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Bands to Watch – My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way–with his ghostly pallor, longunwashed hair, and goth boots–would probably always look out of placesipping iced coffee at a café in a yuppified section of Brooklyn. Buthe looks downright alien in his trademark ripped and stitched blackleather jacket on an 80-degree spring day. “Oh, I’m perfectlycomfortable,” he says. “I got used to leather early on. Wearing it mademe feel like the person I was supposed to be onstage.”

That person is a shrieking, charismatic screamo star who leads his bandthrough relentless, cinematic stormers with titles like “You Know WhatThey Do to Guys Like Us in Prison.” “People stopped telling storieswith their music,” says Way, 27. “They just wrote about theirgirlfriends.” In response, he plotted the New Jersey quintet’sblistering second album and major-label debut, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,like a movie, with a twisted backstory about a doomed murdererpromising the Devil 1,000 evil souls in exchange for a reunion with hislover.

Though friendly and somewhat soft in person (he cops to wearing asweater with “little snowflakes on it” in winter), Way tries to inhabithis hell-scarred protagonist onstage–going so far as to command anangry crowd to hock loogies at him. “I got 600 kids to spit on me,” hesays with pride. “The audience hated us, and they still did what I said!”