And so, thanks to Joe Jonas, of all people, the internet is – once again – rabid at the prospect of a potential My Chemical Romance reunion. In case you’re only just waking up from a coma, Joe recently claimed he’d heard the emo titans rehearsing in a practice room next to the one the Jonas Brothers were in, during a recent session in New York. Could this possibly be an actual thing? Since the band split in 2013, there’s long been evidence that they’d grace us with their return. Let’s look at the evidence, shall we?
When it seemed the band themselves had teased it
Last time we were having this conversation at the current volume it was 2016, specifically July 20th. Here’s a refresher of what happened. MCR posted a video on their twitter and Facebook pages with the piano intro from their album ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’, ending the clip with the date ‘9/23/16’. It was noted by many that members of the band had deleted their break-up announcement from years prior. Fans went nuts.
What actually transpired wasn’t a reunion at all, but the release of a special edition of ‘The Black Parade’, backed with a collection of demos and outtakes from that period entitled Living With Ghosts. Alarmed by the fuss the video teaser had generated, the band opted to shut down discussion with a statement on their website. It read…
‘We’ve been really touched and blown away by the response to the teaser trailer. We are not touring and there is no reunion planned – only a release for the anniversary of The Black Parade. Thank you so much for continuing to keep MCR in your mind and in your hearts.’
When guitarist Frank Iero let slip that they still hang
Earlier this year, My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero shared his thoughts on the last time the idea of his old band reforming almost broke the internet.
“We wanted to do a 10-year anniversary release of [The Black Parade],” Iero told the AT&T Sports Network’s Dan Patrick Show. “We had some demos left over and some songs that didn’t make the record and we were like, ‘Oh, cool. We’ll put it all together.’ Every year, [the members of MCR] meet and have a barbecue kind of thing. We’ll have the barbecue, kids will hang out and we’ll discuss business for the next year. And we were like, ‘Oh, that would be really cool. We should do a little teaser trailer for it. Alright, that’s what we’ll do.’ So, we told the [record label] what we wanted, and they made this trailer, and we released it. And all of a sudden we were like, ‘Oh, wait. Everyone’s real confused.’”
“Here’s the thing,” he continued. “We were always, like, a theatrical band and we wanted to continue in that fashion, but when you’re not a band any longer, it’s probably harder to do that. We didn’t realise.”
Predictably, Frank sharing that the band regularly met for burgers was big news. When all four members were spotted socialising together at a Frank Iero solo show at the Los Angeles Troubadour in May of 2017, the internet went balmy. People want this to happen. Adoration for the band the Daily Mail once slandered as being ‘a death cult’ continues to grow, even in death.
“I feel like that took everybody back,” guitarist Ray Toro told NME of the teaser trailer. “I don’t think we realised how dramatic it was. We were just looking for a cool way to announce the 10th anniversary – and we were all just blown away by the reaction.”
“It makes you feel really good,” he continued, “because you know so many years later your work is still appreciated and it’s finding a new audience. One of the things we hear a lot that is that people who weren’t even born when that album or when the band first started are somehow into us. I remember when I was in high school, listening to The Misfits. You’d never get to see them live back then but it ends up getting passed down and becomes almost mythical in a sense, so I think that’s pretty cool if that does happen with My Chem.”
He added: “Here and there I think we all probably miss making music together – but I think at the same time we’re all very focused on our current projects.”
When Gerard weighed in
For the largest part, singer Gerard Way – who in truth, is core to any reunion happening or not happening – has repeated variations of the same message since the 2013 split. A synopsis; he and the other members of the band are happier now. They’re all busy with their own stuff. It might happen. It probably won’t. But it might.
“I wouldn’t count [a reunion] out,” he told Billboard the month after the LA social. “But at the same time everybody’s doing stuff in their lives now that they’re really enjoying.”
“In some ways I don’t really miss it,” he added. “[The band] had gotten so big it was very unwieldy. It took a toll on my mental life and personal life. The thing I’m happiest about right now is everybody’s relationships with each other are really strong. That’s more important than anything else to me.”
Each member of the band has continually voiced the same message. That the end of My Chemical Romance saved their relationships with one another. In 2017, on the eve of the release of his band Electric Century’s excellent debut album ‘For The Night To Control’, Mikey Way explained that his drug addiction meant that the end of the band was “very dark – I was in a fog”. It’s clear the health of Gerard’s younger brother takes precedent against any MCR reunion.
