We decided to approach Gerard’s bio a little bit differently than others. We asked ourselves, “Who would we rather hear tell us about his life- Gerard or someone else?” The answer, of course, was Gerard. So, with that in mind, we did our best to compile quotes from the man himself to allow him to tell you about his life instead of us. Since there are so many interviews with him out there, we were fortunate enough to be able to do this. All quotes are from Gerard unless otherwise noted.
We hope you enjoy this format. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below or let us know if you think there is something that should be added.
Name: Gerard Arthur Way
DOB: April 9th, 1977
Sun sign: Aries
Height: 5 ft 9 in
Mother – Donna Lee Way (nee Rush)
Father – Donald Way
Brother – Michael “Mikey” James Way, born September 10, 1980
Lindsey Ann Ballato (aka Lyn-Z from the band Mindless Self Indulgence), married September 3, 2007
Daughter – Bandit Lee Way, Born May 27, 2009
Belleville High School, Belleville, NJ, Graduated 1995
School of Visual Arts, Manhattan, NY, Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1999
We all know gerard way has grown into a prolific artist capable of inspiring and delighting thousands through his insightfully quotable words, music and comics, but to understand how he got there, we must first understand where he’s been.
Gerard’s story begins in Belleville, NJ where he lived with his parents, brother and maternal grandparents. It was a dangerous neighborhood which made growing up a bit of a challenge as the brothers were not allowed to play outside.
Being unable to play outside with friends forged a strong bond between the brothers. “What I had to do, and my brother had to do, was really to create our own space in our heads. I drew pictures, I made stories up, I liked a lot, I lived in my head.” (Source: Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance by Tom Bryant)
When it came to his work ethic and strong family values Gerard credits his dad shaping him morally. “My dad’s a real man, a working class guy who worked hard for every single penny. He’s an amazing man who worked all his life, even weekends, so he could look after my brother and I. From when I was a kid, my dad said to me, “You can be whatever you want.’” (Source: NME 2006)
While Gerard gives his father the accolades for working hard to keep his family going, he credits his mother, Donna, with sparking his interest in the macabre. “She would rent all these horror movies when we were really young and make us watch them with her. She had hundreds of creepy dolls that she’d collected and there was a room in my house filled with nothing but creepy fucking dolls. I would have to walk through this room to get to my room and at night I’d hold my breath and run through the room because I was so terrified of the dolls.” (Source: Kerrang!)
Although his parents did have a hand in his early influences, Gerard is often quoted as saying that his biggest creative influence was his grandmother, ceramic artist, Elena Lee Rush. “My grandmother was a woman who inspired me and pushed Mikey and I toward those things. She knew we had this ability and so she pushed us towards it. She made us sing if she thought we could, learn how to act, she taught us how to use our imagination.” (Source: Wonkavision Rock)
In fact, it was Elena who bought Gerard his first guitar when he was eight years old. At around the same time, his mother, Donna, took him to his first concert, her favorite artist, Bruce Springsteen.
Encouraged by Elena and his drama teacher at school, he tried out for the role of Peter Pan in fourth grade. “I don’t know how cool this is that I got the part, but I just kind of opened my mouth and was able to sing. And then my grandma was really excited about it. I wasn’t so excited about it — I guess I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Then after I got the part, I was stuck into doing it. She made me this outfit and it was green tights, everything. Of course, it’s a great idea to play Peter Pan your first year at a new school.” (Source: Life on the Murder Scene)
Perhaps it was the scars left by those tights that prompted Gerard to seek out his first job. “At 14, my first official job was working for a Catholic school uniform supply story, which landed me a sick uniform.” (Source: Twitter)
@iamamortal Me too! At 14 my first official job was working for a Catholic School Uniform supply store, which landed me a sick uniform.
When he was 15, Gerard tried his hand at being in a band for the first time. Fate, however, had other plans. “I thought I was going to be in a rock band and play guitar. I wasn’t very good. I joined this band I was really psyched on and I couldn’t play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ on the guitar and I got kicked out.” (Source: This Band Will Save Your Life)
Even though his first attempt at a rock band did not go as well as he had hoped, there was always his other passion — comics!
In February of 1994, a 16 year-old Gerard was seen in the audience of an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael. The episode focused on the controversy surrounding the publicizing of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes in a comic book created by Hart D. Fisher.
Shortly following the television appearance, ‘On Raven’s Wings,’ the comic book Gerard started writing when he was 15, was published by Fisher’s firm, Boneyard Press. Gerard was credited as Garry Way. The book was canceled after two issues due to the loss of the art team. The two lost touch after the nineties, but would have one more public interaction in early 2008. This was when Fisher would accuse Gerard not only of trying to conceal the fact that ‘On Raven’s Wings’ was Gerard’s first comic book publication, but also of stealing material from him for My Chemical Romance lyrics. None of this ever held up and since none of it was proven to be true it was largely dismissed.
As a teenager, Gerard used to hang out so much at the local comic store that he was eventually offered a job there. This, too, was to be ill-fated. “I was working at the comic store, just watching anime, and we got held up. They put me on the ground and put a .357 Magnum to the back of my head, execution-style. I lost a lot of innocence after that. The comic book store closed two weeks later.” (Source: NME)
Although those may have been dark times for Gerard, there were things to be celebrated as well, such as graduating Belleville High School in 1995. Gerard had never been a fan of high school. “On my first day in high school I sat all alone at lunchtime. It was the classic story – the weird kid in the Army jacket, horror movie T-shirt, and long, black hair. I was more interested in music and being creative. People were never really mean to me; they mostly just left me alone. I think, really, I just wanted to be alone.” (Source: Kerrang!)
Over the course of his childhood and teenage years, many bands would influence Gerard and shape him into the artist that he was to become. Iron Maiden, Misfits, David Bowie, Danzig, Black Flag, Queen, Pulp, Blur, Morrissey, The Smiths, The Cure and The Smashing Pumpkins — all of them have played a big part in his life.
