My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance (also MCR, My Chem.) is an alternative rock band from New Jersey, consisting of five members: Gerard Way (lead vocalist), Frank Iero (rhythm guitarist), Mikey Way (bassist), Ray Toro (lead guitarist), and Bob Bryar (drummer). Formed in 2001, the band signed with Eyeball Records and released their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in 2002. Shortly after they signed with Reprise Records and in 2004 released their first major record label album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. This album included the singles “Helena”, “Ghost of You”, and “I’m Not Okay (I Promise.)” and was a huge commercial success, selling over one million copies. The follow-up to this success was their album The Black Parade, released in 2006. It includes the singles “Welcome to the Black Parade”, “Teenagers”, and “Famous Last Words”.
Members’ Gerard Way and ex-drummer Matt Pelissier formed My Chemical Romance in September 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Allegedly, witnessing the fall of the World Trade Center affected Way’s personal life so much that he decided to start a band. He wrote the song “Skylines and Turnstiles” about the 9/11 attacks. A little while later, lead guitarist Ray Toro was asked to join the band because Way at that time was not able to play guitar and sing at the same time. The bands first recording sessions occurred in Pelissiers’ attic. The songs “Our Lady of Sorrows (Bring More Knives)” and “Cubicles” were recorded there. These songs were called The Attic Demos. Gerard’s younger brother, Mikey, liked these songs so much that he decided to join the band as well, after dropping out of college.
It was around this time that My Chem was signed with Eyeball Records, where they played in the same room as Pencey Prep. While playing with Prep, MCR met the newest member of their band- Frank Iero. Frank was the lead vocalist and guitarist for Pencey Prep, but joined My Chem after Prep broke up in the 2001-2002 area. Three months later, they recorded their debut album- “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love”, released in 2002. During their recording session, they were booked at the infamous Big Daddy’s where they began to receive more and more attention.
My Chem's success
In 2003, My Chemical Romance hit a breakthrough, signing with Reprise Records. After a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, they began to write and record their second album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge which was released in 2004 and went platinum by a years time. Three singles were released from this album: “Helena”, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, and “Ghost Of You”. During this time, Matt Pelissier was replaced by the bands’ current drummer, Bob Bryar. Bryar had problems keeping time with the rest of the band at first, and it is believed that Toro had to ask him to play with a metronome for a while. It was wondered why Pelissier was let go instead of the bands’ drug-ridden lead singer. However, Gerard has been clean since August 2006, and the band doesn’t like to talk about this time.
In 2005, My Chemical Romance went on many tours, such as the Taste of Chaos tour, an opening act for Greenday on the American Idiot tour, co-headliner on the Warped Tour with Fall Out Boy, and another tour with Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect around the United States. The same year, My Chemical Romance and The Used worked together to create a cover of the Queen and Davie Bowie song “Under Pressure”, released as a benefit single for iTunes and other Internet sites.
In March 2006, the band released their 2 DVD 1 CD documentary Life On The Murder Scene. The first DVD has a documentary of the band, the second has music videos, behind the scenes, and a few live performance tapes. That same year, the unauthorized biography Things That Make You Go MMM! was released. It contains interviews from people who knew the band before their fame.
In April 2006, My Chemical Romance started recording their third studio album The Black Parade with Rob Cavallo. The CD was rumored to be titled The Rise and Fall of MCR, but that later proved to be just a working title. Three singles were released from this album also: “Welcome To The Black Parade”, “Teenagers”, and “Famous Last Words”. During the video shoot for “Famous Last Words” band members Bob Bryar and Gerard Way were injured. Bryar sustained a burned leg, which turned into a staff infection, and Way tore ligaments in his ankle. Regrettably, the band was forced to cancel a few tour dates, but got back on their feet quickly.
In 2006, a biography titled Something Incredible This Way Comes, written by Paul Stenning, was published. It details the beginning of My Chem, right through to “The Black Parade”. In August 2006 the band played a special show at the 1800-capcity London Hammersmith Palias. This show sold out in 15 minutes flat, tickets later being sold on eBay for outrageous prices. The name of the new album was promoted with 20 people in black cloaks with hoods parading around the Hammersmith, followed by a large group of fans and a street team sporting signs reading “The Black Parade.” Later during the show, the album title and release date were confirmed. Before the show started, it was announced that My Chemical Romance was unable to play, and had hired “The Black Parade” to play for them. The crowd became hostile until realizing the band was performing under a different name to keep with the theme.
My Chemical Romances’ big month, however, was September. The band put “Welcome to the Black Parade” on their MySpace and PureVolume pages. Later that month, the video for “Welcome to the Black Parade” was released in the UK and the US. In October, the band made a rare in-store performance to 500 lucky fans at Virgin Megastores on London’s Oxford Street. Many fans slept outside the store to obtain wristbands for the event. A little trouble was caused when the drummer of the British band, Towers of London, supposedly flicked a cigarette butt at Bryar while he was playing. “Welcome to the Black Parade” reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on October 15, 2006. The Black Parade was released later that month in both the UK and the US.
My Chemical Romance started The Black Parade World Tour with Rise Against, Muse, and Thursday as supporting acts in February 2007. It was announced at the first concert that James Dweese from Reggie and the Full Effect would join them and play keyboard/synth. In March, the band appeared on The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno. The song “Famous Last Words” was played with flames behind them, like in the music video. My Chemical Romance won many awards for The Black Parade, such as Best Band, Best Album, Best Track, Best Live Performance, and Best International Band. Gerard also won “Hero Of The Year 2006.”
Gerard Way was born April 9th 1977, in Summit New Jersey. He first began singing in fourth grade, when he played the part of Peter Pan in a school production. His grandmother, Elena Lee Rush, taught Way how to sing, paint, and perform. He has referred to her in interviews, saying ‘she taught me everything I know’. When he was 15, he was held at gunpoint, and was put on the floor executioner style. He graduated Belleville High School in 1995, and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999. He is now married to Lyn-Z of Mindless Self Indulgence. Way also is a writer for the comic book The Umbrella Academy.
Frank Iero was born October 31st 1981, in Belleville New Jersey. He attended Queen Of Peace High School in North Arlington, then Rutgers University until he dropped out because he felt he was getting somewhere with his bands. Aside from My Chemical Romance, Iero has played in Pencey Prep, Hybrid, Sector 12, I Am A Graveyard, and briefly with Give Up the Ghost. Iero has many projects besides My Chem, which include his own clothing line, record label, and a publishing company called Skeleton Crew.
Mikey Way was born September 10th 1980, and is Gerard's younger brother. This Way came up with the bands name from a book he saw while he was working at their local Barnes & Noble. The book was Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. Way married his fiancee, Alicia Simmons, in March 2007. They were married by James Dweese of Reggie and the Full Effect. Gerard was best man. Afterwards, he took some time off to spend with his wife, but he has since returned to the band.
Ray Toro was born July 15th 1977 in Belleville New Jersey. He plays guitar for My Chemical Romance, along with backup vocals. He enjoys the music of Metallica, Queen, Megadeth, and Slayer. He also says that Brain May and Randy Rhoads are big influences on him.
Robert(Bob) Bryar was born December 31st 1979, in LaGrange Illinois. He joined that group after previous drummer Matt Pelissier left on a tour in Japan. He met My Chemical Romance while he was a sound mixer for The Used, and joined after the release of the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. However, he was not made a permanent member of the band until later.