Exclusive: My Chemical Romance’s New Album Is A ‘Love Letter To Rock And Roll’

'It's definitely more aggressive, but to me it feels like a celebration of rock and roll,' Gerard Way says.

Forget all that talk about ditching the shtick and focusing on fast-and-furious punk . [artist id="1231843"]My Chemical Romance[/artist] have one sentiment they’d like to get across on their new album, one that echoes what Grand Funk Railroad said decades ago: “We’re an American band.”

“The punk element was something a lot of people talked about. I think once I said we were pulling out the marching bands, they assumed it was going to be a punk record,” Gerard Way told MTV News last month at San Diego Comic-Con, where he was promoting [url id="http://splashpage.mtv.com/2008/11/24/mcrs-gerard-way-talks-umbrella-academy-dallas-as-movie-adaptation-is-fast-tracked-plus-preview-issue-1/"]“Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion,”[/url] the third series of his Eisner-winning comic. “I mean, it’s definitely more aggressive, but to me it feels like a celebration of rock and roll. It feels like a true love letter to rock and roll. There’s something about being an American rock-and-roll band that we’ve kind of grown into and we’re very proud of. And I think that’s what we’re celebrating with this record. There’s no agenda, there’s no mission; it’s just about rock and roll.”

For proof, check out the fan footage of “Death Before Disco,” one of three new tracks MCR unveiled last Friday, during a secret show at the Roxy in Los Angeles. It’s a charging, fist-pumping number that recalls the Motor City pump of the MC5 and the L.A. strut of the Knack. And to help them hone in on that vibe even further, they’ve tapped producer Brendan O’Brien — who’s done albums for Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Mastodon, to name just a few — to helm the sessions for the new album.

“We’re so happy working with Brendan O’Brien,” Way said. “We love him, we’re having the best time of our lives. It’s a total blast. I feel like it’s getting close to being finished. We’re doing tracking now. There’s no title yet. It’s crazy — this is the first time we’re waiting to get really far into the project before [choosing a title]. I’m actually kind of excited about that. It’s kind of ‘anything goes’ at this point, but I’m so happy with the songs.”

Way said there’s still no release date for the new album, though he added, “It’s safe to say it’ll come out next year.” This is all keeping with the band’s open-ended, fast-and-loose approach to recording and writing, a first for MCR, who — up to this point — have made their living on expansive conceptual fare .

“It’s actually kind of liberating,” Way said. “I’m writing lyrics simply about what the song’s telling me, instead of trying to shoehorn something into a story line. I’d say they all have their own little stories. Some of them are direct, real life things that happened to us or me. Some of them are fiction, [because] I didn’t want to lose that side. One of the things I really liked about Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is that we took people on a journey with each video and each single, even though it was a concept record. The Black Parade didn’t do that. It stuck all the way through to this rigid vision up until the end, but this time I’m really excited about giving someone something new every time.”