Join the MCRmy. We Don’t Always Win Stuff, But the Admin Team is Pretty Nice.

Do you all remember when I told you all to vote for MCR at this year’s European Music Awards? Well, you clearly all ignored me, since 30 Seconds To Mars won both categories, but no matter. The point is, I entered a mini-competition on the MCRmy boards to design a banner that would go on various websites, encouraging people to vote. I played around on Photoshop one evening and made this:

It didn’t get picked (can’t think why) but I did get sent a present by one of the admin team, Tina, for participating.

Makes it kind of worthwhile, don’t you think? Although it’s clearly been sitting in a warehouse for five years, judging by the tear at the bottom and the fact the poster’s excited about Black Parade being available now.

While on the subject of My Chem, I have some self promoting to do: remember 10 Days? (Anyone frowning and scratching their head right now should be ashamed.) You were all quite excited for the first four or five posts and the final one, but I have no comments whatsoever for at least three days. Which is a bit shit, because I put a lot of effort into the whole thing. So I’d appreciate it if you could go and hover your cursor over Self-Publishing on the Interwebz at the top of the page, click the ‘My Chemical Romance’ thing that appears magically, and get reviewing. Because I can’t do these sorts of projects if I don’t know what the majority of you think of them.

Happy Wednesday!

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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.

(I Want To) (Fuck) My Chemical Romance; An Essay on the MCRmy

My friends, I have encountered a problem. One which requires your advice. You see, Elizabeth recently told me that she doesn’t feel part of the MCRmy, but that she feels she has a duty to defend it.

My initial reaction was “Of course you want to be a part of the MCRmy! We’re awesome!” but then I thought about it and realised that she has a point. What the hell is the MCRmy?

Well, by definition on the official website, it is a group of dedicated My Chemical Romance fans who support each other and the band. How far do you have to go in order to be ‘a fan’? Should you own a record, buy a piece of merch, know the names of songs on Bullets, have been to a live show or just enjoy Na Na Na? I can tick all of the above boxes, but I know people who don’t own physical copies of albums and don’t know all the songs but who are quite definitely My Chem fans… Whether you’re happy to bop along to Teenagers or you have tattoos of Famous Last Words lyrics, it’s none of anyone’s business if you consider yourself a fan or not.

Considering yourself to be a member of the MCRmy, however, seems a bit different. Dedicated. What, standing in the rain for five hours before a show starts to get to the barrier, or stalking the guys’ wives on Twitter? I’ve never done either, yet, but I do consider myself a member. I have a Zone 6 account, I got Twitter because I thought Mikey Way was funny – and before you ask, I’ve seen them live twice, once dressed as a Killjoy. Frequent readers of this blog are familiar with Elizabeth, Ruby, Isobel and Ellen, all people I know either through school or because we got chucked in the same cot as babies. I wouldn’t be nearly as close with any of them if we hadn’t all been MCR fans though… There’s nothing like a debate over Gerard’s stupidest hair colour or an evening planning ludicrous Killjoy outfits to bond with someone.

Basically, I do not give a shit whether you like one song or all of them, whether you own limited edition merch or have a Killjoy name. Neither does the band. The fact you like that one song, or wanted to buy that merch, or briefly fantasised about how fun it would be to run around the desert with a raygun, is enough. Sadly nowadays I can’t browse Zone 6 or My Chem’s YouTube channel without being bombarded with declarations of how hot Gerard is, or how depressed a person is, because their life is so completely shite.

I must admit, Gerard is quite easy on the eye. Doesn’t mean I want to drown his wife in a ditch and handcuff him to my bed.  I’ve also been depressed, but I don’t feel the need to tell the entire Internet (seriously guys, if I ever start emoshitting on here please slap me).

