Do you all remember when I told you all to vote for MCR at this year’s European Music Awards? Well, you clearly all ignored me, since 30 Seconds To Mars won both categories, but no matter. The point is, I entered a mini-competition on the MCRmy boards to design a banner that would go on various websites, encouraging people to vote. I played around on Photoshop one evening and made this:
It didn’t get picked (can’t think why) but I did get sent a present by one of the admin team, Tina, for participating.
Makes it kind of worthwhile, don’t you think? Although it’s clearly been sitting in a warehouse for five years, judging by the tear at the bottom and the fact the poster’s excited about Black Parade being available now.
While on the subject of My Chem, I have some self promoting to do: remember 10 Days? (Anyone frowning and scratching their head right now should be ashamed.) You were all quite excited for the first four or five posts and the final one, but I have no comments whatsoever for at least three days. Which is a bit shit, because I put a lot of effort into the whole thing. So I’d appreciate it if you could go and hover your cursor over Self-Publishing on the Interwebz at the top of the page, click the ‘My Chemical Romance’ thing that appears magically, and get reviewing. Because I can’t do these sorts of projects if I don’t know what the majority of you think of them.
It is the end, my friends. Well, the end of My Chem’s ten-year anniversary celebrations on Indifferent Ignorance, anyway. The year’s not quite over, I may yet pull something MCR-related out of my woolly hat later this year – but today is the final installment of ’10 Years, 10 Days’.
I read back everything I’ve posted just now, and I’m actually quite proud of what I’ve achieved. Any blogger (and I mean actual blogger, not Tumblr person) knows how hard it can be to write one post, let alone a handful, on an off-day. There are typos I’ve had to fix, I’ve had problems with WP loading pictures and videos and I’ve been running on caffeine and chocolate for most of the last few weeks… Not entirely unusual, but I was expecting to start the new school term with good habits. Instead, I’ve been typing until half ten, doing homework in the mornings and spending considerable amounts of the school day trying to work out how much coursework I can put off until this whole thing is over. There have been moments, when it’s almost midnight and I’ve still not completed the day’s post, that I’ve cursed myself for having the idea in the first place. Many a time I’ve decided that I never want to hear another My Chem song in my life – or at least for a few weeks – once I’ve wrapped it up.
And yet, virtually every time I’ve sat down to write I’ve been able to come up with something. That’s not down to my unlikely ability to string words together either, it’s down to you lot. The casual readers whom I’ve wanted to convince should listen to MCR for some reason. The Killjoys, whose art, humour and determination are the reasons I’ve been able to write ten substantial posts. You are the most crazy, inspiring, intelligent people out there. Thank you for letting me wave this in your faces for a fortnight. I promise, the next blog will have no relevance to the My Chemical Romance whatsoever – we can go back to discussing The Midnight Beast and Wierd Al. Thank you also to the band, whose work is the reason I’ve been able to do this in the first place. There’s a reason so many people draw hope and creativity from you, please never lose sight of that.
My aim, when I was working out the format of these blogs, was to capture the essence of My Chem in separate posts. To make people understand a little better why the fan base is so huge and dedicated, to remind fans of why they listen to the band in the first place; something that’s becoming more and more eclipsed by Internet bitchfits and cat fights between kids. I could discuss whether or not those kids are real fans all day (I actually did once) but ’10 Years’ hasn’t been about the negatives of the MCRmy. It’s been about the positives of MCR and why they’re going to be around for another ten years after this:
Great bands found loyal fan bases. Fan bases create communities which allow the bands and audiences to interact and grow. Communities don’t give up on one another or lose sight of their purpose, they will support one another through everything that gets thrown their way. The fans give the bands reason to continue, and so the cycle continues…. And My Chemical Romance aren’t a great band, they’re an exceptional one.
One of the most frequent comments on YouTube (apart from ‘OH MY GEE HE IS SO FIT <3’) is ‘What happened to MCR?’ ‘Where did old MCR go?’ ‘I miss old MCR. They should go back to their van days, they were so much better!’ Answers:
MCR, because they are a good great band, has done what all great bands do and evolved. This is for two reasons. The first is that the guys aren’t the same people they were ten years ago. Duh. Were you the same person you are today ten years ago? No, I thought not. They have grown up and changed, like the rest of us; their sound is a natural progression of this. The second reason they evolved is that they are intelligent musicians. They know that if they had released The Black Parade Part 2, they wouldn’t still be around. Same as if they’d released Three Cheers for Whatever the Hell You Want to Put Here five years ago. Survival of the fittest and all that… In order to stay alive, you have to be able to adapt. However, unlike bands that give themselves such extravagant makeovers they aren’t recognisable at the end of it, My Chem are. Musically, anyway.