In fact, it was his love for Iron Maiden that got him through his failed attempt at being a guitarist. This is where Gerard returned to entertaining the idea of singing. “Well, it started really young with Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). He really inspired me ‘cause he’s a great frontman, a great singer, and I’ve always been influenced by the way he sang.” (Source: Metal Underground)
But it wasn’t just the vocals that inspired him, “I could pinpoint the live album by Iron Maiden, Live After Death, as the catalyst for me wanting to play music. From the theatrical intro to the thundering choruses, what else could you want in rock and roll? I was sold.” (Source: Metal Underground)
When it comes to punk rock, it was the album Walk Among Us by Misfits that sparked his passion. This record changed everything for me. My mom wouldn’t buy it for me because it had a song called ‘Devil’s Whore house,’ so I got my grandfather to buy it for me. I put it on and immediately I felt more liberated, free, and pissed off than I’d ever been. I was an outcast and that record really got me through some bad times.” (Source: This Band Will Save Your Life)
“Also, obviously, Geoff (Rickly) from Thursday inspired me as a person to just get up and do that. I’ve been a big fan of music and I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I just never had the urge to be a frontman until I saw him do it. I was like, ‘You know what? It just seems so incredible and it seems like he’s actually making a difference and he was doing something.’ Right at that moment is when I knew I would do it.” (Source: Metal Underground)
Geoff Rickly has also spoken about the immediate friendship that formed between them. “Gerard would stay at home. I got the feeling that he was severely depressed because he would never come out. When I finally met him, we formed a friendship right away. He was a big fan of Thursday and so, in the early days, he did some Thursday T-shirts and things like that.” (Source: Geoff Rickly, Kerrang!)
Geoff may have been Gerard’s inspiration for becoming a frontman, but when it came to writing music or playing guitar, that was a different story. “I always cite my influences as being the Misfits and The Smiths and The Cure; those artists inspired me to write music, but Billy Joe, from Green Day, influenced me to play guitar.”
Gerard’s desire to be in a band was put on hold as he went off to college to pursue his lifelong dream, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree, or simply stated, writing comic books. This is not only where he fine-tuned his talents but also where he gained the skills that show in his art for the rest of his life. “The first year was a foundation year and it really, really taught me how to look at the world, in such a way that I still use the same skills that I developed. I developed my senses a great deal. Talent can only take you so far; it’s your own point of view on the world that makes a difference in art.” (Source: This Band Will Save Your Life)
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 1999, Gerard made another attempt at music, forming a band called Raygun Jones along with his brother, Mikey. Mikey described them as “The Smashing Pumpkins meets Weezer.” However, this band quickly dissolved, before ever performing or even recording a proper demo.
Soon after, Gerard was offered an internship at Cartoon Network. It was there that he had the idea for an animated television series called Breakfast Monkey. It was about a Scandinavian flying imp who talked like Bjork and had a special power called Breakfast Magic. His power meant that he could manipulate and create an assortment of breakfast food. “I went from being an intern on a show that was running on Cartoon Network to being someone who was selling a show to them which bummed a lot of people out because I was the photocopy dude that got a shot.” (Source: This Band Will Save Your Life)
The show made it to the storyboard stage and was optioned by the network. However, it was considered too similar to the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, so it was never picked up.
Though Breakfast Monkey did not pan out the way he wanted, Gerard did manage to find some work within the art industry – more specifically in the comic book industry. “Little indie things here and there, and a bunch of toy designs that I still do for Spiderman action figures and superheroes. I did a page in DC Comics’ Big Book of the Weird Wild West and some Foot Soldiers work for Image Comics which was written by my buddy Jim Krueger.” (Source: Interview – Eyeball Does it Again)
He also began working on his own comic book series called The Amazing Goffo Brothers, Piano Movers Extraordinaire. This was never finished or published. However, the Goffo Brothers did make a cameo appearance in his later comic book series, The Umbrella Academy. “The Academy is an interesting book in that you can throw a bunch of information at readers: sometimes important, sometimes it just adds color to the world, sometimes these characters end up showing up again. The original Goffo Brothers’ story also took place in a nameless city, but it was pretty different aside from being influenced by European cities. There may be some other characters I have from the past that end up popping in; that’s one of my favorite aspects of the book – we can do anything in there. I may even have the Goffos show up in a later series, as I love the characters. The original series, to me, was about two brothers being stuck in a mundane life, which was very much about Mikey and myself being stuck at dead-end jobs in New Jersey.” (Source: Sequential Tart)
Gerard was gradually becoming disenchanted with the comic book industry and would spend days shut away in his room putting ideas down in a notebook. He even wrote a short story called I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. The story was about gangland murders in Chicago. “I had all these ideas and it meant that I was already shaping an aesthetic for this band, I just didn’t have a band yet.” (Source: This Band Will Save Your Life)
It was not until 2001 that Gerard’s life took a dramatic turn. He loved his job designing action figures for Marvel. “That was the last job I had and it was a lot of fun. That was actually probably the best job that I’d ever had. I got to work on a lot of exciting things.” Despite this, he couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. “I wasn’t happy with where it was going. I wasn’t doing anything important or relevant and I felt kind of useless wasting time in Jersey.” (Source: ChartAttack)
Little did Gerard know that, on a day just like any other, he would be riding the ferry that goes between Hoboken, NJ and Manhattan as two planes would be flown into the World Trade Center. “The band, uh, me and Otter, really got together in November. I believe, and the real reason we established it was because it has a lot to do with the September 11th attack. I was on my way to get ready for a Cartoon Network meeting because I do cartoons and stuff and he had the option. We saw the plane hit right from the train and when we got there we were all just standing on the pier in Hoboken like right on the edge. There’s like 300 people that were friends and family and we all saw it go down. That’s when I realized that doing this cartoon was bullshit. I love to draw and make art but it was so commercial, it was just that I felt like having meetings with people in suits, it just made me realize what the hell I’m doing with my life. That’s what our first song that we always open with, Skylines and Turnstiles, is about. It’s about the Trade Center.”
