Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance has stated that he believes rock music is finally making a resurgence in popular music, arguing that people have “missed the sound of the guitar” for a long time now. Way made the comment in an extensive interview in which he opened up about his career with the landmark emo band MCR, his hatred of labels, and the return of rock.
Describing his hatred of labels, Way referenced Nirvana, saying that, while the group “had the grunge tag and [MCR] got the emo tag,” both bands felt pigeon-holed by the genres assigned to them: “I don’t think either of our bands ever felt comfortable with those tags,” he said. “I was never really into [other] grunge; it was Nirvana for me.”
In Way’s eyes, the brilliance of Nirvana was that they existed beyond firm categories. “I didn’t necessarily consider them grunge,” he began. “I guess they epitomised it, but at the same time, nobody else that was a grunge band really sounded like them, you know? I felt that way about My Chemical Romance too. We had emerged into this second-wave emo scene, and it never really felt right.”
Way also looked back on his own career to shed some light on what the future of music might hold. Opening up about the emo and pop-punk explosion of the 2000s, Way gave some insight into why guitar music subsequently faded from view. “In the 2000s, when we emerged, you saw other bands like Green Day have almost a whole revitalisation: it was a time for rock and roll. Rock and roll was a really dominant thing.”
As he went on to explain, rock music then infiltrated the pop charts before reaching its peak and disappearing: “And then pop starts to take a lot of risks, then all of the sudden you see people trying to get bands to use guitars less. You keep hearing, ‘rock is dead.’ If somebody gave me a free guitar every time somebody said ‘rock is dead,’ I’d have a lot of guitars.”
Way believes rock music is bound to return, arguing that music fans needed to hear something new, but have developed a nostalgia for the simplicity of the rock band set-up: “I think people really missed what you can get out of a rock band and you can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “They just missed the sound of the guitar. I think that’s why you’re starting to hear them in pop. I think as this cycle continues, sounds are going to get heavier and more visceral because I think people just need that. I think people just need it.”