My Chemical Romance make some sound-altering changes for Danger Days
:: My Chemical Romance ::
By Dan Rutherford
“We evolve because we must. Because staying stagnant is as good as death.” With a statement like that, My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero quickly confronted any questions of the band’s new sound and musical direction after two years of flying under the radar. Simply put, you can no longer call My Chemical Romance “emo”.
When The Marquee caught up with Iero, he shared his thoughts on everything from their growth as a band and their most recent release, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, to what fans can expect when the band returns to Denver this month.
The band once known more for their elaborate stage shows and an undeniable stranglehold over “the Hot Topic scene,” has returned and, with the help of their alter-egos, The Killjoys, set out to destroy all preconceived notions naysayers may have. Iero stressed, “It was unfair to lump our band in with some of those bands we were associated with in the beginning. But it was one of those, ‘Oh, they’re young and their hair is black, and I don’t understand their music so it must be the same as this band.”
The New Jersey rockers mark their tenth anniversary in 2011, which is no small feat for a band that emerged from a genre that many critics saw as a flash in the pan. “It’s incredible to me that we’ve been doing this for the past ten years and are still reaching new people. The coolest part of it all is that it feels very natural, very organic. The older fans are ushering in the new generation and looking out for them at the gigs. Some of our original fans even have families of their own now, and are bringing them to shows. It’s pretty surreal,” Iero said.
While the band hopes to celebrate that milestone, Iero said that as of right now they only have ideas but no hard plans. “We’ve come up with a lot of ideas to celebrate and I hope at least half of those ideas end up becoming a reality,” he related. However, fans should not hold their breath for anniversary tours in the vein of Weezer, Dashboard Confessional or Saves the Day. “We kinda did the playing a record in its entirety thing for two years on Black Parade and it took a lot out of us. I don’t think we’re looking to get back into that mindset anytime soon,” said Iero.
For the new release, the band regrouped with super producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Hot Hot Heat), producer of their wildly successful album The Black Parade, and channeled countless inspirations including Red Kross, Queen and The Stooges to create the post-apocalyptic themed Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. “It’s a record with a high concept, but not a concept record, so to speak,” said Iero. “The record starts off with a broadcast from a DJ on a pirate radio station, and releases you into this world of laser gun battles and fast muscle cars. We basically tried to re-imagine what the band was, or what the band would sound like, if we lived in this world. It was a really fun art project.”
Comprised of angst-filled throwback punk rock and several straight ahead modern rock tracks, the album stands on its own as a complete body of work, an amazing feat for a band whose past hits like “Famous Last Words” and “I’m Not Ok” have secured their place as one of the premier radio acts of the last decade.
To coincide with the band’s upcoming U.S. tour and further compliment Danger Days, a limited edition vinyl picture disc featuring “Na Na Na…” will be released as part of this year’s National Record Store Day promotion (April 16). Iero explained, “I’m just glad there is such a thing as Record Store Day. It pains me that kids can’t or don’t go shopping for records anymore, that was by far my favorite pasttime as a kid. The joy of flipping through bands, literally going A to Z, just looking for new shit I hadn’t heard of. These days, two clicks and everything you were looking for is right there in front of you, and it cheapens the process. I’m not saying I’m not in the same boat. I have an obscene record collection and I love having access to most of it in my pocket but I do think things were better when you had to work for it.”
No resurgence comes without a few bumps in the road, though, and while the band is happy where they ended up with Danger Days, it took a bit to get there. Not long ago, internet rumors of a planned demise started to run rampant. “I had this idea early on when we went into the studio to make two records — one that would be released as our next record and one that we would lock away as the final MCR record, only to be released after the band broke up — kind of like a final will and testament. We ended up scrapping 20 songs that were set for release and went back in the studio and recorded what ended up being Danger Days.” Iero went on to add, “So in the press one day the story came up and I said it was kinda funny because now we have this record sitting locked away, and it could end up putting my plan of, having the last My Chemical Romance record locked in a safe, into effect. It was a joke… but hell, you never know, right?”
Expect a much more organic live show in comparison to the over-the-top show the band has offered up in the past. “It’s been awhile since people have seen just the band and we are having such a great time being us that we figured that’s what the show should be,” said Iero. “It’s a lot less rigid and the set list has been evolving. It’s going to be a good time.”
:: My Chemical Romance ::
:: Fillmore Auditorium :: April 9 ::
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