Killing it

'Kill everyone!" Ah, not literally, mind you. It's just an inspirational phrase that Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks told My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero one night just before the band went on stage.

My Chemical Romance

Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Tickets: $13.50 presale and $15 day of show; available at the Blaisdell Arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including Times Supermarkets), online at ticketmaster.com, or charge-by-phone at (877) 750-4400

Call: 591-2211

And since our phone interview with Iero last month while still on their East Coast tour, we can safely assume that the rising emo-hard rock band from New Jersey has been doing its fair share of musical murder on their growing number of fans.

We caught up with Iero on the day the band was doing a couple of TV talk show appearances. Earlier in the day, they did "Late Night with David Letterman," and the brief interview with Iero was held just before taping for "Last Call with Carson Daly."

My Chemical Romance's current whirlwind tour included one home state concert, then traveling through the United Kingdom and Europe, Japan, and finally a stop-off here Tuesday at the Pipeline Cafe on their way back to the mainland.

All the members of the band -- guitarists Iero and Ray Toro ("we switch off on lead, although I leave the wanking guitar solos to Ray"), frontman Gerard Way, his brother/bassist Mikey, and new drummer Bob Bryar -- are true Jerseyites, heralding from the working class Essex County in the state's northern area.

"A few years back before, there was this amazing scene in Jersey," Iero said with fondness. "The shows then were by the kids, for the kids. The few shows I remember seeing included visiting groups like At the Drive-In and Jimmy Eat World, done in halls and basements. Shows like that made me want to play. As we've become more accessible since then, the attendance at our home shows has reached up to 1,200 kids in a hall.

"We've all been in local bands for years, and other Jersey bands like Thursday and Saves the Day have paved the way for our band, making it much easier to get bigger exposure. ... There's such an abundance of bands from there, you have to be pretty good to stand out."

And thanks to the help of the blazing (and even theatrical) single/video "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" from their major label debut "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge," along with Way's singular Goth-like look, My Chemical Romance have become one of the bands to watch this year.

"Back in the day, when the halls and venues were shutting down, I thought it sucked. But now that we've toured so many places -- places that have no scene whatever -- I've realized how lucky I was that there was a scene back home that helped nurture me, something these other kids never had.

"While I did go to college in Jersey on a scholarship, I didn't finish. I felt I was wasting my time, because I knew what I wanted to do, and that was music."

"I've seen a lot, experienced a lot, met different kinds of people, but my roots are in Jersey, going home to my mom's basement."

The family ties even extended to the band's New York City visit, as Iero said from the TV studio, "as a matter of fact, my father and grandfather are right by me. They've been very supportive of me. My folks wanted me to finish college, but since my dad and granddad are both musicians, I felt this was my only option. And I thank my mom who, even though would work 17 to 20 hours a day, would still let me practice when she was at home."

As for that memorable time with Morris in the recording studio, Iero said "He later called me, after the whole experience, while we were in Detroit. We're about to go on, and then my cell rings, and I realize, 'Oh, my God, Keith is asking me for my opinion about a band!' While I don't remember the rest of what we said, I distinctly remember saying as his way of saying goodbye, 'Don't forget, kill everyone.' "

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