9-11 Made Gerard Way Form My Chemical Romance

Gerard Way 9-11 BlogCourtesy of diymag.com

Gerard Way was a comic book illustrator in 2001. On his way to work that day, on 9-11, he witnessed the horrific and tragic attack on the World Trade Center. The events that transpired that day inspired Way to form the band My Chemical Romance, of which he became the lead singer. He had graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1999, and was selling comic books by 2001 when he made a career change. After quitting his job, he and and his high school friend Matt Pelissier had formed My Chemical Romance within a week. They started recording demo tracks in Pelissier’s attic along with Ray Toro on guitar. Later, they recruited Frank Iero to also play guitar, and wrangled Way’s younger brother, Mikey Way, to play bass. The band name? They took that from a book by Irvine Welsh called Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. Hm. Wonder if the band ever did ecstasy up in that attic.
In an interview with Rolling Stone this past summer, Way explained the foundations of My Chemical Romance. “When I was in art school, I worshipped Britpop. And when I got out, I found myself very depressed and struggling,” he describes. “I kind of desired this new kind of sound, and it was the sound I made with my friends in My Chemical Romance,” he says. “So it’s almost like this solo record is a re-education of what I was into before My Chem.”
Although the band is no longer together, Way has no hard feelings. “And I’m proud of My Chem because I went with my gut, and what I thought the world needed at the time, and it didn’t sound like Britpop,” he declares. “So I trusted my inner artist, and I went with that and it worked out really well. And when the time for that was done, it was almost like being under a spell for 13 years, and then the spell broke, and I’m that person from art school again.” I can think of many a musician who wish they had gone with their gut in times past, especially those who are artists in multiple mediums. Do I paint or do I play? Do I write or do I play? A salute to you for that, Way.
Their music was an answer, a response to unthinkable actions that caused the events of 9-11. Months after forming, My Chemical Romance recorded and released their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love which included songs lamenting 9-11, like “Skylines and Turnstiles.”  They went on to release Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge in 2004, The Black Parade in 2006, and Danger Days in 2012, after which Way left the band. On that subject, Way told Rolling Stone, “It was the right time for My Chemical Romance to end. In my mind, it was becoming really dark, because I started to feel that’s what people wanted from the band, based off the experience of Danger Days.”
Basically, it didn’t feel right anymore. Music should always feel good, even if it’s cathartic, or else you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Way goes on to explain that. “The amount of art I planned for the last My Chem record, it was like Danger Days was getting a little out of hand,” he tells Rolling Stone. His other outlet started to feel more appealing than music was.  “It was getting to the point where I felt like I was starting to make giant art projects because I wasn’t enjoying making music as much. Danger Days was the first record where it started to feel like that.” The band later replaced Pelissier with Bob Byar after Pelissier bowed out, and added James Dewees as well. Way recently released his solo album Hesitant Aliens along with some new music videos.