Look alive, sunshine.
This year marks a decade since My Chemical Romance released their colourful, bombastic concept album 'Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys'. In celebration of this fact, we went digging into the Rock Sound Archive, and pulled this feature out of Rock Sound issue 145 from back in March 2011.
So here you have it - the A-Z of 'Danger Days'. Starting with...
My Chemical Romance’s fourth album ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ is set in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion that decimated California in 2012. The event, referred to as the ‘Great Fires’, started a chain of events that lead us to 2019 where an intrusive corporation have a totalitarian control of downtown Battery City, while a small resistance lives in the desert and outer zones as they skirmish with the Exterminators unleashed by the company to deal with the dissenters. You know, the usual.
As in, the band are having one – and you will too on their arena tour. “The work you put into the aesthetic is really supposed to pay off when you are on tour,” frontman Gerard Way told Rock Sound back in 2010, ahead of their World Contamination Tour. “We have set up a playground and a playlist that will be really enjoyable for us and the fans as it will be exciting, different and new.”
The antidote to the arduous march of the Black Parade, ‘Danger Days’ is an audiovisual riot of Tank Girl-style articulated in a bold palette of the loudest tones available. Not. At. All. Subtle.
DR. DEATH DEFYING
The man who voices / plays Dr. Death Defying is actually Steve, Righ? aka Steven Montano, guitar player from Mindless Self Indulgence, and other members of the band make appearances in the video for ‘Sing’. Gerard’s wife Lyn-Z, who plays bass in the band, drives the van at the end at the end of the clip, while vocalist Jimmy Urine is one of the Draculoids.
“I think the kids deserve a bit of danger from a rock band,” Gerard Way shared. “They don’t need to be seeing us showing up to red carpet events trying to be famous. They don’t need to see us being opportunists and trying to launch sneaker companies. They don’t need that, that’s not what a rock band does. A true rock band is a group of people who write songs that are truly special and then play them live. There is no danger in being famous, there is no danger in making a lot of money, there is no danger in any of that and people don’t deserve that from a rock band.”
'FUCK THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD' [F.T.W.W.W.]
One of the three songs released by the band under the guise of The Mad Gear And Missile Kid, the band the Killjoys listen to when they’re driving around the zones. Could these thrashy, attitude-laden tracks be some of the original songs that MCR recorded for this album?
The 10-year-old afro’d girl (aka Mini-Ray) that the Killjoys and Draculoids do battle for in the ‘Na Na Na…’ and ‘Sing’ videos also does a mean line of YouTube video covers. ‘Hugs give me hugs give me hugs’? Not quite, but cute nonetheless.
“The genre with which we are sometimes misrepresented by or associated with is dead and gone,” Gerard stated boldly. “We are almost at a point where genre and scene is completely irrelevant to us anymore... it is hopefully irrelevant to the world as well.”
INDUSTRIES, BETTER LIVING
The shadowy corporation (BL/Ind…see what they did there?) pitted against the Killjoys. A comment on the relationship between art and commerce perhaps?
Ray Toro’s Killjoy character.
The villainous exterminator in the ‘Na Na Na…’ video is played by none other than Grant Morrison, the renowned comic book writer and friend of the band.
The artist who worked on the ‘Danger Days’ character costumes and concepts with Gerard. Knows and works with Becky Cloonan, small world!
The concept behind the band’s new album is not pre-planned and fully structured, it goes where it feels best at the time. “Some of the stuff we are putting out there doesn’t mean anything,” Gerard admitted. “It is just something to have fun with.”
Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na. You know you love it.
When Gerard spoke to Rock Sound at the end of 2009 as the band put the finishing touches on their first attempt at album four, he said the following: “I can’t say too much about the album but I do know it’s going to be very different and it doesn’t really involve costumes and it doesn’t really involve giant set pieces.” Erm, things changed!
My Chemical Romance have decided that the best way to deal with fear is to attack it head-on. “The best thing you can do for your band is try and do something that puts your career in jeopardy every time,” Gerard stated defiantly. “You absolutely need to drive it into the sun every time so you go past and get burnt a little. If you’re not trying to absolutely destroy your career or put a stick of dynamite to it then you’re not doing anyone a service.”
Gerard’s state of mind when he set the band on their doomed quest to save the world on ‘The Black Parade’. “When we first started rehearsing for a show in Tokyo the energy was nervous and I didn’t know any of the lyrics for the ’...Black Parade’ songs as I’d blocked them out,” he admitted. “Even the big hits just didn’t flow, you block things out that you don’t want to remember anymore.”
The producer of ‘Danger Days’ who was called in after the band scrapped the songs recorded with Brendan O’Brien.
Keyboard player of Jersey band Pencey Prep (Frank Iero was a member), Shaun’s conversations with Gerard as he sold the band’s merch with MCR on tour in 2002 became the start point for ‘The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ comic book series (which was originally announced in 2009).
In 2004 My Chemical Romance parted ways with Matt Pelissier and asked drum tech Bob Bryar to take his place. Six years later the band parted ways with him before recording ‘Danger Days…’ and then asked drum tech and The Bled’s sticksman Michael Pedicone to take his place… He was later replaced with friend of the band Jarrod Alexander. Editor's note: Jarrod Alexander was recently announced as the drummer for My Chem's comeback show in Los Angeles next month.
Gerard’s comic book is in the process of being made into a film. Funding is in place, script is nearing completion and a director will be announced next. Editor's note: So, the film wasn't made. But we got something better in the end.
The anti-Twilight anthem. “Let’s boil down what these vampire movies are about,” Gerard remarked. “It’s a giant machine selling sex to kids. They’ve taken something really awesome and made it really lame. That song came after we got really fucking tired of hearing about it and asked to be a part of it.”
WORLDS TO COME
Think that My Chemical Romance will be roaming around the wastelands of Battery City for years? Think again. “The gameplan is to change it up on every record,” Gerard admitted. “No matter who we work with we always go on the same quest. These albums are getting harder to make, which is fine. If they were getting easier we would be in trouble. If the next record takes five years to come out we will return as a completely different band.”
Like the Killjoys. At the end of the 'Sing' video. One of the saddest death scenes in a music video ever - quote us.
Not quite, but the band had a man called Wookie record the drums for ‘Bulletproof Heart’. When interviewed by Rock Sound none of the band could actually recall his real name.
If you’re a Killjoy you’ll know what this is. And if not, let’s just say it doesn’t refer to tube stations in Greater London.