gerard way 2019
[Photo by: Jen Rosenstein]

Over the weekend, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way released four solo songs marking his first bit of solo material in over a year and now he’s giving some background on the songs.

The multi-talented artist updated his SoundCloud descriptions for each track with a more thorough explanation for each song.

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On Saturday (April 5), Gerard Way made a post on his Instagram account revealing he was dropping new songs. Along with it, he shared a picture of his vocal cords taken prior to starting the journey into MCR’s return.

 

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Hey all, with all this uncertainty I just wanted to start uploading some unreleased stuff. Just so people can check it out and have something to listen to. Just felt like sharing. I think I have a bunch of this stuff, as Doug and I have been recording little bits here and there over the years. Some of these, like Phoning It In, were things that I planned on releasing as singles, and I may still do that at some point when I finish them, but I figured why not. It feels good to share. Who knows if some of this stuff would have ever come out? Oh yeah, the music is on my soundcloud, which I haven’t really used in ages. The link is in my linktree, along with a link to the Covid-19 Response Fund. In case you are wondering, this is a picture of my vocal cords, from when I went to see the ear/nose/throat doc before embarking on this my chem journey, to make sure everything was in order. He said, “It’s a little red, but looking good”. I’m calling all of this stuff Distraction Or Despair, since that seems to be the two things I keep shifting between. Probably a lot of other people too. But I think only some of the tracks are tied to an “album” of that name. I’m just winging it, keeping it casual. May add some notes to the tracks. Hope everyone is safe and healthy. Rock on.

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Now, Gerard Way is giving a more in-depth telling of how each song came together. You can read his explanations below. One in particular stands out as he says the song “Success!” was intended to be for a new band after MCR and before his solo career. The band was going to be called Baby Animal Hospital but was ultimately left behind.

“Phoning It In”

“Phoning It In. I’ve always loved the phrase and I was just inspired to write a song with it. To keep in spirit with the title of the song, I made sure not to try too hard on any one element. I wrote the riff quickly, wrote the lyrics quickly, we got the guitar sound quickly, and there was no overthinking or really changing anything. My only complaint about it is that I think it is a little too fast, so it forces me to sing harder to keep up, and it doesn’t fully sound like I’m phoning in the vocals. So I thought about slowing it down and delivering a more laid back vocal take. Just ever so slightly.

I played the guitar, sang, No bass yet. Doug programmed the drums. Every once in a while we will have someone play drums on the songs, but usually only when we are finishing something for release. Otherwise, all the drums in the demos are programmed by Doug, and I think he does a really good job of making them sound kind of real and natural. I get attached to them. All of Hesitant Alien started as demos with programmed drums by Doug. He and I have a cool relationship, and have evolved together over the years since he engineered Black Parade, Danger Days, and engineered and produced Hesitant Alien.

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We work in the same space, the studio at my house, called Milk Friends. I just let him have the space I’m not using and he brought in all of his gear and works on various projects, recording, and mixes, and I would be in the other room, the office, writing comics. And every so often, when neither of us is too busy, we record things. I like sharing artistic spaces with people, especially Doug. It’s nice to have a friend that can record you when you have an idea, because I’m terrible at recording and I barely even know how to use Garage Band. So all the singles you have gotten from me over the last couple of years have been done with Doug and I, and then various musicians who would replace certain things, making them real, and sound better.”

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“Crate Amp”

“This is one of maybe five tracks of me messing around with this Crate amp I got off of Reverb for cheap. It has a mysterious stain on the front that looks like someone had put a candle on top of the amp and the wax just dripped down the front. In the listing, the stain was described as “a stain that mostly comes off”. One of the things Doug and I were experimenting with for the last three months was how bad we could get stuff to sound. That’s not me trying to diss on Crate amps, as the very first amp I had— the one I wrote Skylines and Turnstiles with— was a Crate amp with built in distortion. But they do not have a reputation for being high quality amps, at least in the musical circles I was in.

