10 Years, 10 Days: Old People Are Allowed to Get a Little Off Topic and Reminiscent.

It’s my birthday today, so I thought I’d take a moment and talk about myself. Well, more specifically, how I came to know My Chem. Since you all, obviously, really want to know.

I was eleven, and studying for entrance exams for the school I’m at now. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I got into the habit of listening to a radio show called Music Control on Essex FM while I studied. Most of the stuff they played was pure pop, but because it was broadcast from seven until ten, and the target audience was students and twenty-somethings, they often played new releases weeks or months before the rest of the radio. So usually they’d play a track in July and by September when the rest of the word was rocking out and overplaying it, I thought it was the worst fucking thing anyone had ever written.

Anyway, they started playing this song around September or October, and I thought it was pretty cool because the structure meant that the entire song had to be broadcast, they couldn’t miss out a repeated chorus at the end if they were running short on time. There was this piano part that caught my attention at the beginning, it was really dramatic and dark, and then there was this huge noise of guitars and yelling (I think the lyrics “Defiant to the end” struck a chord) and eventually the song petered out with some nice drumming. Around the same time, autumn 2006, I was getting into the world of music television. We had two channels back then, I think. I kept catching the end of a video where it looked like the world had exploded. Oh look, it’s got that drum ending. Very tuneful.

Slowly, over the next few months, I kept catching glimpses of this strange band. Never an entire video or a name – that’d be way too easy – always snippets as I flicked. Oh look, now everything’s on fire. Hey, his hair’s turned black. Why are they falling out of clouds?

Music Control used to do an ‘[insert artist here] night’ every so often. They’d interview the band, play a few songs, maybe do an acoustic set. One evening, they had an interview with a guy from a band whose name I didn’t know because it was always said too fast for me to catch it. It was ‘Mychemicalromance’ or something, I don’t know. This guy from this unnameable band had the weirdest voice I had ever heard. I’d heard Americans in films and stuff, but never this accent (I guess there aren’t many New Jersey actors in children’s films). It was also the way he spoke; really quickly but confidently. Like he knew stuff the rest of us dreamt of learning. The interviewer goes “Where do you get your inspiration from, real life?” He said something along the lines of “Nah, I people watch and take it from there.” I’d been packing my books up or something, but I distinctly remember thinking “Thank God it’s not just me that does that!” I used to have a thing for making up strangers’ lives.

Then they played the piano song.

Around that time, my uncle was in the process of doing me a mixtape – okay, CD – of ‘rock music’. I’d mentioned liking The Killers so got their albums for Christmas, in the spring he did me a compilation. In amongst American Idiot, You Give Love a Bad Name, Last Train Home and Dance, Dance, there was a song called Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. Holy shit! It’s the piano song! Google Search time. Or was it YouTube?

I saw Helena and was like, that’s not My Chemical Romance. They’ve had a lineup change. Wait… No… he has the same tattoo on his neck as the other guy. Oh, hang on, same hair. The bassist’s different for sure. Can’t tell about the drummer. Woa, that’s the frontman in the Parade video! Same face. Definitely him. I think.

My memory’s a bit hazy now – I’m getting on a bit – but I think in that first YouTube session I heard Vampires, Not Okay and Ghost as well. Over the course of about a year, My Chem kept cropping up. My friend’s brother had a Revenge t-shirt. It was awesome. Gerard Way was in Sugar magazine’s Ladmag. He’d formed the band after seeing 9/11. Hey, I remember that! It’s the day before my birthday that makes me feel really guilty for celebrating being alive. He used to have a drug problem. Oh, he’s better now, that’s nice. They’re a happy looking band, aren’t they?

I used my twelfth birthday money to buy Parade, and it was the most depressing thing I’d ever heard. Over the next year, my CDs went into a box because we were decorating, and My Chem more or less went on the back burner. My friends at the time were into Disney shit, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato and whatnot – so I was too. Around year eight it emerged some of my friends’ friends were into MCR, and I started to remember them. They’d gone into hibernation, apparently, but their new album would be out soon (would it, my arse). In June of year eight, in 2009, I was sitting on a coach on the way back from a school trip to Germany where we’d gone a bit mental and dressed as the Black Parade – I was Gerard, if I remember correctly, and my LynZ (Ruby) divorced me because I wouldn’t go to the tourist information bureau with her. I thought “You know what, admit it. This is your favourite band.” Some time along the way I’d picked up Revenge, and the band I’d coveted since the age of eight, McFly, weren’t doing much for me anymore.

Before I knew it, I owned all three albums, Parade is Dead! and Murder Scene, unicorns made me think of Mikey Way being called Frank wasn’t an insult. Incidently, Ruby first called me that because in Germany I bought a Trilby. She looked down at me, said “You look like a man again. You look like Frank. I’ll call you Frank now.” and turned away. The name stuck. I started Indifferent Ignorance in late 2009 and quickly realised how easy it was to write about My Chem – the music they made was often what I was trying to say. The rest, as they say, is history.

