The meaning of the song's lyrics was explained by the band as a metaphoric critique on society. The "vampires" represent greedy and ambitious human beings.
MCR frontman Gerard Way realized he had a more personal connection to the song than he initially thought. "The song is about something pretty dark," he told Tom Bryant, author of Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance
. "I guess, looking back, it's about the early signs of my alcoholism and how I felt I was wasting my life. It was about feeling generally like a scumbag."
Siobhan - Dublin, Ireland
The main character in this song never wants to blend in with society, he wants to stand out and believe in himself, so the lyric, "If they get me and the sun goes down into the ground, And if they get me take this spike to my heart" is saying that if he ever starts to be like the rest of society, he would rather die. He will also never let anyone he loves be sucked into this society.
Rhiannon - Manchester, England
My Chemical Romance released their debut album through Eyeball Records, an independent label founded by Alex Saavedra to promote up-and-coming New Jersey punk acts. Saavedra was producing the band's first recording session, and it wasn't going well. Gerard was suffering from an abscessed tooth and had to leave to get emergency dental work. When he returned, he was in such a daze from the pain meds, he couldn't sing. So Saavedra gave him a hug – and punched him in the mouth. "Now, go sing," he told him. Gerard was furious and poured all his pain and anger into his performance.
"I was f--king riled," he told biographer Bryant. "I went up to the mic and nailed it first time." Engineer John Naclerio was still setting levels, however, and needed one more take. Thankfully, Gerard had enough venom left over to recreate his rage-fueled first pass.
Drummers often use a metronome device called a click track to keep themselves, and the rest of the band, in time. Matt "Otter" Pelissier, MCR's original drummer, refused to use the device, which gave the songs on their debut album inconsistent tempos. Guitarist Ray Toro recalled in 2011: "You can hear the nervousness and excitement on that record... every track would speed up because Otter wasn't playing to a click track. I think the songs have a lot of character as a result."
Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly, who also produced I Brought You My Bullets, wasn't convinced. He and Saavedra even tried to get the band to re-record Pelissier's parts behind his back, but his mates wouldn't budge - not yet, at least. After their tour to promote their followup, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, Pelissier was ousted from the band - partly for his stance against the click track.
Before forming My Chemical Romance, Gerard aspired to become a comic book artist, interning at DC Comics and working at the Cartoon Network. In 2007, he created the popular comic series The Umbrella Academy, which was adapted into a live-action TV show that premiered on Netflix in 2019.
Back when MCR was still taking shape, Rickly encouraged Gerard to meld his passions for comics and music. "Early on, I told Gerard that he should think of his band like a comic book," Rickly told Tom Bryant. "He was a great artist and was so imaginative that I thought he should draw himself a character and draw his band as a scene."
Gerard: "'Vampires Will Never Hurt You' gave us a real sense of identity. It brought in the entire gothic thing. It was those songs that made people think we were a vampire band."
The album title was inspired by an unfinished short story Gerard wrote called "I Brought You My Bullets," which was about two terrorists in love.
Frank Iero, who fronted the punk act Pencey Prep, hadn't joined MCR yet when they first started developing the album, but this song gave him a glimpse of his future with the band. "I was hanging out while they recorded a demo of 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You' and I got really, really high," he told Kerrang! in 2011. "Ray had laid down 14 guitar parts and somebody said, 'If you add another guitarist, you could play this live.' Someone replied, 'The only guy we've considered is too high to get off the couch.' That was the first time I thought I might play in my favorite band - it scared the s--t out of me."