An American rock band, often used as a prime example of the Emo
genre. Their music is best described as a mixture of Post-hardcore
, Pop Punk
accessibility, Horror Punk
influenced lyrics and stylings, and a heaping dose of over the top theatrics and album rock storytelling straight out of the 1970's (all of this presented with the look of a Goth Rock
band). They formed in New Jersey
around 2002 with their first song, "Skylines and Turnstiles." The band claims that the theme and style of their music was initially inspired by their feelings during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bands they cite as key inspirations are Black Flag
, The Misfits
, Pink Floyd
, Joy Division
, The Cure
, and The Smashing Pumpkins
The band has a notoriously bad Broken Base
and a very Unpleasable Fanbase
, rampant with Fan Dumb
and Hate Dumb
. Enter at your own risk.
They released their debut album "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love" in 2002, combining elements of Hardcore Punk
, and Emo
. Its lead single "Vampires will never Hurt You" became a hit on college radio.
Their 2004 sophomore album "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" proved to be their breakthrough release, spurred on by the success of the singles "Helena" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". It is now viewed as a key album of the early 2000s Emo scene with it's theatrical sound, gothic aesthetics, and powerful mix of post-hardcore aggression and strongly crafted songs.
In 2006, drawing on their love of Pink Floyd
's progressive rock and glam rock bands such as Queen
and T.Rex, they combined these influences with their old post-hardcore sound to create what is considered their defining work, titled "The Black Parade
". While most popular rock bands in 2006 were focused on being raw and garage influenced, The Black Parade was intentionally bombastic and excessive, reflecting the 70s rock bands that Gerard Way loved and the hip, indie establishment treated with disdain. Throw in its rock opera storyline of a dying cancer patient and you have a 1970s album brought to life in the twenty-first century. The album proved to be a critical and commercial success, with several review sites and magazines placing it as one of the best albums of the decade.
Their latest album, 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
divided the fanbase with its lighter sound and design, but don't put too much stock in Fan Dumb
. Other fans consider it an excellent album in its own right. Its sound is influenced by indie rock, dance-rock, pop punk, and Stooges era Garage rock. It also features a storyline, but this one is more frantic, enthusiastic, and exuberant than the morbid tragedy of the last.
The band has officially broken up
as of March 22, 2013. Later confirmed by Gerard
, the band is going their separate ways.
They left scores of teenagers (and some adults) sobbing in their wake. They will be greatly missed. As of the 23 of March, 2013, many of us are currently spending the hours listening to every song they've ever released and trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.
Please don't confuse them with My Bloody Valentine
, who are a British Shoegazing
band who similarly have nothing to do with them, though Gerard admits inspired the "My" in their band name (the Chemical Romance part is a quote from the back of an Irvine Welsh novel).Members were:
- Gerard Way, lead singer.
- Ray Toro, lead guitar, backing vocals.
- Frank Iero, rhythm guitar.
- Mikey Way, bass.
- For the last couple of years, there was no permanent drummer (originally Matt Pelissier, then Bob Bryar, then Michael Pedicone as a touring drummer until September 2nd, whose replacement was Jarrod Alexander for the duration of the band's run).
- Life on the Murder Scene (2006)
- The Black Parade is Dead (2008)
Tropes featured by My Chemical Romance:
- Aerith and Bob: Gerard and Mikey Way.
- Afraid of Needles: Gerard.
- Atomic F-Bomb: Whenever Gerard opens his mouth on stage. Frank drops some as well.
- Auto-Tune: In the bridge of 'The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You'. Also used much more subtly in 'Cancer'.
- Badass: They certainly know how to turn it on when the moment calls for it.
- Badass Beard: Bob.
- Bishōnen: The entire band, depending on who you ask.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: The cover of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and Life on the Murder Scene. It's a lot easier to tell that it's a wedding dress on the latter.
- Camp: Gerard. And then some.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Gerard is the most obvious one, but in little ways, all the boys seem to be from another planet.
- Frank is pretty damn out there sometimes.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Our Lady of Sorrows." Full Stop.
- Concept Album: Each of their albums have an intricate back-story and concept behind it.
- Cover Version: The band has done several of these. Examples include:
- Creepy Child: Gerard seems to be channeling this in the live version of "Mama" at the iTunes Festival: London 2011 where he says this little gem:
(raises his arms) Mama! Up.
- Dies Wide Open: Mikey in the music video for "The Ghost of You".
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: This is the anti-piracy warning on the back of "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love":
Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws and will result in Gerard coming to your house and sucking your blood.
- Documentary Episode: Life on the Murder Scene.
- Dye or Be Recognized at Comic Con. Apparently, the blonde hair at the 2010 SDCC was Gerard's "costume" so he could buy He-Man action figures in peace.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gerard, when he isn't busy dyeing his hair white or some ridiculous shade of pink.
- Also Frank.
- Don't forget Mikey.
- Dying Alone: "Cubicles" mentions this in the chorus
- Emo: Although the band would disagree, they do have a lot in common with classic/post-hardcore emo. While some people will claim otherwise, they aren't really emo-pop since they have too much of a Hardcore Punk influence to really be an emo pop band. In addition they were an important band in the early 2000's post-hardcore scene along with Thursday and AFI.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville", which doubles as a Shout-Out to Dawn of the Dead.
- Gratuitous Panning: Destroya
- Fanservice: In spades.
- Unintentionally. Word of God says a lot of that (such as the "Frerard" gimmick) is done to piss people off, which is why a lot of that stopped after they figured out people were into it.
- Funny Afro: Ray Toro, the Man with the Plan, the Torosaurus, has a positively EPIC afro. Over the years, his is the only hairstyle that has remained relatively constant, only darkening in color and deflating somewhat during The Black Parade and Danger Days. It even has a (fake) blog.
