Gerard Way – Reading Festival 2014 – recorded August 22, 2014 – NME/Radio 1 Stage – BBC Radio 1 –
Gerard Way at Reading 2014 tonight. Recorded on August 22, 2014 from the NME/Radio 1 Stage and broadcast live on BBC Radio 1.
Gerard Way is best known as the lead vocalist and co-founder of the rock band My Chemical Romance. He released his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien, in 2014.
Way is the co-founder of DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint. He wrote the comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and the Eisner Award-winning comic book series The Umbrella Academy, the latter of which was later adapted into a Netflix series released in 2019.
As teenagers, Gerard and his brother Mikey Way, who later became the bassist of My Chemical Romance, were influenced by artists including Iron Maiden, The Misfits, Danzig, Black Flag, Queen, Pulp, Blur, Morrissey, and The Smiths. Way originally wanted to be a guitarist. His grandmother bought him his first guitar at the age of eight, and he played in short-lived bands such as Ray Gun Jones and Nancy Drew with future bandmate Ray Toro. When he was not successful (one band kicked him out due to his lack of skill with the guitar), he chose to concentrate on his art career.
Way was working as an intern for Cartoon Network in New York City during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Seeing the effects of the attacks first-hand prompted Way to change his views on life in the following weeks. He told Spin magazine, “I literally said to myself, ‘Fuck art. I’ve gotta get out of the basement. I’ve gotta see the world. I’ve gotta make a difference.'”To help deal with the emotional effects the attacks had on him, Way wrote the lyrics to the song “Skylines and Turnstiles”, which became the first song by My Chemical Romance.
Way has also contributed vocally to other bands’ songs such as Every Time I Die’s “Kill the Music”, Head Automatica’s “Graduation Day”, Say Anything’s “In Defense of the Genre”, and The Oval Portrait’s “From My Cold Dead Hands” and “Barnabus Collins Has More Skeletons in His Closet Than Vincent Price”.
In interviews, Way has stated that music and his art work were effective outlets for his longtime battles against depression, alcoholism, and prescription drug abuse. Using music to resolve personal battles has also led Way to create deeply personal songs such as “Helena,” which he wrote in memory of his late grandmother.
On March 22, 2013, My Chemical Romance announced their break up.
On October 31, 2019, My Chemical Romance announced they would be reuniting with a date in Los Angeles on December 20 and a new merchandise line. They later announced a 2020 North American tour, as well as dates in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, although all 2020 dates were eventually postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a reminder of his 2014 solo period – hit the play button and crank up the volume on this memorable 2014 Reading Festival gig.