2011 marks 10 years since My Chemical Romance formed. People first started taking notice when the band released their 2004 major label debut, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge but their 2006 concept album The Black Parade really put them on the map. 2010 saw the band release their fourth studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, taking their sound in a new direction. Next year My Chemical Romance will be hitting our shores as a part of the Big Day Out as well as playing a string of headlining sideshows. Before the band begin preparing for the tour, guitarist Frank Iero sat down for a chat with Kill Your Stereo to discuss picking set lists, their next album and exploding sinuses.
Hey Gloria, how you doing?
Good thanks, how are you Frank?
I am alright, it is a pleasure to talk to you.
Well thanks for taking the time to chat with Kill Your Stereo, you have probably had a nice long day of interviews?
Actually we only started, maybe a half hour ago, so I think I am still fresh (laughs).
In a few months My Chemical Romance will be heading back to Australia as a part of Big Day Out. What is preparation for the festival like?
Yeah, well I am really excited I must say because this is the second one for the band but it is actually my first one. So I am really looking forward to getting on it because when the guys did it last time they only had amazing things to say about it and I love the country. We came once before they did the Big Day Out, and I was actually on that one (laughs), and it was great. I loved seeing the countryside and the people were amazing so I am looking forward to doing this tour, especially now I heard it’s the 20th anniversary so I imagine it is going to be absolutely amazing.
As far as the preparation, well it’s kind of cool I think, this tour for us is going to be exciting because Danger Days came out a year ago yesterday so we have already been doing a years worth of touring on the record and I think we have gotten pretty good at the Danger Days tour. So right now we are trying to think about the next stuff so it is really going to be smack dab in the pre-creative headspace of what the next record is going to be, so not it is going to be Danger Days fuelled but also possibly fuelled by whatever the new thing is. So we are going to get together, actually in two weeks, and start kind of brain storming about stuff and start playing together and I don’t know even know what the set is going to be like. I have been thinking a lot about it and I know how much time we have but I don’t want to pigeonhole us into “Well we are only going to play this stuff, we are only going to play that stuff” I kind of want to keep it open and if some new stuff makes its way in that would be really great, as for the vibe I have no idea what it is going to be. I definitely want to play some songs that I think the Australian fans haven’t gotten to hear live because we haven’t been there on this tour. There is going to be some Danger Days stuff, I think we should play some older stuff, and hopefully some of the new vibe will work its way in.
As you said before, you guys haven’t been to Australia for a while. How does it feel coming back again after all this time?
Well, unfortunately I can only speak for the first first time we came over to Australia. The last time I was all ready to go, we had a Japanese tour, I think it was a week long Japanese tour and then we were going to Australia and New Zealand and a couple of weeks before we left for Japan I had gotten my wisdom teeth taken out. So it was supposed to be healed, I got on the plane and as soon as I woke up in Japan we touched down and I had this fever and I was bleeding from nose, it was horrible. So apparently what happened was my sinuses exploded in my face (laughs), so they took me straight to the hospital from the airport, or I might have gone to the hotel and I was like “I really need to go to the hospital” so they took me to the hospital and I was there for a couple of hours and then I was on the next flight back home (laughs). So yeah, it was horrible, but a friend of ours came and filled in and unfortunately I missed the entire Japanese tour and the entire Australian tour on the Big Day Out that we had done last time, so I missed all of it. But I only heard great things from the rest of the guys, they were like “Oh man, it was so much fun, The Killers played and it was awesome because we got to watch them play every night” and I was just like “Ah, what the fuck?!” So I missed all this fun shit. But anyway, so I am really excited, really really excited about this one because, I don’t know, the first time that we went over to Australia we had so much fun and I thought it was beautiful. We got to hang out with kangaroos, that was great, it was amazing to me and I’d never got to do that before so I am really excited to just see a lot more of your country side because the first time we only did a small amount of dates but with the Big Day Out you get to travel a lot more and you travel with the tour so I’m looking forward to that and then you have your off days and the days you get to do your own headlining shows, so it is going to be amazing.
Well hopefully we can make up for you not being able to come here last time.
Oh yeah, as long as I can make it there this time and I can play (laughs), then we are already one up on the last time.
For people that were at those shows, how different will these ones be, aesthetically and otherwise?