‘Old MCR’, my friend, is the same as ‘new MCR’. Because it’s all MCR. I doubt the band goes, “Let’s play old MCR tonight!” and start rehearsing Honey. They’ve simply changed with age (see above). Not convinced? Well, look at a song like The Kids From Yesterday. It’s always reminded me of Vampires Will Never Hurt You. Maybe it’s because they’re the songs that ended both the shows I went to; but I draw parallels in my head. Same with DESTROYA, Prison and Mama. Like I said the other day; they are perfect live songs. I want to hear Prison and DESTROYA back to back… The roof would come down. Our Lady of Sorrows reminds me of Vampire Money. The grit, the anger, the hilarity yet sincerity of the lyrics. Both songs bang their points home while you’re dancing like a mad person. They were recorded eight years apart. My Chemical Romance has always been, and will always be My Chemical Romance. The fundamentals are still there… We’re still getting shit for listening, so they must be.
3. You want them to go back to their van days? You mean when Frank and Gerard make out onstage covered in makeup and shit and God-knows what else? Or when they were depressed and drug addicts and homeless, never seeing their loved ones? Or do you mean the insanity of the live shows, the determination of the music to blow a hole in your brain? If you mean the first two, you’re an idiot and you should be ashamed of yourself. Band = married. Happily. Band also = has a family. Who they want to see grow up and live and stuff (mundane, I know). For any of you thinking the live shows aren’t mental, you haven’t seen one. I wasn’t on Warped ’05 or anything, so I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure My Chem’s as ferocious onstage now as they were nine years ago. They’re just more likely to remember it the next day.
All the fans that bitch and moan aren’t fans, when you think of it like that… My Chem make music. If you don’t like it, don’t call yourself a fan. If you love the guys as much as you claim to, be happy for them. Summertime wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. Nor would Teenagers, possibly, or Cancer or SING or Planetary, in a ‘songs that are the result of life’ way. I could go on.
“Well lucky for you we’re still pretty.”
When I first saw Helena I didn’t believe it was the same lineup as on Parade, simply because at first glance the entire band’s had one of those Extreme Makeover deals. But, again, did you have the same haircut or wardrobe you had a decade ago? Nope. My Chem are probably as famous – or infamous – to the casual listener for their ever-changing visual as they are their music. When Gerard started press for The Album That Never Was, I was secretly a bit bummed, because he looked exactly the same as he had two years previously. Then I saw Art is the Weapon (the sound didn’t work on my nan’s computer so I took special notice of the ‘look’). My first thought was ‘they’re back’. In a lot of ways, I wasn’t surprised Mikey was blonde or Gerard looked like someone had dipped him in ketchup. I wasn’t surprised at the sunlight or roller skates… Because it was utterly different to anything else they’d ever done. Which was reassuring – they were here to stay for a couple of years – and exciting – ooh look, a Mexican standoff.
Whatever My Chem does is different from what they did before. Everything new makes everything old redundant. That’s not to say you can’t listen to, appreciate or rock out to it… It just means you can appreciate it a little bit more, knowing each album, each era, was a snapshot of the band at the time – and yourself at the time. Enjoy the current ‘thing’ while it lasts, be excited for the next one. It’ll be even better than what’s happening now. The band’s unpredictability is one of their best traits. We’re never bored, are we?!
MCR are up for ‘Best Live Stage’ and ‘Best Alternative’ artist at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards. Vote here, because – if nothing else – their transformations deserve it.
Like most other MCR-related writing endeavours, when I was having trouble formulating words for this post I turned to Elizabeth, because she doesn’t talk shit. I asked her how she feels when people say ‘MCR saved my life’. Her reply: Truth be told whenever anyone goes on about how MCR ‘saved their life’ the first thing that comes into my head is ‘you whiny little emo-shitter, how weak a person must you be to stop wanting to commit suicide when you listen to a piece of music?’ Valid point… I have to admit, I’ve always been sceptical when I’ve read accounts of life-saving moments. Not because I don’t believe in them – I’ve had more epiphanies listening to My Chem than I have doing anything else – but because most fourteen-year-olds don’t know the meaning of the words ‘depressed’ or ‘suicidal’. Chances are, they’ve heard the backstory and thought “Finally, some people who are weird too.” Or they’re attention seeking. But not every kid who puts on headphones is going to think “Life is worth living” as soon as they hear two songs. I’ve touched this before in (I Want to) (Fuck) My Chemical Romance; an Essay on the MCRmy, by the way, if any of this feels familiar.
