it's going to change for them now, there are little girls that like them, they're going to sell out' and all this stuff. If our band doesn't do that, doesn't go on TRL… not selling out - 'cause we wouldn't do that… if our band doesn't go on TRL, if a band like ours that comes from our community doesn't step up the plate and make people aware of them and our scene, you're just going to see the same shit on TV and the radio and it's going to be this endless cycle of garbage. So whether we sink or swim on commercial television, like TRL, that's neither here or there, the point is to be on there.

BV: It's almost like bringing salvation to the world!
GW: That's kind of a big thing to say! In a way it feels like bringing a little more honesty to the world, to music at large. There are so many honest, passionate, sincere bands out there but you don't see them on TRL. There are some that you see on there, but not so many bands that come from such an underground place, that literally come from the basements and refuse to do things like showcase for major labels. There are a lot of things we would refuse to do, like pander ourselves in any way. For the first three months we wouldn't even say our band name live or give out stickers. When we finally had a website we felt a little apprehensive about it. So yeah, we decided it was important, that it was necessary in a way that we were on TRL.

BV: Some of your long-time fans on one of your fan site message boards were saying they didn't like you being on there and seem threatened and worried that all the trendy kids will start liking you.
GW: Yeah, it's understandable. Our fans from the beginning have been going through that forever. What a lot of people don't realise is that they got into us because they felt alienated and they were the only people who were into us. And a lot of these kids, despite the fact that they may be 14 years old, female and at high school, it doesn't mean they're any less alienated. There's a lot of sexism, racism and homophobia that these kids all have to face at high school and that's something that we connect with. Just because them and their ten friends like the band and you just liked it alone doesn't make it any different. I understand, it makes sense that they feel threatened; I get it. It doesn't bum us out that bad. It's kinda par for the course.

BV: Do you have a message for fans who've been around right from the beginning - and also a message for any new fans.
GW: Yeah. Definitely what I just said to the old-time fans. We were just as alienated as you which is why you got into the band and a lot of these kids that are new are just as alienated as us. There's nothing that's going to change about the five guys in the band. We may make videos that cost more money and we may really get to execute our vision, which is all we really use money for, to make a live show better or really execute something that we bought, 'cause we've always wanted bigger things in terms of production. That's the only thing that's going to really change. You're going to see more lights and cooler stuff on stage hopefully as the band gets more income to do that. For the new people, I really ask them to look into the band, but don't even go by what you read on message boards. The internet is a really evil place. Go by what you hear on the CD and what you see live. That's really all there is to it. And when you meet us in person, if we have the time, and it's a safe condition in which to talk to you, then we'll always try and make that time, and maybe you'll find out a little bit more about the band that way. But the best way to find out about the band and make assumptions is by listening to that CD because it's all right there. The old fans we have always loved and we're always going to love to the end, and we know they're the people that will be there to the end and we don't forget that kind of thing. But the thing is we're one of those unique bands where the newer fans that we attract will also be there at the end 'cause of what this band will do for them and what we do for ourselves, and what we try and do for society.

BV: On 'I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love' there's a song called 'This Is The Best Day Ever'. What's been the best day ever so far?
GW: It's hard to say, we've had so many amazing things happen… I think the best day at least from my perspective was hearing that we got the Green Day tour. A lot of really great things happen to your band and you get so used to it and then when something like that happens you go 'wait a minute, a lot of that stuff didn't really matter as much as this'. To have recognition from a band that's done it their way for so long and cares so much about their music and their fans and their integrity, to be acknowledged by that kind of band is the biggest thing that could happen to a band. To be accepted by that band. It's kinda like being lead in, it's kinda like being made in the mafia. We haven't been made yet, but we've been given a chance and that's rad. A chance to prove ourselves by our heroes.

BV: What would be your best day ever in the future?
G: Playing Times Square outside on New Years. That would probably be the best day ever. That would be nuts… especially if we had pyro. That'd be pretty cool.

Indeed. Black Velvet's always wanted to go to Times Square for New Years. If My Chemical Romance played we'd be there like a shot. Sounds like a plan.
Visit www.mychemicalromance.com for more info.



(Interview With Gerard Way & Ray Toro Taken From Black Velvet 41 - Aug 2004)

NB. Matt Pelissier is no longer in the band.