A lot of people get kind of snobby about them. But I think a lot of metal or thrash metal musicians swear by them. They are very crunchy, so I think that is why, since some metal has a lot of crunchy distortion. But we would turn the amp distortion on, and then run a distortion pedal through it, to see how fucked up we could get it. I’ll probably put the rest of the jam tracks up, but I think it’s a lot of the same riff over and over, since I didn’t know when Doug was in record-mode and I wanted to make sure I got the two or three parts down once I discovered them. This is just me playing guitar meandering through ideas, sloppily. Maybe some of these riffs will become songs.”

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“Success!”

“Back before Hesitant Alien was a thing, and before I wanted to pursue a solo career, I wanted to start a band and just sing and play guitar, after my chem broke up. The name of the band was going to be Baby Animal Hospital (the record label hated the name, especially since it included both the words ‘baby’ and ‘hospital’ in the same phrase), and I did a bunch of rough graphic design for it, but in the end, it really felt like a solo thing, so that’s what it became. But when it was Baby Animal Hospital (I wanted something that sounded warm and fuzzy and loud, like the tones)

I recorded this track with Doug for the opening of the record. The lyrics/sounds are just the word BAH over and over again, which where the first letters of each word of the band name, but that wasn’t intentional, I just liked the sound. And this was us really messing with auto-tune to try and make it sound like an instrument. It was supposed to be this track as track one and go right into Action Cat. Later on, I figured I would just make a zine with the name Baby Animal Hospital, but I didn’t get very far with it. Still like the name, and may do something with it in the future. Maybe one day I’ll share all the graphic design I did for it when it was a band, a lot of which was cut and paste by hand.”

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“Welcome to the Hotel”

“This was something Doug and I threw together for the release of Umbrella Academy Volume Three: Hotel Oblivion. Just something short for an instagram video. We did this really quick, didn’t give it much thought other than trying to make something that sounded a little like The Stooges. A few months later, I actually wrote a verse and some new lyrics and a new vocal melody for the verse, and then I kind of wanted to finish the song. Someday. Like most of this stuff, it’s me playing guitar, bass if there is bass, doing the vocals, and Doug programming the drums.”

More On Gerard Way

Gerard Way also posted an interview he did where he talks all things sci-fi with Infinite Worlds. Some of the proceeds from pre-orders of the print issue are going towards Direct Relief.

 

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Hey all, I’m giving an interview to this cool little sci-fi magazine called Infinite Worlds @infiniteworldsmagazine. It’s a magazine I like and he’s donating some of the pre-orders to charity. No stress, no pressure. A lot of people in the press just want to talk about my chem and why we got back together and all that, and we aren’t doing any interviews for that. And we don’t really talk about my chem in this interview unless it came up (it’s an active interview so it may come up in relation to art, but nothing about the reunion). It’s a written interview, which I like, and I have been completing little bits here and there. I started the interview right when the pandemic really became a world issue, before they were calling it a pandemic, and things changed pretty rapidly, so I don’t know what the next set of answers will be like but we do talk about it, and other things like sci-fi. Here is a breakdown from Winston on how the charity donations break down: “Infinite Worlds wants to do our part to fight the coronavirus pandemic, so we’re donating $1 for every Issue 4 pre-ordered before June 1st, 2020! We hope to sell 1000 pre-orders and raise $1000 for Direct Relief! Donations will be made on a weekly basis and can be tracked on our website or on our Instagram page!” And here is a little more from Winston about the magazine: “Infinite Worlds is an entirely independent, inclusive, ad-free, limited-edition, print science fiction magazine featuring art, comics, and short stories from creative minds the world over. Our goal is to foster the incredible power of the imagination and unlock a better future for humankind.” I like cool people making cool stuff, so I’m doing the interview. You can check it out when it goes to print. -G #scifi

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What do you think of Gerard Way’s explanations for the new tracks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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