Later on, he went into further detail about what he personally experienced on September 11th. “I didn’t see the planes hit. I did see the buildings go down from, I’d say fairly close. It was like being in a science fiction film or some kind of disaster film – it was exactly that kind of feeling. You didn’t believe it. You felt like you were in Independence Day. It made no sense. Your brain couldn’t process it. And for me it was a little different. I’m very empathetic and I’m kind of a conduit emotionally, so I pick up a lot of stuff in that way. There was about three or four hundred people around me – and I was right at the edge. All these people behind me, they all had friends and family in those buildings. I didn’t. So when the first building went, it was like an A-bomb went off. It was like just this emotion and it made you nauseous.”
After witnessing the horrifying events, Gerard went home and ensconced himself in his parents’ basement with a small practice amp and a very old Fender guitar (which he still has). “When I wanted to start My Chemical Romance, I began by sitting in my parent’s basement, picking up an instrument I had in my youth I had decided it was too clean and pretty so I beat it up, exposing some of the red paint underneath the blue- the color it was meant to be. Adding a piece of duct tape on the pickguard, it felt acceptable. I plugged this into a baby Crate Amp with built in distortion and began the first chords of Skylines and Turnstiles. I still have that guitar, and it’s sitting next to The Princeton. He has a voice, and I would like to hear what it has to say.” (Source: Twitlonger)
To help him cope with what he had witnessed, he wrote the song Skyline and Turnstiles, which is credited as the first My Chemical Romance song, as well as other material. “I wrote those songs in my pajamas with notebooks all around me. It was me going, ‘All this stuff has been inside me for years and I want to get it out.’”
His search for band members started with Matt “Otter” Pelissier, a drummer who had played a number of local bands. Gerard approached Matt by saying, “You know what? I’ve been writing songs. You’re not doing anything, and I’m not doing anything, so let’s get it together and give it a shot.”
The two agreed to work together but Gerard, who could not sing and play guitar at the same time, realized they needed a guitarist. Since Gerard had already worked with Ray Toro four months earlier on a faux country song for The Breakfast Monkey, he knew that Ray would be a great choice. “That is actually the first collaboration between me and Ray Toro. It predates My Chemical Romance by four months. There’s a song called Cruisin for Crazy, that this badly sugar damaged boy who rides a giant goldfish sings, so technically that’s the first My Chemical Romance song.”
With Ray on board, the three of them set about recording the early demos for the album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in Matt’s attic. These would later be referred to as “The Attic Demos” and were used as the bargaining chip to convince Gerard’s brother, Mikey Way, to drop out of college and play bass in the band.
After a few weeks, My Chemical Romance took to the stage for their first show at the VFW Hall in Ewing, New Jersey. The headlining band that night was Pencey Prep. The audience consisted of about about 50 people but the number did not matter. What mattered was the energy that ignited through the crowd as the band played its first live set. “The room just blew up. It was the best first gig we could possibly have had. We played on this wave, we felt totally on fire.”
It was only a matter of weeks before Pencey Prep would disband and My Chemical Romance would welcome Frank Iero, formerly the frontman of Pencey Prep and My Chemical Romance’s self-proclaimed “biggest fan,” into the band as rhythm guitarist. Just like that, the dream became a reality, and what a reality it would become.
When asked about his writing style for Bullets, Gerard explained a technique that would seem to surpass the skills of someone just starting out. “What I usually do is write paragraphs of free style, just really descriptive phrases and I’ll draw upon those phrases later. Just simple descriptives and adjectives and things like that. Things that sound good together, sound and make the picture look good. But I mainly just free style. I try to get the sound before I get the lyrics ‘cause even though lyrics are the important thing, the most important thing is the sound that you are communicating.” (Source: Concert Live Wire)
While Bullets would find Gerard with his first two videos finished and a signed contract with Eyeball Records, it was not until the band’s sophomore album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge that the band’s heart would truly reveal itself. A lot was happening within the band around this time: non-stop touring, a label switch from Eyeball to Reprise, and a new drummer shortly after the record release.
However, it was the loss of Elena, the Way brothers’ beloved grandmother, in 2003 that would have the biggest impact on every aspect of Gerard’s life. “I wasn’t with [Elena] when she died and it took me awhile to get over that. I was very angry with myself. She was in the hospital and I had just got home from tour. I went to bed, woke up the next day and she was dead. She died that night I got home. The emotions I went through at that moment and over the next six days completely fueled ‘Revenge’. All the fucking anger, the spite, the beef with God, the angst, aggression and the fucking venom all came from those six days. Every single emotion you go through when you’re grieving is on Revenge. When I lost her, I thought I was screwed. I thought I was done. I felt like I had lost my mentor. That’s why I took it so hard.” This pain and anger can be felt throughout Revenge, but most notably in Helena, a direct tribute to his grandmother. (Source: Tom Bryant)
It was quite possibly the darkest time in Gerard’s life. He lost the person who believed in him the most and had wholeheartedly supported the band, giving them their first equipment and start. When you lose someone you love so deeply, you also lose a part of yourself. In trying to cope, Gerard turned again to his art. He started to draw the characters which would become The Umbrella Academy and wrote the songs packed with raw emotion which would later be found on Revenge. Unfortunately, he also dove deeper into drugs and alcohol as well. “I’ve always had a problem with drinking and mixing pills, and it started to get the best of me. So the same way I was functioning just to sing when we were doing the record, I functioned just to play shows when we did Warped. By the end of the tour, what I was doing to myself was affecting my performances, my appearance, and my energy.” (Source: Straight.com)
In the summer of 2004, Gerard finally hit rock bottom. It was towards the end of Warped Tour ‘04 when My Chemical Romance took a trip to Japan. Gerard packed only his stage clothes, convinced he would never be coming home. “I never felt more suicidal. I woke up at five in the morning and nobody was awake. I was strung out, hung over, and really desperate. I had tons of pills on me and lots of liquor. I thought killing myself would be so easy.” Fortunately, he realized he was in trouble and reached out to band manager, Brian Schechter. It took a few more days for him to fully realize that he needed to get clean but by August 11th, 2004 he had done just that and started what would become a lifelong journey of ups and downs with recovery.
Like any true artist, he used this experience as an inspiration to push him on to the band’s third album, The Black Parade. “When we first started out, I had a really big issue and a lot of my loved ones had a really big issue with the fact that I was totally in pain up there and there was a time when I tried to hurt myself off stage, but I got over that. Like, you should never want to hurt yourself. You should love yourself. Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself and become a new person and I think that, that is going to be a lot of what the next record is about, not to plug it or anything. Like, it’s going to talk about dying and coming back to become what you totally want to become. We are all becoming what we want to become.”
