"Early career (2001–2002)
The band was formed by frontman Gerard Way and ex-drummer Matt Pelissier around a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Witnessing the planes crash into the World Trade Center influenced Way's life to the extent that he decided to start a band. Way wrote the song "Skylines and Turnstiles" to express his feelings about September 11th. Shortly thereafter, Ray Toro was called up and asked to join the band because at the time Way couldn't sing and play the guitar at the same time. The first recording sessions were done in Pelissier's attic, where the songs "Our Lady of Sorrows" (formerly called "Bring More Knives") and "Cubicles" were recorded. Mikey Way, the younger brother of Gerard, loved the demo so much that he decided to join the band.
My Chemical Romance was signed with Eyeball Records and played in the same room as Pencey Prep and Thursday. It was there that the band met Frank Iero, the lead vocalist and guitarist for Pencey Prep. After Pencey Prep broke up in 2001/2002, Frank became a guitarist for My Chemical Romance, just days before the band's debut album was recorded.2
Three months after the formation of the band they recorded their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, subsequently released in 2002 on Eyeball Records. Despite only joining the band a few days before the album recording sessions began, Iero played guitar on two of the tracks, one of them being "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville".
Mainstream breakthrough (2003–2006)
In 2003, the band signed a deal with Reprise Records. Following a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, the band began work on their second album, entitled Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Released in 2004, the album went platinum within a year. The band released three singles from the album: "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Helena" and "The Ghost of You". It was during this time that the band replaced Matt Pelissier with Bob Bryar, after they went to Japan in July 2004. The true nature of Pelissier's departure was due to an argument with band member Ray Toro as a result of mistakes made by the drummer during live performances.
At the start of 2005, the band was directly supported on the first ever Taste of Chaos tour, and was also the opening act for Green Day on the American Idiot tour. During the summer, they co-headlined the Warped Tour 2005 with Fall Out Boy. Later that year, My Chemical Romance co-headlined and headlined their own tour with Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect around the US. That same year, My Chemical Romance collaborated with The Used for a cover of the David Bowie and Queen classic, "Under Pressure" that was released as a benefit single on iTunes and other Internet outlets.
On March 21, 2006, a 2 DVD/1 CD set entitled Life on the Murder Scene was released. It included one DVD chronicling the band's history, and a second DVD with music videos, the making of their videos, and a couple of live performances. An unauthorized biography DVD Things That Make You Go MMM! was also released on June 27, 2006. The DVD does not actually feature any My Chemical Romance music clips or performances, but contains interviews with those who knew the band before much of their fame.
The band started recording their third studio album on April 10, 2006 with Rob Cavallo, producer of many of Green Day's albums. It was originally thought to be titled The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance, but in an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Gerard Way suggested this was just the album's working title, stating "It was never the title of the album, more a spoof, or joke." On August 3, 2006, the band finished shooting the videos for their first two singles from the album, "Welcome to the Black Parade" and "Famous Last Words", to be released on January 22, 2007. The video was directed by Sam Bayer, director of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day's American Idiot videos. During the shoot for "Famous Last Words", 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. While these injuries were reported by several news agencies to have been the result of a car accident, a statement released by the band on their website and MySpace page has confirmed that these injuries occurred on the set of the video.
The Black Parade (August 2006–present)
Announcement of The Black Parade at London Hammersmith PalaisA biography titled Something Incredible This Way Comes was released, written by Paul Stenning (Published in 2006). It features their beginnings, right through to The Black Parade. On August 22, 2006, the band played a special one-off show at the 1800-capacity London Hammersmith Palais. The show sold out in 15 minutes prompting tickets being sold on eBay well over the tickets' face value. The name of the album they promoted was announced and 20 people dressed in black capes with their faces obscured paraded around Hammersmith, followed by a large group of fans and street team members with signs saying "The Black Parade". Later during the show the album title and the UK release date were confirmed. Prior to the band taking 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. When the set began, the backdrop art displayed the words "The Black Parade".
On September 2, 2006, My Chemical Romance posted "Welcome to the Black Parade" on their MySpace page and their PureVolume page. "Welcome to the Black Parade" had its first radio airing on September 11, 2006. On September 26, 2006 the "Welcome to the Black Parade" music video was released in the UK, and on September 27 in the US.
On October 12, 2006, My Chemical Romance made a rare in-store performance to 500 fans at Virgin Megastores on London's Oxford Street. In order to get wristbands for the event, many fans slept outside the shop the previous night. British band Towers of London caused trouble at the event when the Towers guitarist, Dirk Tourette, allegedly flicked a cigarette butt at Bob Bryar while he was performing. "Welcome to the Black Parade" reached number one on October 15, 2006, on the UK Singles Chart, giving them their first number one. The Black Parade was released on October 23, 2006 in the United Kingdom and on October 24 in the United States.
The Black Parade World Tour started on February 22, 2007, with Rise Against, Thursday and Muse as support acts. At the first concert of the tour in Manchester, New Hampshire, My Chemical Romance announced the addition of Reggie and the Full Effect frontman James Dewees, who will play keyboards/synth on the tour. On March 12, 2007, the band appeared on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as the host. They played their single, "Famous Last Words" at the ending of the show as flames were bursting behind them.