Over the last year or so, I’ve come to appreciate what My Chem’s done for me. I was never about to slip into a pill-induced coma when Venom came on my iPod… The band didn’t save my life. But in a strange way, it did kickstart it. I get along best with people who are MCR fans. There’s never a lack of conversation, let’s face it. Via searching the band and finding to other stuff by association, I’ve come to find and appreciate almost everything I hold dear; my friends, most of my writing, a large chunk of possessions and, most of all, the feeling that someone’s got my back. The MCRmy is a group of people who will never judge me for who I am, even though they’ve never met me – more than I can say for a lot of people I actually know. Since listening I’ve become even more defiant and determined (something I didn’t think was possible).

What My Chem says and does makes sense. Simple as. I never heard Famous Last Words and thought “Oh, he’s right.” I thought “Well, yeah, he’s right.” Of course he is. Why don’t more people say what needs to be said? This idea also explains why I’m a Mindless fan and have a blog.

Yesterday the band played a reworked version of their first song, Skylines and Turnstiles. I’m almost never moved by music, but I was touched… I think my vision might have got a bit blurry. I talked about 9/11 making me feel bad for celebrating… When I was about nine, it the enormity of the event occurred to me. How can this day be happy for me when for so many others it was the beginning of the rest of their lives? I made a habit of writing about MCR this time of year and always listened to Turnstiles. At some point it hit me that people die very day. Yes, it’s sad, but brilliant things can emerge from terrible ones (see yesterday’s post). The 12th September sixteen years ago was the beginning of the rest of my life – and I nearly didn’t make it at all, thanks to shit timing, pre-eclampsia and a collapsed lung. When I was eight or so I decided to stop thanking God and start thanking the doctors that paid attention in medical school. Life is fragile and could break at any time. 9/11 clouded that judgement for a while – but My Chem has reminded me of that, and will continue to remind me, as long as there’s life in my stereo.

 

So I’d like to thank them for that. I’d also like to thank everyone who’s put up with me over the last sixteen years, and who got me presents. I yell a lot, but I like you really. See? I’m smiling.

NB: I realised the guy on the radio was Gerard about three years after I heard him talk.

10 Years, 10 Days: Well Let’s Go Back to the Middle of the Day that Starts It All

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.

10 Years, 10 Days: Introducing the Most Dangerous Band in the World

Let’s kick off with a look at the guys in MCR, since they’re pretty vital to the whole operation. We’ll start with Mikey, because it’s his birthday today (thirty-one, for those of you who don’t have freakishly good memories for people’s birthdays and ages).

Mikey

Everyone knows Mikeyway as the ‘quiet’ member, but we all know that’s because Gerard didn’t used to let him speak. He does nowdays though, because G’s realised that he can’t look after a dude in his thirties, even if he is everyone’s little brother. With pretty awesome knees, Mikey made the poker face cool way before Lady Gaga and – wait for it – doesn’t actually have a thing for unicorns. He reminds us all to rock our glasses and has frequently put video links on his Twitter that have made my day. Like The Bangles’ Manic Monday.

Fun fact #1: he came up with My Chem’s name, but has never quite gotten the recognition he deserves for it. I was thinking some sort of knighthood?

Fun fact #2: you aren’t an MCR fan until you know the name of Gerard Way’s younger brother (I honestly think I saw this written by a fangirl once, I’ve never worked out if she was being serious or not).

Fun fact #3: he has, in his life, smiled.

Frank

  I was genuinely upset when I found out recently that Frank isn’t, as I was previously led to believe, five foot four. It was really nice thinking that there was a full-grown man as vertically stunted as me (I’m five one). Apparently he’s more normal-sized… Anyway, that’s irrelevant. Let’s find some fun facts.

#1: he’s, like, been on TV.

#2: his signature is almost completely incomprehensible, and you only realise it’s his via process of elimination.

 

 Frank’s usually the one who writes blog posts detailing line-up changes, poor dude. But without Frank, the live shows wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to watch… If he’s not kissing Gerard, he’s seriously injuring him.

Ray

  Ray doesn’t get as much fangirling as the rest of the band, because he’s not ‘sooo fucking prettttyyyy’, or whatever – but seriously, who cares? He masterminded #SINGItForJapan and his hair resembles a nuclear explosion even more than mine. He also never. Stops. Playing. Thus, he is a genius. Ray is an excellent example of why you should work really hard at something you care about: people will respect you for it. To everyone who’s ever said anything rude about his face: check out that smile when they played with Brian May. He can also cook, so he can come round mine any time.

Fun fact: he rarely washes his hair. I envy him.

Gerard

  How to describe Gerard Way? The voice of a generation? The Queen of Sass? A really good artist? A mix of them all, I think.  He’s the only frontman of a rock band I can think of that can get away with wearing a poncho onstage… And the only person who could ever sing for My Chemical Romance. Without his imagination, our lives would be empty of violent hair colours, epic lyrics and absurd concert singalongs.