It would be The Black Parade that skyrocketed Gerard and his band into superstardom. It was also their biggest and grandest theme to date. “I always wanted to make a very theatrical, very Broadway record, with grand themes and epic sounds, extra sound effects, marching bands, bells, and whistles.”
The band stayed at the Canfield-Moreno estate in Los Angeles, also known as the Paramour Mansion, for two months in order to write and record The Black Parade. Gerard created a character simply called ‘The Patient’ who is the key figure in the album’s narrative. The Patient is a man reflecting on his life as he is dying from cancer. Gerard took on the role of The Patient on tour where My Chemical ROmance performed as their alter-egos, The Black Parade.
Talking of his inspiration for this album, Gerard cites Queen’s 1975 album, A Night at the Opera, as a significant influence. He also remembers being taken to a parade as a boy by his father. “I have a really strong memory of my dad taking me and Mikey to a parade. I remember the big inflatable balloons, even the ones of cartoon characters I loved, were so imposing. So I wouldn’t say that was my happiest memory, but there’s something really cultural about a parade, which is why it became the perfect vehicle. It could represent a funeral procession, or the Day of the Dead, or a celebration. For the album’s character, it’s what he wants death to be.” (Source: Rolling Stone)
A limited edition of the album was released at the same time as the original release. It contained the same track listing as the standard release but was sold in a box wrapped in black velveteen material. It also contained a 64-page book including concept art by Gerard.
With his music career in full-swing, Gerard decided to branch out and finally release the comic book he had been developing in his head for years. On November 2nd, 2006, a two-page internet preview of The Umbrella Academy was released. It was followed by “…but the Past Ain’t Through With You,” released on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th, 2007. Gerard reported being nervous and feeling a little out of his element at first, but that soon faded away. The first issue of Apocalypse Suite was released on September 19th, 2007, almost immediately selling out and going into a second printing in October.
“I didn’t get much time to get my feet wet so I ended up diving right into the deep end so to speak… and there was a hot minute where I felt like I was just trying to stay afloat. Luckily my editor threw me a life preserver pretty quickly – and, yes, I realize I just used maybe one too many swimming-pool metaphors, but that’s the best way to describe the situation. After the FCBD story, and into the first part of series one, I found it much easier, started to work the muscle, find the right groove, and got my head for three years, and maybe most of my life. There’s no other way to do it…y9ou can talk about what you want to do to death, but it boils down to sitting down and just doing it. I guess I really needed to get over the fact that I wanted the comic to be so perfect, that initially when I would sit down to write it I would be intimidated by the possibility that it wasn’t going to be.” (Source: Dark Horse Comics)
Considering Apocalypse Suite went on to win Gerard his first Eisner Award for Best Limited Series, it is safe to say he managed to arrive pretty close to perfect.
On November 26, 2008, the world saw the second installment of The Umbrella Academy when Dallas was released. Those who picked up Dallas hoping to find out more about their favorite characters and understand the world in which they lived were disappointed at first, but not for long. Dallas is very different from Apocalypse Suite but by the end of the first issue, the fans agreed, they were hooked and ready for more.
There was a bit of controversy when a picture of Gerard, posing as an assassinated John F. Kennedy, and his wife, Lindsey, posing as a traumatized Jackie Kennedy was released in the first issue of Dallas. As the picture hit the internet, it garnered a lot of attention. Some people found it tasteless and hated it while others found it a brilliant piece of art and loved it with very few people left in the middle. Like the photo, the first issue of Dallas also had people talking. Fans loved it or they hated it but, either way, they were reading it.
Gerard explained that he had not always planned to tackle the assassination of JFK in the second Umbrella Academy series. “You know, Dallas was going to be a later story – I wanted it to be a one-shot, at a certain point. I was like, ‘I just want this really crazy one-shot issue that’s maybe 40 pages long, that involves the characters having to assassinate JFK, and then being torn about it.’ That was the original idea, and then what we realized is that we had a lot more. There’s so much more going on with these characters since the first series, and there’s so much more happening with their lives, that we can make a whole six issues out of it. The JFK thing really only takes up a quarter of their story in the series, but there’s so much more to it. I guess we could have done just that story in one issue.” (Source: TFAW.com)
“Dallas was supposed to be the series that happened later, after we got through some more A-plot stuff, like where are the other kids? What really happened to Hargreeves? What happened to the Horror? Things like that. But Scott had said, ‘I think this is how you follow it up, you follow the first series with something that’s very different and kind of severe,’ and that’s what we did.” (Source: TFAW.com)
After Dallas ended, there was talk of a movie and a third installment titled Hotel Oblivion. The movie rights were optioned by Universal but nothing progressed beyond that. Due to Gerard’s obligations to My Chemical Romance and the inability to line-up schedules with the rest of th Umbrella Academy creative team, Hotel Oblivion was put on hold.
Though 2009 did not bring the anticipated Hotel Oblivion, Gerard announced on July 25th that he was working with co-writer Shaun Simon and artist Becky Cloonan on a new comic project called Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Gerard mentioned an expected 2010 release date. The fates, however, had other intentions.
While a trip to the desert with his wife in January 2010 served to inspire Gerard to create Danger Days as the fourth My Chemical Romance album, it was the work he had done with artist Becky Cloonan that ultimately gave him the idea to transform the comic into a much bigger production that dared to bridge the gap between music and comics.
“The original idea for the comic informed the record. The record helped refine the idea, and then Becky had done a drawing of the Girl for the single “The Only Hope for Me is You” and I saw it and thought, this is the comic. It’s basically the last video, it’s the last part of the Killjoy’s story, while at the same time being totally it’s own thing.” (Source: Giant Fire Breathing Robot)
The album Danger Days was released on November 19th, 2010 officially ending the band’s two-year sabbatical. It was set in a post-apocalyptic California of 2019. The band once again created new alter-egos, The Fabulous Killjoys, and took their fans on another whirlwind adventure. “Danger Days is what it takes to do something great…True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys refers to us, to the fans, for all we know and artists that helped shape the album.”
