You’d think it’d be easy to let a band who released literally an entire album based around the notion of death quietly slip away into their own eternal slumber but, in the case of My Chemical Romance, it would seem… not. The band broke up back in 2013 and haven’t even hinted at the possibility of a reunion since, so why do we find it so difficult to let MCR die?
Since the band’s honest, heart-breaking split over three years ago, the members might have laid one band to rest but that doesn’t mean they haven’t each, ahem, carried on (c’mon, that was a good one!) in their own way. Frontman Gerard Way released his charismatic solo debut Hesitant Alien the following year, while guitarist Frank Iero debuted fantastic new project frnkiero andthe cellabration and is preparing for follow-up frnkiero andthe patience as we speak. Bassist Mikey Way, despite his personal turbulence, also persevered post-MCR with Electric Century and now works with pop-punk band Waterparks, and Ray Toro, while a little quieter than his old bandmates, has been working on solo projects over the past few years.
Having headed out to see both Gerard Way’s first London solo show and frankiero andthe cellabration at headline and support slots, I watched the ashes of My Chemical Romance rise first-hand. Something I found most surprising as I mingled in amongst the crowds at these shows was the vast amount of MCR band merch that surrounded me- hats, hoodies, t-shirts, bags… You name it, I saw it. It shocked (and kind of irritated) me that some people refused to let the members move on and become new artists, remaining constant reminders. It was like rubbing an old long-term relationship and its messy, tumultuous break-up in someone’s face on their first date with a new partner.
But it’s not just the fans- who can be partially excused because, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there, mourning our favourite bands of yesteryear long after their expiration dates- that have been trying to exorcise MCR since their split; it’s the industry, too. Anyone immersed in music during the ‘00s can admit that My Chemical Romance were pivotal and exciting to the face of alternative music and that’s something we’re arguably lacking today, making it understandably to let a band like that go.
As the tenth anniversary of the band’s seminal The Black Parade album approaches it gives publications and labels something new to get all excited about as it opens new possibilities to further milk MCR for all they’re worth. British magazine Rock Sound has taken the high road with the release of a The Black Parade covers album with their latest issue as a tribute to the remarkable record, featuring the likes of State Champs, twenty one pilots and Moose Blood. It’s a cracking little CD, and there is genuine relevance to the release, not to mention it showcases artists who are today taking the place of My Chemical Romance and changing alternative music in their own unique ways. But for some, it doesn’t matter what day, month or year it is, they’re living every minute like it’s still 2006, constantly finding ways to wriggle MCR into new content, regardless of how slim the connection may be, and sticking the same outdated posters between their pages. Seriously, who’s putting My Chemical Romance posters on their bedroom walls these days anyway?!
Honestly, this sounds like a complete slate. It’s not. I loved My Chemical Romance, they spoke to my pubescent, hormonal ways in other bands at the time couldn’t even contemplate, and their departure from the music scene was certainly a loss. But isn’t it a little weird that, three years on, people still haven’t quite accepted the grieving process? I mean, I’ve seen people mourn their dead family pets less than this and, while that definitely says something about the awesome impact that My Chemical Romance had, shouldn’t we all just kind of… get over it now?