I’m sitting down to write this a week before IMCRD, because on the day itself I’ll be in Greece. I’ll also miss the London meetup, which bums me out even more. I think this is my third year of not-quite-managing to make it to a full-on celebration. I mean, last year I wrote about Amy Winehouse, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but still.
I’ve been trying to work out what to say for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Bullets ‘the music’ isn’t as relevant to My Chem as Bullets ‘the era’ is. Don’t get me wrong, I really love those songs. I have virtually no idea what half of them mean, but love them nonetheless… But when I think about it, this time nine months ago I was writing 10 Years, 10 Days and discussing the genesis of the band. In the interim I’ve finished senior school, started a website and the Census, done some exams and cleaned my room maybe four times. This time nine months ago a decade ago, a guy phoned his friends with the idea of working on a song he’d come up with in his parents’ basement. We ended up with I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love; possibly the most underrated of all the band’s work. Which is understandable, because every new album blows the previous out of the water – but sometimes I think people overlook it.
Three years ago I was getting back into My Chem after a year or so’s sabbatical listening to the Jonas Brothers. We went into town for my brother’s birthday and I went to HMV because I have the attention span of a gnat. In the metal section, nestled between (probably) a load of noise and The Black Parade, was a CD I had become convinced I would own “in the future”. I’m not sure what it’s like for newer kids now, but back in the day (2007) it was difficult to get hold of Bullets. It was the basement album, the one put together real quick amongst illness, somebody’s mum vacuuming and Frank getting high and playing Tony Hawk. I think I’d heard Sorrows and Turnstiles on YouTube when I finally bought it. Actually, that’s a lie, the whole album’s on there. But as a thirteen-year-old in 2009 with no idea how to order merch online, basking in the success of Parade and its soon-to-be-released followup, seeing Bullets was like finding a fully wrapped Christmas present in August.
I think that day was the only time I’ve ever blatantly asked my dad for money; ten quid, because the album was £9 – the other pound, I think, went on eyeliner that I used to write ‘I Wanna Be a Member of the MCRmy’ on my face when my friends and I went out on my first and only public IMCRD. If only I knew… Anyway, I ran back to HMV consumed with the fear somebody (after years of it being on the shelf) would buy the CD before I could. No one did, and I was smug at the counter. Twenty minutes later, I got Bullets out of my blazer to show my mum and the case broke. It set the tone for my relationship with the album, and I’ve been happily abusing both the CD, its booklet and case, and occasionally the music, ever since.
I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to get at here – I’ve been working on the Census all day and the logging’s starting to drive me loopy. Loopier. All I know for sure is that this album pathed the way for the next ten-and-a-half years. You can hear what the band’s going to do in those earlier songs, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the songs themselves. You get little hints of what’s about to happen to the world, of what these people are capable of. And while you’re at it, you get a story about two lovers who kill themselves while finding time to discuss 9/11, Peter Pan and, y’know, vampires. Some of these songs never get played live. Some do, and are just as relevent to both my ears and this band as they ever were. More so today than they were in 2002, in some ways, because we can look back and appreciate what’s changed, what’s stubbornly unchangeable and the journeys taken to get from September 2001 to July 2002 to July 2012.
Happy birthday, Bullets. I’ll make you a card and actually attend a meetup for your twentieth, I promise. If it’s not an international holiday by then, or something gets in the way, I’ll write another post. With live versions of Honey from 2017, and Gerard with green hair or something.
Oh, and for the record, I paid my dad back.