As the World Contamination Tour came to a close in December 2011 leaving fans still wondering when they would see the Killjoys comic arrive, My Chemical Romance made a cameo appearance in the Nickelodeon series created by Christian Jacobs, Yo Gabba Gabba. Thrilling and inspiring a much younger audience, they sang a catchy song called “Every Snowflake Is Different (Just Like You).
Sadly, On March 23rd, 2013 a collective roar of grief and mass confusion swept the world and the internet. This was the day when it was unceremoniously announced on the band’s website that My Chemical Romance was no more. And just like all good things, MCR came to an end, as the former members and fans grieved the loss of their beloved band.
It was Gerard who broke the band members’ collective silence with a TwitLonger post titled “A Vigil on Birds and Glass” on March 25th. In it, he gave a powerful and heartfelt story of his recollection of the band. While he did not tell us why the band broke up, he gave us some insight. “I can assure you there was no divorce, argument, failure, accident, villain, or knife in the back that caused this, again this was no one’s fault, and it had been quietly in the works, whether we knew it or not, long before any sensationalism, scandal, or rumor.”
He left us with a profound and completely accurate final statement. “My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die. It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside all of you. I always knew that, and I think you did too. Because it is not a band – it is an idea.” (Source: Twitlonger)
A Vigil, On Birds and Glass. I woke up this morning still dreaming, or not fully aware of myself just yet. (cont) http://t.co/ABApy1MukK
In the days following, Gerard spent a lot of time on Twitter talking to the fans and doing live-tweet listening parties of each album with them. He tweeted his thoughts and a little behind-the-scenes info as he went from song to song. He later mentioned that he felt his fans tweeting him and writing him letters helped him more than he helped the fans. Most fans seem to disagree.
Bullets in closing- the most DIY,rawest album out at the time in the scene.We were The Damned to the scene's Sex Pistols
Wow…no time is wasted getting into the fucking face-shredding on this album.
Listening to The Black Parade, which I haven't done since it was mastered. So batshit crazy..WB let us put this insanity out- LOVE IT.
DXD in closing- Hypervibrant batshit craz.Some people don't get it-that's ok. Love even more now than when it was finished. KIDS is the best
CW in closing… Album is directly about my expierience during Parade and shortly after. Scattered, slightly unfinished, but totally awesome
Gerard, never one to dwell on sadness, did not take much time off before throwing himself back into his art.
Many of his fans who were still reeling from the loss of MCR were thrilled to learn Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys was to be featured as part of Free Comic Book Day. On May 4th, 2013 fans at long last got their first glimpse of the comic book edition of Danger Days in the one-shot Free Comic Book Day Preview, “Dead Satellites” – a taste that would leave them hungry for more. And, in normal Gerard Way fashion, leaving a lot of questions as to what could be expected when the actual series arrived. “…for Free Comic Day we got to do this really cool kind of unrelated story but kind of part of the world of Killjoys.” (Source: Huffington Post)
After the 2011 appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba, Gerard and series creator Christian Jacobs had stayed in touch. This resulted in a further collaboration in 2013 where Gerard co-wrote and co-directed an episode of Jacobs’ newest show The Aquabats!, based on his real-life ska punk band of the same name.
Fans of Gerard’s writing skills realized they were in for a double dose of his talents in June of 2013 which saw the release of the first issue of Killjoys and the airing of Anti-bats.
Gerard’s Aquats! Episode, titled “Anti-bats”, aired on June 29th, 2013 and guest-starred Gerard’s brother, Mikey Way, as one of the Anti-bats. “I had done an interview at San Diego Comic-Con – we were doing comics for the band – and they asked me what I wanted to do next. I had had Bandit, my daughter, and naturally I wanted to be on Yo Gabba Gabba, so I threw it out there. The universe works in awesome ways. Christian was on a flight with Frank Iero, and then next thing I know, Christian and I are on the phone and collaborating on a musical segment. I realized how incredibly involved he is and how much he cared about every single segment. We hit it off and met on the set and stayed in touch, and he kindly offered me the opportunity to write for Aquabats!” (Source: Hollywood Reporter)
The episode also went on to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category for “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series.”
It was more of that amazing writing that would excite fans when Gerard woke up on the morning of July 28th 2013 stating “I had a dream I had woke up in the middle of the night and put lyrics up to my new song on an NME message board. The board no longer exists- So I’ll just put them here…”
So I'll just put them here- *note- This is a song about a group of jewel thieves. Everything is fine, then (cont) http://t.co/3TyQTl1Wnd
It wasn’t until October 5th, 2013 where we could get a taste of the finished project. Gerard and Grant Morrison appeared at the Sydney Opera House for Graphics Festival and towards the end of their panel “Millions” could be heard as fans left the room.
It’s Friday in Australia…
Come see Grant and I at the Sydney Opera House tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/df8mmZ3hgz
But fans would have to wait a bit longer before an official release of his future solo album, Hesitant Alien, would be made.
However, April of 2014 would prove to be the beginning of a non stop stream of activity that seems as though it has been a non-stop stream of constant activity leading him right up to present day.
It started with a bang on April 8th 2014 when Kevin Smith tweeted “Holy Shit! The cherry on top of the TUSK sundae? Gerard Way just recorded the most achingly beautiful closing song for the flick #WalrusYes”
He went further to say “Gerard turned the piece into this achingly beautiful, haunting declaration of undying, hopeless love. If you’ve ever been in that kind of love, this song will crush you. It’s such a heartbreaker, you can’t help but well up with tears. You could play this track at a wedding or at a funeral and it would be equally appropriate in both places.”
Gerard moved into May with a purpose and a flurry of activity. Starting with the release of a web comic that Gerard created depicting his view on twitter through The Talkhouse on May 3rd.
He quickly followed that up on May 5th 2014 when he launched his new website and we welcomed a new friend into our lives, who we all now know and love as Lola.
