Whatever your thoughts on My Chemical Romance, it’s hard to deny that they’re a very impressive live band. They have charisma, they have energy, they have an unfeasibly intimate relationship with their audience (especially given the size of the crowds they play) and they have the impressive acrobatic guitar playing of Frank Iero.
After their most successful album to date, Anne Waites talks to Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro about Puzzle, Dave Grohl stealing his beard/hair combo and receiving elaborate portraits from Japanese fans.
How would you sum up the first half of 2008?
“Hectic! It’s been amazing actually, we’re going to places we’ve never played before, doing things that we never thought we’d get a chance to do. Spreading the word of our music.”
How was your first trip to Japan?
“It was really full on. People just obsess over the bands that they like. They seem to research what you’re really like. We kind of thought the shows might be quite quiet atmosphere-wise. But it was the exact opposite of that.”
Did you get any good presents?
“James did! He’s written on the on-line blog that we didn’t get to see the cherry blossom because it was the wrong time of year. A girl did this crazy airbrushed painting of James with his glorious ginger locks standing in front of this big blossom tree. It must have taken her ages! Me and Ben got a couple of letters saying ‘thanks for coming’, and James got this beautiful portrait. I think he’s a messiah over there because he’s got ginger hair.”
Watch the video to ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ by Biffy Clyro
What was the biggest culture shock?
“They don’t really do hangover food. It’s still all fresh fish first thing in the morning. Which is lovely, but if you’re feeling green you don’t really want to eat a bit of raw squid. But the biggest surprise is that people are the same everywhere. And Marty Friedman who used to play guitar in Megadeth is a huge megastar over there. He’s got his own TV show, we went on it. He was absolutely tiny! But with a big poodle perm on top.”
What’s the new single ‘Mountains‘ about?
“It feels like an in-between albums song. It’s kind of putting a full stop on Puzzle lyrically. It’s taking up from where ‘Machines’ left off, with its little bit of hope. With this one it’s where you’re completely trying to start again and just have confidence in yourself again. Just having the bit between your teeth and going for it. I try not to think too much about what I’m writing about, but that’s the impression I get from it!”
Watch the video to ‘Machines’ by Biffy Clyro
How’s the other new stuff sounding?
“We’ve got some quite bizarre songs. We’ve got one that’s sleazy, a bit like Nick Cave. We’ve got a big dumb rock song. There’s one with this groovy riff, a southern rock riff, which is my favourite to play. It puts a smile on my face every time I play it. I’m really pleased we can still take ourselves by surprise. It feels like we’re constantly evolving, and that feels mega.”
Last year was a bit of a rollercoaster. How’s that affected you? Are you getting big headed yet?
“We’re confident in what we’re doing musically, but we’re not really hugely confident dudes. So I feel as if we’ve almost got more to prove now than we did before. It felt like with Puzzle we took a huge step forward, as we have on every record hopefully. We want our next record to be better than Puzzle. We’ve put a lot of pressure on ourselves, so we definitely don’t have an abundance of confidence, but I think that’s a good thing. I think if you start thinking you’re the dog’s b******ks you forget why you’re doing it. And we still live in Scotland so we can’t get too carried away.”
Watch Biffy Clyro perform ‘Folding Stars’ in a Virgin Radio Session
Would that be a sure-fire way to a beating?
“Exactly! Actually, there were two Russians found dead in a big ship, and they were docked across from our flat. There were two dead Russians facing me when I got back from Madrid. And a young mum was stabbed to death just up the road. Ayrshire is kicking off. People are losing their f*****g minds, I can’t believe it.”
The Daily Mail can always blame it on emo.
“It’s unbelievable. Movies and music cannot make people into psychopaths. It’s got nothing to do with it! There’s always going to be something that triggers a maniac to do what they do. It’s nothing to do with what you listen to. We’d all be f*****g nuts if that was the case!”
Heard any good rumours about yourself lately?
“No, I try and stay far away from news about our band as possible. Before the Foo Fighters shows everyone kept saying we were playing with them, which was just because Dave Grohl’s nicked my beard and hair combo.”
Biffy Clyro support Bon Jovi at Twickenham Stadium on 27 June 2008
‘Mountains’ is released on 25 August 2008 on 14th Floor Records
Thrash Hits .com was at the March at Marble Arch to see the My Chemical Romance fans protesting against the Daily Mail. We talked to some fans and took some photos as well, which we have compiled in this great Thrash Hits montage. We hope you enjoy it.
Watch ‘My Chemical Romance Fans vs Daily Mail: London Protest’
Thrash Hits .com talked to a few My Chemical Romance fans, who were at Marble Arch peacefully protesting against the Daily Mail, about exactly what they’re protesting about.
