My Chemical Romance Interview (2002)
I have no proof that this was the first ever My Chemical Romance interview, but it sure was an old one. Originally printed in the August 15, 2002 edition of the Belleville Times, the band had just released their debut record and was gearing up for a huge show opening up for some unkown local band at Maxwells.
Belleville Punk Rock Reborn
by George Koroneos
The pain was brutal.
It pounded in vocalist and Belleville resident Gerard Way’s mouth, which incapacitated the singer, just two days into the group’s two-week marathon recording session.
“I got seriously sick just two days before I was supposed to do my vocals,” Way said while trolling through the used comics bin at a local comic book shop in Nutley. “The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me. The thought I had facial nerve paralysis, they thought that I had TMG. I was on all these different drugs, and luckily I was able to sing for two days.”
The pain turned out to be just a tooth infection, but the distress in Way’s vocals only improved the intensity of the band’s new record, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.”
My Chemical Romance formed last November, after Way met up with guitarist Ray Toro and jammed out to some strange new material.
Together with Gerard’s brother Mikey Way, guitarist Frank Iero, and drummer Matt Pelissier, the group began a whirlwind career that has brought the Bellville area locals from the garage to the hardcore big leagues.
“Everything just went right from the get-go,” Toro said. “To me, it sounded great right away, and we really liked what we were doing, and it just snowballed.”
Their sound is a refined version of New Jersey-area hardcore bands like Thursday and Ensign with the brooding lyrics of Glen Danzig or The Damned’s Dave Vanian.
“We have a very good work ethic,” Toro said. â€œWe want to get out and tour and just play in front of as many people as possible.”
Two weeks ago the band released, “I Brought You My Bullets,” on Eyeball Records, offering the world a look inside the strange minds of a bunch of fairly normal comic book fans.
Songs about vampires, corpses and death might scare off the average Michael Bolton fan, but My Chemical Romance hopes that its blend of melodic riffage and aggressive beats will appeal to music lovers looking for a break from the redundant mainstream.
“Our decision was to be honest and genuine and sincere about music, rather than just doing a gimmick, because everybody has gone through that stage in bands where they start a sea chantey band and dress like pirates or something,” Gerard Way said. “We just want to write what we feel and be ourselves.”
Their morbid topics are just a tribute to the group’s love for metal-gods Iron Maiden and B-rated horror flicks.
“It was definitely something really dark that we wanted to express,” Way said. “We wanted to tell stories and communicate with people in a more abstract way. People get way more out of that than what you hear on the radio today.”
Another throwback to 1980s metal bands is My Chemical Romance’s fondness for epic-length songs, something missing from today’s short-attention span music rotation.
“I feel that we are luck to be able to pull off writing a six minute song, and still make a song that is listenable,” Gerard Way said. “Kids have told me that they have put our songs on repeat and listened to them all day. Some of those songs are long songs, you have to invest some time in them.”
The goal now is for the band to latch onto a tour and open up a string of dates across the United States.
“It doesn’t have to be a great tour,” Way said. “But that first tour is going to be very important to us.”
In the meantime, MCR will continue to play weekends until it can earn a steady income through music, and hopefully its album will begin to climb up the alternative album charts.
“Right now we have a lot of major label interest, a lot of management company interest,” Way said. “But they are not ready to jump at us, because we are something different.”
And My Chemical Romance does not mind keeping it that way.