For future news and updates follow- @LolaPlusG
On the new website Gerard explained:
I imagine you’ll see/hear everything from blog posts to images, art, drawings, music, big projects and small projects, looks into things, under things, behind things, and in front of them. This will also be the place to come for news on anything related to my ride into the next part of my life. I’d rather just start moving so I’d like to say thank you for stopping by, check me out on twitter @gerardway and please follow my friend, traveling companion, and news-broadcaster Lola on twitter, @lolaplusg for updates and info.
Oh, this is probably the best place to announce it so-
I am continuing full-steam into comics, art, and more importantly to some of you- music. I am pleased to let you know I am now signed as a solo artist Warner Bros Records. My album is near completion, and you should expect to hear things in the near future, even today actually- with a brief snippet of what is to come. I am excited. It’s starting again-
While the fandom curiously hovered around Lola’s account trying to determine who ran the account and what the purpose of the account was, we were hit with another great gift.
The song Gerard had collaborated on with Wrongchilde, Falling in Love Will Kill You, was released on May 6th, 2014. In an interview when Matt Devine was questioned about the track he admitted to us that, initially, it was supposed to be a female voice on the track, not Gerard.
“It was Gerard who had the vision to take a chance on it as two guys,” Devine says. “The producer totally agreed, and the minute Gerard started singing, we knew it could be no other way. We all got chills. I’m so insanely lucky that he was in LA at the time, and that he was so cool and generous with his time and voice.” (Source: Alt Press)
June 11th saw the release of Action Cat – the first single from Gerard’s heavily anticipated solo release. Action Cat was initially aired on BBC Radio 1 and later released through Gerard’s Youtube. “It started with just wanting a song called ‘Action cat’. I was sitting there and I thought of the phrase, ‘Action Cat’, and in my head I said, ‘Well, that would be a great song; what would ‘Action Cat’ sound like?’ So, I picked up a guitar and we started recording and I was like, ‘Action Cat’ would sound like this’.”
The third week of August 2014 proved to be a busy one for Gerard. On August 19th the video for “No Shows” was released via his Youtube Channel to rave reviews from fans. We’re sure this thrilled Gerard who, in an interview with NME, reminisced about his time in the studio writing No Shows by saying, “I can’t remember what we were talking about exactly. We were talking about growing up kind of in a music scene and going to punk clubs and the sense of not quite fitting in, even to those. I wanted to write this very romantic song that was about not fitting in at the same time. I knew I wanted it to have this no wave, kind of post punk thing happening. I knew I wanted the beat to be something you could really move to and kind of dance to. I knew instantly that it was the most special song on the record.”
The next big adventure for Gerard was to debut his new solo career. While he chose to debut at Reading Festival on August 22nd the first show was a secret show prior to the big date. “Ya know if all I have right now is the curiosity of people to see whether or not they like it that’s great because I can take that and I can do something with that. That gives me an opportunity to prove something, so that’s a nice feeling.” (Source: NME)
He decided the best way to approach that opportunity was to start with a secret show to warm up for the big gig at Reading. “I may play a secret show. That would be wise. It would be very wise to play a secret show, actually. I just don’t know where.” (Source: Kerrang)
So in true Gerard fashion, the next thing to do was to find a ‘shit hole’ to showcase his work. “I asked my booking agent, I said, I wanna play a really great shit hole. And I use the term shit hole in a very loving way. All of my favorite shows have been in shit holes, ya know? Like, um so maybe I should come up with a different word for that, maybe ‘room with character’ would work. I was like what’s a place here that’s kinda got that energy? And he said Oh Wedgewood rooms is where you wanna go.”
On August 18th, 2014 Gerard announced that he had sealed the deal with Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth for a secret show set for August 20th and fans rushed to the internet to be one of the 400 fans who would be able to get a ticket.
Wednesday. Portsmouth. Wedgewood Rooms. Me, and 400 of you. Fuzz pedals, hormones, and extraterrestrials.
The secret show was played to a group of people who had started to line up for the show as early as 6am, so it’s no surprise that on August 22nd when he took the stage at Reading Festival he was playing to yet another packed crowd to which he humbly announced from the stage: “Thank you for waking up so early because you guys need your rest, so thanks for rushing over. I know a lot of these songs you’ve never heard before so I’m extra appreciative of you being here. We’ll never forget this.” (Source: NME & Rolling Stone)
And as if the buzz wasn’t already big for Hesitant Alien before Gerard played Reading Festival, it hit a paramount going forward. Fans excitedly pre-ordered the album and the gorgeous Zine that came along with it. Fans were really excited to own the zine that we had caught glimpses of through twitter and had, in some ways, felt a part of the process when Gerard asked fans what should be in the zine and encouraged them to make their own.
So the Hesitant Alien Zine is all sold out. Looks like I might need to do another one to bring on tour, time permitting
Your suggestions for what you'd like to see in the Zine were VERY helpful. I like making what you'd like to see
You guys should really consider making your own zine. Really just make it anything you want- it's like giving a peek inside your head
Alright, I'm nearing the last quarter of this zine- what would you guys like to see in it?
New Zine front and back cover almost finished pic.twitter.com/TMXMENeagm
Waiting for the new music to drop worldwide on Sept 30th proved to be just as much of a torture for Gerard as it was for the fans, as he jumped the gun to release the album online on September 23rd via his soundcloud.
A normal musician might worry that this would dramatically impact his sales, however, that was not to be the case as Hesitant Alien went on to a Sept 29th US release and Sept 30th worldwide release that well exceeded expectations.
Happy Record Release! Spread the joy pic.twitter.com/Wb8JwW226u
Just got amazing news about Hesitant Alien's first week.You guys made it so it went way past projections, and charted on Billboard-thank you
I don't use numbers as a measure of success, but as a new artist it feels so great having people out there that want to check it out
And yes,you're considered a new artist when you put out your first solo album.It's the way you are viewed, ppl are less inclined to play it
He also elaborated more on his stance about numbers with an interview with NME in which he said, “I don’t worry about the numbers. I definitely don’t worry about winning people over. To me this album is largely coming from somebody that’s choosing to survive rather than prove something.”
