Much has been made about the path My Chemical Romance took in making Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, a two-year odyssey that saw them record an entire album, scrap it and part ways with drummer Bob Bryar.
But for all the drama that went into Danger Days, MCR frontman Gerard Way can trace the entire album's genesis back to one single moment: the making of their "Desolation Row" video, which they shot for Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" film in late 2008.
"In a weird way, yeah, 'Watchmen' was [the beginning]. ... It's kind of funny, because [we] had a weird experience with making that video. There's always early signs," Way told MTV News on Monday. "I remember somebody in that audience when we were shooting that video saying, 'Wow, is your new stuff going to sound like this? Because I've never been into you guys, but if it sounds like this, I'm into it.' And I remember kind of thinking — and I should've really paid attention to the signs — like, 'Well, I'm not doing this for you to all of a sudden like us, 'cause we're kind of playing tough.'
"Like, to me, that would be the ultimate pandering," he continued. "And I kind of feel like the first attempt at the record, in a strange way, was that. It was like saying, 'Oh, we can be a straight rock band; we're not going to irritate you with the way you look anymore, or what we're saying. We're not going to challenge any ideas, we're just going to be so straight ... and do what we do great — write great songs — but we're going to do that so much that we're no longer a threat. And once we're no longer a threat, maybe there will be less noise, maybe there will be less opposition.' So Danger Days was a fight against those feelings."
And so, Way got busy creating an entire world, retrofitting the "Killjoys" comic book he had been working on as MCR's newest, most purposeful effort to date. To him, Danger Days isn't a concept record like Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge or The Black Parade. It's something deeper, bigger and more important: it's a rallying cry.
"It's not a concept record with a story. It's just a complete allegory. Even the existence of Battery City and these Zones outside of it — they're very dangerous to live in — Battery City is very safe and clean, and you're living outside of it just to be free," he explained. "It's a complete allegory for the music industry, for the state of music. Rock kind of has to get its legs back and take back a lot of real estate, and I think that's what Danger Days is trying to do."
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