Gerard Arthur Way is an American musician and comic book writer who was the lead vocalist and co-founder of the band My Chemical Romance from its formation in November 2001 until its split in March 2013. He is the executive producer of the band LostAlone's second album I'm a UFO in This City. Way also wrote the comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and wrote the Eisner Award-winning comic book The Umbrella Academy. He is due to release his debut solo album Hesitant Alien on September 30th, 2014 via Warner Bros. Records.
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Thanks so much for the wonderful questions. I had a great time doing this, and would love to do it again. Please check out my album Hesitant Alien as I had a lot of fun making it and experimenting. And I hope to keep making more art, which is always made possible by all of you- so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Lots of love,
Hi, Gerard! So my question goes waaay back to 2008 when MCR released The Black Parade Is Dead. On the DVD of the concert at Maxwell’s, there’s a song you guys played that’s simply listed as Untitled. You said on stage it had a definite title but you weren’t gonna tell us because if you changed it we’d all bitch about it. (A smart move.) But it’s been six years and we still don’t know the title. This keeps me awake at night. Can you please tell us the title of that elusive song?
The song was called "Someone Out There Loves You". To my knowledge it was never recorded in demo form- probably a sound check recording somewhere, besides the live performance on the DVD.
Hello, Gerard. I am Giraffebuns, a teen from a small town in North Carolina. Recently, I bought a pizza; a large 2 topping pizza from my friendly, neighborhood Domino's. Starving, I ran into the Domino's, paid for my delicious pie, and preceded to walk back to my car. On the way there I tripped and began to fall. I saw my life flash before my eyes, along with a box and various pizza toppings. After sustaining a painful blow to my knee, I glanced over only to see a horrific sight. The pizza was on the ground. I was devastated by the tragedy that laid before my eyes.
Have you ever felt such a pain, Gerard? If so, you have my most heartfelt sympathy.
One time I took an arrow to the knee...
congratulations on hesitant alien! what a solid album, i’ve been jamming it since i woke up this morning and it’s fantastic. had a bit of a sniffle over “brother”. what a good song.
i’ve always been really inspired by your style and how you incorporate a lil bit of glam, a lil bit of femme, into your aesthetic. in fact, they way you present on stage and in music videos helped me figure out my own gender identity as a teenager. who are your style icons? what was your inspiration for messing with masculinity in the ways that you do?
thanks for everything :)
Wow! I'm so glad that helped in figuring out your gender identity. I have always been extremely sensitive to those that have gender identity issues as I feel like I have gone through it as well, if even on a smaller scale. I have always identified a fair amount with the female gender, and began at a certain point in MCR to express this through my look and performance style. So it's no surprise that all of my inspirations and style influences were pushing gender boundaries. Freddy Mercury, Bowie, Iggy, early glam, T-Rex. Masculinity to me has always made me feel like it wasn't right for me.
When can we expect to see the Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion? You and Gabriel create such an amazing world, I can't wait to see what comes next! By the way, I love the new album.
Right now I am awaiting notes on my layout for the whole series from editor Scott Allie- once those are back I can begin scripting
Do you still have the skeleton onesie?
Sadly I lost them in a move after a breakup.
What do you want to be for Halloween? And what is Bandit going to be dressed up as??
Bandit is going to be Princess Zelda, which is her favorite character right now.
Do you see yourself doing collaborations with frnkiero andthe cellabration/Electric Century? Or any collaborations at all?
And may I please have a virtual hug?
I don't know actually... I love all of the guys so much and love what they do musically. I think a collaboration between any of the MCR members is totally possible- just not sure when. It would have to materialize organically and right now everyone is busy with their solo work.
Thanks for the years of great music ! You're the only musician I would stand around a bunch of screaming girls to listen to, my wife and I finally felt old going to your shows :) The new album is awesome and feels like a natural progression from your previous work.
Have you thought about getting into game design ? Any favorite games you play now ? Video or board.
Any chance of a Chicago show soon ?
What are your thoughts on the decendents ? I just saw them live and have been revisiting their music until your album dropped.
I have never thought about getting into video game design but I have given a lot of thought to developing pen and paper RPG's and board games.
