Your band has incredibly passionate fans. When you meet them, do they open up to you about their lives?
“I’ll be straight up: we hear a lot of really hard stuff from fans. And you get better at dealing with it as a person, because we do interact with people and we’ll never shut that off. They’re like, ‘This is what happened to me and this is how you guys helped me through it.’”
And yet, at the opposite end of the scale, at Reading Festival you had bottles thrown at you by Slayer fans. Did that make you feel that you must be doing something right?
“(Laughs) Absolutely! And it’s funny because I’m a huge Slayer fan. People get very narrow with certain bands – you know, when a band becomes their life.”
How did you deal with that hostility at Reading?
“Amazingly, I think. We came out to this flak – we called it flak, and it was, literally – and it got me so inspired. I said, ‘Alright, everybody do it!’ So obviously then it looks like the entire Reading audience hated us, when in fact it was just a few idiots. The funny thing is, I even saw kids holding MCR signs and throwing shit at us! But at the end you could see everybody clapping. So from the jaws of defeat it was a huge victory. It had the opposite effect for the people who tried to stop us.”
You never thought of walking off?
“No. Not this band. This isn’t a bullshit band that gets bottled off. We’ve played with some really hard bands before, we’ve had to deal with that, and the nervousness before we go on, even if I’ve had that, I try not to show it. So at Reading I was standing up there going, ‘Man, this is fucking rock’n’roll! This is what it’s about. This is a fight!’ It is kind of weird to be faced with such adversity simply for being different. But like I said, it was just a few idiots who got bummed when they couldn’t understand why other people in the audience were looking up to this band. We’re not singing about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, and they get pissed off because it’s dangerous, it threatens their way of life.”
The Black Parade is a huge hit that has created a real buzz about the band, even hysteria. How are you coping?
“It’s fun! I got to tell you, we made a record like this to create hysteria, to create a big splash. So when I see the craziness and I see the chaos, I love it. And to go back to Reading, it was a prime example. [After that show], I met so many people that said that was one of the most inspiring shows they ever saw, that they’d never seen a band get that kind of shit and not walk off, but instead say, ‘Fuck you!’ And at the same time, if there wasn’t the chaos, the whirlwind around the band, I’d be worried, because to me that’s rock’n’roll – chaos, adversity, shit-talkers galore, I love it. When I see bands that I’ve never even heard of talking shit about us to get press, I love it.”
On a personal level, you appear to be a changed man. A year ago it seemed as if you were out of control, drinking too much, doing too many drugs. What is the truth in that?
“Well, the band didn’t even know how bad I got, because I’m really good at hiding it.”
Had the other guys known the truth, do you think that they would they have intervened and had a serious talk with you about what was happening?
“Yes, they would, for sure, had they found out how depressed and suicidal I was. I think they got a little bit of an indication the last time I got drunk, really. I was puking backstage after the second Summer Sonic gig in Japan. They said, ‘There’s something wrong with you, man.’”