MCR Make Arena Rock

New Jersey rockers are eight songs into "Three Cheers" follow-up

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Having reached mainstream success with Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, My Chemical Romance are one of the headliners of this year's Warped Tour. However, lead singer Gerard Way is almost ready to turn the page.

"We don't want to milk this record," the former art-school student says as he paints backstage before his band's Long Beach, California, set. "This record was a success, but we want to leave it at that and go on and do other records for our fans, who have had this record for a year now."

Way and Co. are already eight songs into the next record, and he reports that the sound is, in a word, bigger. "It's moving in more of an arena-rock direction," he says. "Revenge was a punk band, but a punk band that looked up to Smashing Pumpkins. It's now moving into a fuller arena-rock sound. They're all really beautiful songs."

He also characterizes the lyrics as more revealing. "It's real honest stuff," says Way. "There's less fiction and more about our lives. I think it's important that this band be able to relate to human beings, because our lives have just gotten crazy. There's a lot of stuff that's happening in our lives now -- it's not about eating, shitting and breathing your band. You're being a human being again."

Way's personal favorite, "This Is How You Disappear," is actually based on someone else's life . . . and death. "After Harry Houdini died, his wife would hold seances to try and contact him," Way says. "I was really inspired by that. He was this amazing escape artist, but he couldn't escape death."

My Chemical Romance may preview new material on their fall tour, a trek they eagerly anticipate. "Our fans have never had one night to experience an hour and twenty minutes of My Chemical Romance," says Way, who poses for pictures with whatever fans make it backstage and signs autographs for all askers. "We want to give them that."