Everyone knows the story of how My Chem formed. We can’t not, with every article alluding to ‘the Jersey rockers’ East Coast beginnings, when vocalist Gerard Way formed the band after witnessing the Twin Towers fall at 9/11′. So most people call today the unofficial birthday of the band, although they say everything really started to come together around October.
In the last couple of weeks, my forays onto the BBC website to avoid doing homework have become increasingly 9/11 centric. There have been stories of survivors, of those who were living in New York at the time, articles on how the word’s changed since. Now I know I’m biased – and there’s not a single person who was directly affected by the attacks that I don’t have huge respect for – but I can’t help but feel that the BBC’s missed out on a huge opportunity. My Chem are the most direct, most positive reaction to 9/11 out there. Hands down.
Today is in no way a celebration, no matter how brilliant MCR has turned out to be, and anyone treating it as such should turn on the news. However, it does mean we can respect the band so much more because of the history. It was born out of a day that spawned conflict, unnecessary racism, misguided hatred and countless avoidable deaths. The band itself has created nothing but positive energy (the odd suicide cult accusation and cursed drummer position aside). Saying that, I do like to think that My Chem is one of those things that, regardless of the state of the rest of the world, had to happen – so if 9/11 hadn’t, Gerard still would have had an epiphany moment and called his friends about forming a band and doing something worthwhile. Sadly, we don’t have access to a TARDIS so will never know what could have been; all can do is pay our respects to the victims and thank MCR for existing.
I realise that people deal with trauma in different ways, and I’m not going to start knocking the people who haven’t been able to walk into tall buildings or onto planes in a decade. But when I think of how much good has come from Gerard thinking “Fuck art” that day, I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if everyone had had his reaction. If they had, we wouldn’t need to be fighting a ‘war on terror’, because it would have already been won. Around 3,000 people died that day, right? Well, at least 3,000 people have had their lives touched by My Chem (it’s probably more like three billion people in total when you look at record sales). At least 3,000 people have come out of a show feeling happier, or made friends through the MCRmy, or used the music to find strength within themselves that has led them to do awesome things.
That sounds like a pretty big “Fuck you, Bin Laden,” to me.