I do plan on coming to Chicago. We tried to do it on this upcoming tour but the routing made it impossible.
I love the Descendents- probably since middle school.
If you could live in any fictional universe, which one would you choose?
Star Wars, forever and ever.
is this AMA haunted?
It's haunted as F.
I feel like the last set of questions were answered by spirits.
How do you feel about the recent news of Pluto regaining its planet status? It's been eight years since the poor thing lost it. VIVA LA PLUTO!!
(Hesitant Alien is fab by the way and hugs to you and your family
I always stood by Pluto.
What is your favorite song from Hesitant Alien?
No Shows is my favorite song off the album, but tied with Get The Gang Together mostly
Hi Gerard, huge fan, you're such an inspiration and I love the Killjoys comic and album. My question:
What was it like jumping from indie comic publisher Dark Horse over to Marvel in terms of creative freedom?
I don't feel like I've made a jump so much as playing in someone elses pool for an afternoon. One of the luxuries my day job affords me is not having to swear allegience to any one publisher, so I can really do what I feel like doing with whomever will have me.
What scares you most about having a daughter?
I think the scariest thing for me was wondering if I was going to be a good enough father to her.
As you see yourself in ten years? in all aspects
Getting much stranger, even more so than I am now, but dressed more conservatively.
will you be meeting fans after your shows?
I sure hope to. There are no meet and greets or VIP things set up at all, so it will have to be by chance or if I manage to make it to the barricade after the show, or outside.
How do you manage to create so much (art, music, and otherwise).
How have you created an atmosphere that inspires you to be as creatively active as you are?
And do you think that others can shape their surroundings to increase creative output, even if it's not part of your daily job?
P.S. Thanks for being as badass as you are!
Thanks for saying that. On your question-
One thing I have finally learned after all these years of making art, is that no matter how much you try and make your surroundings suitable for creativity, if the enviornment inside of you isn't creatively healthy then you won't be able to make the art you want. Being in tune with yourself and your inner truth, being at peace in there, is the best way to nurture your creativity. Then you can even make a bad enviornment a good one.
Hi G! How do you feel about Hesitant Alien being compared to Britpop so frequently?
What led you guys to scrap Conventional Weapons as the 4th MCR album?
What colour Power Ranger would you be?
Thanks so for doing this AMA and for all the music you've made. i've been a huge fan for the last 10 years and am looking forward to your tour here in the UK in Nov :)
It doesn't bother me that it gets compared to Britpop frequently, as it is one of the elements in the album. I just think if you listen deeper you can find lots of other influences as well
Hey Gerard! Gotta say, I love the album! Especially love Drugstore Perfume, yet I don't know why...
A few questions:
1) A few weeks ago, at a show, I met Frank right after his set and we talked a bit about your album. He said, that he really digs it! What did you think of his?
2) What was it like doing a solo album compared to doing a MyChem album?
3) Finally, what is your all-time favourite Bowie album? I just gotta know!
I absolutely love Frank's album. It is one of the most refreshing things I have heard in a long time. So many things to discover and pick up on, so many things to lead you to other artists you may not have heard of.
2- I felt more relaxed because I personally put let stress on myself, as I was only thinking about how the music I made effected me personally.
3- Seriously this changes so much! Right now it's Low.
Who would you want to portray you in a movie based on your life?
Evan Peters- he's intense and one of my favorite actors.
What's your favorite hair color you've ever had?
simple bleach blonde
Thank you for doing an AMA! I’m a scientist, but have always enjoyed art as a creative outlet. I lost that somewhere in the mix of “life” but somehow your music reverted me back to the artist within me. What is your favorite medium to work in, and what was the most fun or most challenging? Thank you for your time and consideration, good luck with all future endeavors – Excellent job on the new album, it is one of my favorites now.
Thank you so much for saying that. I am thrilled to know that the music inspired you in some way.
I think my favorite medium is music, with my main tools being my voice and a guitar. But I do find every other medium extremely fulfilling and useful in helping everything I do. Sometimes I need to make a song just for a comic. All of the art and mediums are connected for me. For Science!
