“The longer the album was out, the more and more it gained importance. i noticed over the years that people started to look back at their period of music and that era and ‘The Black Parade’ always comes up as one of the records of that era. But that’s been the crazy thing to see. Even the world that is in the record emerge through people’s art and writing into this entire universe. It’s been amazing to see the album regarded in the way it is today.

I feel like originally was a kind of warning. it felt like a display of organs that you reach in deep to and pull out for everything to take a look at. It’s exciting that people are discovering that again. But what’s the message? Stay alive. Live your life. Be kind. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Gerard Way


Here was an ambitious concept record that mixed piano ballads, vaudeville and knuckle-cracking punk/pop that attracted an older audience, while still holding their teen fanbase in thrall. The result was that The Black Parade sold well over three million, making MCR one of the hottest US rock acts around.

Yet the album quickly became an albatross, a burden exacerbated by tabloid outrage, which in 2008 linked the band to a self-harming cult among their teenage fans. “ The Black Parade ,” explains Way – who, sitting cosily in a sofa chair, expresses himself via a gentle and sincere flow of words – “was a burden emotionally and physically, as well as culturally being a heavy weight. But then I learnt to love it again, which came down to playing the shows, and seeing the responses to it.

“The process of re-engagement with the album began with honestly sitting down and doing media interviews like this, and also just talking to people about it. When we were touring it for over two years, we didn’t realise what it meant to people. We had no perception of it because we didn’t look for it. All we felt was the negative cultural impact – not bad reviews of shows or albums, but rather the tabloidism that went around.”

““The perception about The Black Parade was that it was a full-frontal-assault-with- guns-blazing album, but it took us almost three years to sell three million records. That gradual process is how it should be, because it gives people time to digest, understand and appreciate. I know a lot of the ‘full-frontal’ kind of records – they come out, everybody goes wow, everyone wants to like them straight away, yet within a few months they get bored with them; within a year or so, they don’t talk about them at all. A challenging record is one that people have to think about, and that will last longer.”

It’s one of those things where I think, the last record, was about life and death. It’s like life: you can’t have the good times without the bad times, the happy without the sad. So when you’re writing a concept record about life and death, you have to have that.

I think when you’re younger – we were only a band for, like, six years? We were still a young band and you can wear your influences on your sleeve a little bit more.

On March 1st we began the process of moving to Los Angeles to continue with preproduction. We left NYC because we felt that we needed a change of scenery. When we arrived in Los Angeles, we moved into an extremely haunted mansion called ‘The Paramour.’ This house had a huge history of odd and mysterious things occurring inside.

Some of us laughed it off; others (cough, cough, me) found the house frightening. As luck would have it, I would end up in the scariest (and later found from past residents) and most haunted room. To add to it, there was a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling that didn’t provide light, but an eerie glow. Dogs barking at thin air, doors slamming in front of people (Frankie and Gerard) and bathtubs filling with water when no-one was home (Bob).

We set up shop in a huge ballroom, chock full of creepy paintings, furniture, and statues. The material started to flow and coincidentally, the sound became more sinister, and the riff and lyrics more biting. Songs such as ‘This Is How I Disappear’ and ‘Mama’ had these booming sinister sections. Songs such as ‘Sleep’ and ‘Famous Last Words’ poured out. ‘I Don’t Love You’ became even more biting and sorrowful (as if it wasn’t already). Song after song was painted beautifully and painfully. We took out every frustration, screamed for every hope, and spoke out of our minds, night after night.

Mikey Way, The Black Parade Special Edition Booklet