Some of the greatest hard-rock bands in history have thoroughly awesome — and thoroughly undead — mascots. Iron Maiden have toothy demon Eddie. Megadeth have a similarly toothy yet blind demon named Vic Rattlehead. And Motörhead unleash yet another toothy, snarling hellion: a bulldog/gorilla named Snaggletooth.
So you can’t blame My Chemical Romance for wanting to get in on the act.
By now, you’ve probably seen the video for “Helena,” in which MCR play pallbearers at a funeral for a young girl who just happens to rise from her casket about halfway through the clip to bust into a ballerina routine (see “My Chemical Romance Aim For Smashing Pumpkins Status” ). In recent weeks, the band has begun to feature Helena in a whole lot of undertakings — no pun intended.
First, she appears in the so-brand-new-it’s-retro video game MCR posted on mychemicalromance.com. The game is a throwback to such coin-op classics as Dig Dug or Joust and features sub-pixel graphics and a cheesy, three-note rendition of “Helena.” Players have to guide the very active corpse through a maze of enemies aiming to put her back in the casket, all the while trying to free guarded pallbearers and make it to the next level.
Helena also made a recent appearance — this time in three-dimensional form — during MCR’s two-shows-in-one-day stint at the London Astoria. While throngs of black-clad fans waited outside the club, a rickety hearse rolled down the street, followed by a funeral procession of fans decked out in pancake makeup and Victorian garb. Inside the hearse, resting in an actual coffin and surrounded by bouquets of flowers, was one very lucky girl who got to act as the cadaver featured in the video. And later, inside the Astoria, MCR’s stage set was bolstered by several flower arrangements, which spelled out “Helena.”
It’s a pretty safe bet that Helena will be making some more appearances, although probably not during MCR’s current slot opening for Green Day (see “Green Day Taking My Chemical Romance On Tour This Spring” ) or on their upcoming Warped Tour stint (too hot for the undead). But she should “surface” on the band’s tentative fall tour, which guitarist Ray Toro has said in recent interviews will be a full-on theatrical production, complete with dancers and film accompaniments. (It should be noted, however, that a spokesperson at MCR’s label seemed to have no idea what Toro was talking about.)
But fans shouldn’t worry. Just because My Chemical Romance are aiming for extreme theatrics, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be playing opera houses or charging opera prices for tickets.
“We’re very worried about balancing our relationship with our fans with how big the band gets, because there are a lot of fans that have been there since the beginning,” frontman Gerard Way said. “We started out playing halls and basements, and we’ve gotten a bit bigger — to the point that we can’t play halls or basements anymore, for safety and security reasons. But it’s a big concern, so we’re always going to try to keep our fans in mind.”