Gerard Arthur Way (born April 9, 1977) is an American musician and comic book writer who has served as lead vocalist and co-founder of the bandMy Chemical Romance since its formation in 2001. He is also the writer of 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. He was raised in Belleville, New Jersey 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."
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.
As teenagers Gerard and his brother Mikey Way, who later became the bassist of My Chemical Romance, were influenced by the bands Iron Maidenand The Misfits as well as British artists such as Pulp, Blur and 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 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.
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 use. 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 is entitled "Safe and Sound" and 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.