My Chemical Romance recently visited the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live before heading to Japan to kick off their World Contamination Tour in support of their latest hit album, Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Vocalist Gerard Way, bassist Mikey Way along with guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero sat down for the Museum’s An Evening With series in the 200 seat Clive Davis Theater. The intimate question-and-answer session was led by Bob Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum.
The MCRmy began lining up outside of the museum the night before, with some people traveling from as far as Argentina to attend the event. The audience was a great representation of the mix of people MCR draw to their concerts as people of all ages took advantage of the opportunity to see a great band discuss their career in an intimate setting.
The band were candid and open discussing how the events of Sept. 11, 2001, profoundly influenced MCR and helped shape the formation of the band. The Way brothers were especially moved by the incident and were inspired to change the course of their lives.
“I was doing something really irrelevant at the time that I didn’t feel was important, and I remember thinking to myself that I can’t waste this,” Gerard Way said. “What I ended up processing in my head is that life isn’t a game. It isn’t something you waste.”
Just after the events of 9/11 the band had their first rehearsal with the Way brothers, Toro and then-drummer Matt Pelissier. At the time, Iero was the guitarist for punk band Pencey Prep and supported MCR from afar as their first true fan.
“I remember being a fly on the wall when they finished the first song they ever really recorded, and they were so excited about it,” Iero said. “They would play it over and over again and high five each other.” Iero ribbed vocalist Way for high fiving the band members after completing a song but they chuckled as they admitted to still doing it now.
The band openly discussed their early years, their various musical roots with Santelli and appeared to be genuinely moved by fans traveling from as far as Argentina, and sharing stories of being inspired by MCR’s music to help them get through the rough times.
Iero became visibly emotional when a young cancer survivor named Melissa asked the group what their inspiration was for the song Cancer. The band spoke about spending time with children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they were humbled by their experiences and amazed by the strength these families showed.
“We all come from such different backgrounds musically. We played what was in us and that’s really how the sound was formed,” Toro said. “I think we have a unique sound and a unique take on music, and that take is anything goes.”
Toro’s roots are founded in heavy metal, with Iero coming from punk inspiration and the Way brothers grew up on the glam sounds of David Bowie.
The intimate audience of 200 were treated to a signed CD from the band along with the opportunity for a group photo on their way out.
My Chemical Romance is currently on tour and about to take over Europe with a series of dates in February and March before returning to the USA in April for more shows.