Gerard Way: “I don’t have much of a social life.”
What do you ask the man who does everything? Once upon a time, Gerard Way was thrust into posterchild status for this weird thing called ‘emo’, made up in black mascara and ironed hair as the lead songwriter and vocalist for My Chemical Romance. In the 12-ish years of their existence, My Chem steadily became one of the biggest rock bands of their generation. Way’s lyrics, often fatalistic but always heart-rending, resonated with the apocalyptic feeling of a mostly teen-aged fanbase, couched in stadium anthems which crept across the charts. But ‘emo’ always seemed like a misnomer given that it was intended to reduce the band as a niche concern, as well as reducing their broader rock influences to seem like juvenile whining. Rock operas have fallen out of fashion for plenty of good reasons, but My Chem’s third album The Black Parade and its follow-up Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys revealed them for a band whose vision was as bombastic as their ambition.
And yet more than any other capital-r Rock band, My Chemical Romance just seemed to care more. Particularly about their fans. While “We love you guys, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you!” and related bromides are well-worn in rock by now, Way always seemed to mean it. By inviting their fans to feel intensely along with them, My Chemical Romance became the emotional stewards for a section of the youth who were deeply unhappy with feeling anything at all. But hearing Way scream “I’M NOT! O! KAY!” during a particularly nasty bout of un-okayness felt infinitely more reassuring than any marketing campaign could muster. Every My Chemical Romance song sounds like an acknowledgement of how extreme it is just to be alive.
Following the breakup of My Chemical Romance early last year, Way went on to talk about making a decision between his health and the band’s, ultimately choosing to sacrifice the band so that he could treat the dangerous habits he’d fallen into. He had a family and a kid to consider, and although it was a shot to the heart to his other family - them kids in the crowd - anyone with a shred of empathy could understand. Besides which they’d left us with plenty to chew on: Killjoys got a sequel in the form of a graphic novel, an album of unreleased songs called Conventional Weapons dribbled out over five months was still fresh, and Way showed no signs of stopping. Without the band, Way still had plenty to occupy his time. Besides his family, his various projects included a new volume of his critically-acclaimed graphic novel The Umbrella Academy, a new comic called All Ages based on punk rock cats in high school, some growing work for comics powerhouse Marvel, and more music under his own name. His new album, Hesitant Alien, will sound familiar to latter-day My Chem fans, as well as unearthing some new influences in Way’s songwriting. It’s excellent. We touch on that and his many, many projects, in the interview below.
Read the interview @ the source