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Gerard Way on How Dave Chappelle Inspired His Life Post-My Chemical Romance

Musician sought to prioritize his mental health following the band’s 2013 split

Gerard Way attending the Netflix 'Umbrella Academy' panel at Comic-Con São Paulo in 2018 (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images for Netflix)

Getty Images for Netflix

In the upcoming 100th episode of journalist Steve Baltin’s podcast, My Turning Point, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way makes an appearance to discuss the stories behind Welcome to the Black Parade and how Dave Chappelle’s career trajectory following the conclusion of Chappelle’s Show inspired him to prioritize his mental health following the band’s 2013 split. The episode will air on October 12th, per Variety.

“So Dave Chappelle, post-Chappelle’s Show, he had gone away, which I really related to, by the way. When it had felt time to kind of end My Chemical Romance, I found his situation, although very different from mine, obviously, to be very relatable, being in this kind of machine that had gotten super big and felt a bit out of control, and then kind of not wanting to do it anymore for mental health reasons,” Way said.

This idea of control altered Way’s expectations for being in front of a crowd when MCR reunited in 2019 — after six years apart — for a span of sold-out reunion shows. The frontman described the Los Angeles comeback show as the most fun he’d had playing a gig with the band, largely thanks to his decision to relinquish control in directing the audience.

“After the band broke up and I had a lot of time to think and change and grow and all that stuff, I started to have a real issue with control. So I started to kind of examine my own part in that, and think about playing big shows and kind of working a crowd and hyping a crowd up,” Way shared. “So when it came time to do My Chem again, I had said to myself, ‘OK, I’m not gonna control the audience. I’m not gonna direct them. I’m not really gonna work them. I’m just gonna let them do what they wanna do.’ And so it made that show even more rewarding.”

During the MCR hiatus, Way largely stayed out of the public spotlight in an effort to insulate himself from external pressure. Being disconnected for so long, he was taken aback by fans’ reactions when the band returned.

“When I saw the shows, they just kept selling out,” he said. “And we kept adding them, and it just kept selling again, and I was like, ‘Wow, something happened in the years that this band went away.’”

Throughout the interview, Way discusses an array of other creative and personal influences spanning from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” inspiring Welcome to the Black Parade to supportive conversations with Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan over the years.

The podcast episode was constructed from a conversation that Baltin pulled from an interview he had conducted with the frontman earlier this year. The pair first crossed paths during an interview at Warped Tour in 2000.

From Rolling Stone US