Fun fact #1: he once had a gun held to his head.

#2: G and I use the same hair dye brand… He’s definitely making money with this music deal, that shit’s expensive.

The Touring Keyboard Dude (James Dewees)

My main memory of seeing Dewees play when I first saw the band last October was that he was completely mad for wearing a jumper. I can’t remember if he took it off partway through the set, but after one song I was drenched in sweat. Looking over at him, and noticing layers, I decided he hadn’t yet recovered from jet lag. However, when someone had the bright idea to give James a Twitter, @shitdeweessays, I realised that in actual fact he’s one of those dudes who says and does inexplicable things for inexplicable reasons – and as a result is hilarious. Without him, we would not have any piano-based live music… so Black Parade would be in trouble and there wouldn’t be any awesome interludes. His other musical work includes Reggie and the Full Effect and LeATHERMØUTH.

The Previous Drummers

Matt Pelissier: the guy whose name no one can pronounce. He left before my time as a fan, all I know is that he had a beardy thing going on (it’s a trend with My Chem’s drummers, I think) and they call him ‘Otter’. It’s rumoured he’s now a mechanic… It’s also rumoured he set the van on fire and that’s why he’s no longer a member – so do some checking if you ever come across him in the Yellow Pages.

Bob Bryar: in the five years Bob drummed with the band, we got to know what my nan would most likely call a ‘proper bloke’. He played through burnt legs and screwy wrists, loved his dog and put up with Frank’s abuse. If the rumour that he’s now a tech for LMFAO is true, I hope he’s very happy shufflin’.

Michael Pedicone: my first My Chem show was his first My Chem show. His last, thankfully, wasn’t mine. My initial reaction about his departure was “Well, shit. I liked him.” I really did. He seemed like a nice guy. Too bad he’s also an idiot who’s messed up his entire life.

Fun fact: during Life on the Murder Scene, when the camera’s annoying Bob, someone turns it around and you get a face full of Pedicone. Oh, the irony.

So there you have it. The most dangerous band in the world… a group of normal men with extraordinary talent… and some really distinctive names.

MCR’s 10th Anniversary Mission: ’10 Years, 10 Days’

If you loathe My Chemical Romance, look away now. This post is entirely My Chem related.

Killjoys! I need you! Yeah, I know, I say this every other week. But this time, I really, really do. The forums are buzzing with quiet anticipation as the ten-year anniversary of the band, and the MCRmy, comes up. There are plans to give the guys cake, to make a family portrait of the MCRmy, some people have already released their work and it is beautiful.

My idea is to host ten days of celebrations for the anniversary on Indifferent Ignorance. Every day, from the 10th September to the 20th, I will post a different blog discussing and celebrating different aspects of My Chem. Consider it a virtual rave, if you will. Posts will appear at varying times of day and night, since the MCRmy is across so many time zones. Ideally, everyone can pull an Isobel in the comments section and we can have a nice little debate/discussion going on at the end of every post.

Still with me? Good, because I need your help to set the party up. Please read and answer these questions, if you can:

  • Do you know someone who has, literally and genuinely, had their life saved by MCR? Do you know someone whose outlook has been changed for the better, who has started something brilliant and cites My Chem as their main/only influence? These don’t just have to be suicide stories. Think more along the lines of ‘I was sitting in a hole. They inspired me to get out of it’.
  • When did you get into the band, how, why, and what is your favourite ‘era’ so far?
  • Come across any really excellent quality tributes on YouTube or DeviantART? Think RosaLui’s videos, the Dead! lyric video, the Helena remake. Send me them.
  • What are some of your favourite Internet memes about the guys? Your favourite fanfictions and scenarios, comic strips, in-jokes? I know mine, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. MCRmy.com has a bucketload of stuff here.
  • Have you ever been to a live show that has since gone down in history, such as both Reading and Leeds festivals any of the early Bullets shows? Were you at a record release show, at an acoustic set, at the gig a few years ago where the power cut out? What was it like?
  • Have you done Q&A with the guys, met them or seen them in the street; what were they like? Honestly.
  • How has being a fan of the band changed your life in small ways? I swear more since I got into them and have started to misread anything to do with the Milky Way.
  • Got any funny stories of explaining or defending the band to someone? Share them.
  • What are your favourite MCRmy.com threads? Mine is ‘I’m Shorter Than Frank Iero’, because I set it up (we have a club now).

Send any replies that are more than 140 characters to indifferentignorance@hotmail.co.uk, otherwise send links and whatnot to my Twitter, @ToBeQuiteFrank. I don’t follow back but I don’t bite either. This will become a thread on MCRmy.com too. I want to share as many stories and opinions as possible.

Because the blogs will take some time to write and work on, and I have school soon, there is a deadline for when I can accept your submissions: Monday 4th September. Get them in before midnight on the fourth, whatever your timezone, and I will do my best to include them. Anything I declare ‘dodgy’ will not be used.

Inspiration:

Now do what you do best and rally!