Thu, Jan 31, 2008 - Page 14 News List

Gerard Way's road to success

My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way talks about his band's success, being bottled, and why he doesn't like the word 'emo'

By Ron Brownlow  /  STAFF REPORTER

RB: Getting bottled. What did that feel like?

GW: It was exhilarating and extremely challenging. There's nothing like that to humble you more and let you know that there's still something to fight for.

RB: You felt exhilarated?

GW: Yeah! I think when all is said and done people will look at that very specific show and say that was the most important show of this band's career, because they got up there facing a tremendous amount of opposition and won an entire crowd over and did it with the camera on them and everybody facing them. I think that's why it's important because it really sums up the band in one 40-minute set. It was not easy. It was a volley at first and then just it stopped and there was cheering and there was excitement and there was positivity. A current through the audience. It's amazing to watch footage BBC captured.

RB: You've said the band started as your therapy, and then it became the band's therapy, and then we became other people's therapy.

GW: It was kind of a therapy for me at first because of 9/11, and then the band because, in some way, we, in our own lives, had been the people that did not fit in or weren't built like other people - just not prone to violence. Not survivors in that regard. Survivors in a different way. And so then when we'd go to these shows we started meeting these kids just like us. And so that was almost like a group therapy session. That was really exciting. We're just all working it out. Since we're very non-violent people in our everyday lives and our fans are very much the same. They're very much like shy, quiet loners. You have to have some place you need to kind of get that out. Our shows were the place to do it. One of the things that's a common misconception about the punk rock scene is that what's cool about it is you could go and fit in because it's punk rock. But in actuality you can't. I don't think enough people say this about it. It was the same as being in high school with jocks. I would go to punk clubs and get shoved by skinheads because I wasn't like them, which was just like getting shoved by jocks wearing a Ramones shirt.

RB: You've talked about failure. You said, "I have failed a great deal in my life with everything I've tried to do. I was a failed artist. I was a failed animator-this-that-and they other thing … I was always very close but I was always not quite there."

GW: Maybe it's not so much failure so much as it is not following through and giving up. I think I was more of a person that gave up, rather than a failure. I didn't have what it took at the time, because I was very prone to get discouraged very quickly and stop doing what I was doing. With this band I was never one to give up.

(Although My Chemical Romance cites as influences everything from Queen, Thursday and Iron Maiden and to Morrissey, Black Flag and the Smashing Pumpkins, it is often referred to as an emo band, a label the band vigorously protests. Originally used as shorthand for the "emotional hardcore" subgenre of punk that originated with Washington, DC, it now refers to a vaguely defined genre of punky, goth-leaning indie-rock whose adolescent followers are stereotypically shy, angst-ridden and prone to depression and self-injury. Way has called emo "a pile of shit," but My Chemical Romance's dramatic style connects with a very teenage intensity of emotion. In interviews, Way and other band members have openly discussed their mental-health issues, and their penchant for tight jeans and eyeliner makes them look very much the part.)

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