Can you imagine Gerard Way had planned a new band Baby Animal Hospital after My Chemical Romance broke up?
This past weekend My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way surprised fans with four previously unreleased solo songs. On April 5 he posted on Instagram that he had uploaded the new songs (as well as a bit divisive picture of his vocal cords), adding: “Hey all, with all this uncertainty I just wanted to start uploading some unreleased stuff.”
Now, Way sat down to give some background to the unveiled songs via SoundCloud. He wrote detailed descriptions underneath, as well as what inspired each of the tracks. You can read all Way’s comments below. From the singer’s notes fans found out a lot about Way’s everyday routine and plans after MCR broke up.
From the background of the song ‘Success!’ we learn that after “my chem broke up” and before Way turned to solo career, he was about to start a new band called Baby Animal Hospital. What a name!
“Back before Hesitant Alien was a thing, and before I wanted to pursue a solo career, I wanted to start a band and just sing and play guitar, after my chem broke up. The name of the band was going to be Baby Animal Hospital (the record label hated the name, especially since it included both the words ‘baby’ and ‘hospital’ in the same phrase)”, Way remembers.
Baby Animal Hospital idea was eventually left behind. But what do you think of the track ‘Success!’? Would it potentially make Baby Animal Hospital successful?
Another track ‘Phoning It In’ also reveals interesting facts about Way’s creative thinking process. It turns out, the song got written simply because the singer “always loved the phrase” and “just inspired to write a song with it”. “I wrote the riff quickly, wrote the lyrics quickly, we got the guitar sound quickly, and there was no overthinking”, admits Way.
The description also reveals that most Way and MCR songs were made using programmed drums by Doug, not actual in-studio drummers. Live drums on the songs were hardly ever used, only as a final touch prior to the release of a particular track:
“Doug programmed the drums”, Way writes. “Every once in a while we will have someone play drums on the songs, but usually only when we are finishing something for release. Otherwise, all the drums in the demos are programmed by Doug, and I think he does a really good job of making them sound kind of real and natural.”
This and many other curious facts you’ll find from Way’s descriptions below. And if you haven’t heard the four solo songs yet, go ahead and give them a listen first. Don’t miss out on the news about your favorite rock bands – join us on AlteRock Facebook and AlteRock Twitter!
“This is one of maybe five tracks of me messing around with this Crate amp I got off of Reverb for cheap. It has a mysterious stain on the front that looks like someone had put a candle on top of the amp and the wax just dripped down the front. In the listing, the stain was described as “a stain that mostly comes off”. One of the things Doug and I were experimenting with for the last three months was how bad we could get stuff to sound. That’s not me trying to diss on Crate amps, as the very first amp I had— the one I wrote Skylines and Turnstiles with— was a Crate amp with built in distortion. But they do not have a reputation for being high quality amps, at least in the musical circles I was in.
A lot of people get kind of snobby about them. But I think a lot of metal or thrash metal musicians swear by them. They are very crunchy, so I think that is why, since some metal has a lot of crunchy distortion. But we would turn the amp distortion on, and then run a distortion pedal through it, to see how fucked up we could get it. I’ll probably put the rest of the jam tracks up, but I think it’s a lot of the same riff over and over, since I didn’t know when Doug was in record-mode and I wanted to make sure I got the two or three parts down once I discovered them. This is just me playing guitar meandering through ideas, sloppily. Maybe some of these riffs will become songs.”
“Back before Hesitant Alien was a thing, and before I wanted to pursue a solo career, I wanted to start a band and just sing and play guitar, after my chem broke up. The name of the band was going to be Baby Animal Hospital (the record label hated the name, especially since it included both the words ‘baby’ and ‘hospital’ in the same phrase), and I did a bunch of rough graphic design for it, but in the end, it really felt like a solo thing, so that’s what it became. But when it was Baby Animal Hospital (I wanted something that sounded warm and fuzzy and loud, like the tones)
I recorded this track with Doug for the opening of the record. The lyrics/sounds are just the word BAH over and over again, which where the first letters of each word of the band name, but that wasn’t intentional, I just liked the sound. And this was us really messing with auto-tune to try and make it sound like an instrument. It was supposed to be this track as track one and go right into Action Cat. Later on, I figured I would just make a zine with the name Baby Animal Hospital, but I didn’t get very far with it. Still like the name, and may do something with it in the future. Maybe one day I’ll share all the graphic design I did for it when it was a band, a lot of which was cut and paste by hand.”
“This was something Doug and I threw together for the release of Umbrella Academy Volume Three: Hotel Oblivion. Just something short for an instagram video. We did this really quick, didn’t give it much thought other than trying to make something that sounded a little like The Stooges. A few months later, I actually wrote a verse and some new lyrics and a new vocal melody for the verse, and then I kind of wanted to finish the song. Someday. Like most of this stuff, it’s me playing guitar, bass if there is bass, doing the vocals, and Doug programming the drums.”