But don’t let that fool you into thinking Hesitant Alien was an album Gerard expected to use to define himself. “It’s not simply this is me because I don’t think that exists. I don’t think there is a this is me. I think there’s always a character and there’s always some kind of visual thing going on with it. I think I’ll always be that way. I’ll say it’s not a concept record. It’s not high concept at all and that’s new for me. But it’s got it’s own look and it’s own feeling and then it will move on to a different one. Reinvention is such a part of me that I don’t think that it’ll ever stop.” (Source: NME)
And just like that, three singles and a wildly successful album release later, Gerard took the next step to start touring for the album.
The Hesitant Alien tour officially kicked off on November 5th, 2014 in Manchester and ran until October 30th, 2015 at Voodoo fest in New Orleans where it was streamed live to fans all across the globe.
And true to what we all know and love about Gerard, he maintained the humble stance that he’s always shown in thanking his fans for coming along for the ride with him as a solo artist.
Becoming a solo artist is hard work. But it's even harder work for an audience- they are heading into the unknown. I thank you for that.
While the tour included stops in places such as China, Russia, Europe & the US, this time Gerard took a different approach to touring than he had in the past. He would do a run of a few shows and then take a break. *FIND QUOTE ABOUT IT BEING A RELAXING TOUR*
And while the concept for this tour ended with Gerard’s Bowie inspired orange hair and flashy blue suit, Gerard still had a message to share. Between songs he could be heard empowering the crowd by taking on such big topics as women’s rights, mental illness and transgender equality.
“I want to try to say something special to you guys. I know you guys have always gone through a lot of shit and continue to go through a lot of shit. I think progress is being made. I really do. I think it’s extra rough right now, but do you know why I think that is? I think it’s because the old white dudes that are in charge of everything are scared as fuck as you.” (Source: Youtube; Gerard Way @ The Fonda Theatre 10/14/14)
“So I talk about mental illness every night too, because it’s something I’ve struggled with from when I was a little boy. I was always depressed or something was going on with me. I was afraid of death cuz I was also raised Catholic and that’s some scary shit too. I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I didn’t have anybody that would take me seriously and neither did Mikey. There was this huge stigma on mental illness because it’s like a wound that you can’t see. If someone can’t see you have a puncture wound then they don’t think you need any help. But it’s not like that it’s a very serious thing. So eventually when I got into my 30’s I said I need some help and I found a doctor. She’s super cosmic and she helps me out. So if you feel that way. You don’t have anybody to talk to, seek a doctor out, seek treatment out. What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like em? They don’t like you? Well then find another one. You just gotta look for help, it’s out there. Okay? So when it got really bad I started hearing voices, so I decided to write a song about hearing voices. Which apparently isn’t that uncommon. You’ve got too much bad noise in your head, but this is the good kind of noise. It’s called Maya the Psychic.” (Source: Youtube live in Stockholm, Sweden 3/2/15)
“So every day at my shows I talk about people that are transgender and I give my undying support to them and that’s basically what I have to say. If you have friends out there that are transgender, or non binary and you’re really good to them and you’re really supportive then I love you very much! I love you very much and thank you for being a good person that i’d like to hang out with and maybe have coffee with because I think that would be a shitload of fun” (Source: Personal experience; Boston Calling 5/23/15)
The way that Gerard tackled hard topics in such a gentle and often lighthearted funny way (as he’d bust into off key singing about hard topics) spoke to many fans and helped many out.
And though October was the end of the Hesitant Alien tour that didn’t stop Gerard from stopping by the studio to help Andy Black out with his song “Louder Than Your Love” which also features Mikey Way playing bass.
Moving into November we saw the release of Gerard’s Zero Zero/Television All The Time picture disc.
Here's that picture disc for ZeroZero/Television All The Time! pic.twitter.com/DPHp1BmTgC
And while that picture disc is indeed beautiful and held it’s own in sales, there was one more big event to take place in November, and that big event was NC Comicon 2015. An event so big it may have just changed the course of history for Gerard. Why? Because it’s where he first made mention of having once pitched a version of Doom Patrol with Becky Cloonan as the artist but due to being in MCR at the time he was unable to do it.
And now I let the cat out of the bag on Doom Patrol so I'll be dealing with that I'm sure. Was fun to talk about though.
I obsessed over the book. I almost quit my band so I could write it full time. Just didn't work out…
As of December 5th 2015 it appeared Gerard would no longer have to dream of writing doom patrol. It was at the Brazil Comic Con Experience that he was able to find time to have a DC Meeting with Jim Lee and Dan Dido. Gerard pitched them his ideas for Doom Patrol and they came back to him with an offer of an imprint.
Yes, I did meet @mishacollins last night and he was very cool
I also met @AmyChu and others who I need to find on Twitter. Was a great DC comics gathering with Dan and Jim!
Though for fans, these tweets would later serve as an easter egg, as news of what was discussed at that meeting in Brazil was kept under wraps, much like the surprise apperance Gerard made at Emerald City Comic Con on April 7th, 2016 where it was finally announced that Gerard would have his own imprint, Young Animal through DC and the flagship series would be his run of Doom Patrol.
Please excuse the barrage of tweets- I am very excited #YoungAnimal
What a wonderful day, so nice to get such a positive response to the resurrection of some classic characters and a new one xo
Also, for the record, this new imprint in no way affects my relationship with Mike Richardson and @DarkHorseComics, my Portland family
New Umbrella Academy coming also, for all you fans of the book. @Gabriel_Ba is doing the best work of his life
With all the work that had to go into the launch of Young Animal it’s a surprise that Gerard was able to fit in even more, but he did!
In February of 2016 Gerard teamed up with long time friend and former bodyguard, Worm, to host their first annual two-day charity live stream event. The event raised over $30,000 for the American Cancer Society and gave fans their first glimpse at what it would be like to play tabletop games with Gerard. Though the highlight was most likely when Gerard and Co. surprised us by running late on the second day of the stream to play an epic game of Dungeons & Dragons.
Just under 2 hours until the stream begins! pic.twitter.com/KbgX88EuhH
Thank you everyone for being part of the stream. So much love out there. We are trying to have a big finish for you guys.
I was too tired last night to tweet but I wanted to thank you all so much. We all raised over 31k for The America Cancer Society!