By Laura Fitzgerald

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE are the rock 'n' roll embodiment of Jekyll and Hyde. Onstage, cursing and howling, spitting and snarling, an enthralling yet seemingly unhinged band plough through their finest material, the slow but steady alcohol intake of the previous few hours having taken glorious effect. Chaotic, furious and playing as if their lives depended on it, it is hard to believe that just a few hours earlier Black Velvet was sat with these same individuals in an upstairs dressing room discussing cartoons and English cuisine. For despite their boisterous onstage antics, My Chemical Romance are some of the most grounded, polite and genuine people you will ever come across.



Off the back of the success of 'I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love' My Chemical Romance (Gerard Way - vocals, Ray Toro - guitar, Mikey Way - bass, Frank Iero - guitar and Matt Pelissier - drums) rushed into the studio in between tours to complete work on their second full length offering 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge'. "It's definitely a lot of growth for the band, rapidly from the first record," Gerard explains. "It's definitely a transitional record. You can hear a lot of the stuff we did well on the first record, that's all brought onto the second record but we explore a lot of different song types, structures, it's actually more structured for sure. The songs are all collectively a lot shorter."

Many bands profess to either being a 'studio' or a 'touring' band, enduring one because of the enjoyment the other brings. Unusually, My Chemical Romance claim to have no preference. "I think we're split pretty much. We like making records; we already want to make a new one. But at the same time, after three months in LA recording, the first night of our first tour we were like "fuck man this is what we live for". At the same time when you're on tour for a year and a half you're like, "I wanna make a fucking record".

The band is also unable to write on the road. "We like to write together in Jersey at our little shitbox practice space, that's where we write everything. We like to have stuff ready, sitting around in a studio, wasting thousands of dollars, going "ah I got a riff". That's a waste of time to us."

In fact, work on the album got so pressured that Gerard disappeared for a few days during the recording process, prompting a post on the band's official website declaring the front man 'Missing in Action', much to the concern of their loyal fan base. He explains, "It was more irresponsibility than MIA. I had forgotten my phone charger, I had a credit card on me, a notebook and some art supplies. I realised I had to finish two songs lyrically and do the artwork, so I found a hotel, charged a room and stayed there for a couple of days. But it got out of hand and it was really irresponsible of me. It was a little bit drink-fuelled, not majorly. It was more like I gotta get all this shit done and I'm gonna stay up constantly to do it and not use the phone or tell anybody where I was."

In the early stages of writing, the new album was rumoured to be a concept album about a guy that comes back from the dead to wreak revenge on those that had wronged him during his life. It turns out that although things did not pan out exactly as planned, fans hoping for a revenge-fuelled zombie killing spree will not be disappointed. "It is and it isn't a concept record. The coolest thing that happened on this record is the fact that we went into it as a concept record and then partway through making it you kinda get lost in the story, in your own life and stuff like that. And you can't help but write about your own life. There's a lot of stuff that happened in the band that I wanted to relate through lyrics about what happened in our first year and a half that I really just said 'fuck it' to the concept.

"So it's like this cool concept where you get lost in it then you gotta figure out what's part of the concept. 'Cause I'd say at least half of the record follows the concept, even the songs that have nothing to do with the concept too. You can't really plan things when you make a record 'cause if you do that then you get stuck. Oh you gotta use this song because it tells the story as opposed to oh you gotta use this song because it's a great song."

It seems that lately concept albums have been making somewhat of a surprising comeback. Coheed And Cambria are partway through a Star Wars-like trilogy of albums detailing the untimely end of a pair of characters confusingly called Coheed And Cambria, The Mars Volta's critic pleasing debut 'Deloused In The Comatorium' is a tale of a friend's coma after a failed suicide attempt and The Street's 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' is a moving account of, erm, losing a thousand pounds. My Chemical Romance believe this lyrical revival is a change for the better. "I think they're just bored of the same old shit and people are coming up with very creative science fiction horror movie type things and they wanna tell those stories through music, and I think that's really really awesome. I think people are kinda moving away from singing about relationships between men and women and moving onto more fictional things. And I think that's really cool because you can relate fiction sometimes better than reality."

With songtitles like 'Vampires Can Never Hurt You', some would argue that Gerard's lyrics are pure fiction. However, the frontman reveals that it is a conscious decision by the band to mask the true meaning of the songs behind horror movie imagery rather than the lyrics being completely straightforward (albeit supernatural metaphor-less.) Although the paranormal associations make for some extremely cool merchandise, the new album is a step away from all things Halloween themed. "The second record has a lot less of the supernatural element aside from the fact that it's a concept record about a guy that comes back from the dead. Obviously that's supernatural. We've kinda moved away from the vampire thing."

