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mcrscans: My Chemical Romance (UK tour special, 2004) article for Metal Hammer Special, 2013 by John Doran, photography by John McMurtrie.: 0 IN MID-2004, WITH THE GLOBAL DOMINATION THAT WAS TO COME JUST A MURMUR ON THE HORIZON, WE FOLLOWED MCR AROUND THE UK FOR ONE OF THEIR VERY FIRST METAL HAMMER FEATURES WORDS: JOHN DORAN PHOTOS: JOHN McMURTRIE mcrscans.tumblr.com G- prepared for the accident that was to happen tonight at premier sauna-cum-venue, The Garage. During erard Way had been having premonitions that he was going to be blinded for months. The lead an eviscerating performance, Gerard throws himself singer of My Chemical Romancetoward the crowd just as one particularly lust-crazed kept on seeing it happen in dreams and each time he would young woman thrusts her arms up to touch him. Gerard, now wearing onyx-black shades, takes up the story: "I head-banged into her finger and it went right in my eye. It was the weirdest feeling. It was painful but the worst thing was how weird it was. I could feel her finger in my eye and all this really warm fluid running down my face. I thought my eyeball had burst and I just kept on thinking about the dreams I'd been having about wake up in a cold sweat, shaking. So he was almost going blind. I was like, 'Dude, I've lost this left eye: But the finger was right back into my socket around the eyeball where all the tendons and shit are. It made LEAP OF FAITH: THE MCRMY PILE IN ANK GENUFLECTS AT HE ALTAR OF SCREAM 38 METLHAMNERCOUK THE BROTHERS WAY: DIVVENT MESS garage RISTOR music "DOESTHE NUMBER 30 GO FROM HERE MATE?" a really weird slurping noise when she took it out.the outfit) from Newark, NJ, who, despite only having Metal Hammer has very strict rules about what girls acouple of single releases in this country, are starting can and cannot stick into its various orifices and this should definitely be a no-no. Gerard and the rest of themuch for their own safety, then they do about their fans. band are sitting around sharing coffee, beers and soft They walk out on stage to hand out bottles of water to drinks, waiting for their Manchester Hop And Grape show the people at the front and regularly douse the ones who soundcheck this evening and telling us all about how they look like they need it. They also try to protect their fans are beginning to take off in this country-while swapping from the carnage on stage if they get up there. It's Metal gig injury stories. Gerard reckons it would have been cool Hammers view that moshing is a good thing because it in a way to have lost his eye, saying: "Can you imagine gives people the chance to have catharsis and get the how cool it would be to wear an eyepatch on stage?" to cause a huge stir over here. And if they don't care violence out that is in us all without hurting anyone else You'd be the screamo Bluebeard!", adds taciturr drummer Matt Pelissier. All of the band have horror stories in this country under the age of 40 was made to go to one to tell when it comes to playing live and, watching thepunk or screamo gig a week then football violence would powerhouse performance that they put on, you can't help probably die out overnight. But Gerard still thinks there's but feel they should take out a hell of a lot more personal anegative element to it sometimes, saying: "Some of it injury insurance. "Frank [Iero] hit me in the face with the is macho bullshit. Some of the nu metal acts were just head of his guitar one night and it was bleeding so much encouraging violence for violence's sake. It gives punk that my entire face was covered in blood," says Ray Toro, rck a bad name and it makes it harder for the kids. Their the Afro-haired guitarist. "It was like a mask of blood." parents aren't going to let them go and watch bands if (usually). In fact, we'd go so far as to say that if everyone "We're a really physical band on stage," adds Gerard.they go and get the shit kicked out of them." "I slipped a couple of discs in my back on tour. Frank hasThe Garage is heaving hours before the gig even starts broken his wrist. We've all been hurt." It was the gig the night before when we first met up with the five-piece (Gerard's brother Mikey plays bass in and people keep on coming up to Gerard in the pub beforehand. He's nearly mobbed at one point by two girls coming out of McDonald's. "Oh! My! God!" says "We've all been hurt GERARD ON SOME OF THE NOT-SO-MUCH-PERKS OF THE JOB mcrscans.tumblr.com METALHAMMERCOUK 39 VEHICLES AND CONTENTS ARE LEFT ENTIRELY AT OWNERS RISK MCR'S WARM-UP YOGA one with hermouth full of Curly Wurly McFlurry "My! Chemical! Romance! for a quick pint. Now Gerard's got over the fear of nearly becoming a rocknrolcyclops, he can explain the genesis. And you can see why they're starting to attract this of their strange name. "The name is taken from an Irvine kind of attention when the gig kicks off. Within seconds Welsh book. Me and Mikey were looking at a copy of Ecstasy, of the first song, Gerard is in the crowd, screaming and thrashing like a younger, better-looking Casey Chaos. Their music is reminiscent of other emo/post-hardcoreChemical Romance mean so much on so many different bands such as Funeral For A Friend and Hundred Reasons, levels. It seemed to be the only way to describe the music. but they have a scruffier, punkier edge, which comes fromAnd in another way, Trainspotting is generally set in this the fact that they're all