I never thought I would have the opportunity to say this to you personally, so thank you. You saved my life. I was in some really, really dark places (10/11 years ago, all the way up to probably 2011?), and the whole time your music made me want to fight back against it. You helped me find hope.
So, what would be the best way for me, and all the other people you've helped, to pay it forward?
Great question and very kind and thoughtful for your desire to give back. In basic terms, being an accepting and kind person. Helping others, making the world better, even through simple things.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry who would it be?
I always say Bowie or Morrissey
What inspired Lola?
I was inspired by a lot of the albums from the 90's that would have these unexplained "mascots" you would see on everything from Jesus Jones albums to Kula Shaker. Just a surrealist image connected with the music. I literally did one drawing and was happy with it. I looked at masks from Asia and the theatre over there, like Kabuki in Japan.
Hey, man. Love the new album. Will we ever see that photoshoot you needed a goth girl for? Thanks
Thanks! Yes- I am hoping you will get to see what the photos of the goth girl were for- just not yet
Afternoon! I am obsessed with hesitant alien and even my dad taps his fingers away when I play it in the car... And that's says something! He loves the drums and the bass the most, but my favorite part are the vocals! Congrats on your solo career!! I know you can make it to top 1 on the charts!
Question- LA is so different from Jersey... Do you miss it there?
On missing NJ. I do miss it because I was so connected with it as a child. It's second nature for me. But I am extremely happy living in Los Angeles. I do miss the Fall though
You seem like you know a thing or two about pancakes. Has a restaurant ever amazed you with its pancakes or is it best to make them at home?
Oh yeah- lots of restaraunts have amazing pancakes, I am actually always in awe of how perfect they look. I like looking at pancakes more than I like eating them.
Are you planning on selling "hot pants" on your merch line?
Hahaha... I've seen some requests for hot pants. If I can find a way to make myself laugh in making them, I don't think anything is out of the possibility.
Hey, Gerard! Such a huge fan, you have inspired me in ways I cannot begin to list off. Also, Hesitant Alien is so fucking great. Congratulations, man.
I've always been a huge "concept album" nerd, so bear with me, as these questions have to deal with your MCR work and, more specifically, the stories of the albums.
And, finally (unrelated to concepts)
5. I read somewhere that Drowning Lessons was your guys' least favorite song to play live and that the few times you did, something horrible happened each time. (This bums me out as it was probably my favorite song from Bullets). What bad things happened when you played it live?
Thank you so much for doing this, and I hope that one day, when I carry on through what I hope to be a professional career in the arts, our paths cross.
-- Booker Skelton, bookerskeltonwriting.tumblr.com
2.There are concepts and themes from Danger Days that I'm sure will continue to exist in my work as well as Shaun Simon's.
4.I am sure that I will make another concept album some day. I'm actually thinking about a concept album at the momoent, even if it'sloose. I am definitely thinking of a new character.
What's your favorite historical period?
60's- space program, Kennedy, design, music
What made you decide to debut Hesitant Alien at the Reading Festival?
Well, my manager and I felt it needed to start somewhere
So we figured why not go for the biggest and potentially most high stress situation we could think on. I feel like choosing a date to play shows also helping with a release date for the album
What lyric from your new album are you a specially proud of?
See you in London!
We got firecracker wishes that we can make
Hi Gerard, what is the inspiration behind Maya The Physic? It's my fsvorite song but I don't really understand the lyrics yet?
The song is about mental illness. The title was inspired by an old manga called Mai The Psychic Girl, which is great
What's your favorite system?
How many dice do you own?
Favorite character type?
Longest played character's name?
I always go back to DnD but have played everything from Gurps to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I don't know what the longest running character was but my first character was a Paladin named Caldon.
Hey gerard! Like you said in your interview- we know practically nothing about you! Any weird fetishes you haven't revealed yet to us?
Also- I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who hears this, but i get a Michael Jackson vibe from get the gang together towards the end. Whether intentional or unintentional, I LOVE IT!
Some things I must keep a mystery. But I feel like I do share a lot of what goes on in my brain on Twitter. I'm pretty raw on there. And yes- the end of Gang also reminded me of Michael Jackson when I recorded it- it made me laugh so I kept it.