I’m not saying that MCR don’t endlessly inspire a lot of people. They always have, and always will, serve as a concrete reminder of what you can do with your life if you don’t give up. But the real ‘saving’ that the band does mostly isn’t in the huge, “Holy shit I was about to end my life when I heard Famous Last Words on the radio” moments. It’s in the small things. The fact that, through the MCRmy, so many of us have found friendship groups that have changed us. People are always saying “MCR fans are the best people. I always get along with them.” When Bob left the band, I was angry, because I was upset and – although at the time I didn’t realise it – scared. What was I going to do if my favourite band split up? I hadn’t even seen them live yet. Was three albums their limit? They could do so much more. Slowly, without me even realising, My Chem changed my life. I’ve become more confident. I’ve met Lizbeth. I’ve started writing stuff that I care about.
So maybe I did get saved. It’s nearly midnight where I am right now and I’m past rational thought…. This’ll probably be updated into English when I’ve slept. If this band’s music has meant something to you, has altered your life in any way, perhaps you have been saved. Or maybe you should stop using the word ‘saved’ and start using the word ‘changed’ because the saving, like Frank’s always said, is down to you.
There are millions more and as soon as I hit the publish button I’ll remember them. So do what I did in summer 2009 and spend your sick days on the Interwebz having a laugh at the Revenge haircuts.
Interviews are how the fans get to know the people in their favourite bands… They’re the best way to decide whether or not the dudes onstage are jerks or not. MCR aren’t jerks, but they are quite mad occasionally. Before I realised the enormity of the task, I set about sticking some videos into playlists on my YouTube channel. If you have any additions, link them in the comments section. Apologies for the crappy design, I haven’t gotten around to making it pretty.
Alternatively, you can Google Search/News interviews and have a laugh at magazine-English, which is different to English-English in every way because you’re never entirely sure what the hell the interviewer’s going on about and it’s easy to misinterpret what the guys say as well… The best bit is picturing whoever’s talking’s face in your head.
Have fun Interwebzing (that is definitely a word, by the way) and don’t forget to watch the interviews as well as reading the stupidly entertaining comments!
Everyone’s noticed that My Chem quite enjoy playing live shows, and that people quite enjoy going to them. Having seen them twice, on their first show back in London last October and at Wembley Area in February – read the reviews/blogs here and here – I can tell you that there’s a reason for the excitement.
In short, they are brilliant. I realise I’m biased, and haven’t been to that many rock shows – but it’s not hard to understand the fuss.
Before that song had ended, we knew the words. We hadn’t stopped dancing. And every time I hear it, I smile.
When people tell me they aren’t really familiar with My Chem, I want to send them a playlist of live songs. I always think, “Choose what you want to listen to that’s been recorded in a studio, but to get the essence of the band, you need to hear this.” Then I think of Mama, Prison andDESTROYA. They’re all completely different songs, but they’re all really good examples of the way MCR work live. Heard those songs and still need convincing? Look no further than this handy Why You Should See My Chemical Romance Live list:
Gerard’s sass. Everyone’s fifth favourite member of the band (or is that Mikey’s knees? I forget). If you know someone who’s in danger of becoming a homophobe, take them to a show. Whether they liked guys before seeing it or not, they will after. Reason being, Gerard. He can make the crowd do what he wants them to, when he wants them to, before they realise they might not want to do it. Good thing he’s a nice bloke. To the few people who bitch about his vocals live: you do what he does, then complain.
Frank’s insane. He was voted fifth greatest rockstar in the world by Kerrang! this year, because he’s “My Chemical Romance’s heart. He’s the guts.” Each member quite obviously gives his all, but I know where the writers were coming from for once: it doesn’t matter how big the show is, Frank will be on fire. He’s fallen into the drums, tackled Gerard and given him serious injuries and pushed Mikey over. And yet…
Ray Toro is totally epic, yeah. In the seats I’ve been in at shows, I’ve never had that great a view of Ray – mostly it’s just a flash of fro here and there. But when I have been able to see him, he’s been playing. All the time. In every review I’ve read, everyone’s said the same thing. It doesn’t matter what stupid thing Gerard and Frank are doing, or who’s climbing up onstage, or whether he’s got two working feet or not; Ray plays guitar like his life depends on it. Maybe it does, I don’t know… He does have ‘SL’ tattooed on his arm, for ‘stage left’, his position… Perhaps he made a deal with the devil: “I will put up with being the dude the fangirls ignore if you let me play all the time.” Sounds like a pretty sweet agreement to me.
Mikey’s a cool, awesome (in the old meaning of the word) presence. He doesn’t always get the mic, but when he does, he discusses Darth Vader. Sometimes he falls over, and sometimes it’s during a performance of Cemetery Drive. He played with glasses on every night for years, when there’s a reason most people opt not to. Most importantly: his bass looks like Edward Cullen got a makeover.
