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Page 1

 "If it wasn't intense, it didn't go on the record."

Page 2

 "To me, men and women in their 20s are like walking death."

Page 3

 "It's really amazing that anybody ever makes it out of high school." ...

Page 4

 "If I was drinking or on drugs, I would have lost it."

The Fans Speak!

 We gave several MCR fans sites a sneak preview of this interview — here's what they had to say ...

MCR has exposed a lot of raw nerves in this interview — what do you think? You Tell Us — and then take a look at what people from the band's fan sites had to say!

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Norris: It seems to me that the take on death on this record is a bit different.

GW: I agree with that. It's a much more grown-up approach to looking at death because we had a crash course in living and in growing up from what happened to the band. It's no longer set in the supernatural even though it deals with afterlife; there's no longer gunfights in the desert, there's no more vampires even though they're referred to. That's all gone. It's kind of like the horror movie is gone and now it's this really grown-up, mature look of life and death.

"To me, nothing feels more like being dead than being in your 20s and having no direction in your life."
Norris: I was surprised that the Patient [played in the video by Lukas Haas] is a young guy.

GW: It's very similar to the "Helena" [video]. We were actually kind of apprehensive about putting a young woman in that coffin because we didn't want to seem like we were trying to cater to an audience, or get teenagers to like it because it's like, "Oh, it's like a dead teenager." We weren't ever trying to exploit kids that listen to our music because all kinds of people listen to our music. But the purpose in putting a younger person as the patient is because he is dying tragically.

RT: I think part of it too is that [death] could happen at any time and if you choose to live your life the wrong way, you might not have 60 or 70 years to change the way you've been living. So have to make the best of what you have.

GW: It's something about being in your 20s, especially your mid-20s that's when the band started for me and it's a very dark period of your life because you're confused about what you're doing. You've made a lot of mistakes, you can't see yourself getting to 30 yet, so it is kind of a tragic period.

Norris: You sort of restarted your life and career in your 20s.

GW: I did. I got a late start because I was kind of in this hermit stage where was I was trying to break in as an artist and it just wasn't working and I was extremely depressed. And it took me till 25 to realize what I wanted to do in my life for real. So yeah, I kind of restarted my life.

Norris: I think if anybody pays attention to your lyrics like "Carry on" or in "Famous Last Words": "I'm not afraid of keep on living." I think those who might look at it superficially would say, "Why are guys in their 20s so preoccupied with death?"

GW: To me, nothing feels more like being dead than being in your 20s and having no direction in your life. It was really a commentary on that; for me, the band always has been. To me, men and women in their 20s are like walking death. You know, being part of the workforce that they don't want to be a part of, no life and they're not doing what they love. It was like every time I punched the clock, I felt more and more dead. It wasn't because I was lazy or I didn't want to work; I think we all work harder [now] than we ever have. It just felt like it was stripping away my soul because it wasn't what I loved to do or was born to do. [MCR] were born for something more special than that, but to get that, we had to really take it by the throat and squeeze. It was a fight.

Norris: It's a very upbeat record and it's energetic, and somehow you guys make it work doing songs like "Dead" and "Cancer." Do you like that dichotomy?

GW: I love it.

FI: Absolutely.

GW: I guess it's what makes us unique. Because we can pull off a song like "Dead" without being a parody or a joke. Yet, I think it's because we don't take ourselves too seriously we get that there's a strain of black humor in all that, the true irony that came out of Smiths songs and stuff like that. I think that's all in our DNA. And I think we can push the envelope so far with this, we can tell the joke and our fans and even normal people who never heard of us are going to get the punch line.

Norris: Did you feel you had to come up with something special for "Welcome to the Black Parade"?

FI: That song was about four and a half years in the making. It was going to be on our first indie record and it just didn't come about in time to make that record.

GW: Originally, it had a "My Way" type of vibe.

FI: But the Sid Vicious version. We tried to work on it again for Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge but it didn't happen. And for this record we were like, "We should really sit down and finish this song because it might be something great." And we wrote it and it was something, and then we went to L.A. and rewrote and it was something else, and we recorded it and then we scrapped it and rewrote it again. And I think that it's this declaration of how much we listen to each other and how well we work with each other when it was done and recorded the final time we were like, "That's it!"

Norris: When you do videos with Sam Bayer and make a record with [Black Parade producer] Rob Cavallo, that brings to mind another band on Warner Bros. Records

GW: Of course.

Norris: that you guys spent time on the road with. Were Green Day and American Idiot an inspiration?

"I think Green Day liked us so much because we were so different thematically and musically, yet we had the same ambition."
GW: That's a really good question and it's one that, going into this record, we knew we had to address. And we discussed it and became completely comfortable with it. We had been making a concept record since Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and we had been working on theme and concept songs since I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love: "Demolition," the last track off that album, leads you to Revenge. There's even a thematic connection. We've always been interested in telling stories, and I think everybody knows about that about us. But I think Green Day liked us so much because we were so different thematically and musically, yet we had the same ambition and we come from the same place: It was like a two different coastal products of their environments.

Norris: You both champion underdogs, to me, there's a similar impulse.

GW: Yeah, there's a very similar impulse. We were underdogs just like them and, in a lot of ways, when we were 16 we were inspired by the fact that they were underdogs. They really took us under their wing. But it's almost like they do something with politics and we do something with death and we're both grand, but not alike at all.

Norris: The more theatrical and elaborate your ideas get, does it ever feel like it's not really punk rock to be theatrical?

GW: I don't think it's ever been a struggle because we've never toted ourselves as a punk band. I think when we started the band, we had wanted something different than the bands we had seen or were a part of that scene. We always felt like we were a rock band and we wanted something different. We had bigger imaginations.

FI: Plus, wasn't the punk thing like, always to not do the normal thing and not really give a sh-- about what people think? That's always how I took it.

NEXT: 'It's really amazing that anybody ever makes it out of high school.' ...
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