It was early 2011 when I started my love affair with the band “My Chemical Romance’ (MCR). I remember the moment it happened, I was looking up the recent tour dates that another band I enjoyed post, Neon Trees, and they announced they were going on tour with MCR. I was instantly not impressed, these shear amount of times I had been forced to endure “Welcome to the Black Parade” while working at Subway was enough to make me never want to listen to any other song by the band. Furthermore, MCR had a bad reputation for promoting self harm and suicide.
Let me stop you there, right now, I am certain you think that I hate this band. Retrospectively, I was being completely unfair in my judgement of the band and their music. I did my research after the fact and found out that not only were the rumors false but the band actually supported their fans in their struggles by sharing their own stories of dealing with depression and PTSD.
Back to the story, I decided that I wanted to see Neon Trees anyways, so I set out to listen to MCR’s newest music. I wanted to know exactly what I would be getting myself into once I got there. I have been to enough shows to know that the you shouldn’t judge a band by its radio plays.
That’s when I watched the music video for “Na Na Na [Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na]” and the follow up video for “SING”.
There was some kind of magic in those two videos because for the first time, I was really listening to the music and I understood that there was something more interesting going on with it.
After that, I had to listen to the whole Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance. Thus began a love affair that would last until the spring of 2013 when the band decided to call it quits on their career. After only getting to see them perform twice and a strange encounter with the leader of the band in a clothing store, I was left wanting more and knowing that I would never again hear my favorite song played live again.
There was a moment during an MCR show when you knew these was something special happening in the room. Something that I had only experienced once before at an Angels and Airwaves show. It was like a hush fell over the crowd as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. Like you were standing in the eye of a hurricane and you knew in the next moment something big was about to happen. MCR played their shows like they were telling you a story about their music and about their lives.
Music has transformative properties to it and when you experience it in a live setting, you walk out of it a different person than when you walked in, if you let it. Between the sound, lights, and performance on the stage and the excitement of the crowd, the whole thing sweeps you up and you get lost in it. It’s highly addictive, maybe even more so than substances. My Chemical Romance had that perfect mix of darkness and light to their stage show, pulling from their entire collected works and experience. No two shows were the same and you never knew which side of the lead man you were going to get that night.
Eventually, I came to love all of MCR’s music and respect the members of the band as individual artists. The front man, Gerard Way, came out with his own work after the band ended, as did the guitarist, Frank Iero. I actually met Frank a couple of years back in Vancouver where he signed my Epiphone Wilshire Phant O-matic.
When I first learned that MCR was calling it quits, I felt like something died inside me. I know that sounds dramatic but I can’t help that’s how I feel. I felt like I was being let down in some way. These men whose music had come to mean so much to me, I felt like they were giving up on something some people only dream of coming to in their lives, even for just a moment. My desire to make music died with that band, my own momentum just came to a dead stop, like a ship without wind in the middle of the ocean. Even though members of MCR have taken steps to make more music on their own, the magic that they had is broken up into pieces.
It took me a really long time to even look at my guitars again. It has only been recently that I was able to process that grief that the break up of MCR inadvertently caused me. I don’t blame the band for their choices for their own mental and emotional health, in fact, I support them %100 all the way in moving on with their lives. I found comfort in that support and moved forward with my own dreams.
~Clara D. Munro