Even though former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has received many artistic honors throughout his colorful career, he was stunned to receive a Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for his work on Hub TV's “The Aquabats! Super Show!”
“I truly wasn't expecting that — literally, it was the first episode of television that I ever wrote,” says the musician, who appears in San Francisco today to promote his debut solo CD, “Hesitant Alien.”
Way co-wrote and co-directed the program's 2013 Season 2 finale “The AntiBats!” with “Yo Gabba Gabba” vets, and employed an imaginary death-metal outfit called Asthma, featuring Way's brother — and former MCR bassist — Mikey as its frontman. “Getting nominated for an Emmy was crazy,” he says. “To put it in perspective, that was one episode. But it was going up against two other entire shows — 'Sesame Street' and an R.L. Stine project. So that was a nice feeling, even though 'Sesame Street' obviously won.”
Way hoped to hobnob with soap opera stars. But they all hung together in their own closed-ranks clique, as did participants in every other sub-genre.
“It was such a different world,” he says. “Each area has its own stars and celebrities, its own network of people that know each other. So if you work on a children's cartoon, then you know all the other people that work on a children's cartoon.”
Way adores Cartoon Network's “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show,” and the surreal double-entendre scripts of costumed rock band The Aquabats.
“Shows like these have really captured the essence of what is needed right now, and I think that's why they do so well,” he says. In return, he hired Aquabats guitarist Ian Fowles to play on “Hesitant Alien” (“Get the Gang Together”) and co-write music (“No Shows”).
From its huge, marching opener (and damning showbiz indictment) “Bureau,” through the New Order-sleek “Action Cat” and a power-chorded “Maya the Psychic,” Way's debut echoes the Britpop and post-punk he once listened to in art school. He penned it after disbanding MCR and fully embracing sobriety, plus its daily delights, like looking forward to favorite cable-TV shows, and new-release days for CDs, books and films.
“All of that excitement and anticipation is directly related to other people making art, and that's what's great about it,” says Way, 37. “Drugs exist, and I know people still do them. But what keeps me going is other people's art. It really makes me happy.”