My Chemical Romance

Megan Black

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My Chemical Romance was formed by Matt Pelissier and Gerard Way soon after the September 11 attacks. Watching the World Trade Center towers is what influenced Way's decision to start a band. Shortly after, he wrote the song "Skylines and Turnstiles" to express his feelings about 9/11. Following this, Ray Toro joined, because Way could not play guitar and sing at the same time. The name of the band was suggested by Gerard Way's younger brother, Mikey Way. Mikey was working at Barnes & Noble when he saw the name in the back of a book.


The first recording sessions were held in Pelissier's attic, where the songs "Our Lady of Sorrows" (formerly "Bring More Knives") and "Cubicles" were recorded. These are referred to as the Attic Demos. After hearing the demos and dropping out of college, Mikey Way decided to join the band. While with Eyeball Records, the band met Frank Iero, lead vocalist in Pency Prep. Following Pency Prep's breakup in 2002, Iero joined My Chemical Romance just days before the recording of I Brought you my Bullets, you Brought me your Love, the band's debut album. The album was produced by Thursday front-man Geoff Rickley, after the band became friends with him while playing shows in New Jersey. Frank Iero played on two tracks, one of which is titled "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville." My Chemical Romance offered free downloads through PureVolume and MySpace, where they gained an initial fan base. In 2003, MCR signed a deal with Reprise Records.

Following a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, the band began working on their second album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. The album went platinum about a year after it was released. My Chemical Romance released four singles- "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Thank You for the Venom", "Helena (So Long and Goodnight)", and "The Ghost of You". In July 2004, after returning from a tour in Japan, Matt Pelissier was replaced with Bob Bryar. At the beginning of 2005, My Chemical Romance was featured on the first Taste of Chaos tour, and was the opening act for Green Day on their American Idiot tour. Then, they co-headlined Warped Tour 2005 with Fall Out Boy. Next, they co-headlined a tour with Reggie and the Full Effect around the U.S. That same year, MCR collaborated with The Used for a cover of the Queen and David Bowie classic, "Under Pressure". The album Life on the Murder Scene was released in March 2006, incorporating a CD and two DVDs, one a documentary and the other music videos. The unauthorized biography DVD, Things that Make you Go MMM! was also released in June 2006. Though the DVD does not feature any MCR music clips or performances, it does contain interviews from those who knew the band before much of their fame.

My Chemical Romance first started recording their third studio album, The Black Parade, with Rob Cavallo, producer of many Green Day's albums, on April 10, 2006. Originally, it was rumored to be titled The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance, but in an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Gerard Way suggested it was just the album's working title, stating "It was never the title of the album, more a spoof, or joke." The band finished shooting the first two singles of the album, "Welcome to the Black Parade" , and although not released until 2007, "Famous Last Words" on August 3, 2006.The "Famous Last Words" video was directed by Sam Bayer, director of Nirvana's "Smell's Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day's American Idiot videos. During filming for the second video, band members Gerard Way and Bob Bryar were injured. Way suffered torn ligaments in his ankle, and Bryar a burn to the leg which caused a severe staph infection that needed constant monitoring in hospital. Consequently, the band was forced to cancel a few tour dates. On August 22, 2006, the band played a special show at the 1800-capacity London Hammersmith Palais. The show sold out in 15 minutes. The name of the album was announced and 20 people dressed in black capes with their faces obscured paraded around the Hammersmith. Later during the show, the album title and the UK release date were confirmed. Before the band took the stage, it was announced that My Chemical Romance were unable to play, but they would be replaced by The Black Parade. After initial crowd hostility it became clear the band were simply performing under a pseudonym in keeping with the theme of the album. Since then, the band would often perform under the alias "The Black Parade", wearing the costumes seen in the album's music videos. Gerard Way would adopt the persona of the leader of the marching band, The Black Parade, and vary his behavior and performance. The single, "Welcome to the Black Parade", was the band's first number one on the UK Singles Chart in October 2006. The Black Parade was released on October 24, 2006 in the US, with The Black Parade World Tour following soon after, with 133 shows featuring Thursday, Muse, and Rise Against. During the third leg of the tour, members of My Chemical Romance and their crew, along with some of Muse's crew suffered from food poisoning and had to cancel six shows. The band later was featured on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour in 2007. Kerrang! rated The Black Parade as the fourth greatest album in 2006. My Chemical Romance went on to win the 2007 NME awards for Best International Band, and Gerard Way went on to win Hero of the Year award. The band announced they were going on a final tour before taking a break in a blog on their website. At the same time, the band announced that they would be releasing a live DVD/CD titled The Black Parade is Dead!, which was supposed to be released on June 24 in the US, but was postponed to July 1, due to technical difficulties.