In case you are wondering, yes, the band are massive horror movie fans. The quintet saw Dawn Of The Dead together in Los Angeles whilst recording, the movie getting a big thumbs up from the band, unlike over the top blockbuster Van Helsing, Frank describing as "awful".

Another of the band's passions is cartoons, an obsession of Gerard's in particular. Before the group took off, the singer was working for a company making a series called 'Sheep In The Big City', as well as developing a show of his own called 'The Breakfast Monkey.' Intrigued, Black Velvet asked the obviously multi skilled front man to explain more. "It was a failed idea, it never got sold but it got close. It was about a monkey. He doesn't really look like a monkey though so it's kinda weird. He looks more like a cross between a monkey and the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and he has breakfast magic powers which are unexplainable. He hangs out with a Spanish wrestler and a kid who is really sugar damaged and has ADD and he rides his bike in all the pictures."

Recommending 'Aquatine Hunger Force', ("It's incredible. Makes no fucking sense, it's awesome") and 'Adult Swim' as cartoons for us Brits to look out for in the future, My Chemical Romance feel that television in the UK is a bit of a let down. As is the food. "I did have a nice pizza today, I will say that," announces Ray, before adding "at a pub, but I might have had four beers anyway by that point." The culture shock topic is one the assembled give careful consideration to. The measures used to pour spirits are a particular pet peeve of Gerard's. Unbelievably such devices are non existent in America, "the bartender just puts as much as he wants in there. Sometimes you get a bartender that will put almost all vodka in your drink," he explains. "In the States, if you get a vodka cranberry it's almost clear, just a little bit of pink in it. In the UK there is just a smidgen of vodka in it, so yeah that was kind of a culture shock for me personally."

Before the topic is well and truly exhausted, Ray remarks "the toilet bowls flush differently" and "all the toilet paper is really rough."

My Chemical Romance have toured with a bizarre variety of bands, from hardcore to emo and everything in between, their dream being to open for Iron Maiden one day. Whilst not as high profile as a support slot with Bruce Dickinson and co, the band did play this year's Concert For Compassion in Los Angeles. They explain to Black Velvet how they got involved, "I think that happened pretty quickly. John Reese, who manages The Used and Story Of The Year, has been a big supporter of the band for a long time and they were like "you wanna play this thing? It's gonna be cool and you're already gonna be out here." We said absolutely 'cause it's a good cause. So we did that and it was fun." A show to raise awareness of animal cruelty and to stop animal testing at Huntington Life Science's lab, many of the bands on the bill were extremely passionate and vocal supporters of animal rights, actively involved in work with charities like PETA. My Chemical Romance, however, do not fall into that category, and whilst you are unlikely to find the band protesting outside your local KFC, it would be equally as unjust to suggest that the band does not care. "We don't really have any kind of political stance or anything, but we support good causes. If it's a cause like that then we'll absolutely support it. We haven't really got into that aspect of things as a band" Gerard clarifies.

None of the band are vegetarian, "I wear a leather jacket" the singer states. "I didn't wear my leather jacket that day obviously, but I wear one every show so it's kind of interesting they even asked us to play. PETA contacted us once and I was like "dude what are you doing? I'm wearing a leather jacket!" I mean I didn't kill it, I just saw it in a second hand store, it's a cool jacket."

Despite claiming not to get into "that" aspect of things as a band, the one cause the band readily lends their support to is suicide prevention. When asked if they feel it is important to communicate such a positive message, Gerard answers "absolutely. Especially when you get up there and you and your band are so violent and abrasive and drunk sometimes onstage. It's very important to at the same time give a positive message. And even if we weren't that way live, I think it's kind of your duty as an artist that young people listen to and look up to or whatever they do, to lead people in the right direction, as opposed to just an extremely nihilistic attitude where you just say "fuck everything, it's all pointless, we should just die". There has been a lot of art like that made. There's nothing wrong with being crazy and cursing your head off and being nuts on stage but at least have something important to say."
Wise words indeed. Nu metal is then mentioned, where a generation of frustrated teens were encouraged to respond to life's problems by sticking their middle fingers in the air. "Exactly," Gerard proceeds. "I think an example of that is Limp Bizkit. They have a song where it's just like "break stuff". It's ridiculous. They played Woodstock and incited riots and people got raped. Is that leading anybody to anything good? I don't think so."

And there you have it. Jekyll and Hyde undoubtedly. My Chemical Romance not only want to send you home from their shows with temporary tinnitus and clothes drenched in other people's sweat (the tell tale signs of a good gig); they want to lead you in the right direction. They rock, but they care.

Visit www.mychemicalromance.com for more info.

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