Video: My Chemical Romance, Vampire Money

This is Vampire Money, by My Chemical Romance.

I have a lot of feelings about this song.

It’s, like, A Lot. A cheerful “fuck you” to the Twilight movie empire. An in-joke between band and fans, of a kind, a fuck-you issued in support of . . . I always want to say real vampires. Of the traditional vampire ethos. From a band who celebrated that ethos in dramatic and campy fashion, with a wink and a smile, and who also wrote lines like I’m not dead / I only dress that way in complete seriousness. Who were wide-eyed and earnest and nervous and weird and felt, on the whole, like people I would have enjoyed visiting with at parties.

They were surprised how much the fans loved it. They had never meant to play it live, but the crowds screamed for it and so they did.

This is not the best audio or video out there, but – the more polished versions I could find didn’t feel quite right. The shaky cam from the balcony, filmed by a fan, that’s the way it should be. My Chemical Romance lies dormant, locked in its coffin, but My Chemical Romance (and Vampire Money) lives on forever in our hearts, battered Docs, and extensively researched and footnoted arguments about Dracula and/or Lord of the Rings.

My Chemical Romance - Vampire Money (House of Blues Chicago, 12/15/2010)

Video: frnkiero and the cellabrations, Weighted

Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) has started (yet another!) band, which he is calling frnkiero and the cellabrations. Their first record, Stomachaches, just emerged Monday; this is the video for Weighted, the first single, which emerged somewhat earlier but has taken me a while to absorb.

The parallels to certain pieces of My Chem iconography are inescapable; it’s impossible to watch the first minute and not think of the video for Helena, from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. And as Helena was a farewell, so, in a way, is this; it’s also a hello, and a warning: don’t try to raise the dead, lest you bring on a zombie apocalypse and the lead singer of your favorite band decides to eat your heart and play jump rope with your intestines.

For all that it is gross, and disturbing, and I didn’t even make it through twice – I had to hide the tab and listen to him sing – I have to agree with the sentiment. I miss My Chemical Romance; I like Conventional Weapons and feel vaguely bad about it because they don’t; I’m sad I’ll never hear a pit howl along to Boy Division; but the band is dead, they put it down clean, all things considered, and raising the dead is never, ever a good idea.

And for the record: I like this tune, as a tune, and I’m keen to dig into the rest of the record.

frnkiero and the cellabration - Weighted

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.

Frank Iero: Be My Baby

Yes, the classic one, written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich and made famous by the Ronettes. But I promise you’ve never heard it quite like this, i.e. as if the person singing it – Frank Iero, of My Chemical Romance and LeATHERM0UTH – might be having both heart and throat destroyed.

It is creepy and beautiful and I love it.

My Chemical Romance: Conventional Weapons (to date)

The lost album is lost no more.

Conventional Weapons is composed of the 10 songs My Chemical Romance made – and shelved – in the space between The Black Parade and Danger Days. I titled this post “Conventional Weapons (to date)” because they’re eschewing a traditional album release and instead putting the songs two at a time over the course of several months, and so far only four have been released. Two more will emerge in mid-December, and the last four will surface in early January and February.

Not going to lie, this is maddening.

I want the whole thing, all of the songs, and I want it right now, so I can lie down on my kitchen floor with my iPod and crank it up and plunge in.

But I cannot have it, so I must be patient, and absorb them as they arrive.

So far my reaction is: This is very interesting.

The songs contains their evolution, as a band, and are an aural fork in the road, the point where The Black Parade finally shambled to a halt, and when it came time to choose their adventure, they walked briefly down a simpler (and so far, angrier) path before turning towards a candy-colored apocalypse.

The seeds of the bouncier, dance-inflected world of Danger Days are there, but the more I listen to the songs, the more I think some of them could have come directly after Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.

