Gerard Arthur Way (born April 9, 1977) is an American musician and comic book writer who was the lead vocalist and co-founder of the band My Chemical Romance from its formation in November 2001 until its split in March 2013. He is the executive producer of the band LostAlone's second album I'm a UFO in This City. Way also co-wrote the comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and wrote the Eisner Award-winning comic book The Umbrella Academy.
Gerard Way was born April 9, 1977 in Summit, New Jersey to Donna Lee (née Rush) and Donald Way. He has Italian ancestry on his mother's side and Scottish ancestry on his father's side. He was raised in Belleville, New Jersey alongside brother Mikey Way and first began singing publicly in the fourth grade, when he played the role of Peter Pan in a school musical production. His maternal grandmother, Elena Lee Rush, was a great creative influence who taught him to sing, paint, and perform from a young age; he has said that "she has taught me everything I know". Also, while in elementary school, the glam metal band Bon Jovi was instrumental in forming his love of music.
At the age of 15, Way was held at gunpoint, as he said in an April 2008 Rolling Stone interview: "I got held up with a .357 Magnum, had a gun pointed to my head and put on the floor, execution-style." He went on to say that "no matter how ugly the world gets or how stupid it shows me it is, I always have faith [in it]." At age 16, Way appeared on an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael which discussed the controversy surrounding the publicizing of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes in comic books.
Way attended Belleville High School until he graduated in 1995. Deciding to pursue a career in the comic-book industry, he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999.
Way was working as an intern for Cartoon Network in New York City during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Seeing the effects of the attacks first-hand prompted Way to change his views on life in the following weeks. He told Spin magazine, "I literally said to myself, 'Fuck art. I’ve gotta get out of the basement. I’ve gotta see the world. I’ve gotta make a difference.'" To help deal with the emotional effects the attacks had on him, Way wrote the lyrics to the song "Skylines and Turnstiles", which has since been identified as the first song by My Chemical Romance. Soon after, My Chemical Romance began to assemble as a band.As teenagers, Gerard and his brother Mikey Way, who later became the bassist of My Chemical Romance, were influenced by artists such as Iron Maiden, The Misfits, Danzig, Black Flag, Queen,Pulp, Blur, Morrissey and The Smiths. Way originally wanted to be a guitarist. His grandmother bought him his first guitar at the age of eight and he played in short-lived bands such as Ray Gun Jones and Nancy Drew with future bandmate Ray Toro, but when he was not successful (one band kicking him out due to his lack of skill with the guitar), he chose to concentrate on his art career.
Way has contributed vocally to bands such as Every Time I Die's "Kill the Music", Head Automatica's "Graduation Day", Say Anything's "In Defense of the Genre", and The Oval Portrait's "From My Cold Dead Hands" and "Barnabus Collins Has More Skeletons in His Closet Than Vincent Price".
In many interviews, Way has stated that music turned out to be an effective outlet to deal with his longtime battles against depression, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. The use of music as a way to resolve personal battles has caused Way to create deeply personal songs such as "Helena," which was written in memory of his late grandmother.
In 2008, Way and musical project Julien-K remixed a version of the song Sleep When I'm Dead by The Cure for their EP Hypnagogic States. All profits gained from the sales of the EP go to funding theInternational Red Cross.
In early 2009, Way and Japanese singer Kyosuke Himuro co-produced the new theme song for Advent Children Complete, the Blu-ray director's cut of the movie sequel to the popular video game franchise, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. He is also credited with writing the lyrics, and singing alongside Himuro. The song, titled "Safe and Sound", was released on iTunes on April 29, 2009."Safe and Sound" is only heard on the Japanese release of the film; the English release uses Himuro's "Calling" (the original ending theme for Advent Children) in place of it. He also contributed vocals for the vocal mix of the deadmau5 song "Professional Griefers".
In early 2013, My Chemical Romance announced their break up.
In June 2013 Dark Horse Comics released Way's six-issue comics miniseries, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.
Gerard Way's first attempt at writing a comic was at the age of 16, writing a comic book series called On Raven's Wings, published by Hart D. Fisher's Bonyard Press, which was cancelled after Issue 2 due to losing the art team; he was credited as Garry Way.
In 2007, Way began writing the comic-book miniseries The Umbrella Academy. Way wrote the story and illustrated the original version, but cartoonist Gabriel Ba recreated all of Way's original drawings in the final version. A few of Way's first drawings of the characters can be seen in the last few pages of the first book in the series, Apocalypse Suite.
Apocalypse Suite was first released by Dark Horse Comics in their Free Comic Book Day issue on May 5, 2007. Since then, an eight-page story has been published entitled "Safe & Sound", which appeared in a collection of stories entitled MySpace Dark Horse Presents Volume One. The first official issue of The Umbrella Academy was released on September 19, 2007. The first issue sold out and consequently there was a second printing released on October 17, 2007. Apocalypse Suite also won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series. The next installment of the series, Dallas, was released on November 26, 2008, and a third installment entitled Hotel Oblivion is currently in the works.
Way and fellow artists Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan are currently in the process of developing and creating a new comic-book series entitled The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which Way announced at 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. At the 2012 New York Comic Con, the team announced that the first look at the series would be released on 2013's Free Comic Book Day.
In 2011 My Chemical Romance stated that Mikey and Gerard were working on another comic book project which they had kept under wraps since mid-2011.
On December 21, 2013 Gerard stated that he and Gabriel Ba will be working on parts three and four of his comic book series Umbrella Academy beginning in the new year.
In a podcast interview on December 31, 2013 with Chris Thompson from Pop Culture Hound, Gerard discussed his new Umbrella Academy series in more detail and confirmed he would do two volumes back-to-back, with a couple of flashback issues in-between. In addition, he discussed his new comic series All Ages which first appeared as a series of images on his Twitter feed. Although the project doesn't have a publisher or an artist at this stage, he is actively working on the story of cats in high-school who are discovering their place in the world.
In 2001 Way co-created a cartoon with Joe Boyle called The Breakfast Monkey. They pitched it to Cartoon Network, but the network declined to pick up the concept on the grounds that it was too similar to the existing property Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
In 2013, Way made his television directorial debut on The Hub original series The Aquabats! Super Show!, co-directing and co-writing the season two finale "The AntiBats!" with series co-creators Christian Jacobs and Jason deVilliers. Additionally, Way's brother Mikey appears in the episode, playing the lead singer of a fictional death metal band called Asthma.
Way struggled with alcoholism and prescription drug addiction for many years but is now sober. In a November 2010 issue of Spin magazine, he said that having become a happier person and feeling more in control, he had been able to enjoy the occasional recreational drink. However a couple of years later he quit fully again and now abstains from alcoholic beverages entirely. On September 3, 2007 after a concert in Colorado, Way married Lyn-Z of Mindless Self Indulgence backstage on the final date of the Projekt Revolution tour. A member of Live Nation's touring staff that was also an ordained minister performed the low-key ceremony. Their daughter, Bandit Lee Way, was born in California on May 27, 2009. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
- With My Chemical Romance
- I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)
- Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)
- The Black Parade (2006)
- Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010)
- Conventional Weapons (2013)
- May Death Never Stop You (2014)
- "Zero Zero" (single, 2012)
- "Millions" (single, TBA)