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My Chemical Romance


My Chemical Romance Awards:

2005 Kerrang! Award Best Video for "Helena"
2005 Kerrang! Award Best Album - "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge"
2006 Kerrang! Award Best Band on the Planet
2006 TRL Award Best Group That Actually Plays
2007 Kerrang! Award Best International Band
2007 NME Award Best International Band
2008 Grammy Award Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package - "The Black Parade"

When your first two albums are titled "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love" ('02) and "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge," ('04) you know My Chemical Romance has a skewed world view. No wonder, they're from New Jersey.

Remember watching Breakfast Monkey on the Cartoon Network? No? Well, it's not because of damaged brain cells or general forgetfulness. Nor is it because the Cartoon Network is little more than a blur of second rate animation populated with gags no self-loathing class clown would touch. You see, Breakfast Monkey came close to hitting cable but never quite got there. Here's why. Gerard Way had flirted with music in his teens but gave it up to draw, eventually attending the School of Visual Arts in New York. From there he made a connection with the Cartoon Network and pitched them on the idea of a flying simian capable of producing a breakfast out of thin air. But the events of 9/11/01 and seeing the group Thursday perform at a small, lightly attend club gig, caused Way to rethink his career choices. He abandoned Breakfast Monkey and returned to music and something more substantial.

Rock music can be cathartic. Jumping around slamming out chords or beating a drum kit to death blows away life's troubles. Songwriting is another good way to deal with unwanted traumas - or at least make some sense of them. Singer Way, who suffered through severe depression and a serious family illness, partnered with drummer Matt Pelissier to write some songs. Their first effort, which also made it on to My Chemical Romance's debut was "Skylines And Turnstiles." That was a positive experience so the next step was to build a group to perform their songs. Guitarist Ray Toro signed on. He was followed by Mikey Way (that would be Gerard's brother) and guitarist Frank Iero.





The name My Chemical Romance was procured from cult writer Irvine Walsh's novel Ecstasy - Three Tales Of Chemical Romance. Walsh also wrote Trainspotting.

The group played high-energy shows in Goth-Rock attire throughout the northeast. It paid off. They were signed to Eyeball Records. "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love" with "Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us," "Headfirst for Halos," and "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" was produced by Thursday's vocalist Geoff Rickly. That led critics to mercilessly compare the two groups.

For the better part of the next two years My Chemical Romance played throughout North America and Europe, either as a headliner or co-billed with The Used and other groups.

My Chemical Romance's time with Eyeball was relatively short. Moving to Reprise/Warner in '03 they released "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" the following year. Probably to get away from the Thursday comparisons the album was produced by Howard Benson, who had worked with Motorhead, P.O.D. and Hoobstank. Containing 'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)," "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison" and "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living," My Chemical Romance was again drawing a quirky personal experiences as their main inspiration. Once the album was released the group did the Vans Warped Tour before hitting Japan and the U.K. Amid all this, Pelisser left and was replaced by Chicago native Bob Bryar.

The live CD/DVD "Life On The Murder Scene" was issued in '06. Later that year, the group unfurled "The Black Parade." The album almost didn't get completed because Way was in a bad way, suffering from crippling depression. "I went through a crisis. I was examining every awful thing about myself," said the singer. "I was living inside the record. It was a dark time."

Apparently, all the anguish was worth it. "The Black Parade" sold 240,000 copies in its first week to land at #2 (behind Disney's "Hannah Montana" soundtrack) on the Billboard 200 chart. My Chemical Romance unveiled their second live album "The Black Parade Is Dead!" in July, '08.

About the group's planned '10 release, Way stated in a Spinner.com interview that Judas Priest and the film, Blade Runner, were inspirations.

"Judas Priest is considered Metal, but it's great Rock n' Roll," said Way. "{They have} everything to do with the birth of power-anthem Metal." As for Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, Way added "he was very strong in his vision." Scott, who regarded Blade Runner as his "most complete and personal film" was known for stylish visuals and an obsession for detail. A box-office disappointment in '82, the film has often been ranked as one of the most important science fiction films of the 20th century.