They will be absolutely different. The last shows were a part of The Black Parade tour so it is going to be 100 percent different from that in every way. Danger Days stuff has been a lot more colour driven and throughout the year we have added more and more stuff to it. But now I think, that’s the great thing about it, is that you are going to get a show that is smack dab in the middle of what Danger Days was and what it has now become and also what the new stuff is going to become. So it is going to be unique to any of the shows that has come before it and hopefully any of the shows that come after it. The set will be completely different but hopefully we are probably going to do a bunch of stuff of the new record that people haven’t gotten to hear but hopefully we will also do some older stuff that we didn’t get to do on Black Parade because we were mostly playing Black Parade stuff. So we will play some Danger Days stuff, some older stuff, and if everything goes according to plan, which it never does, but if it does there will possibly be some of the new vibe, whatever that may be that we are working on right now. What’s exciting to me is that Australia is going to get a really excited band, a band that is really creative, that feels like they are in a really creative moment and I don’t know what that is going to be, but that is the fun part for us. I am really excited.
You guys have a pretty massive catalogue of songs, how do you decide which songs you will actually play?
Normally it is one of those things, I will look through, like I have this master list of all the songs on every record and we just kind of pick our favourites sometimes. Other times it is like, you have too many songs within your allotted time slot so you kind of change it up a little bit from tour to tour, from week to week kind of thing. I don’t know, I think it’s just a vibe when you go into tour. I see things in colours so I am looking at art right now, so I am going through the songs, but I don’t want to put us in a box I don’t want to be like “Oh, we can only play this stuff” because if things come up and new songs come up it will be able to make the set one hundred percent unique. I think that was one of the biggest things that we had done, we had played a few shows in LA then we had gone and done Summersonic in Japan and we were right in the middle of recording the first time around recording Danger Days and we got to play three or four new songs that we have never played ever again because then they didn’t make it onto Danger Days, it was like a moment in time, it was a band that you will never see again but it was just us doing what we were doing in that moment and it kind of felt like if you were there you saw it, you got into it, and then it was gone. I kind of like things like that so I’m hoping, I kind of think that’s what Australia is going to be, I don’t know yet because nothing is set in stone but it is the same kind of feeling where we are in this moment in time and these shows on this tour are going to be unique to anything else we have ever done.
What is your personal favourite song to play live? Do you have one that you always like to see in the set?
Well (laughs), it is very cliché when you say, “Oh, well every song I have ever written has a special place in my heart” but it is true and they do, but I think there are certain songs that we have never played where these songs didn’t appear in the set, songs like ‘I’m Not Okay’ and ‘Helena’ never get old for us, I don’t know why that is but they are just the kind of songs that you can play with your eyes closed but at the same time there is a certain gravity and time for the songs, it just works and the reaction from the crowd is always different each time so that is always fun. So those songs always appear on our set list, I think it would be a jinx to take them off but some of the new stuff too has been more than fun to play, songs like ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Scarecrow’ have made it into the staple set list songs and have become some of our favourite songs to play.
With every record the My Chemical Romance sound has evolved substantially, how do you incorporate all those different sounds into one live set? Does that make it harder to choose what to play?
Well, I think that you are write, the sound has changed for every record but that’s definitely a conscious decision but I think that is part of the fun of our lives shows, is that you get to see songs that were written earlier in our career, but music is an amazing thing because it evolves and it grows, the songs become living and breathing things and they change from tour to tour because the band changes and grows. We could play a set list that we had played maybe two years before but the entire set list will be completely different, it sounds different, it feels different because it is a different band up there playing it. That is the beauty of music in general and also the beauty of the band, it is fun to see these songs take on a different light and a different shape, so it’s not hard to make a set list I think it’s harder to figure out what songs grow into and what story you want to tell every show but as far as picking the songs that is the fun part because the beauty is the outcome, to see what works and what you can do with your sound.
You mentioned possibly having some new songs to play, has any work gone into full-length number five yet?
At the moment it is just ideas, you know, but inspiring ideas at that. Nothing has been laid down or recorded, as far as properly recorded, everything is just spread out, emailing ideas back and forth and we are putting some together, but even doing it we have been working on these ideas for a while now. We actually started on this last tour, we were lucky enough to have a rehearsal room every night, so some weeks we were sore and other weeks things were fresh but that’s the fun part about creating music is weeding out the good from the bad and see what will work, but I definitely think we are on our way.
Awesome. Well thanks a lot for having a chat with Kill Your Stereo. Good luck with all the tour preparations and we will see you in Australia soon.
I am looking forward to it. Thank you very much for taking my time Gloria, I appreciate it.
No problem, see you later.
See you soon, bye.
For ticketing details and more information on the band’s sideshows and Big Day Out appearances, visit www.bigdayout.com.