Jeff Watson, My Chemical Romance's web designer, announced via the band's website that the band was heading to the studio to record their fourth full-length album on May 27, 2009. On July 31 and August 1, 2009, the band played 'secret' shows at the Roxy Theater in LA. The shows were the first concerts the band had played since Madison Square Garden in May 2008. On March 3, 2010, Frank Iero announced that Bob Bryar had parted with the band, but did not state the reasons why. During the San Diego Comic Con, Way announced that the band had finished recording their fourth studio album, which was later confirmed by Iero on the band's website.

A trailer video was uploaded to My Chemical Romance's official Youtube page entitled Art is a Weapon, which announced the title of the album: Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in September. The video showed the band wearing strangely coloured outfits and battling unusual characters in a desert surrounding, and featuring a sample of music from the song "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)". The band premiered their song "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" on Zane Lowe's BBC 1 Radio Show and LA-based radio station KROQ-FM on September 22, 2010. The album was released exactly three months later.Michael Pedicone joined the band as a touring drummer late in 2010, replacing Bryar. The band announced their breakup on March 22, 2013 on their official website, issuing this statement-

Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing. We've gotten to go places we never knew we would. We've been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We've shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.

— My Chemical Romance

Musical Influences

My Chemical Romance's general style has been categorized as alternative rock, post hardcore, punk rock, pop punk, and, most controversially, emo. The band's official website describes their music as simply "rock" or "violent, dangerous pop". Gerard Way has publicly rejected the term "emo", describing the genre as "garbage". However, Way has reportedly also described the band's style as "What-else-ya-got-emo".

The band's sound usually had traits from punk rock, pop music and alternative rock. Their first album had a raw sound that had guitar riffs, very energetic vocals and even sometimes screaming. It was considered an emo album with strong influences from punk rock, emo, hardcore punk, and some influences from heavy metal. The second album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, was one of the albums that brought the emo genre into the mainstream. The band's album The Black Parade lacked the post-hardcore elements featured off their first two albums and featured elements of pop music with emo and punk rock. Their 4th album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, continued their sound with a lot of pop punk elements. Gerard Way said to Rolling Stone, "we love bands like Queen, where it's huge and majestic, but also bands like Black Flag and the Misfits, who would go absolutely crazy." Way has stated that the band is heavily influenced by Queen, Misfits, Black Flag, Iron Maiden, The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Smiths/Morrisey. Way has also said that his band patterns their career after that of The Smashing Pumpkins, another band they admire.


My Chemical Romance played in many major tours in 2005, including Green Day's "Green Day Presents the American Idiot Tour" and Warped Tour. Their set list included most of the sons from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. The band co-headlined the Used on the Taste of Chaos before their first tour titled "My Chemical Romance Tour". Stopping at thirty states in the US, the tour launched September 15. This tour marked the beginning of the heavy theatrics later showcased in many of their live shows. The use of theatrics was evident in the Black Parade World Tour, which supported their album of the same name. The tour featured 133 performances worldwide with three legs in North America, one in Europe, Asia, South America, and one internationally. The band joined headliners Linkin Park on the Projekt Revolution 2007, starting on July 25 and ending on September 3rd that same year. Following this tour, they opened for Bon Jovi in October, then departed for a tour in Europe with Mindless Self Indulgence. The band announced the World Contamination Tour, on September 19, 2010, which took place in parts of the UK, France, Amsterdam, and Germany.