The Black Parade is the definitive My Chemical Romance album, but, as Gerard Way revealed in a new interview with Apple Music 1, the song “Welcome to the Black Parade” was almost left off the record entirely.
Just imagine the alternative reality where “Welcome to the Black Parade” simply does not exist. At the very least, we would have had to select another song to be No. 1 in our ranking of every My Chemical Romance song.
It’s arguably the biggest My Chem song, but it first started as something quite different than what was ultimately included on the band’s historic 2006 album, with the original title of “The Five of Us Are Dying.”
When asked what people may not know about the song, Way told Apple Music 1, “Well, it was the hardest one to finish. It ended up becoming deconstructed and kind of broken in order to rebuild it into something better. After you’ve been playing a song for a couple of months, it becomes harder and harder to make those changes as a group.”
Of the earliest incarnation of the track, the singer explained, “Originally that song was called ‘The Five of Us Are Dying’ and we played it and we really liked it. I had felt that we needed that one song on the record, that touchstone, that kind of introduces your concept and then the lyrics and the themes of that song kind of embody the themes of the whole record.”
“We just kind of had this punk song that was really cool and we liked it, but nothing about the song was speaking to me,” Way continued. “It didn’t feel like it was going to be on the album because all the other songs had really strong themes and titles and things like that. But we didn’t want to just give up on the song.”
As for how the creative direction shifted, he offered, “Then I started to bring the concept into the musical side of things where I was like, ‘I want to call this ‘Black Parade.’ I want there to be a parade on the record.'”
With that new idea in mind, the song as we know it now began to take shape.
“Then we started to kind of breaking the song and then reconstructing it. It was around this time that I wrote the opening melody for piano that [producer] Rob [Cavallo] played. Then once we re-approached it from the perspective of starting with a completely new introduction and a new way to start the song, it helped us fix the rest of it,” he divulged.
Way admitted that the song could have “gone a number of different ways” and that those around him felt quite strongly about featuring it on The Black Parade. “It also has the album title in the [song] title, so a lot of people will often push for that,” he said.
Before these changes were made, however, Way made attempts to downplay the song. “Any time it kind of got brought up, especially by my A&R [representative] Craig Aaronson, I would just kind of shoo him away about it and be like, ‘Yeah, that song’s about nothing. I’m not interested in that one.'”
Elsewhere in the interview, Way touched on the idea of presenting the album as a musical, but he wanted to ensure the album would stand the test of time before pursuing something of that nature. He also stated that “Famous Last Words” was partly inspired by heavy metal legends Judas Priest.
Listen to the complete interview here.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited My Chemical Romance reunion tour is still set to kick off in 2022 after being postponed multiple times due to the pandemic. See the upcoming dates here.
Gerard Way Tells Travis Mills on Apple Music 1 About Writing “Welcome to the Black Parade”
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