In their previous videos, My Chemical Romance have worn boarding school uniforms and natty black suits. But in the upcoming clip for "The Ghost of You," the Goth punkers are ditching all things refined and donning drab Army fatigues.
While details on the video had been pretty scarce, frontman Gerard Way spilled some of the beans last week (see "My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way: The World's Worst Secret-Keeper"), and then continued to give up info when MTV News caught up with him at the KROQ Weenie Roast in Los Angeles.
"The video is set in World War II, and it's really about ... loss and the fear of losing people, so we wanted the video to reflect war and loss and love and everything," Way said. "I had a conversation with [director] Marc [Webb] during the 'Helena' video about the treatment idea I had. And then I wrote it out — one and half pages — and sent it to him, and he fleshed it out."
Perhaps inspired by Way's loose-lippery, Webb divulged even more about the "Ghost" clip.
"Gerard had this idea for awhile. The main thrust is that it takes place in World War II, and there's a USO dance and these combat sequences too," Webb said. "The USO dance happens during the verses of the song, and the combat sequences happen during the chorus, because there's a big dichotomy between those two parts of the song."
Webb said that Way got super-specific with his ideas for the "Ghost" video, even referencing flicks like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Memphis Belle" for the combat and dance sequences.
"When we talked about making 'Ghost of You,' we spoke of it being very cinematic. Our goal for this was to make it feel like you're watching a film and creating a world," Webb said. "The guitar playing and singing is an organic part of them playing in the USO scene. And there are handheld battlefield scenes. And there's a huge, epic quality to the piece. It's something you just don't get to see on MTV."
To make the video as cinematic as possible, realism was paramount. The band took off its usual black suits and Kevlar vests and lost its makeup. And some of the members — including super-fro'ed guitarist Ray Toro and the dirty-trussed Way — paid the ultimate price: they let Webb cut their hair off.
"It's a period piece, and we tried really hard to be genuine and authentic," Webb explained. "So the band [is] in the appropriate uniforms, and we cut their hair. We did everything all the way. From the beginning, I was telling Gerard, 'We gotta cut your hair,' and literally hours after they performed at the [KROQ] Weenie Roast, he cut it short. It's not an Army-style crew cut, but it's close. You'll see."
For a band that's risen to fame due in large part to its bombastic live performances and epic videos (see "My Chemical Romance Aim For Smashing Pumpkins Status"), My Chem had big-time goals for the "Ghost" clip: they wanted it to be the biggest thing they've ever done. And thanks to the hundreds of battlefield extras they hired, and a half-million-dollar budget, they've managed to meet that goal — and then some.
"This is the biggest video I've ever done," Webb said. "It's the biggest video they've ever done. And it's probably the biggest rock video to have come along in years. It's a really big deal to them. They're a theatrical band, and the ideal of showmanship is very important to them. And if this video is anything, it's theatrical. It's got war and loss and love and camaraderie and everything."
Check out "My Chemical Romance: They're OK (Promise)" for more on the band's approach to videos.