Gerard Arthur Way (born April 9, 1977) is an American musician and comic book writer who was the lead vocalist and co-founder of the band My Chemical Romance from its formation in September 2001 until its split in March 2013. He is the executive producer of the band LostAlone's second album I'm a UFO in This City. Way also wrote the comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and wrote the Eisner Award-winning comic book The Umbrella Academy. His debut solo album Hesitant Alien was released on September 30, 2014 via Warner Bros. Records.
2001-2013: My Chemical Romance:
As teenagers, Gerard and his brother Mikey Way, who later became the bassist of My Chemical Romance, were influenced by artists such as 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, but when he was not successful (one band kicking 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 has since been identified as the first song by My Chemical Romance. Soon after, My Chemical Romance began to assemble as a band.
Way has contributed vocally to bands 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 many interviews, Way has stated that music and his art work turned out to be an effective outlet to deal with his longtime battles against depression, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. The use of music as a way to resolve personal battles has caused Way to create deeply personal songs such as "Helena," which was written in memory of his late grandmother. In March 2013, My Chemical Romance announced their break up.
2008-present: Solo (The Hormones):
In 2008, Way and musical project Julien-K remixed a version of the song "Sleep When I'm Dead" by The Cure for their EP Hypnagogic States. All profits gained from the sales of the EP go to funding the International Red Cross.
In early 2009, Way and Japanese singer Kyosuke Himuro co-produced the new theme song for Advent Children Complete, the Blu-ray director's cut of the movie sequel to the popular video game franchise, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. He is also credited with writing the lyrics, and singing alongside Himuro. The song, titled "Safe and Sound", was released on iTunes on April 29, 2009. "Safe and Sound" is only heard on the Japanese release of the film; the English release uses Himuro's "Calling" (the original ending theme for Advent Children) in place of it. He also contributed vocals for the vocal mix of the deadmau5 song "Professional Griefers".
A longtime supporter of the British rock band LostAlone, Way is the executive producer of their second studio album I'm a UFO in This City (2012).
Gerard Way contributed guest vocals to "Falling in Love Will Kill You" from Wrongchilde's debut solo album Gold Blooded, a pseudonym project from Kill Hannah frontman Mat Devine.
In May 2014, Way launched his Tumblr based website where he announced that he had signed to Warner Bros. Records as a solo artist and was nearing completion of his first solo album. Further to this he announced his first solo single, "Action Cat", released later in June and his first solo shows at Reading and Leeds Festivals 2014. He later announced another solo performance which will take place at Portsmouth's Wedgewood Rooms on August 20. On August 19 Way streamed a new music video for the song "No Shows"., released as second single off the new album on August 19. The album, titled Hesitant Alien, was released on September 30, 2014.
When Way was asked why he chose to implement the Britpop genre into his music he stated that he enjoyed the energy and style of the music and its scene, and was urged to revive the genre in America.
Gerard Way's first attempt at writing a comic was at the age of 16 in 1993, writing a comic book series called On Raven's Wings, published by Hart D. Fisher's Bonyard Press, which was cancelled after Issue 2 due to losing the art team; he was credited as Garry Way.
In 2007, Way began writing the comic-book miniseries The Umbrella Academy. Way wrote the story and illustrated the original version, but cartoonist Gabriel Ba tweaked background drawings Apocalypse Suite.
Apocalypse Suite was first released by Dark Horse Comics in their Free Comic Book Day issue on May 5, 2007. Since then, an eight-page story has been published entitled "Safe & Sound", which appeared in a collection of stories entitled MySpace Dark Horse Presents Volume One. The first official issue of The Umbrella Academy was released on September 19, 2007. The first issue sold out and consequently there was a second printing released on October 17, 2007.Apocalypse Suite also won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series. The next installment of the series, Dallas, was released on November 26, 2008, and a third installment entitled Hotel Oblivion is currently in the works.
Way and fellow artists Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan are currently in the process of developing and creating a new comic-book series entitled The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which Way announced at 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. At the 2012 New York Comic Con, the team announced that the first look at the series would be released on 2013's Free Comic Book Day.
In 2011, My Chemical Romance stated that Mikey and Gerard were working on another comic book project which they had kept under wraps since mid-2009.
On December 21, 2013, Gerard Way stated that he and Gabriel Ba will be working on parts three and four of his comic book series Umbrella Academy beginning in the new year.
In a podcast interview on December 31, 2013 with Chris Thompson from Pop Culture Hound, Gerard discussed his new Umbrella Academy series in more detail and confirmed he would do two volumes back-to-back, with a couple of flashback issues in-between. In addition, he discussed his new comic series All Ages which first appeared as a series of images on his Twitter feed. Although the project doesn't have a publisher or an artist at this stage, he is actively working on the story of cats in high-school who are discovering their place in the world.
It was announced that Gerard Way will be making his debut in the Marvel Universe by writing for the alternate universe Spider-Man series Edge of Spider-Verse.
In 2001 Way co-created a cartoon with Joe Boyle called The Breakfast Monkey. They pitched it to Cartoon Network, but the network declined to pick up the concept on the grounds that it was too similar to the existing property Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
In 2013, Way made his television directorial debut on The Hub original series The Aquabats! Super Show!, co-directing and co-writing the season two finale "The AntiBats!" with series co-creators Christian Jacobs and Jason deVilliers. Additionally, Way's brother Mikey appears in the episode, playing the lead singer of a fictional death metal band called Asthma. The following year, the episode was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the category for "Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series".
Gerard Way was born April 9, 1977 in Summit, New Jersey to Donna Lee (née Rush) and Donald Way. He has Italian ancestry on his mother's side and Scottish ancestry on his father's side. Raised in Belleville, New Jersey alongside brother Mikey Way, he first began singing publicly in the fourth grade, when he played the role of Peter Pan in a school musical production. His maternal grandmother, Elena Lee Rush, was a great creative influence who taught him to sing, paint, and perform from a young age; he has said that "she has taught me everything I know". Also, while in elementary school, the glam metal band Bon Jovi was instrumental in forming his love of music.
At the age of 15, Way was held at gunpoint, as he said in an April 2008 Rolling Stone interview: "I got held up with a .357 Magnum, had a gun pointed to my head and put on the floor, execution-style." He went on to say that "no matter how ugly the world gets or how stupid it shows me it is, I always have faith in it." At age 16, Way appeared on an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael which discussed the controversy surrounding the publicizing of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes in comic books.
Way attended Belleville High School until he graduated in 1995. Deciding to pursue a career in the comic-book industry, he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999.
Way struggled with alcoholism and prescription drug addiction for many years but is now sober. In a November 2010 issue of Spin magazine, he said that having become a happier person and feeling more in control, he had been able to enjoy the occasional recreational drink. On September 3, 2007, after a concert in Colorado, Way married Lyn-Z of Mindless Self Indulgence backstage on the final date of the Projekt Revolution tour. A member of Live Nation's touring staff that was also an ordained minister performed the low-key ceremony. Their daughter, Bandit Lee Way, was born in California on May 27, 2009. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license