Friday, November 16, 2007

CGS Episode 327: Gerard Way on Umbrella Academy, post-game discussion with me

Episode 327 of Comic Geek Speak is up today. It is an interview with Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance and writer of Dark Horse's kinda awesome Umbrella Academy. Originally I was supposed to participate in the interview alongside Peter Rios, but do to some technical difficulties -- no fault of CGS -- it did not work out. Since I prepped for the interview he brought me on later to do some post-game Umbrella Academy discussion. My contribution is fairly slight, but there you go.

9 comments:

Christian said...

Great interview. As much as I don't like to admit it, since I'm not a big fan of his music, Way seems very smart and it really sounds like Umbrella is very a solid book.

Speaking of his music in relation to the book, have you seen any of the videos? There's an odd, reoccuring fascist theme in most of them from the Black Parade to Teenagers. The Black Parade, if only interpreted through the video is about a Post-Apocalyptic world where the only survivors are, in fact, MCR fans.

The chords for Mama are, aside from the children's rhyme associations, also commonly found in Romani Music; Another clan of "outsiders" such as the whole Emo thing. (Of course I use the quotation marks as, not only is Emo a fairly big phenomenon.)

There's an interesting line in Teenagers that goes "Another Cog in the Murder Machine," which is somewhat funny, considering it's followed up by a verse that ends on "But what you got under your shirt/will make them pay for the things that they did." Which is just playing into the exact same mentality. Not to mention that the teenagers in the music video arise from their sets and thump their chest and then extends their hands out. Somewhat similar to the whole "We who are about to die, salut you, Great Caesar" and the nazi greeting.

In his defense Teenagers is about how all teenagers "scares the shit" out of him, because while some claim to be outsiders and not like the other bullies, if you use violence to get what you want you're no different than the rest of the mob.

I really don't remember where I was going with this anymore, but I'll just say it anyway.

Geoff Klock said...

Christian: on one level I am glad I did not interview Gerard Way because now I am not so close to him as to be unable to say WOW! My Chemical Romance is horrid. I downloaded an album to listen to before the interview and Wow. It is one of the first times I felt old -- "these kids and their Rock and/or Roll music." Then I went back to listening to the RZA and felt better. God Bless the RZA.

Like you I am kinda surprised Umbrella Academy is so good. But maybe it is just an audience thing. Way knows his audience for the music (suburban teens) and he knows the audience for the comic book -- and he knows how to tailor his approach to audience. I mean I don't like MCR but I am also very much not the audience.

Christian said...

I'll give them that they have some catchy riffs, but I do feel like that's all they have going for them.

I've mentioned it once or twice before, but aside from knowning your audience, I think his biggest strength as a comics writer and his biggest flaw as a musician is the same thing: he is very highly influenced by certain people and while it enrices his comics, it sort of taints his music. I can't, for example, get over how much they imitate Queen on stage. Right down to the mannerisms and the clothing.

Kenney said...

Dokktor Klock rocks out to the Rza? Alright, now you're just too cool for school.

James said...

Geoff: I was skeptical about the Ba/Moon twin thing too, but they totally are. There's a pic about half-way down here and another (about half-way down again) . Awesome.

Geoff Klock said...

Christian -- yeah, I noticed the Queen thing just listening to the one album.

Kenny -- most of my iPod is hip hop and rap, which a lot of people find weird because I am SOOOOOO white. But it makes perfect sense if you think about it. I majored in poetry. I care about lyrics. Most rock music like MCR does not care about lyrics, or if they do they are bad at it. But the RZA, M.I.A., Bone Thugs n' Harmony, Kayne West -- they do care.

James: thanks.

jamil said...

geoff,

appreciate your love of the rza, but think you may be coming down a little hard on rock music. this is essentially the form that gave birth to the idea of substantial lyrics in pop music. a quick browse through the catalogs of bob dylan, joni mitchell, neil young, ani difranco, ryan adams, colin meloy, ben gibbard, jeff mangum, aimee mann, jeff tweedy (damn, could go on for hours) provides plenty of food for thought (cool tunes too). I don't care how good a comic book writer Gerard Way is, we shouldn't see his band as contemporary ambassadors of rock music....

sean witzke said...

Has anyone attempted to give you hell, Michael Parks style? Like the scene in Death Proof where he says "Doc-tor-block" about two dozen times?

Geoff Klock said...

Jamil -- no no no of course you are right. And when I do listen to rick it is the guys you name. Jeff Magnum in particular is a poet-god. I over stated my case. I do that. Sorry.

Sean -- no but that is awesome. You are welcome to do it any time.