Gerard! thanks for doing the AMA! You're a huge inspiration for me, thanks for doing what you do, man.
What's your favorite cereal?
Honey Nut Cheerios
Good evening Gerard. Is there one song that you wish you had put on the album but changed your mind at the last moment?
No, not on this one. The only time that ever happened was with Kill All Your Friends, as I really wanted that on Black Parade.
Thanks for the IAMA
How do you handle being a father, husband, and musician at the same time?
Do you find it's been easy or hard to do?
Learning to be extremely disciplined has been the key for me. I work really hard during work hours and family really hard during family hours. Family does always come first though, in any situation. I don't sleep much. I am up early
The saxophone solo in Get the Gang Together is just too cool.
The saxophone is my favorite part! I really wanted to bring it back a little with my album. I actually want a lot more brass and woodwind instruments on the next album.
what are you going to be for halloween??
How did you decide the cover art for your album?
I was thinking a lot about the period of two musicians careers that influenced the solo album. David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Both spent time in Berlin recording and their albums covers were kind of similar. I looked at Heroes and The Idiot for inspiration but wanted to add some color, change things up a little, make it my own
If you could be in any Quentin Tarantino movie, which one would you pick?
D'you think aliens have ever visited earth without us knowing? :0
Well, I definitely believe aliens exist. I'm not sure they have visited us though.
Do you think you'll be coming to more american cities? like, near the south ?
Yes, absolutely. This run of shows in October is more of a debut/release type of tour. A full tour is being planned for next year in the US. And since I love playing everywhere in the states, I will try and hit anywhere I can.
I just wanted your opinion/thoughts on MCR's decision to boycott performing in Arizona.
Elton John performed here and was quoted with saying, "We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won't come here. They are fuckwits! Let's face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what's the fuck up with these people?"
Why punish an entire state of fans because of a few dumbass politicians? Are you still boycotting for a potential Hesitant Alien tour?
I'm glad you asked this. It was never meant to be a punishment to the people of Arizona, and it was a very difficult situation to be a part of. On one hand I thought about music fans that lived there, but I also thought about our fans in the Latin community. Over the years I personally have felt very connected to the fans of that community, so we saw it as a way to let them know we support them. I do plan on playing Arizona on any tours in the US. If I can do that and somehow still lend a hand, that would be best.
What's your go-to drink on airplanes?
What's going on with Fudge Lord?
I am actually developing it as a series because there has been some interest. One offer has been a short and another has been a partner in producing the show. I'm not really overthinking it though, and tend to make it up off the top of my head with Jon.
Do you care at all about commercial success of this album or is it purely about making the music that you want to?
I care in the sense that I would like to continue to make art by being able to do what I love and have that make it possible for me to support my family. But other than that, the way I gauge the success of the album is how well I feel like I've made the art I wanted to. I feel no strain or pressure to take over the world. I'd like to make people happy, show people a good time, and hopefully inspire some people.
Would you ever consider, now with the solo project, going on warped tour ever again? And I'd like to say thank you because you have been a major role model in my life with art and your music! Thank you and lots of love to you!
Thank you as well. I love Kevin and the tour a great deal. I do get nostalgic for it from time to time, though I feel I have grown in a very different direction from it. It always has a special place with me.
Should we expect a big tour from Hesitant Alien ?
Any ideas for a new album following hesitant alien? You've said with my chem you had always planned ahead any plans after HA?
We are planning an extensive tour but I don't think we plan to drive it into the ground, as I have been writing new material and would like to be back in the studio by next September.
Your vocal range is a lot bigger on HA. You get into head voice and even something like falsetto in some songs. We've seen this before in songs like Scarecrow but it's a lot more present in this album and with the song you did with Matt from kill Hannah in the backing vocals. What was that like? Was it a natural progression for your voice or did you do it intentionally as a specific stylistic choice? Did you seek out a vocal coach? I'm very interested to know.
edit for grammar
I feel like the music I wrote for Hesitant Alien allowed for far more experimentation vocally, both in hitting higher and lower registers. At the time it was a hard album to conceptualize vocally and to sing. Now it feels effortless live. Falsetto was always something I wanted to play with. I did not (but probably should) see a vocal coach- I have only ever been to one a couple of times to learn warm up exercises. I am lazier about my voice than I should be.