The following are some more detailed observations:

1A: Boy Division: Propulsive and soaring; whenever they go on tour again, the pit will be screaming along with lines like I’m not dead / I only dress that way and Take me out there / far away / save me from my self-destruction/ Hopeless for ya /Sing a song for California. Extra points to anyone old enough to get the pun-reference in the title!

1B:Tomorrow’s Money: You fell in love with a vampire / A torch-song for the empire / So say hello to the brush-fire. Well, yes, Mr. Way, we did. But being a teen idol, even (especially?) the freak-show teen idol, it takes a toll. I sympathize with your urge to light it all on fire even as I walk closer to warm myself by the pyre.

2A: Ambulance: Honestly, this is the one that I can’t decide how I feel. I like it a general I like My Chem sort of way, but I also think it’s sort of muddled and incomplete. Essentially, though, it’s a coda to Tomorrow’s Money‘s commentary on being the freak-show teen idol. File under: Hmmm.

2B:Gun.: Naturally the one that is explicitly about an actual weapon is the one they release with cover art that has nothing to do with the weapon in question. Oh My Chem, never change. Also, it’s an anti-war song. Again, I like it in a general sort of way. I’m not going to flip past it when it comes up on shuffle but I’m also not going to seek it out to listen to it obsessively as I totally did with Boy Division.

Happy 2nd Birthday, NTSIB

Technically my second anniversary of starting to write here is a couple of months from now, but I’m chiming in to say: Happy Birthday, little blog! And also congratulations, Jessica H.! I hope you didn’t get too squashed in that Panic! pit – I totally read your story and nodded in rueful recognition, because, well, yes, that’s a Panic! show in a nutshell. (Well, maybe not the fistfights.)

And the thing is: that’s kind of why I love them. Because that pit is a hot sweaty shrieking mess, but they are shrieking with joy. And there’s nothing else like the moment when the house lights go down, the stage lights come up, they step into their places, the first notes ring out, and the pit goes off like a rocket. The screaming makes me wince, too, but it also makes me grin, and probably scream along with them.

But the best part is really afterwards, when I find all of my girls and we wobble, laughing, into the night, to find food and rehydrate and recap for each other the experience we just shared and text people who weren’t there so they can also be brought up to speed.

In a way that’s kind of what music blogging, year two, has been about for me: making friends and being part of a community. So I, too, want to say thank you to all of y’all who stop in to read, whether it’s once or every day, and also to all of y’all who alert us to your musical activities. Here’s hoping our third year together will be the best year yet.

On a somewhat related note, my contribution to today’s festivities is My Chemical Romance’s latest video. It’s a collaboration between the band and a fan, and it’s for Kids from Yesterday, the latest and last single from Danger Days. I picked this one over a Panic! video because, well, all of my Panic! girls are also my My Chem girls, and this song is our song.

My Chemical Romance - The Kids From Yesterday [Official Music Video]

July Video Challenge: Na Na Na, My Chemical Romance

This is My Chemical Romance, broadcasting from a post-apocalyptic California, in 2019. There’s lots of geeky details, fancy driving and things blowing up in a very satisfying manner. Every time this one comes up on shuffle I almost wish I had a car just so I could plug my iPod into the speakers and crank this one up while driving very fast. It’s also  the first video in a series, and served as a visual introduction to the concept and the world of their latest record, Danger Days: The True Life of the Fabulous Killjoys.


My Chemical Romance - "Na Na Na" (Official Music Video)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: My Chemical Romance

Yeah, you read that right. I’ll just say this is completely Jennifer’s thing and leave it at that.

The first time I saw My Chemical Romance was at Madison Square Garden, for the last show of their last tour. It was the first time I had ever been on the floor for a stadium show, and I remember at one point I turned to my sister and said Oh my god, we are really here and this is really happening.

On Friday night I had that same brief stunned moment of holy crap, this is not a dream about halfway through the evening, when Dr. Death Defying (aka Steve Righ?, or Steven Montano, of Mindless Self Indulgence) walked out onto the stage at Roseland and started doing the intro to Na Na Na. I was three rows back from the barrier, jammed up in the epicenter of the soon to be screaming, pogoing children, and I could feel the energy building in the crowd as they joined in, a little breathless but growing stronger with each word. Then Gerard Way walked out into the lights and the whole place went berserk.

