Talk about a band that’s on top of their game. Back in August, My Chemical Romance debuted their single “Welcome to the Black Parade” at the MTV VMA’s pre-show atop the Rockefeller Center, and they haven’t come back down since.
On Feb. 22nd, the band is launching their first extensive tour in support of “The Black Parade,” MCR’s biggest and most ambitious album to date. The tour, according to guitarist Frank Iero, is going to reflect that.
“This is a lot different than anything we’ve ever tried. It’s on a larger scale,” Iero said in a conference call. “They’re all arena shows and we’re actually bringing a lot of production with us. It’s going to be really fun to bring ‘The Black Parade’ to life.”
With only one opening band, the UK’s Muse, MCR will be playing across the States and Europe for three months. It may feel foreign to the longtime fans-what with the arenas and the planned theatrical scenes and sets-but what Iero said that people should look forward to is how the old songs will mix in with the new.
“What’s going to be cool about it is on these songs on this record, when put in a certain order, tell the story that’s represented on ‘The Black Parade.’ And then when taken out of context and switched around and added with old material, it takes you on a different journey,” he said.
“The Black Parade” has certainly taken the band on its own journey. Coming off the success of their previous album “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” the Jersey rockers took some risks: a new member (drummer Bob Bryar); a new producer (Rob Cavallo, the mastermind behind Green Day’s “American Idiot”); and a new recording process (which involved scrapping most of the songs written on the road and instead writing songs in the studio).
And then of course there’s whole business of the concept album. Focusing around an ambiguous character known as “The Patient,” “The Black Parade” is a story of morality, death and hope set to sound of dark and frantic pop-punk, with the occasional power ballad.
“We wanted this to be the record that, when it’s all said and done, I’m going to say, ‘I did that. I took every risk possible and I’m proud of it because it came out exactly the way I thought it was going to,'” Iero said.
The album debuted at number two on Billboard and was number one on several SoundScan lists. And so MCR joined the ranks of bands-Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, The Killers and, of course, Green Day-that have recently dabbled in their ambitions with double albums and concept albums.
Iero said it’s an odd coincidence, but a much needed call to action.
“I really think that everybody kind of took notice and was like, ‘I’m over this single-driven market,'” Iero said. “I think you’re seeing this resurgence of just real bands.that do care and take pride in their craft.”
For better or worse, their latest outing is sort of a reinvention of MCR on more levels than their new hairdos and logo. Once again, as with the change in image and sound on “Three Cheers,” they’ve polarized fans. A quick look at a recent Kerrang! Magazine poll speaks volumes: MCR won the categories of Best and Worst Band, and Best and Worst Album in 2006. Then there are the changes from the other end: the thousands of new faces mingling with the old fans.
But Iero said that with this upcoming tour none of this is lost on the band, as both MCR and the fans will be adjusting to the changes brought on by the success of “The Black Parade.”
“The hardest thing about playing the shows now is that it’s a totally different thing connecting with 10,000 people as opposed to connecting with 100 people,” Iero said. “It’s a different mindset to be able to connect with people that are so far away. It’s something that takes a long time to perfect. And I think that we’re definitely on our way to being able to do that.”
MCR will be playing at the BankAtlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale on April 22nd.
Rafael Sangiovanni can be contacted at email@example.com.