My Chemical Romance have just posted a cryptic video teaser online that many are speculating might mean a comeback for the emo band – or, as is more likely, a 10th anniversary reissue of classic album ‘The Black Parade’. The New Jersey group originally split up in 2013, and mercurial frontman Gerard Way released his debut solo record in 2014. Here’s a picture guide to his MCR days, from forming the band in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11 all the way to releasing teaser solo song ‘Action Cat’ and releasing album ‘Hesitant Alien’.
A year after forming, in 2002 My Chemical Romance released their debut album ‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’. It was certified gold in the UK, selling over 100,000 copies. Not too shabby.
In 2003, Gerard and the band signed with Reprise after touring with Avenged Sevenfold. At least Gerard looks excited by the news here…
2004 saw My Chemical Romance release their second album ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’, which, propelled by singles ‘Helena’, ‘Ghost of You’ and international breakout smash ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’, turned the group into emo mainstays.
2004 also saw the first in a number of personnel changes for My Chemical Romances, as drummer Matt Pelissier departed to be replaced by Bob Bryar.
A busy year of touring followed in 2005 as My Chemical Romance asserted their might atop the emo-rock food chain: jaunts across the US with Fall Out Boy, Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect began the year, before a run of blockbuster dates opening for Green Day on their ‘American Idiot’ tour.
Wasting no time at all, MCR recorded and released their third studio album, ‘The Black Parade’, in 2006. Their new sound, reworking the pop-punk of thrills of their previous output into something grander and more theatric, was critically acclaimed, helping to sell more than 3,000,000 copies worldwide.
‘The Black Parade’ was influenced by Queen and Pink Floyd, telling the story of a cancer patient as they die, inspired by Way’s belief that when the reaper comes, you return to your life’s most vivid memory – in the patient’s case, a parade experienced as a child. Way described the album as “a meditation on mortality.”
In 2007, as the band continued to tour, playing Wembley in London after ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ went to number one in the UK Singles Chart, bassist Mikey Way (brother of Gerard) temporarily left the group, to be replaced by friend Matt Cortez. MCR also won Best International Band at the NME Awards that year, with Gerard Way picking up Hero of the Year. Pretty good haul.
Now arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, MCR announced they’d be taking a well-earned break on their website at the end of 2007, ending their ‘Black Parade’ campaign with a small home town show at Maxwell’s in New Jersey.
In 2009, the band returned to the studio to record their fourth studio album. In an interview with NME, Gerard Way stated the band wanted to go in a different direction by stripping their music down: “I think the band misses being a rock band.”
In 2010, there was another shake up in the MCR camp, as Bob Bryar parted ways with the band. The band refused to speak out on his departure, but producer Rob Cavallo was more forthcoming: “It quickly became apparent that [Bryar] was obstructing their creative process.. it was a sad thing, but he was throwing water on their fire”.
The group’s next album, ‘Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’ arrived in 2010 and true to Way’s word, was a rawer, rockier effort. 36 songs were written and recorded for the album in total. Way credited The Stooges, MC5 and The Damned as major influences on the record, which sold more than one million copies worldwide.
In 2012, after parting ways with both drummer Bob Bryar and his replacement Michael Pedicone, who the group claimed was caught “red handed stealing” from them, MCR began releasing double A-side singles under the name Conventional Weapons. Releasing two songs every month for five months, the tracks were mostly leftovers from their ‘Danger Days’ sessions.
However, all good things must come to an end, and on March 22, 2013, MCR did just that. “Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing,” said Way in a statement. “We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible.” A lengthy Twitter missive from Way two days later compared leaving the group to freeing a bird from his local library.
Then, in May 2014, Way announced his return: two shows, at Reading and Leeds. A new song then followed and then ‘Hesitant Alien’, his debut solo album was revealed. It was released on September 29 and everyone was ridiculously excited of course.