My Chemical Romance's Mikey Way Talks Sobriety

By Paul Gaita 06/02/17

"I was a notorious liar about my addiction, that I didn't have a problem. I was in denial for decades."

Former My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way

When the alt-rock band My Chemical Romance called it quits in 2013, all of its band members took the traditional post-breakup path: releasing their own individual records, either as solo acts—like frontman Gerard Way and guitarist Ray Toro—or as part of a new group like guitarist Frank Iero, who formed frnkiero andthe cellabration and later, Frank Iero and the Patience.

Bassist Mikey Way—Gerard's brother—was the first to set out on his own by forging a new act, Electric Century, with Sleep Station's Dave Debiak almost immediately after MCR's conclusion. But after issuing a lone single, "I Lied," in 2014, the fate of Electric Century appeared to be in doubt when Way revealed via the band's website that he had entered treatment for drug addiction. 

More than two years later, the band's debut LP, For the Night to Control, is slated for a stateside release on July 14 (it was previously available for free in the 2016 issue of the UK magazine Kerrang!). Way has also begun to talk about his life before rehab, which he described as being like "in the ocean with the water [up to] my lips. I was trying to stay up and I was failing."

In an interview with Billboard, Way described how the lyrics to the first Electric Century single largely outlined his life in addiction. "When we were writing that song, Dave saw what was happening," he recalled. "Drug addicts are notorious liars, and at the time, I was a notorious liar about my addiction, that I didn't have a problem. I was in denial for decades. It was fitting that it was the first song anyone could listen to, and that it was released while getting admitted into rehab. All of it was this weird cosmic joke—art imitating life imitating art."

Way said that he entered rehab through an intervention engineered by Debiak. "I woke up at Dave's house, we went for coffee and I said, 'When are we starting [the album]?'" he shared. "He said, 'You're not here to record.'" Way agreed to rehab without a fight—"It was a relief," he said—and completed a 31-day stint.

Life post-rehab was a challenge from the start, according to Way. "You're standing outside of this house that you built, you're lighting it on fire and you have to start over again," he noted. "For me to be me, sober, that was the true journey afterwards."

Thankfully, Debiak was more than happy to allow his bandmate the time to recover before pressing forward with their project. "He had to rebuild his life," said Debiak. "I was in no rush to make him do that faster than he needed to."

As Way recovered, Electric Century slowly rolled out new music—a second single, "Let You Get Away," in 2015, then a self-titled EP for Record Store Day that same year—before the release of For the Night to Control in the UK in 2016. It would be another full year before an official release—a necessary delay, according to Way, who was "waiting until my life finally made sense again." That moment came in the summer of 2016: "It was like, 'Yo, there he is!' I had finally gotten myself back 100%." 

Way continues to approach the future of Electric Century at a relaxed pace. The band is currently working on a new album, and has two shows planned for the immediate future. 

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.