massive fans of Black Flag. and on the inside it said, Three tales of chemical romance." The de facto leader of the group adds: "Well, the words area with people getting caught up in a scene and a vibe The band, it has to be said, as nice as they are, don't appear to be very rock'n'roll. Hammer groans inwardly when it gets on the tour bus, as the two DVDs that are out on show are Dungeons & Dragons, the cartoon, and a stop-motion animation of Wind In The Willows. Nearly all the band go straight to bed, leaving Hammer Matt, who looks like he would sooner be pulling his own up with just Matt and the drummers from Hondo Macleanteeth out with pliers than being interviewed, perks up and The Bled, drinking Stella, listening to Refused and slightly and says, "Newark is in the State of New Jersey, talking about hi-hats. C-c-c-call the cops! where there's a lot of drugs about and that resonated with us because of all the stuff we had to fight through to become a band. The strange thing is that when you watch the movie with the drug addiction and murder, it evern looks like Newark, where we come from!" a few hours outside of New York. It's a complete goddamn The next day, when Hammer has unstuck its tonguewasteland. It's been shut down for about 20 years. It from the floor and tried to rub its aching pancreas better, we look for the band, but apparently they all got up What does it smell of?" we ask. to go sightseeing around Manchester at 5.30 this morning. "Dead bodies", he replies nonchalantly. 5.30am? That was only half an hour after Hammer went to bed! Later, after a lot of fannying about with gaffa tape says, "and during that period I was using substances and hairspray, the band finally say theyre ready to go out to overcome other substances. smells godawful." "Also, at the time I was drinking severely," Gerard "I could feel her finger in my eye... I thought my eyeball had burst" NO, ITS NOT A WEIRD GROUPIE STORY mcrscans.tumblr.com 40 METRIHAMMERCOUK "Id had a really bad year before the band and that helped me get out of it. My art career had gone down the like he could have stepped straight out of Flock Of shitter, 9/11 had just happened. I was quite close to that Seagulls, Gerard is a goth-rock marauder with raven- at the time and it affected me in a very bad way. I became black hair, torn black clothing and aviator shades, and like a hermit and just started drinking all the time and Matt, with his backwards cap and goatee beard, looks I didn't want to do anything with my life. And drinking like he's ready to walk on stage filling in for Metallica. and not doing anything else is the worst thing you can Frank is the most 'modern-looking guy in the band do in terms of depression. I had to go and see a therapist with his punctured face, gun and heart tattoos, and for the first time ever and she put me on antidepressants. asymmetrical haircut. Suddenly all their disparate looks But it wasn'tthe counselling or the drugs, it was the band gel and they look like a band should: a band of brothers. that got me out of my depression. I had a purpose again." "In this life you gotta do what you gotta do!" yells with his MC5/Mars Volta 'fro, the rake-thin Mikey looks All of the band have had similar experiences. "I think Gerard before pausing and adding, "And if that means you'll find none of us was the cool kid at school," offers doing a line of coke and getting a blow job, then that's Frank. "I felt like I never fitted in when I was younger and what you gotta do!" I think depression is a normal thing that happens in thatHammer ain't gonna argue, and by the end of the show situation. So a lot of those emotions go into our songs. there have been more members of the audience running We keep it in check now. Sometimes I go a little bit off the across the stage and diving off than those who haven't. rails but we keep each other in check. There's always beer After dragging Frank off for a quick curry in nearby around when you're on tour. You're more likely to get beer Rusholme, just to prove that all English food isn't shit, tickets than meal tickets." we rejoin the others in Manchester's premier rock bar, The reason that bands drink so much on tour is because Big Hands, where a dizzying array of beers are drunk of all of the downtime there is to kil. Matt, who doesnt by the band, and by the swelling ranks of girls who want drink that often, says: You'll get kids who are desperate to drink with them. to come backstage and when they run into the dressingWe leave them at about 3am, cavorting on the streets of room there will be, like, one guy asleep, two having a chat, Manchester, singing note-perfect impressions of English one watching the TV and another smoking a cigarettebands while dreaming about world domination. they always look so depressed, like they've walked into the wrong room. Why? You feel like saying, Look, you'd be having a better time if you were out at the bar." Frank agrees: The hour you're on stage and meeting the kids afterwards is what it's all about. It is the 22.5 GERARD WOULD NEVER LET ANYONE INTO HIS SACRED CRYPT hours of the day which is boring when you're on tour." But if last night's gig was incendiary, tonight's is certifiably cooler. Ray looks like a 1960s urban guerrilla If 'DUDE, WHERE'S MY EYE?" mcrscans.tumblr.com METALHAMM ERCOUK 41 mcrscans: My Chemical Romance (UK tour special, 2004) article for Metal Hammer Special, 2013 by John Doran, photography by John McMurtrie.