Where did the idea for Fudge Lord come from?
I was literally looking at old animation cells from He-Man and noticing how ridiculous they were, and thought it would be fun to make them more ridiculous.
Do you have any covers planned for your live shows?
Yes! there are so many songs I'd like to cover- Sleater Kinney, Psychedelic Furs, Bowie, Iggy, Pulp, Supergrass
Hey Gerard! Is it weird touring without the rest of the band? Also, I'm going to see you perform at Soundwave Festival in Australia, are you looking forward to it? Anything special fans can look forward to?
It's not weird so much as it's different. It was a little weird in early rehearsals, but I think a lot of that had to do with The Hormones and I needing to connect with each other as musicians. It's a different thing. Obviously MCR had a magical chemistry and did a very specific thing- this does things in new ways.
What is your favorite tea?
I loved how you talked about Sleater-Kinney in your zine! Do you think you could ever collaborate with Carrie Brownstein?
Wow- that would be a huge honor, and since both she and Mary Timony are in Wild Flag it would make sense to collaborate with them both if they would have me. My absolute heroes.
Favorite Morrissey song? Or album?
fav song- Boxers
fav album- Southpaw Grammar
I'm going to be applying to colleges soon and I've been wondering if I should try for SVA. I'm worried about the price and wether I should really go for it and take it head on or go there later in the future... What's your recommendation? Is it worth the experience to go across the US?
If your desire is to go now you should work on figuring out a way to do so. I was very happy with my expierience at SVA. I did have to take out an incredible amount of student loans and work while going to school in order to afford art supplies and books. I could not afford to live in the dorm unfortunately. That would have been an expierience.
If you could be any Olympian god, which would you choose and why?
Hermes because I like his fancy helmet and outfit.
What's this thing about your phone being haunted? I always see stuff about it but I don't know the origin.. Also the new album is my favorite thing ever.. Sorry for spamming your @ mentions on Twitter by constantly tweeting about it lol
It's just what was going on that day.
Hi Gerard! I loved your VyRT session. Is there any chance you'll have a VyRT concert?
I think there is absolutely a chance to do a Vyrt concert. I'd like to be more involved with Vyrt.
What is your favorite shop to pick up comics at?
Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles.
What was your biggest struggle when creating Hesitant Alien? Love it BTW!
I think finding out what it was, was the biggest struggle. was it a new band? A solo album? Was it only going to be fuzz rock songs? Was it going to get more ambitious but more importantly would I allow myself to get more ambitious and take the ceiling off the project.
Have you ever drawn inspiration from the B-52's? I see a lot of their influence in the aesthetics of the No Shows video.
Interesting! The video for No Shows came a lot from 70's television, and also Shock Treatment, a film by the people that made Rocky Horror. I have always like the "no rules" aspect to the B-52's though. I think maybe that's how you connect them, very free, very fun, no limitations.
I'm going to be a little selfish and first ask you to please come to INDIANA even though its a very boring state (I know I live here)
My question is: in starting this record did you know exactly how you wanted it to be or was it just one particular song that kind of gave you an idea as to what the rest of the album was going to be?
Once I wrote and recorded No Shows, I knew I was onto something more ambitious than I had planned. Before that I was simpy making music because I am always compelled to.
We all know –for the most part I assume– that you are on your twitter quite a bit. If I may ask, why is it that you prefer twitter over other social media?
If I could also be so kinda as to say I turn fourteen in ten days and I am more excited over Hesitant Alien than I am my own birthday.
I think I like the immediacy of Twitter. I like that you can get current events or current feelings from the larger world. Jimmy from MSI told me once that it's basically something you have to treat as graffiti, and I loved that perspective on it and find it very true since I have used it more to spread art, ideas, rather than opinions (though it's a good place for that too)
Hey Gerard, what's your favourite movie?
The Fisher King