Still, Mikey is now believed to be clean and sober… and yet the wounds caused by the end of MCR continue to leave deep cuts. Unfinished business? Or reason to leave it be?
“When things start to succeed and go really well, that’s when a lot of people start to have an opinion and that’s when you run into struggle,” Way told The Guardian in February this year. “Everybody had a fucking opinion about what MCR should be. So it made it difficult to figure out what direction to take next. You get caught up in this trap of ‘Is it ever gonna be good enough?’”
“We definitely get offers regularly to reunite,” continued Gerard. “It’s a constant thing. It’s flattering, it’s really nice of people… I miss playing with the guys, but I don’t think so.”
When the Warped Tour had their say
Indeed, in March, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman revealed on twitter that he’d tried to reunite the band for the last ever Warped Tour… to no avail.
Mark Hoppus – he of Blink-182 and no trousers – tried too. Sort of. After musing, ‘Whatever happened to the Jonas Brothers?’, on Twitter, days before the hugely successful pop rock group got back together (and really, isn’t it spooky how often the Jonas Brothers feature in this story?!), he suggested the same might work for the New Jersey band.
“So the other day I was like, ‘Hey whatever happened to the Jonas Brothers?’, tweeted the bassist. “Made a few calls, yada yada, here we are. You’re welcome, people. I’m calling Gerard next. I got a feeling that in 2019-2020 I can make this one happen as well. Same with your divorced parents. Hit me up.”
Still plenty of bands have split – like MCR, with dignity, with principles – only to find the spoils of a return to the limelight too tempting to ignore. When The Eagles disbanded in 1980, singer Don Henley said it would take “hell freezing over” to get the band onstage again. Their comeback tour in 1994 was entitled the Hell Freezes Over Tour. In 2006, Ian Brown forcibly shot down rumours of an impending Stone Roses reunion. “If I was in the gutter,” said the singer, “and my kids lived on the kerb, I’d go and get a job in B&Q before I’d reform The Roses”. Five-years-later, John Squire, Mani, Reni and Ian Brown were onstage together at Heaton Park.
When Download Festival had their say
Make no mistake, the money on offer for a My Chemical Romance reunion would be extremely difficult to turn down.
“I can’t speak in specifics of financials,” says Live Nation’s Andy Copping, Mr. Download Festival. “But it would be very big news if they got back together. The festival world needs headliners and they’re definitely a bona fide headliner. I’d have them back at Download in a flash. 2020 will be thirteen-years since they last played. I can’t believe how much time has passed…”
Other theories concerning the feasibility of a reunion are more romantic. This is, after all, a band whose singer announced an end to operations in 2013 via a lengthy 1,979 word online missive, including an extended metaphor about a bird trapped in his living room. My Chem was never about the money.
And, of course, Reddit has its say, too
Case in point, from the bowels of Reddit, there’s a theory shared by the user Lufyyyyyy (probably not their real name), who proposes the following mind-melting idea.
“So Gerard Way said that he wanted MCR to follow the same path as the Smashing Pumpkins,” writes Lufyyyyyy, of Gerard’s oft repeated statement that the lifecycle of one of his favourite bands is a trajectory he’d like his own group to replicate. “The Smashing Pumpkins were together for twelve-years. MCR were together for twelve years. The Smashing Pumpkins were split up for six years. 2019 will be six years since MCR split up…”
Which is a nice thought, right… Oh wait, what’s this witchcraft?
“Then there’s the fact that the video for Na Na Na is set in 2019,” continues Lufyyyyyy. “And then there’s this screengrab from the video. Will California be the place they reform?”
The thing to remember here, is that My Chemical Romance have been playing games with us for years. As Frank Iero rightly says, they were a theatrical band. Gerard is a man who knows the David Bowie playbook inside out. He knows how Ziggy Stardust died. He knows all about rock ‘n’ roll mythos. About making magic. Days before they announced their shutdown six years ago, the singer – quite obliquely – shared a photo of the famous escape artist Harry Houdini on Twitter. It prompted days of online speculation that the band weren’t actually splitting but trying to leave their record label. The last song the band ever released – a previously unheard song, released as part of the Greatest Hits compilation ‘May Death Never Stop You’, released the following year – was entitled ‘Fake Your Death’.
We want to believe. If you need us, we’ll be busy gaffa taping an ‘X’ to the glass of our bedroom window.