Way also felt that the '10 album, 'Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys," would be the group's defining work. That sort of statement is expected. Though not usually written in the job description, a frontman's primary responsibility is to the hype the band and their latest release. But Way took a slightly different approach for this set - namely dissing the band's past and popular albums. "A friend who heard the record recently said he now had no interest in listening to our older work anymore, that we had made all our old material redundant," said Way. "I took it as a compliment."

Way went even further. "Over the years that we've been hearing ourselves live and hearing us on records, we kind of prefer the live. There's more of a garage feel and more energy. I think the band misses being a Rock band."

In the run up to the release of "Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys," My Chemical Romance recorded a cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" which was heard during the end credits of the '09 film Watchman.

Considering Way's comment above, a live set seemed like a natural. "Venganza!," a collection of videos filmed in Mexico City came out later in the year.

However, My Chemical Romance's return to the limelight did not go unimpeded - there was Bryar's departure. "This was a painful decision for all of us to make and was not taken lightly," said the band in a 03/03/10 statement. "We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and expect you all to do the same." Michael Pedicone stepped in as the tour drummer.

"Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys," featured the catchy "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)." "It ("Danger Days') brings back, lyrically, some of that wonderful fiction from the first album," added Way. So maybe their earlier work wasn't so 'unimportant' after all.

Usually when a band releases an album or does something intriguing - or just plain stupid - critics come out of the woodwork to either praise or pounce. But sometimes a big gust just comes out of the blue. Fox News Channel anchor Glenn Beck blasted an episode of the Fox TV show "Glee" in which the cast performed My Chemical Romance's anthem, "Sing." After railing against the show's 'morals' Beck took aim at "Sing." "Pay attention to the lyrics," he cautioned. "This is propaganda; it's an anthem saying 'Join us.' How can you and I possibly win against that?" A few days later, Way responded on the band's website dismissing Beck's criticism.

"I think the word Glenn Beck was looking for was 'subversion' not 'propaganda,' because I don't know what [the lyrics] would be considered propaganda for? Truth? Sentiment?" Way wrote. "And I can't tell what he's angrier about, the fact that it's how I feel about the persistent sterilization of our culture, or the fact that it's on network television for everyone to hear." "Sing," had recently been re-released as a charity single for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief.

In late '12, My Chemical Romance began releasing ten tracks over five months (2 per month), as part of the Conventional Weapons set list. All of the songs were recorded during the '09 sessions which were eventually scrapped in favor of the material released on "Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys."

"They may shed a little more light on how and where "Danger Days" came from," wrote Iero on the band's official site.

On 3/22/13, My Chemical Romance unexpectedly announced they had broken up. "We've been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible," said a band statement. "We shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends."

A few days later, Way shared his thoughts in a lengthy letter. "We were spectacular," wrote Way. "My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die." Way added that the band wanted to end before moving in uncomfortable directions.

My Chemical Romance subsequently issued "May Death Never Stop You," a greatest hits compilation featuring the single "Fake Your Death," which they called their eulogy song.

Post-eulogy, Way presented his solo debut album in '14, "Hesitant Alien." "I always felt like an alien," he stated.

Back on earth, Iero was seriously injured when a vehicle crashed into an equipment van while he and crew members were unloading it. "We're pretty banged up but miraculously alive and in stable condition," tweeted Iero following the '16 accident which occurred in Sydney, Australia. "I'm still in a state of shock."
My Chemical Romance Discography

My Chemical Romance Discography

2002 I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love
2004 Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
2006 The Black Parade
2010 Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
2014 May Death Never Stop You (Greatest Hits Compilation)

Way calls My Chemical Romance's music 'violent, unsafe pop music." He's got a point. They offer a melodic, Punk driven, gloom and doom, take on life.

In My Chemical Romance's world Punk gets cut a lot of different ways. Regardless of the ratio of Punk to other elements they usually nail it.


 

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