You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison

Album: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004)
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  • This song is about a man who is involved in a crime ("In the middle of a gunfight, in the center of a restaurant"). He believes that the police will be unable to catch him ("Well they're never gonna get me, I'm like a bullet through a flock of doves"), but he is arrested and sent to prison. The rest of the song refers to prison life: "Will they give me the chair or lethal injection or swing from a rope if you dare." This refers to the thoughts of the prisoner. The line, "What they ask of you will make you want to say 'so long"' refers to him contemplating suicide and may also refer to prison rape and other abuse. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Simon - Salisbury, England
  • Bert McCracken of The Used provides backup vocals during the second verse of the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Mishawaka, IN
  • In 2003, Grantland reporter Andy Greenwald was a witness to Gerard Way and Bert McCracken's chemical-fueled antics one night in Chicago, which - Way told Greenwald - partly inspired the song. When Greenwald reported on the band's breakup in 2013, he recalled the fateful bender: "One night the two kept me in the room with them until dawn as they drained the minibar, sent the concierge out for smokes, and made increasingly frequent trips to the bathroom."
  • According to the band bio Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance by Tom Bryant, the song was also inspired by a kiss Gerard and McCracken shared during a game of truth or dare. Gerard, who likens being on the road to being in prison at times, says he began to trust McCracken like he would a cellmate.

    "Sometimes it feels like jail when you've got eight or nine guys in a van. It smells like jail, that's for sure," Gerard explained shortly after the album's release. "Sometimes it feels like prison, but sometimes even the guys in prison, as f--ked up and rough as it is, they buddy up and stick through it together. I think that's definitely one of the reasons I wanted Bert to sing on it, because he's one of the few people that I've met on the road and really connected with. He was like a cellmate in a way. He's already been through the crazy rock star s--t and I'm just new to this. The song is definitely about that camaraderie and obviously touches on lost masculinity. I think that comes from being around dudes so much and you actually start to lose your masculinity. Especially because we're not the kind of band like Mötley Crüe where we f--k around with groupies or anything."
  • Gerard liked to embody the characters in the songs while he was recording them and often used props to get into the mood. "When I sang 'You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison,' I was running pornography in the room," he explained. "Each song felt like a completely different color palette. And each individual palette had to be just as good - but different - from the next one. I had to figure out how to make my part of each song great, which meant that it was like reinventing the wheel for each song. I never wanted to go into a song thinking, 'OK, let's just do this one like all the others.' Each song had to have a completely different approach and a lot of times that involved method acting. I think, during 'Prison,' I wasn't wearing very many clothes either. I was in an attic that nobody was allowed into. I do remember [producer Howard Benson] encouraging me to get pretty weird in there and I think I got weird in my own ways too."

Comments: 26

  • Yokie from United StatesSo.. this song is about prison rape, becoming somebody’s B. If you’re not that masculine, some tough dude’s gonna walk by you, and notice how weak you look and are, and decide, “hey this dude looks cute and they’re vulnerable if I get ahold of them, why not mess around a little?” In the lyrics, it says “Too much, too late, or just not enough of this
    Pain in my heart for your dying wish, I kiss your lips, again.” That’s basically saying that you don’t want to kiss that dude, but they’ll do bad things to you if you don’t. Am I right or wrong? Tell me.
  • Sophia from United StatesI’ve had this strange theory that maybe the entire concept of the Demolition Lovers was really just one dude who had schizophrenia.

    If he is in prison for killing all those people and is struggling so much due to mental health as identified in the song, then maybe he’s just a struggling schizophrenic who has depression and various other issues deriving from that.

    Because even though Three Cheers and Danger Days are both more comic, fantasy, sci-fi concepts, we can link Danger Days back to the apocalypse, which is a real life threat. Just like people have schizophrenia in real life.

    He also mentions “Two men just as God made us”, and I’ve thought A. Who’s the other guy, if there is one, and B. “just as God made us” could be him referring to how this issue came naturally.

    He also says he can’t remember, and it obviously frustrates him. A lot of times people with schizophrenia have psychotic episodes of the same type but can’t remember exact scenarios.

