My Chemical Romance
Taking their name from the cult description of Irvine Welsh's novels, My Chemical Romance is emerging as one of the most promising young bands in recent musical memory. Their sound, distinct and fresh, pledges allegiance to everyone from Iron Maiden and The Misfits to Morrissey and At The Gates.
Based in New Jersey, My Chemical Romance is an alternative pop/rock and punk-pop band that has been compared to Thursday and, to a lesser degree, Cursive. Many of their songs are loud, fast, hyper, and aggressive, but My Chemical Romance's work also tends to be melodic and pop-minded. Having a live show that explodes with energy and leaves a footprint in the face of all things in it's way, My Chemical Romance has spent 2003 trekking around the United States numerous times and traveled to Europe to do a string of dates in the UK, Germany, Holland, & Spain. This has given the five lads a chance to further hone their skills and craft, all the while connecting with fans on an international level. It all seems like quite a feat for a little band from Newark, NJ.
The chronicle of My Chemical Romance is a twisted voyage through many years of grimy New Jersey suburbs. The five members have been very loose-knit friends since their high school years. There were many incarnations of local bands throughout that time, but never the combination that left that feeling of satisfaction they were striving for.
As high school ended, the band members were scattered in all different directions in a search to find out what they would become. This left some attending school, while others went instantly into full time jobs. Over the years, the guys stayed in contact with each other. 'I was doing animation in New York City, living in my mother's basement,' states Gerard, 'and I was really starting to question the direction of my life. So I called Matt, who'd been asking himself a lot of the same questions. We decided we would get together and play some music.'
My Chemical Romance got started in the early 2000s, when lead singer Gerard Way and drummer Matt Pelissier decided to try writing some songs together. The first tune that Way and Pelissier came up with was called 'Skylines and Turnstiles' (a title reflecting the fact that Way had been working in New York City, where he was in the animation field). Way and Pelissier both felt good about the song, and Way asked guitarist Ray Toto if he would be interested in working with them. My Chemical Romance's five-man lineup was complete when Way, Pelissier, and Toto joined forces with bassist Mikey Way (Gerard Way's brother) and guitarist Frank Iero. With that lineup in place, the band started playing all around the Northeast Corridor and made plans to begin working on its first album.
After writing a song, and getting together with Matt, Gerard decided it was time to move forward. 'The song, 'Skylines And Turnstiles,' came out pretty good. So I decided to call Ray, who is the best guitarist I know.' The three of them spent the next few months in what was considered 'a constant state of seeing what would happen.' The result of this was another demo, recorded in an attic in the winter of 2001. 'Things started moving rather quickly after that,' explains Gerard. 'Mikey heard about what we were up to and wanted to be a part of it. My brother didn't really know much about being a bassist, but he knew that was what we needed, so he learned to play almost overnight. We are all very impressed.'
After being picked up by the New Jersey independent Eyeball Records, My Chemical Romance marched into a studio in upstate New York to record their debut album in May of 2002. Still feeling incomplete, the band recruited Frank to fill out their sound. Tracking the record in just over two week's time, My Chemical Romance was all ready to go. What they never saw coming was that their ability to write songs would touch the hearts and souls of nearly everyone they came across.
I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love was released in July of 2003. With this album came an avalanche of interest in the band. Constant regional touring created a fan base that is loyal to no end. The next evolutional step was to expand the touring to a national level. Securing opening spots on high profile tours, they set out in a van for the next 14 months of their lives.
My Chemical Romance did not take these opportunities to appeal to more fans than they expected very lightly. From swaggering to leaping, the band set out to grab people by the throat, scream until they listened, than explode in their face with unprecedented energy and performance that would not be ignored. They have something to say and want you to listen. The cool darkness of Gerard's lyrics & vocals may leave you to think of Nick Cave, Greg Dulli, or a young Reznor, while the wall of sound behind him will seal the coffin of what was. From 'Demolition Lovers' and 'Early Sunsets Over Monroeville,' to the big rock of 'Headfirst For Halos' and 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You,' My Chemical Romance really does have something to say. They will prove that in music, is life. And this life is darker than any New Jersey shore could ever be. Just listen for yourself.
Orlando Florida Guide Reader Comments about My Chemical Romance:
'My Chemical Romance is awesome in concert. I've seen them three times and all three times they have blown me away. Once they stopped in the middle of a song to tell people if their here to start a fight to get out is just amazing. At one of their shows somebody asked me what was the name of the band playing. If someone goes to a concert not knowing all the bands that are playing, but likes one of them enough to ask a total stranger the name of the band is Incredible. My Chemical Romance has so much energy with their shows and they sound amazing, too. You can tell they have real talent and didn't have to do much editing on their album to make it sound the way it does. They are great guys too. I met them all and they are very nice and willing to talk to fans even when they are packing up their instruments. I'm a My Chemical Romance fan forever.'
In 2002, Eyeball Records (the New York-based indie that Thursday had recorded for) released My Chemical Romance's debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. The album was often compared to Thursday -- a comparison that, for various reasons, was inevitable and unavoidable. Both bands were from New Jersey, both had recorded for Eyeball, and both combined punk-pop's musical aggression with introspective, confessional lyrics.
Lyrically, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is as dark as it is introspective and cathartic; Way has been quoted as saying that the band's lyrics were a great way for him to deal with the problems he had been going through (which included severe depression and a serious illness in his family). The 2002 release included Way and Pelissier's first song, 'Skylines and Turnstiles,' and many of the album's other song titles were equally intriguing, including 'Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us,' 'Drowning Lessons,' 'Headfirst for Halos,' 'Our Lady of Sorrows,' and 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You.' In 2003, My Chemical Romance signed with Reprise/Warner Bros. and released Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge one year later.