Notes on an End: My Chemical Romance, 2001-2013

Last Friday night I awoke from an extended fever-induced nap to discover My Chemical Romance had dissolved.

My reactions were, in order:



Hold on, let’s check their blog . . .

Well, shit. I guess this is really happening.

Then I sat here for a while, toggling between various feeds on my screen and emotions in my heart: sadness, because I love(d) them best; relief, because the waiting for the other shoe to drop is over; gratitude, for the tunes, for the dear friends I’ve met in their pit, for the fact that I went to as many shows as I could, and for the fact that they went out with grace, dignity and finality, rather than in a hail of public meltdowns, regrettable shows and/or terrible tours. It’s a death, of a kind, but it is a clean one.

(You’ll notice there’s no “shock” in there; that is because I really wasn’t surprised. I was excited when they released Conventional Weapons, the compilation of the songs they recorded after The Black Parade and then scrapped in favor of Danger Days: The True Lives of Fabulous Killjoys, but it was the kind of “tying up loose ends” move that felt like the beginning of the end.)

Saturday I listened to Danger Days – Dr. Deathdefying’s sign off was more of a punch to the heart than usual – while the Internet did the modern equivalent of bargaining with the Reaper, i.e. discussed rumors that the band might reform under a different name, or with a change in line-up; on Sunday, Gerard Way posted an extended letter gently but firmly quashing all of those possibilities.

As I write this, it’s Tuesday night, and my emotions are still mixed. I’m still sad that they’ve called it quits, but I’m genuinely curious to see what they do next.

I’m also still grateful for the ways they changed my life for the better, by convincing me that rock and roll still had something to give me, if I would let it, and moreover that there was room for me in their pit, standing next to the ladies that are now some of my very best girls.

They were, as a band, completely ridiculous and totally over the top, and but they were also totally sincere about all of it, and that is why they were (are) my favorite.

I don’t have that many pictures of them, but these are the best of what I’ve got:

Gerard Way, red-haired and almost angelic. Makes me smile every time I look at it.
Gerard Way, in, as he was quick to tell us, fake fur. And a campy pose, because it was nearly impossible to get a shot of him any other way.
Mikey Way and his sparkly bass, or the one that my friend Meg refers to as “the cover-shot for Hot Bassist Monthly.”
Frank Iero, Gerard Way, and Mikey Way in pretty quasi-apoclayptic light.
Frank Iero, shredding.
Frank Iero, again; he hardly ever held still like this.
Ray Toro, in the picture that gets a “all blown out but still pretty good” award.
Gerard Way and Mikey Way, in quasi-apocalyptic darkness.

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