    He also jumps from one point to another, one question to another, and seems extremely freaked out and anxious regarding the fact that he cannot answer himself, then goes as far numerous times to discuss death. He may be going through a psychotic episode in prison.
  • Emily from Yorkshire, United KingdomI just think that it is about the more diverse message of everybody's sexuality, not just Gerards, and also an encouragment for the youth of today not to bother doing anything to get into jail, or to be too worried if they do, as is all of their lyrics. 'Life is a dream for the dead' shows that whatever you've done, whatever the consequences, it's alright to ignore what you've done and move on, even if others see it in different ways. But hey, you know...whatever XD
    Loving MCR xxx
  • Kyle from Portsmouth, VaGerard is not a cupcake personally I think he'd beat the he'll out of u
  • John from Sylvania, OhI think that this song is just about going to jail. Granted, at the beginning of a live version he may have said it's about prison rape, but he changes that just like he changes the bridge (Do you have the keys to the hotel...>This is going on your permanent record>whatever he says on the Black Parade is Dead). In Life On The Murder Scene, he says it's about going to jail, and on The Black Parade is Dead he talks about judges and testifying.
  • Alex from Mesa, Az2 words Prison Rape
  • Emily from London, United KingdomThis song is about rape in prison! Gerard way said in concert once "Do you know what happens to a guy like me in prison? What do you think happens to a guy, to a f**king cupcake like me in prison? I tell you right now; get f**ked long and hard all night long and its gonna sound like this...AHH AHH AHH AHH!" SO it is about rape in prison happening to 'cupcakes' like gerard in prison. LOL
  • Niall from Nuneaton, Englandin response to Emma's comment that on stage kiss between Gerard and Bert came way after the album was released
  • Person from Place, EnglandOMFG you guys are so slow, in the live version gerard way clearly says "this song is about 5 beautiful boys who went to jail." clearly it is about mcr going to prison and has no real meaning
  • Emma from Newry, IrelandThis song is about a kiss that Gerard Way and Bert McCrakken from The Used shared...
  • Darrell from EugeneWhen I whaled the tar out of an Oregon state police officer in a drunken rage in 1962, I was sent to prison for 5 years, and after I was repeatedly beaten and slammed about by hardened criminals until I was released for good behavior in 1964. Did I mention that I was a jailhouse snitch and a stool pigeon?
  • Courtney from Buffalo, NyI think the guy's boyfriend ("two men as God had made us") had gotten killed ("Life is but a dream for the dead") and as a last wish he asked him to kill the person ("Pain in my heart for your dying wish") and to prove that he'll still loves him he goes on with it ("To wage this war against your faith in me."). When the cops confront him he runs telling himself he won't get caught but he does. When he's in jail he tells about how his cell mates harass and abuse him because of him being gay ("They make me do push-ups in drag"). He's also thinking about how he's going to executed and the different ways they've executed people in the past ("Will they give me the chair?
    Or lethal injection,
    Or swing from a rope")
  • Mikeyli from SydneyI agree with Jorja. Could we try to be a little more realistic please?
  • Katie from --, Injack he does say the hotel thing. that idiot probally was too scared to curse online. but your right. i have the lyrics in front of me now.
  • Lauren from Cheshire, Englandi love this band. the words they sing relate to the fans totally (in my opinion) check out there new album the black parade
  • Jorja from Reading, PaA long long time ago, I was a big My Chemical Romance fan.... And reading some of the reader interpretations of MCR songs are hilarious. Seriously people, many of you are making the rest of us look like a bunch of mindless preteens ruled my Hot Topic and MTV. I expected more...
  • Caroline from Long Island, Nythis song is about the band getting raped by men in prison, and the part of the title (to guys like us) is referring to there non-traditional demeanor, because they are not gay, but they are not afraid so sometimes, be alittle femenine, but thats cool, the my chemical romance is amazing and they could do anything they wanted and it would still be cool.
  • Tony from Tampa, FlI kinda thought that the opening verses were about a "couple" sitting in a restaraunt. one of them is a criminal, the other is not. the cops bust in and the criminal tries to run. as the cops start to fire, the innocent bystandards I.E. "bullet through a flock of doves" start to flee. in the process the criminal's Boyfriend/girlfriend is shot. I.E. "your dying wish.......I'll kiss your lips again." just my two cents.
  • Kirsty from D&g, United Statesi thought this song was about the sory the whole albums about(revenge) and then when he starts to kill the evil men he gets cought by the police and he singin abou prison life whow hes betin and how hell comit sewacide if they dont leav him alone and also about prison rape n how some ppl are mis convicted and halfto deal with the things the other crinimals do to him.but in sthe staory i think hes saying he was guilty but he dun it for love and he killd med thet should hav bein dead and he didnt diserv all those things thta hapend to him in the its kind to do wa mis convicton,love,and being confused about ure sexuality
  • Rufina from Waterloo, Canadayea, this song's pretty much what it says on the "songfact", i just love the music...
  • Elizabeth from J-ville, Flthe part in the song where bert mcCracken (the used) is screaming is as follows

    "Do you have the keys to the hotel? I'm gunna set this motherf--ker on fire! *FIRE!*"

    this song is about being in prison and about prison rape. it's not about suicide at all. this song was very heavily inspired by Gerard Way (frontman of MCR) hanging out with bert mcCracken and all the crazy adventured they've had and whatnot. trust me, i know stuff about MCR.
  • Selene from Belleville, NjThe lyrics in the cd say "Do you have the keys...." but in MCR's Life on the Murder Scene, the Cd has this song on it and it says "I hope you know that this is going on your permanent letter.
    This song is actually about prision rape. MCR usually get their ideas for lyrics from newspapers and articles
  • Jack from Hemel, EnglandI always thought the whispered bit as it entered the solo said "Do you have the keys to the hotel? because i'm gonna set that f--ker on fire!" In the lyrics on here is says " I hope you know that this is going on youre permenent record!!!!! " I'm confused
  • Janetta from Davenport, Iathis song is awsome and it has so much meaning and it is really fun to just listen to! *thats why its my favorite song ever*
  • Chris from Tampa Bay, FlAbout two weeks ago at the Next Big Thing 5(december 4th) MCR played this song and at the end Gerard said "That was about gay sex"..i thought it was kinda funny how straight-forward he was about it lol nonetheless great song
  • Amina from Manchester, Englandthis song is about Gerard's experience with homosexuality, where, in a game of Truth or Dare, he kissed Bert McCracken. its such a cool song!i luv it jus like every other MCr song LOL
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