Rolling Stone posed six questions to My Chemical Romance singer/comic book artist/proud Jersey boy Gerard Way. He professed his love of Joan of Arc, squids and Ziggy Stardust (and discussed what it was like being “touched in the head”).
What’s the most rock-star thing you’ve ever done?
That’s really hard to come up with. I haven’t done anything rock star. I walked into a club in Canada with sunglasses on. I thought it would be cool. It was a total dick move.
What was your favorite album at age fourteen?
Live After Death by Iron Maiden. Easily. I listened to that thing for five years straight. That’s one of the things that really made me want to be a live performer.
How do you like to spend downtime on tour?
I write my comic book, which is amazingly fun. And I want to do serious paintings of Joan of Arc and squids. Joan of Arc is my favorite historical-legendary-whatever figure. Number one, it’s a boyish, waifish girl in a suit of armor on a white horse, and that’s badass. I’ve always been attracted to that character because it was somebody who was willing to die for what they believed in, and they were probably fucking crazy and like, touched by the hand of God, and I believe in that shit. I totally believe in that stuff. I believe that it can happen to anybody.
Like when we started this band, there was a brief amount of time where it felt like you drank gasoline and shit glass, and you were always covered in your own sweat, somebody else’s spit or blood or something. And I felt that, you know what I mean? I would make crazy speeches that made no sense onstage. I would talk about purifying flames being shot out of our cabinets at max volume to destroy evil and shit like that. I was, you know, touched in the head. And really, when you get touched in the head like that, I think your job at that point for the rest of your career is to remember what it was like to be touched in the head, and kind of keep that going. ‘Cause that can’t last forever, you’ll be dead, I think. Like Joan of Arc. So, yeah, I love Joan of Arc. And squids. Honestly, the shapes, the disgustingness of them, the suckers, the fact that they’re in the ocean. I’m a huge Hellboy fan so I draw lots of squids.
Who’s the coolest famous person you’ve ever met?
Johnny Marr. It was in Norway at a festival. He was amazing. He came up to get something signed for his daughter, and I basically nerded out on him. We talked a lot about Portland, OR, because he’s living there and I’m thinking of living there.
Name three records on your current playlist.
1) LostAlone, Say No to the World. They’re a really young, three-piece band from Nottingham. It’s a perfect record. There aren’t a lot of those. It’s a rock band but it’s really new-sounding. It’s fresh. It makes me feel angsty again and I haven’t heard anything that makes me feel that way in a long time.
2) David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. I listen to that all the time, but lately I’ve been listening to it front to back. It’s my desert-island album.
3) Mew, Frengers. It’s the album before the new one, and it’s great. They’re one of my favorite new bands ever.
When do you think you’ll know it’s time to retire?
When inside it doesn’t feel special anymore. Or if I can’t keep a personal sense of ownership anymore. If we can’t keep a sense it’s ours anymore, we’ll walk away.