I am so very moved by all of you. Your support kept us going. Thank you.
And shortly after the imprint’s big reveal it was also announced that Gerard’s very first single, the Pinkish/Don’t Try vinyl, would be available for a Record Store Day April 16th, 2016 release!
The color might be my favorite part pic.twitter.com/hoSB4i3at0
Good morning! I hope everyone finds what they are after today at your local shop #RecordStoreDay
Starting in May Gerard posted a couple updates for Young Animal through his website, letting fans know what was going on from the production side, but after a couple updates they needed to be halted due to Gerard’s schedule and press release complications.
We will be back to our regularly scheduled Young Animal updates next week- this week was extra busy.
So we've had to hold back the Young Animal progress updates due to press reasons. They will resume at some point.
As things started to heat up for Young Animal Gerard decided, at the dismay of many of his fans, to leave twitter. He later stated in a podcast with murmor, that he didn’t like the “control” that was happening on the social media platform. His last tweet has become the source of many jokes wondering just when he’ll come back from his walk.
Another walk, another 10 minutes of meditation- both activities are already getting easier. I feel great- give it a try if you can.
The next time fans would see him online was through his instagram, where he had started to post infrequently. One of those posts was announcing that he’d be attending SDCC.
While at SDCC he did several panels where the covers and some merch for the new Young Animal line were revealed. Among those reveals we also saw the Young Animal ashcan that was later distributed out to comic book stores to be used as free promotion for the upcoming line (If you’ve won a giveaway from us it’s likely you’ve received one, if not, keep checking as we still have a few autographed copies to give away!)
It wasn’t until September where we were finally able to pick up the very first issue of the very first book printed through Young Animal, Doom Patrol.
Aside from a signing he did for the Doom Patrol book release and stopping by NYCC with a cassette of Into The Cave We Wander, the next major event was to move on to NC Comicon 2016. This event was especially cool since the co-owner of the con is also one of the co-creators and artists of Mother Panic, Tommy Lee Edwards. It was very nice to see many of the Young Animal creators together at a con that was big enough to be exciting, yet small enough to not be intimidating.
The con circled around Young Animal and consisted of 3 days of panels and signings with Gerard Way and many of the Young Animal team.
It was at NC Comicon 2016 where Gerard mentioned why he was sticking to his guns about not being on social media citing it as something he used as an “art project” and that he “didn’t need a second job.”
At the signing he was excited to receive all the lovely letters sent into GWayFUN and allowed us to film a short clip of him flipping through the book that contained nearly 200 letters (he agreed to this even though he had already flipped through most of it but I forgot to record it OOPS!).
For more videos from NC Comicon 2016 check out our YouTube Channel.
And as if his writing schedule wasn’t already full, on Valentine’s day Gerard excitedly announced via his instagram that he would be working on a ‘Joan of Arc’ story with Marley Zarcone for Shelly Bond’s Femme Magnifique- “An anthology that salutes inspirational women from pop, politics, art and science.”
Very excited and proud to announce the first ever Kickstarter I get to be a part of— Femme Magnifique! I am so honored to have been asked to share women’s stories alongside so many amazingly talented individuals. And I get to work with one of my editorial heroes Shelly Bond again, so I couldn’t pass this up. The project is already building up some steam but it will need your help to get across the finish line and beyond. There are tons of good vibes in this. And I get to work with one of my favorite artists on this project— Marley Zarcone! It’s been a pleasure to work with Marley on Shade The Changing Girl, and now I get to make a story with her, so I’m over the moon. Use the link below to pledge, and there are all kinds of different rewards and things to unlock. Over the course of the Kickstarter, I will fill you in on more info, like our subject, which I am very excited about. Check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hificolourdesign/femme-magnifique #FemmeMagnifique #Kickstarter #Comics
And while people who were lucky enough to attend Gerard’s NYCC panel received the rare cassette of Into The Cave We Wander, the rest of us were thrilled to learn that on Record Store Day April 22nd, 2017, we could own it on vinyl as well.
A peek inside, and a look at the artists in the Young Animal Record Store Day release: The picture disc itself was created by DCYA designer Paul Rentler @prentler using Michael Avon Oeming's @oeming art from the series as well as older Cave Carson artwork. The line art for the cover of the Young Animal Mixtape comic is by Doom Patrol series artists and partner of mine @nickderington who also came up with the title of the comic. The coloring was executed by Doom Patrol series colorist Tamra Bonvillain. The Mixtape Comic includes an original 3 page story by @allredmd on line art, Laura Allred on colors, Carlos M. Mangual on lettering, myself writing, and edited by Jamie Rich and Molly Mahan. The rest of the book features the Young Animal creative team’s work on their respective titles and are provided as a sampler. You get a look at all core-4 Young Animal books. And everyone did an amazing job—I love our team! #comics #art #dcyounganimal #dccomics #rsd
With deadlines looming in on him, Gerard sweetly took time to participate in yet another Gerard & Worm’s Annual Charity Stream. He had set up a camera in his office and told us this was so we could watch him while he worked and others played games. This never happened though and we were pleased to see Gerard throughout much of the steam that raised $15,000 for Free Arts LA.
It's that time of year again! Worm and I would like to cordially invite you to join us on August 12th and 13th 9am-9pm PST for our 2nd annual charity stream. This year donations go to @freeartsla. Catch all the live gaming action at twitch.tv/g33kanddestroy. I think this year we are expanding our gaming experience to include miniature games, which we are really excited about– Frostgrave is one of them. Wonderful art by Fecal! Thanks! #tabletop #g33kanddestroy #freeartsla #gaming
And while Gerard did a Geek & Sundry livestream and a couple signings to promote Doom Patrol vol. 1 his next big adventure was to be in Leeds, UK where he attended Thought Bubble with many of the Young Animal creative team members. And while we could quote him we thought we’d leave you this recording of his entire second panel.
The rest of 2017 proved to be fairly quiet as Gerard stuck his nose to the grind to pound out issues of Doom Patrol that were slightly behind schedule and work on the Justice League/Young Animal crossovers set to debut in January.
We hope you enjoyed this bio and we will continue to add to it in real time as more events happen that give us quote worthy material to include!