If you’re still unsure about how fun My Chem are to watch live, how much blood and sweat goes into playing, book tickets to see them next time they’re in town. The worst that can happen is that you’ll come out with ringing ears and a question mark over your sexuality…
Today I’m going to talk about the MCRmy – but before I do, I want to make one thing clear: being a Killjoy does not make you any better than anyone else. If I meet you and you’re wearing merch, I’ll probably be more inclined to think you’re a nice/smart/creative person, because as a whole, the MCRmy is full of very nice/smart/creative people. But liking, or loving, MCR does not give you immunity to arsehole-ness. So please do not act as though you’re a ‘better fan’ because you’ve done a meet and greet, or a ‘stronger’ one because you’ve loved them for a few years longer than some of us, or think they saved your life. There is no Killjoy scale.
One of my favourite things about this fan base is that we’ll stand up for the band when we need to (see yesterday’s post) and we’ll be there for everyone in the MCRmy when we need to (see Monday’s post) but we aren’t permanently about the big gestures. We like to show off our nice, smart and creative sides.
Dry wit aside, we are a forced to be reckoned with when we’re pissed. Pedicone got death threats for stealing. I’m betting a few of us won’t go near The Daily Mail with a bargepole. If someone calls us an emo fag on Facebook or YouTube, someone will reply. If someone calls one of the band an emo fag, a lot of us will reply. If one of us has something to say about the rest of us, we’ll say it.
Lots of Killjoys credit MCR for their social lives, confidence and generally-happier-than-they-were-before-listening mentality. The MCRmy exists because MCR does, MCR does because we do. Thus, we care for My Chem and will, at the end of the day, fight tooth and nail for and because of it. You don’t see that kind of devotion, loyalty or love in a lot of marriages. Never underappreciate the power of a fan base. They tend to unite people in a way that geography, race and religion never will. Please never underestimate or take that for granted.
However, Killjoys aren’t an extension of My Chemical Romance, we’re a part of it. No one person owns the band or has any control over it… The guys write the music, do the press and play the shows; we’re their ambassadors. When we wear our gear in public, people look at us and think ‘My Chemical Romance’. I’m about to sound like my headteacher on a school uniform rant, but the way we act does reflect on, and influence public opinion of, the band. So by all means stage a ‘who can get the most weird looks dressed like Frank’ contest in your high street, or a ‘spot the MCR doppelgänger’ competition. Host a Killjoy meetup, loudly discuss the deeper lyrical meaning of FTWWW in Tesco or have a passionate ‘my favourite band’s better than yours’ debate with a Bieber fan in HMV… But please remember that if you act like an inconsiderate airhead, people are going to assume we’re all inconsiderate airheads.
The kids in the MCRmy don’t judge each other, but other people judge us. So if you’re going to wear your Mikey Fuckin Way t-shirt at school and bitch about being told off, please do so quietly. Same with being asked to turn Teenagers down, to stop discussing Ray’s fro in maths, to give that motherfuckingbandabreakforoneminute, please. We know we’re the best fan base around, but the rest of the world hasn’t caught on yet. Have patience, every album explodes a little more than the last, that’s how we get new fans… And if everyone loved My Chem like we do, let’s face it, we’d be bored as hell. There’s nothing like a ‘you’re an ignorant shit for assuming I’m a stereotype that doesn’t even mean anything anymore’ rant. See all my previous blogs for examples of these; getting indignant over opinions is how this site has come into existence (and we all know it’s totally brilliant and can’t imagine the world without it).
So if anyone reading this is still under the impression that we all wear black, slit our wrists and spend our days writing ‘Mrs. Gerard Way’ over our notebooks, discussing how much we hate the Killjoy in the year above, please go and test your computer. There seems to be a malfunction; this blog hasn’t loaded properly. Anyone who calls themself an MCR fan and does the above is probably an MCR fan… But they’ve missed the point, so they aren’t in the MCRmy.
There are actually some valid comments, considering the commenters’ ignorance. To the casual listener – and the rest of us, actually – some songs are overplayed. There is a large emphasis on death in the earlier work – just not in a negative way, an observant one. They did used to wear an awful lot of black, and it isn’t the happiest colour around. The guys didn’t set out to be rockstars, but this doesn’t mean they’re ungrateful, it just means they aren’t tabloid whores in it for the money.
This is my favourite part of an answer:
…and finally they are completely about the look, just think if my chemical romance got a tan, a non emo hair cut, and started wearing a t-shirt and jeans do you think any of their fans would buy one of their cd’s or go see them in concert…
I salute your reasoning and respect your opinion. Your ignorance makes you wrong, and your lack of grammar makes you inarticulate, but I hear you.