After more than a decade together and their fair share of ups and downs, My Chemical Romance are heading to Australia for the Big Day Out. Frontman Gerard Way chats to James Wigney about the American alt- rock outfit’s hits and misses.
Q: You have done the Big Day Out a few times before. What are your memories? A:
My favourite two festivals have always been the Big Day Out and Summersonic in Japan. The Big Day Out is a little more fun because it lasts longer. It’s like an abbreviated version of the Warped tour because you get to play with the same people every day, which is really fun. Normal festivals can be kind of alienating because you are only there for a day – you have to rush all your gear on and you can’t build up a rhythm. Q: What can we expect from the Big Day Out sets and the side shows? A:
We don’t actually know yet, which is exciting. We feel like we are in a bit of a transitional period, so I don’t know where we will be mentally by then. We will have been playing together and working together for a while by that point and exploring new sounds, so I don’t even know what kind of band it’s going to be at that time. Q: Your last album has been out for a year now. What was it like touring that album as opposed to
[ a dark- themed concept album] in 2007? A:
The Black Parade
It has had pluses and minuses for all different reasons. It was definitely more fun but it had its own challenges. You didn’t have to worry about putting on the costume and doing the same show every night, that was the best part. You could get out there and change with what the audience was feeling, change song structures at the last minute. That was really cool because we’d never really got to do that before. Q: Audiences reacted so viscerally to
Were they a little less intense this time around? A:
The Black Parade.
was something that really requested that you engage with it in a very heavy way, so that probably had a lot to do with that. was really up
The Black Parade
Danger Days to the audience but they really took to it. So it felt like two really different energies but there was always a lot of it. Q: The album and tour was a very tough and intense time for you personally and the band. How do you reflect on that with the benefit of hindsight? A:
Immediately afterwards I had a lot of negative energy towards it. As the years passed and I grew up a little more, I realised that it was really hard but it was also an amazing time. It was something special and something that nobody else was really doing at the time. There is something to be said for that and it’s never going to be easy when you are doing it. Q: You have often said that that album was misconstrued. How so? A:
In a million ways. It was seen as a very pro self- harm, dark album, when it was quite the opposite. It took about two- and- ahalf years before people started writing about it as something that was very positive. It was disheartening at the time, but not so much afterwards. Q: It looked like there was a time back then when the band might split. How are things now between you all? A:
The band’s really good. The only reason any of those things happened within the band was because there was lower communication the longer we were out on tour because everyone was so wiped out all the time and dealing with certain things because of the record. It’s much different now and we know we will never allow ourselves to be in a situation like that again. Q: You guys are doing your damndest to keep the concept album alive in this age of itunes and downloading singles. What’s the appeal for you there? A:
It’s just our personal taste – it’s the way I like to listen to albums. All of my favourite albums have this incredible amount of conceptual glue to them, even if they are not telling a story. Even something like Iggy Pop’s or have an energy that is like a concept to me, so it’s just a preference.
Lust For Life
The Idiot Q: You are into the second decade of the band’s life now. How do you reflect on the journey of the first 10 years? A:
I have learned a lot about what we are and I think it took a long time to realise. It’s almost impossible to compare the band to other bands you loved in terms of the trajectory or the path they took. So I have really come to the understanding that our band is one of a kind. There is no reference for when we are stuck and no escape route if we are in trouble. Q: How far advanced are you with the next album? A:
We were writing so much material on the road we have a lot to sift through. It’s going to be the first time we are playing shows still with material from our previous albums while working on new stuff.