Interview: Mikey Way of My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way took some time out on the Honda Civic Tour to talk about being on the road with Blink 182, the band’s new material and more.

I caught the Honda Civic Tour in Boston the other night. Great job.

Oh, awesome. Thank you! It’s been a lot of fun so far. I mean, we’ve only been out for a couple of days, but it seems to be one of our favorite tours. I don’t want to jump the gun or anything, but it seems like it could be one of our favorite tours.

How has the reaction been so far?

It’s been awesome! There’s a great mix of people in the crowds, and everyone that’s there wants to have fun. That’s been the vibe in the crowd. People are really accepting of every band on the show. I’ve watch every band so far play, and the crowd is really receptive and awesome.

What’s it like to share the stage with Blink 182?

It’s really, really, really great. They’re a band that we’ve respected and had a mutual adoration for for a long time. Actually, this is a tour we talked about doing a long time ago. It just never worked out, and then they went on a little bit of a break. When they were coming back, Tom [DeLonge] came out to one of our shows and asked us if we’d want to do a tour together. It was really exciting. We thought it would be something that people would be really excited about. We got together, we picked a bunch of bands that we both really like and we came up with production. We started about five days ago, and it’s all going amazing.

How about Manchester Orchestra, who are opening for this leg of the tour?

They’re amazing. They have an intense live energy. They’re really good. It’s something that people wouldn’t usually expect on a tour like this, but it’s working really well. They’re turning a lot of heads on this tour.

I know you’ve only been out for about a week, but do you have any tour stories so far? It must be exciting being on the road with Blink.

Yeah, they’re such great guys. We’ve known them for a long time. We toured Warped Tour in 2005 with The Transplants and we got to meet Travis [Barker]. Angels and Airwaves, we’ve done shows with them a ton and got to know Tom through the years. And Mark [Hoppus] I met through mutual friends. The vibe is just amazing. It’s a bunch of friends on tour. Everybody goofs around and hangs out. It’s like a giant, fun rock tour. It’s really cool.

You designed a motorcycle for the tour. Could you tell us a bit about that?

Sure! Usually on the Civic Tour, the bands design a Civic. We wanted to do something a little different, because Blink did an awesome Civic and we didn’t want to be like, “Oh, we’ve got to outdo their Civic.” So we like, “Let’s do a motorcycle. That could be cool.” What’s cool about it is the bike kind of fits the aesthetic of the album. It kind of reminded us of one of our favorite movies, Akira; the bikes that they ride in that. It turned out perfect. We mixed the visuals of our album with the bike, and it came out great.

Do you prefer a bigger tour like this or a headlining slot?

It’s weird. As a band, we just really like to get in front of as many people as possible. I think those are situations where we really shine. At the beginning of the album cycle we did some underplays, and those usually make me more nervous. When you play a bigger place, it’s easier to just forget people are watching you because they’re farther away. It’s easier to detach yourself from getting scared on stage. But I love tours like this. Everything gets really dialed in and regimented. Everything works like clockwork; everything is taken care of. It’s a lot of fun.

So you still find yourself getting those pre-show jitters?

Oh, absolutely! Every night. It never goes away. I think that’s a good thing; I don’t think it’s supposed to ever go away. You’re not in the right profession if it goes away, I guess.

Danger Days just came out last year, but have you started working on any new material?

Yeah, we have actually. We kind of write every day and we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Sometimes we’ll be at soundcheck and someone will have a riff and everyone starts playing off the riff, or Gerard [Way] has a vocal melody and everyone starts playing off the vocal melody. We’ve had tons of stuff come from that. We’re not really sure where the songs are going to end up or what they’re going to be yet, but we’re just going to keep writing and writing. After this tour, we’re going to pretty quickly continue demoing and then get in there as soon as possible to make a new album.

What’s the new stuff sounding like?

The weird thing is, whenever we have a new batch of songs pop up during a record cycle or after a record cycle, it’s usually some kind of kind of thing that gets us to the next sound. Any time we try to guess where we’re going to be or where we’re going to go, we’re usually wrong but we’re always very pleasantly surprised at where we ended up. It’s hard for us to guess what it’s going to end up sounding like. Right now, it’s definitely a mix of Danger Days and some of the stuff we did back in the day.

Sounds good to me. Speaking of back in the day, this year marks the band’s 10th anniversary. Do you have anything special planned?

Yeah! We actually have a bunch of surprises. I’m not able to talk about many of them, but what I can talk about is that we’re going to be playing some songs closer to the anniversary that we haven’t played in a very long time. We’ve been going through and practicing some of the older stuff. 

On a related note, how do you come up with your setlists?

For the past couple of tours, Frank [Iero] has been doing it. Here’s really good at it. Like backstage before the show, he comes up with a pre-show psych up mix. He’s just really good at making mix CDs and mix tapes, and it lends itself to the setlist. He’s been really good at making the setlist like a journey. You don’t know what’s gonna come next. It’s kind of like something old, something new and something you didn’t expect us to play.

Do you plan to continue your foray into graphic novels?

Yeah. Actually, me and G are working on something for DC [Comics] right now. It would have been out quite a time ago, but we had some stuff come up that we had to take care of so it got pushed back. We’re in the thick of it now. We’re planning and plotting and coming up with designs and sketches. There should be some kind of announcement very soon. 

What are you plans for after the tour wraps up? I know you mentioned demoing…

Yeah, we’re going to continue demoing. I can foresee us recording sooner than later and putting something out. We’re in a real prolific spot creatively, and we want to harness it. We want to come out with something soon and not leave a giant gap between albums.

Do you have any closing remarks?

Thank you to your website for supporting us through the years. If anyone wants to come check out the Civic Tour, we’re five days in and it’s incredible. It feels like it’s going to be one of the best tours we’ve ever been on.

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