It was an amazing show, y’all. They did a fairly even mix of their older work and songs from Danger Days, which is the new record, though my heart particularly lifted when they kicked into I’m Not Okay because I will love that song always and forever. Pulling out other highlights is kind of impossible, because it was like we all came home, and they were there waiting for us so we could sing and dance together, clapping and stomping and howling over the dueling guitars. Even I, decrepit as I am, joined in the pogoing for Planetary (GO!) and Desolation Row. Afterwards I walked out sweaty and sore and excited to do it all over again in April and May when they come back on a proper tour.

Anyway, taking pictures during all of this was . . . a challenge. A lot of them are, as I like to say, “atmospheric”, by which I mean, you’ll get more of an idea of the lights and smoke and color than their actual faces. But I did get a few good ones. The following are a selection of my favorite images:

Gerard Way, during “Cancer”, and probably my favorite shot of the evening:


Gerard Way again, during the encore; “It’s fake fur!” he informed us, after putting it on. Also, it is really difficult to take a performance picture of Gerard Way in which he is not striking a campy pose.


My other favorite from the evening is Mikey Way and his sparkly bass:


I was on the other side of the stage from Frank Iero, and lost amid a sea of arms, so I didn’t get very many good pictures. I honestly couldn’t see him half the time. But this one I like:


And finally Ray Toro, who wins the “this picture is totally blown out, but I kind of love it anyway” prize this week:


And in conclusion, one of the Way brothers that I just like for the appropriately post-apocalyptic atmosphere:


Other notes: The first opening band was the radio station “house band,” and they were so boring and awful I would have preferred to listen to twenty minutes of Creed. Scott Stapp may be a bombastic disaster but at least he isn’t dull. The second band was The Gaslight Anthem, who have recently released their third record, and are much better now that they’ve stopped shoehorning Springsteen references into all of their lyrics.

— Jennifer

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: A Few of My Favorite Things: Nerds and Novelty Songs


This is Jonathan Coulton performing at the High Line this past April. He is the uncrowned king of the nerdy novelty song. My iTunes informs me that his genre is “Unclassifiable” which I think is an unusual misspelling of “Awesome.” My personal favorites are Code Monkey, a love song for J. Alfred Programmer; Skullcrusher Mountain, in which a lovelorn mad scientist asks isn’t it enough that I ruined a pony, making a gift for you?; and Shop Vac, a tale of suburban disaffection and despair with a catchy sing-along chorus. I’m also really very fond of his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back. Those last two might not be all that nerdy but they are a whole lot of fun.

The next song on my list of favorites, MMO RPG by Alex Greenwald (Mark Ronson and the Business Intl., Phantom Planet) – truly a piece of digital ephemera, as it is, for now, only available on YouTube – explores some of the philosophical complexities of on-line gaming:


I will confess I’m not actually all that into computer games – the graphics tend to give me vertigo, and I prefer the low-tech joys of running around in the woods with capes and fake swords and the adrenaline rush when the elves come out of hiding in the middle of an otherwise routine trade conversation – but the song still fills me with glee. I am only sad that the “P” in the middle defeats my attempts to chair-dance to it YMCA-style.

Finally, there’s the song made by a band full of nerds that, on first hearing, I thought was a novelty song, but wasn’t: Teenagers , by My Chemical Romance. The video won’t embed, but you can listen to it here: My Chemical Romance – Teenagers by spatzkiersten

A breather amid the heavier themes of the The Black Parade, this one is for anyone who has ever been baffled or a little scared by their high-schooler, or had the urge to tell anyone to shut up, get off their lawn, and pull up their pants. I enjoy it tremendously, and all y’all should check it out.

— Jennifer