My Chemical Romance received many positive and negative accolades. In Kerrang! magazine, issue 1138, My Chemical Romance won the following categories in the 2006 poll: Best Band, Worst Band, Best Album (The Black Parade), Worst Album (The Black Parade), Best Track ("Welcome to the Black Parade"), Best Video ("Welcome to the Black Parade"), Best Live Show, Best Thing About 2006, Worst Thing About 2006, Hero of 2006 (Gerard Way), Villain of 2006 (Gerard Way), and Sexiest Male (Gerard Way). Also, in issue 1139, Kerrang! rated The Black Parade as the 4th Greatest Album of 2006. In Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of the top 50 albums of 2006, The Black Parade was voted the 20th best album of the year. My Chemical Romance won the award for "Best International Band" at the 2007 NME Awards. Gerard also won the "Hero of the Year" award.
On April 19, 2007, it was announced that Mikey Way would temporarily leave My Chemical Romance's current tour to spend time with his new wife Alicia Simmons/Way. Mikey's temporary replacement is Matt Cortez, a tech, and friend of the band. During the third leg of The Black Parade World Tour with support act Muse, members of My Chemical Romance band and crew and members of Muse’s crew were struck by food poisoning, thus canceling six shows. My Chemical Romance will be a part of Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour in 2007, along with, Placebo, Mindless Self Indulgence, Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, HIM, and Linkin Park. According to a radio interview (WXDX - Pittsburgh) with Linkin Park's DJ Joe Hahn, the band plans to announce official dates on their website in early May.
Four original recordings from The Black Parade were featured on the Xbox 360 release of Guitar Hero II. "Dead!" was added to the song list in-game, and as of August 14, 2007 three more tracks were made available via bulk download from the Xbox Live Marketplace: This is How I Disappear, Teenagers, and Famous Last Words. The My Chemical Romance Track Pack is available for 500 Microsoft Points.
In a recent interview in Kerrang! with frontman Gerard Way, he said that they are about to work on a new album.
Musical style and influences
My Chemical Romance's music has been described by the media as "pop punk", "emo", "alternative rock", "post-hardcore" and "punk revival". The band themselves described their music as simply "rock" or "violent, dangerous pop" on their official website, as well as rejecting the term "emo" to describe their style, though another source quotes frontman Way stating that they are "What-else-ya-got-emo".
My Chemical Romance cite their main influences as Queen, Thursday, Iron Maiden, The Misfits, Morrissey/The Smiths and the Beastie Boys. Gerard Way has said, "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 also said that his band patterns their career after that of The Smashing Pumpkins, another band they admire. Geoff Rickly, the lead singer of Thursday, has compared My Chemical Romance to Ink & Dagger. Growing up, they were also very influenced by horror films and comic books, and therefore their music, lyrics, and image all have overt elements of fantasy, storytelling, horror, and theatricality.
MCR being bottled at Download.My Chemical Romance was among the first bands to achieve prominence by offering free downloads through PureVolume and the social networking site MySpace, where MCR gathered its first few thousand fans. The band has clearly grown well beyond those initial numbers, expanding their fan base beyond the typical fans of their musical style and direction, partially helped by the more mainstream sound of their 2004 album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. MCR are sometimes maligned by the "grassroots" fans, for the expanded fan base, after the release of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Due to the increased amount of new fans, some of the old fanbase considers the band a "sellout" and the new MCR fans "posers". The fans are particularly vocal on online forums.
My Chemical Romance played the main stage at the 2006 Reading and Leeds Festival—this was the largest show they have ever played in the UK. According to issue 221 of Alternative Press, they followed thrash metal band Slayer and were not received warmly by the crowd at Reading, as the band was subjected to heavy bottling. Large sections of the audience threw bacon, tangerines, golf balls, and bottles filled with urine at the group as they played. The band were also heavily bottled at the Download Festival 2007 at the start of their set, but eventually the crowd calmed down. They left the stage twenty minutes early, before Korn (who were playing the second stage at the same time) finished, for safety reasons.
Numerous artists in other bands have criticised the band openly in the media, amongst them is Marilyn Manson; he wrote the song "Mutilation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery" as an attack on the band for his Eat Me, Drink Me release. Stating in an interview that "I'm embarrassed to be me because these people are doing a really sad, pitiful, shallow version of what I've done". In response to this, Gerard Way claimed nothing Manson could say would bring the band down and there has been no real criticism of the band from anyone that they have taken seriously so far."
Text from Wikipedia.
Now for my opinion...
My Chemical Romance is a fantastic band. A lot of people refer to them as emo, but if you would actually take the time to listen to the lyrics of one of their songs, they are actually uplifting. Gerard has clearly stated that they want to SAVE lives, the exact opposite of destroy them. He urges fans NOT to cut their wrists, and if they are thinking of committing suicide to talk to someone, regardless of who it is. Most people that think they are bad haven't taken the time to listen to them, which is to say the most they've heard by them is either all of Welcome To the Black Parade, or the beginning of Teenagers, neither of which is like their original style, or their best songs. Gerard has also said that they are not emo, and never will be, and defined their music style simply as "rock".
My Chemical Romance's singles are as follows... "Welcome To the Black Parade", "Teenagers", "Famous Last Words", "I Don't Love You", "Helena", "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", and "The Ghost of You". You should also listen to "Our Lady of Sorrows", "Thank You For the Venom", "Give Em Hell Kid", "To The End", "This Is How I Disappear", "House of Wolves", "Mama", and "Sleep".