- Genki Girl: Gerard is a Western male example on stage.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Once again, Mikey Way, except he decided they had to go (and got Lasik).
- Hammerspace Hair: Possibly Ray's 'fro.
- Iconic Item: Feathered boas, striped ties, the leather jacket (that'll turn your stomach), the bat belt buckle from Life on the Murder Scene... Coffee and cigarettes might even count with this band.
- Mikey's now-departed glasses.
- Likewise, Frank's departed guitar Pansy.
- Improvised Weapon: Towards the end of the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video, the band is squaring off against the jocks. Their weapon of choice? Croquet mallets.
- Nintendo Power Gloves and Zappers are the weapon of choice in 2019.
- Iris Out: Welcome to the Black Parade contains a rather persistent one, which keeps on trying to end the video.
- Jerk Jock: The apparent "enemy" in the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video.
- Joisey: Everyone in the band's starting lineup were from Jersey, but none of the replacement drummers are.
- Jump Physics: A live show will make you wonder if they've harnessed some kind of ability to alter this.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Gerard has changed his hair a lot. He's had it black, bleached blond and cut short, then long and bright red for Danger Days.
- Keet: Frank fucking Iero. You could get tired just watching him jump around at concerts.
- Large Ham: Gerard owns this trope and then some. If he were an actor, he'd constantly have a belly full of scenery.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The songs that aren't Tear Jerkers have Crazy Awesome music that you can't get out of your head, set to lyrics that often induce Squick when you actually listen.
- Example: Headfirst for Halos. A rather upbeat song until you listen to the lyrics. "I think I've blown my brains against the ceiling. And as the fragments of my skull begin to fall, fall on your tongue, like pixie dust..."
- One of Gerard's quotes are:
- Mad Artist: Some people consider Gerard to be a not-so-villainous version of this.
- Mind Screw: The video for "I Don't Love You".
- Mood Whiplash: More common in the live shows and the actual albums, although The Black Parade comes to mind as an offender. "House of Wolves" is followed by "Cancer" is followed by "Mama".
- Motor Mouth
- Must Have Caffeine: The Way Brothers function on massive amounts on coffee, which probably explains why Gerard can be such a Genki Guy.
Gerard: Cawfee, cawfee, goin' to get cawfee!
- Name's the Same: No, "Helena" isn't a cover of the Misfits song.
- Nerd Glasses: Mikey Way wore 'em. Though when combined with Mikey's perpetual apathetic expression, comes off as Four Eyes, Zero Soul.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- One Woman Song: Helena.
- "Mama" might also qualify.
- Only Sane Man: Bob was this before leaving compared to the rest of the guys along with Mikey. With his departure, it seems Mikey's taken this over a little.
- Our Vampires Are Different: "Vampires Will Never Hurt You". Might contain a bit of The Dead Can Dance, as one verse refers to the vampires hanging out at a nightclub.
- Draculoids! Which are not really vampires. Just Mooks in Halloween masks.
- Out of Genre Experience: I'm Not Okay sounds like a Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, or Get Up Kids style Pop Punk-influenced Emo song, in contrast to the rest of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge which veers closer to Post-Hardcore and classic Emo.
- Precision F-Strike: Played straight in the case of Three Cheers of Sweet Revenge, where "fuck" is only heard twice in the whole album. (It still got a Parental Warning sticker.)
- Also happens in individual songs, like Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back, which has one loud F-bomb in the middle.
- Porn Stache: Frank sports one sometimes.
- Prison Rape: "You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us In Prison", which seems to be a subversion of Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male. The laughter at the end is the singer going insane and threatening to burn down a hotel.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The basic theme of the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video.
- Rock Opera: The Black Parade.
- Ship Tease: Tended to be a staple of live shows. Became most prevalent during the 2007 Projekt Revolution tour.
- Shout-Out: A fair number of their songs contain references to other things.
- "Vampire Money" is gosh darn full of it. The song was written in response to the band's choice to not write a song for the Twilight movies, David Bowie and Mark Bolan get a Name Drop and the opening is almost a perfect copy of "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet.
- "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Death Wish" paraphrases one of Death's most famous quotes from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman:
"For what you did to me, for what I'll do to you, you get what everyone else gets—you get a lifetime!" note
- "Destroya" is possibly a reference to the Destoroyah monster in the Godzilla-franchise film Godzilla vs. Destroroya.
- Shot for Shot Remake: "The Ghost Of You"'s music video closely imitates Saving Private Ryan's Omaha Beach scene.
- Slouch of Villainy: Averted. Gerard just has really bad posture, but he's far from villainous.
- So My Kids Can Watch: Their appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba performing "Every Snowflake is Different" might be this.
- Take That: "Vampire Money" is a pretty snarky one directed at Twilight. Specifically, it takes the mickey at artists who contribute songs to the film franchise's soundtrack, written after they were asked to do a song for one of the films and refused.
- Title Only Chorus: DESTROYA, DESTROYA, DESTROYA, DESTROYA...
- War Is Hell: "Mama" and "Ghost of You".
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Gerard killing a Draculoid in the 'SING!' video, having a 'wait a second I just killed that guy moment' (because he removed the Drac's mask) and this leads to Gerard getting killed - it's seen even better in The Directors Cut.
- When He Smiles: Ray Toro, the lead guitarist with the 'fro, is not considered as good-looking as his bandmates, but with his full lips and million-dollar smile, everything seems to light up. Ray of sunshine, indeed.
- Whole Plot Reference: Their Music Video for their song "Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us" recounts the plot of the movie Audition, interspersed with clips of them playing.
- World War II: "The Ghost of You" video is themed this.
- Also implied with the song "Mama".