Gerard Way Reddit AMA Recap: My Chemical Romance, gender, art and ‘Hesitant Alien’
Last night, Gerard Way, who released his debut solo album Hesitant Alien this week, hosted a Reddit AMA in which he talked about comics, music, art, gender and My Chemical Romance.
Here are a few of the highlights from his AMA edited for clarity.
ON MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE
ROSESTAR130: Do you see yourself doing collaborations with frnkiero andthe cellabration/Electric Century? Or any collaborations at all?
WAY: I don't know actually... I love all of the guys so much and love what they do musically. I think a collaboration between any of the MCR members is totally possible- just not sure when. It would have to materialize organically and right now everyone is busy with their solo work.
GIAFACE: Hi, Gerard! So my question goes waaay back to 2008 when MCR released The Black Parade Is Dead. On the DVD of the concert at Maxwell’s, there’s a song you guys played that’s simply listed as Untitled. You said on stage it had a definite title but you weren’t gonna tell us because if you changed it we’d all bitch about it. (A smart move.) But it’s been six years and we still don’t know the title. This keeps me awake at night. Can you please tell us the title of that elusive song?
WAY: The song was called "Someone Out There Loves You". To my knowledge it was never recorded in demo form- probably a sound check recording somewhere, besides the live performance on the DVD.
ROASTBEEZY: A few questions:
1. A few weeks ago, at a show, I met Frank [Iero] right after his set and we talked a bit about your album. He said, that he really digs it! What did you think of his?
2. What was it like doing a solo album compared to doing a My Chem album?
3. Finally, what is your all-time favourite Bowie album? I just gotta know!
WAY: I absolutely love Frank's album. It is one of the most refreshing things I have heard in a long time. So many things to discover and pick up on, so many things to lead you to other artists you may not have heard of.
2. I felt more relaxed because I personally put let stress on myself, as I was only thinking about how the music I made effected me personally.
3- Seriously this changes so much! Right now it's Low.
BOOKERSKELETON: I've always been a huge "concept album" nerd, so bear with me, as these questions have to deal with your MCR work and, more specifically, the stories of the albums.
1. This is something that has racked my brain for years. In the booklet that came with TBP special edition CD set, you mentioned a character called the Escape Artist. Who is that? What was their purpose in the Patient's journey? Were they ever realized through concept art or in one of the big photoshoots with all the characters?
2. Danger Days was, hands down, the most linear concept in that it had a strict narrative with a beginning, end, and comic book series. Have you ever considered revisiting themes, characters, or stories from your previous musical work? Maybe putting together more linear narratives for the other concepts in comic form?
3. Was there ever a strict "beginning to end" storyline for Bullets or Three Cheers?
4. Are you considering any concept albums for your solo work?
5. I read somewhere that Drowning Lessons was your guys' least favorite song to play live and that the few times you did, something horrible happened each time. (This bums me out as it was probably my favorite song from Bullets). What bad things happened when you played it live?
1 . I believe the Escape Artist was originally The Patient, and that was his actual profession. I boiled the character down to a more simplified concept because I wanted The Patient to be more of a blank slate.
2.There are concepts and themes from Danger Days that I'm sure will continue to exist in my work as well as Shaun Simon's.
3. There was in my head, the album is less linear because it was exciting to try so many different things.
4.I am sure that I will make another concept album some day. I'm actually thinking about a concept album at the momoent, even if it'sloose. I am definitely thinking of a new character.
5. Just various stuff would go wrong, everything from starting the song at different times, to amps and drums breaking. It was also too personal for me to want to sing it live.
MUTIESCUM: i’ve always been really inspired by your style and how you incorporate a lil bit of glam, a lil bit of femme, into your aesthetic. in fact, the way you present on stage and in music videos helped me figure out my own gender identity as a teenager. who are your style icons? what was your inspiration for messing with masculinity in the ways that you do? thanks for everything
WAY: Wow! I'm so glad that helped in figuring out your gender identity. I have always been extremely sensitive to those that have gender identity issues as I feel like I have gone through it as well, if even on a smaller scale. I have always identified a fair amount with the female gender, and began at a certain point in MCR to express this through my look and performance style. So it's no surprise that all of my inspirations and style influences were pushing gender boundaries. Freddy Mercury, Bowie, Iggy, early glam, T-Rex. Masculinity to me has always made me feel like it wasn't right for me.
It was really freeing to be able to talk about gender identity btw
ON HESITANT ALIEN
OSCARVELI: What is your favorite song from Hesitant Alien?
WAY: No Shows is my favorite song off the album, but tied with Get The Gang Together mostly
TICKTOCKBANG: The saxophone solo in Get the Gang Together is just too cool.
WAY: The saxophone is my favorite part! I really wanted to bring it back a little with my album. I actually want a lot more brass and woodwind instruments on the next album.
DEANNALORENA: What inspired Lola?
WAY: I was inspired by a lot of the albums from the 90's that would have these unexplained "mascots" you would see on everything from Jesus Jones albums to Kula Shaker. Just a surrealist image connected with the music. I literally did one drawing and was happy with it. I looked at masks from Asia and the theatre over there, like Kabuki in Japan.
THEMINORITY85: What lyric from your new album are you a specially proud of?
“We got firecracker wishes that we can make” [from “Action Cat”]
HESITANTWAYLI3N: Hi Gerard, what is the inspiration behind "Maya The Physic?" It's my fsvorite song but I don't really understand the lyrics yet?
The song is about mental illness. The title was inspired by an old manga called Mai The Psychic Girl, which is great
SARAHSHINX: What was your biggest struggle when creating Hesitant Alien?
I think finding out what it was, was the biggest struggle. was it a new band? A solo album? Was it only going to be fuzz rock songs? Was it going to get more ambitious but more importantly would I allow myself to get more ambitious and take the ceiling off the project.
SHIKIROIN: When can we expect to see the Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion? You and Gabriel create such an amazing world, I can't wait to see what comes next! By the way, I love the new album.
WAY: Right now I am awaiting notes on my layout for the whole series from editor Scott Allie- once those are back I can begin scripting
GARCIAVA: How do you manage to create so much (art, music, and otherwise). How have you created an atmosphere that inspires you to be as creatively active as you are? And do you think that others can shape their surroundings to increase creative output, even if it's not part of your daily job? P.S. Thanks for being as badass as you are!
WAY: Thanks for saying that. On your question- One thing I have finally learned after all these years of making art, is that no matter how much you try and make your surroundings suitable for creativity, if the enviornment inside of you isn't creatively healthy then you won't be able to make the art you want. Being in tune with yourself and your inner truth, being at peace in there, is the best way to nurture your creativity. Then you can even make a bad enviornment a good one.
IMNOTAWOODWORKER: What is your favorite medium to work in, and what was the most fun or most challenging?
WAY: I think my favorite medium is music, with my main tools being my voice and a guitar. But I do find every other medium extremely fulfilling and useful in helping everything I do. Sometimes I need to make a song just for a comic. All of the art and mediums are connected for me. For Science!
ON WARPED TOUR
MY_UH_2431: Would you ever consider, now with the solo project, going on warped tour ever again?
I love [tour founder Kevin Lyman] and the tour a great deal. I do get nostalgic for it from time to time, though I feel I have grown in a very different direction from it. It always has a special place with me.