In the aftermath of their split, frontman Gerard Way penned an emotional open letter to fans that offered no easy explanations, but closed with one rather searing sentiment: “My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die.”
And, in the days since the news broke, we’ve been hearing that same refrain echoed over and over again by members of the MCRmy, who are still coming to terms with the end of the band, but are determined to carry on their mantle — and their music — for the foreseeable future.
In a lot of ways, MTV News had a front-row seat for My Chemical Romance’s rise to fame … we were the first to talk to producer Rob Cavallo about the sessions that would lead to The Black Parade, and watched as MCR premiered “Welcome to the Black Parade” high atop Rockefeller Center during the 2006 Video Music Awards pre-show. And we were there in the early stages of Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys too, back when the album was still “a love letter to rock and roll” (and not “a missile” meant to kill it).
But our relationship with MCR actually began in July 2004, when we first sat down with Gerard, Mikey and Ray for a “You Hear It First” special, one that detailed the band’s early days, laid out their plan to change the world, and, of course, took us to the Way family home in New Jersey. And today, after digging through our archives, we’re bringing that special back for their fans.
In our interview, Gerard Way discussed the formation of My Chemical Romance, which happened as a direct response to the tragedies of 9/11, and set the stage for what would be a decade in which they’d become one of the biggest rock acts on the planet. And yet, they never lost sight of what brought them together in the first place.
“September 11 really affected me and the band a great deal, the band literally started in the aftermath of that,” Way said at the time. “When we practiced in [former drummer] Matt [Pelissier’s] attic, there was a perfect view of the city, and then those two buildings were gone; we saw that every day for like a month, and it definitely had a lot to do with the genesis of the band, and what fueled us. It was like a therapy for all of us.”
Way also remembered MCR’s first practice with guitarist Ray Toro, where he said he experienced something he’d never felt before … a feeling that hinted at the greatness to come.
“We knew from the first practice. It felt like nothing ever that we’d tried together, or with other people, and that’s why I think it’s happened so quickly,” Way said. “It was like this forward momentum that was really great; it came out of some extremely negative, but we used it to fuel the band in a very positive way.”
“I hadn’t been playing guitar for a year and half, I was playing drums in a fun, crappy punk band before that, and it was a great opportunity to start playing guitar again,” Toro added. “And the first time we practiced, there was just a vibe that I never felt before, playing with anybody else … nothing ever felt the way that felt, and right away I knew something was special.”
Turns out, they were right. My Chemical Romance may be gone, but the music they created, and the lives they touched … well, they’ll live on forever.
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