Band Banter

Click here for a slide show by Melissa Hetu

This past year has probably been one of drummer Bob Bryar’s busiest. He has spent the better part of 2005 touring in one of the biggest acts in punk-rock music these days, My Chemical Romance. The band stopped in Montreal last week at Stade Uniprix and I had a chance to sit down with Bob before the show.

The Concordian: The last year has been crazy for My Chemical Romance. You’ve been on the road non-stop. In a couple of words, how would you describe 2005?

Bryar: “Crazy,” is a good one. There’s been a lot going on. It definitely just boggles your mind just how much has been happening and it’s been growing and growing. We’re just all getting along really well, and usually a band that tours this long will start to fight and get over touring. We’re actually enjoying it more and more. It’s going really good.

The Concordian: It’s really been non-stop touring all year, going from the Taste of Chaos to Warped Tour, and now to your headlining tour. How do you guys keep it fresh?

Bryar: The easy thing you do is that you start adding songs, that’s a very simple thing we did. This is the first tour that we’ve played every song on the record plus a whole bunch of old songs. Plus you just try to incorporate new things into your show.
For this tour we’re doing video. Instead of just playing your show when you go from one song to the next, we’re trying to make a show out of it with segways between songs. Once you add all the new stuff, you feel it. It goes into you; it makes you feel like it’s a whole new thing.
Also, we’ve never really gotten sick of it. When you tour you get really tired and you’re like, “oh my god, I just want to go home.” But the hour or hour and a half that we’re on stage, we don’t feel that ever.
Half an hour to an hour before when we all start to change and warm up, during that time until your done with the show you don’t ever feel like, “I’m sick of touring, we’ve done this for too long.”

The Concordian: When you do feel down or tired, what can you do to re-energize yourself?

Bryar: During the day you can see it in us but you just have to make the best of it. There’s no way that you can fake having energy but we definitely survive on coffee and Redbull and we sleep as much as we can. We kind of suffer through that part of the day but then we play our show and it’s alright.

The Concordian: Your record has done amazingly well. You’ve had three singles on the radio and on music television channels. Why do you think it’s been so successful or what do you think it is about your music that people get?

Bryar: I think that the stuff that’s going on with this band is way different. Some people don’t get it. There’s a lot of people out there that see us on TRL and say “oh, you’re one of those MTV bands.” I think with us it just happens that we’re not one of those bands and just somehow ended up doing stuff like TRL.
Especially when that stuff all happened, we played on TRL one time and it was just the weirdest thing ever. We were just like, “we really don’t belong here.” But if you have the opportunity to do it you might as well do it and try to make a change and make a difference so it’s not your average stuff that is usually on there.
There’s a message behind the band, and it’s not just kids trying to be rock stars and partying and chicks and drugs, which is what a lot of bands start on, I think; they just want to have fun. We have fun, but in a different way, and you can see it even when were backstage. We’re up on our computers, we are not like that. There’s definitely a message behind this band and it was started to change people and affect people and to give people a reason to go on with their day. A lot of people says that is has, so it’s worked.

The Concordian: Do you think that there’s still some misconceptions about the band? Do you find you guys are well understood?

Bryar: I don’t think so at all. I think a lot of people do get it but there’s still a lot of people that think this image is arrogant, but arrogant in the wrong way. I think there’s definitely a sense of arrogance with this band, but it’s definitely a good arrogance. None of us won’t talk to people or anything like that. I think we just believe so much in what we are doing that it comes off as arrogant at times.
There’s a lot of people who don’t understand what’s behind this band. I think slowly people are getting it. Some people aren’t getting it because of how in the public eye it is right now. There will always be people that are going to see you on TV or on the radio and they are instantly going to hate you because of that, without even giving it a shot and seeing what your band is all about. There’s definitely people who don’t get it and if they don’t get it, then we really don’t care.

The Concordian: How important is it for My Chemical Romance to make music which is an art rather than pre-made, pre-packaged type of music?

Bryar: What ever is felt by the band is what’s going to be recorded and is what’s going to be played. Stuff like this, nobody thought anyone would like it; nobody cared either if no one likes it. We are going to do what we are going to do and we are not going to do it because we think that kids will like it. But if they do, that’s awesome! It’s the same thing with us doing a record.
We get done touring in three weeks and then we start the next record. This record went platinum, so it did really well. A lot of bands would kind of put out the same record, and put it out again; use that same formula. But we’ve all grown up and changed and have different ideas. It is not going to be so different, but it’s definitely going to be different and it’s definitely not going to be what people expect from this band.

The Concordian: As far as pressure goes, everyone’s going to expect another record like Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Is the pressure more on yourselves or is it coming from around you?

Bryar: There’s definitely pressure just to follow up something like that. We enjoy the success because we can do this every day and not have to worry about anything else but playing shows and making music. So it’s a really nice comfort to have, but we’re not going to put out a record to make the label happy or to make anybody happy.
At this point, there would usually be a deadline on bands saying that the record has to be out by June or something but we won’t put a deadline on it. If it takes us two years to make the record, it’ll take us two years. Obviously, we want to make everyone happy kind of, because everyone’s worked really hard for us but if it’s not a successful record than it’s not a successful record, but it’ll be successful to us, even if people don’t like it. As long as we like it, we’ll be alright with that.

The Concordian: What have you learned so far from being in this band?

Bryar: I learned that the Canadian border kind of sucks. You have to learn how to deal with people and just about people. The other night we saw “jocks” in the crowd and it’s really weird to watch all these people come together. Older people are in the crowd, then you have the young kids.
Learning how to deal with a whole bunch of different people and that’s a big thing for me is just walking out to the bus and having a bunch of kids calling your name and going to talk to me. I’ve gotten better with that but that’s still something that I have to work on because I get really nervous. Learning how to be in the spotlight and dealing with people.

The Concordian: What’s true about My Chemical Romance?

Bryar: True is that we are a band and that we are going to play music that we want to help people and music that we like. Truthfully if you like it, that’s amazing. If you don’t, I’m sorry but that’s what were going to do and really I hope it helps people.

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