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My Chemical Romance Trade Theatrics for Raw Rock on Next LP

November 16, 2009 4:47 PM ET

When My Chemical Romance finally stopped touring behind their 2006 concept album The Black Parade, the band was so drained guitarist Frank Iero feared the worst: "I thought the band was going to break up." But instead of splitting, MCR took a break, then hit a Los Angeles studio with Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen producer Brendan O'Brien and spent almost a full year crafting something far from the theatrical pomp of the Parade. As singer Gerard Way tells Rolling Stone in our new issue, he wanted to "harness everything that's great about this band into shorter songs. Almost protopunk, like the Stooges or the MC5."

The New Jersey quintet's as-yet-untitled fourth disc is due in the spring, and RS hung out in the studio while Way cut some vocals for "Trans Am," the track that stoked their new creative direction and pushed them to become "an American rock band instead of a British rock band," as he puts it. The first-pumper begins with "I got a bulletproof heart" and includes a Queen-esque section where Way sings "These pigs are after me, after you" repeatedly.

When RS caught up with Way at Comic-Con earlier this year, he reported the band had written its very own "Born to Run" in "Death Before Disco." "I can't wait for people to hear it. To me, it's the greatest song we've ever written — it's my favorite MCR song," he said.

For the full story on the band's upcoming disc, grab the latest issue of RS, on stands now.

Related Stories:
Q&A: Gerard Way
My Chemical Romance: The Six-Pack Q&A

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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