Yasmin Malik, 16, Romford & Hannah Malik, 14, Horsham Yasmin: “I’m here to support my favourite band. I think it’s absolutely awful that the newspapers have blamed MCR for the suicide especially as all the time the band is saying that you should absolutely never do that to yourself and throw away your life.” Hannah: “I’m proud of the fans and I hope the band is proud of us too. MCR have the best fans.” Favourite MCR Song: (Yasmin) I love ‘Kill Your Friends’ but I think that’ a bad song to say today! (Hannah) ‘Famous Last Words’ Favourite MCR Member: (Yasmin) All of them. (Hannah) Ray
Lauren, 22, Portsmouth
“I got up at 5am! I’ve been running events for the Sophie Lancaster Memorial Fund. I really don’t believe the national press should be discriminating against sub-cultures or should actually be encouraging the kind of mentality that is causing people to be murdered or beaten up when they’re walking home. Discrimination is not OK.” Favourite MCR Song: ‘Demolition Lovers’ Favourite MCR Member: Gerard Way is so inspirational.
Toby Lynch, 19, West London
“I’m here to support MCR because the Daily Mail have done this three times now and it’s just getting ridiculous. Emo’s not about suicide. MCR don’t like suicide.” Favourite MCR Song: All of them Favourite MCR Member: Gerard Way
Sam Crosby, 20, West London
“I’m here to support MCR and show the public that it’s not what the Daily Mail says it’s about. It’s about good music and enjoying yourself.” Favourite MCR Song: ‘Desert Song’ Favourite MCR Member: He loves them all
Hayley Kennedy, 18, Eastcote
“I don’t believe it’s right that people can stereotype that people commit suicide because of music when the music actually promotes the opposite.” Favourite MCR Song: ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’ Favourite MCR Member: Mikey Way
Documented across the mainstream press over the past few days, hundreds of disgruntled My Chemical Romance fans descended upon central London today to protest against The Daily Mail‘s coverage earlier this month.
Thrash Hits editor Raziq Rauf was there with photographer Abbi London.
At 9.50am on Saturday, 31 May 2008 a group of around 100 My Chemical Romance fans congregated at Marble Arch, in what is the final weekend of the half-term holiday for many, to peacefully protest against the Daily Mail’s “War On Emo”, and more specifically, it’s consistent attacks on My Chemical Romance.
By 10.15am the group had swelled to around 200 and there was a celebratory atmosphere as would be expected with such a large group of like-minded individuals. We must remember, of course, that everyone here thinks that My Chemical Romance are great.
We took some photos and will be updating this gallery throughout the day as well as bringing you interviews with some protesters.
My Chemical Romance
MCR fans sign a homemade banner
They’re thinking them
You’ll never look bad in black
These outfits took some effort
An MCR fan signs the banner
Some protesters congregate on a bench
MCR fans congregate by Marble Arch
A couple of fans plus an unexpected attendee
More MCR fans arrive
One fan takes a cigarette break
Another fan signs the banner
One protester brought her dog
One of the best posters
It’s a fun day out
Some fans are not OK
They’re not afraid to keep on living
Swedish people like MCR too y’know
Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down
Frank Iero and Gerard Way’s quotes
Anonymous join the party
Another great Gerard Way quote
Marble Arch got taken over
Gerard’s a positive guy!
You’ll never wash that out.
Everyone’s written their love down
The event organiser herself
We spoke to 16-year-old event organiser, Anni Smith – a proud My Chemical Romance fan and sufferer of depression herself.
“It’s been so amazing. We’ve achieved more than we thought we would and I’m so proud of our fans. The Daily Mail should take a look around.
“It was reported that My Chemical Romance created all this themselves but it’s not so much the power of the band as much as it is the power of the fans.
“We want to raise awareness of My Chemical Romance’s real message that when you’re feeling suicidal and depressed you should get professional help.
“We want people to understand how serious an issue depression is. It’s not a fashion trend.
As a legion of My Chemical Romance fans prepare to march to the offices of the Daily Mail, Pete Fear looks at why the hell anyone would care. It’s because of the music, man!
My Chemical Romance are the most horrific, potently nasty and unpleasant thing that will ever happen to the Daily Mail: a cranked up rock band that will turn your children into devil worshippers and invite Eastern European asylum seekers into your home.
But forget that, because even the BBC and The Guardian know this. All of the coverage of this Saturday’s Dacre-baiting march has focused on the black hair, the Converse slip-ons, the scars and the straight edge tattoos. No one has mentioned that My Chems are one of the finest rock bands to emerge from the States this decade.
Emerging from the ashes of a Thursday-aping hardcore world (via Eyeball Records’ I Brought You Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love), it was the Lifetime-meets-John Hughes movies sounds of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge that launched MCR as both a damn great band and a sociological case study.
Three Cheers… is a landmark record, a quick-shot blast of sharp turns of phrase and punk rock guitars. From the faux-Spanish tongues and chuggy Radiohead-isms of ‘The Jetset Life Is Going To Kill You’ to the pop-is-pain mega choruses of ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’, Three Cheers… is Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree’s less saccharine sister, positioning them as this generation’s Queen to FOB’s Air Supply.
The songs – and more importantly the album as a whole – make the current consternation of the Lord Rothmere-owned organ and its hatebred middle aged readers irrelevant.
The fact that My Chemical Romance have been derided as much as bands such as Kiss (Knights in Satan’s Service) is down to the fact that Three Cheers…, and The Black Parade, with its pompous Mercury/May-influence, are as full of hope and rock stomp as records like Destroyer (Detroooit Rock City!!)
Gerard Way has become a genuine New Jersey success story; not for any crusade against the newspaper backlash, but for being in a band that blows the bloody doors off, every time.