All of the emoshitty blogs I’ve read have been by teenagers who should know by the age of fourteen that crazy hormones mean bipolar disorder for seven years. The world might be crashing down on you today, guys, but there’s always tomorrow. Your declarations of how badly you’ve mutilated your wrists does not make you a My Chemical Romance fan. I know someone with a genuine self harming problem who isn’t even into rock music. Self harm is in no way something to joke about. One scratch you’ve made in your hand because your friends like The Black Parade does not deserve a trip to a therapist’s office (incidentally, if you think that The Black Parade glamorises death, you should fuck off, the MCRmy doesn’t want you). Please do not insult people with actual depression issues with your whining.

Abuse of My Chem doesn’t end there, however. Last week I heard LynZ Way called a whore by someone who thinks she wants to marry Gerard. She has never met Gerard or LynZ… Even if she had, surely if she’s that infatuated with Gerard, she’s happy for him? You only have to see pictures of them together to see how in love they are, after all. Any person who ‘properly loves’ any celebrity is lacking substance in their lives, and doesn’t actually have a clue about what love is.

On Twitter today, not long after I talked to Elizabeth, Frank posted this on Twitter:

I don’t follow many My Chem fans on Twitter, and I was shocked that this is even an issue. Of course you don’t know Frank. You simply like what he does for a living. If you did know him, you probably wouldn’t even want to marry him (no offence dude). What the guys in the band do when they aren’t being a band is none of our business. Since they aren’t in the tabloids getting stoned every night, they clearly want their private lives to be private. They deserve to be left in peace after everything else they’ve done for us.

Back to the MCRmy. Elizabeth thinks that what the MCRmy stood for, learning what’s right and wrong and helping one another through, has disappeared into a cloud of ‘GEE’S SO FIT’. I really, really, don’t want to agree with her. I want to think that the ‘old’ MCRmy still exists; just look at #SINGItForJapan, people like Cassie Whitt and her work. Look at all the fans who can genuinely say that having My Chem’s music in their lives has made their lives more sociable, more fun or simply more interesting. It feels like there’s two MCRmies: the one for the kids who love the music and respect the guys for making the music, and the one for kids who think they love the guys.

Sadly, the latter gives the former the motts and a bad reputation.

To the untrained ear, does ‘MCRmy’ mean shrieking, stalking fangirls and bitching over the Internet, or does it mean a family of people who are proud to say that My Chemical Romance has had a positive impact on their lives? And, more importantly, is Lizbeth right about the MCRmy disappearing? She shouldn’t have to feel she should defend the band against kids who turn ‘I’m a Killjoy’ into ‘I’m a headcase who needs attention and masses of respect even though all I do is make Tumblr accounts about Mikey Way’s arse’.

Should she?

Update 1: About half an hour after I originally posted this, this caught my eye. I thought,  please, someone, tell me it’s a bad joke and the world isn’t going to shit. I had hoped My Chem-related ignorance had been left in 2007, or in the sad hands of Glenn Beck. The MCRmy has agreed on something and signed the petition telling its creator to go fuck himself, it seems. I am not going to sign and comment, however, because that would give the sad old fart who created the petition what he wants: a reaction. The best way to retaliate is to ignore it completely… Eventually the person will bugger off (although I have to say, I agree with the comments that My Chem would go to prison with Frank and get busy reenacting Prison. Heh heh. Sorry).

Update 2: When I logged on to the stats page of WordPress and my Twitter, the day after posting this, and saw how many people are agreeing with what I’ve written, I almost fell off my chair in surprise. Then I scrolled down my Twitter timeline and saw that while I was offline some serious shit had gone down between members of the MCRmy. I don’t have a Tumblr so cannot say for sure, but it seems like some perfectly nice My Chem fans have tried to say what I did, and got told to go kill themselves. Cassie’s right. If you call yourself a member of the MCRmy, please start acting like one. It’s starting to sound like everyone’s forgetting what this fan base is. ‘MCR’ and ‘army’. The moment we forget that we’re a united front which is there for anyone who needs it, we may as well give it up… because we’re doing My Chem, and one another, a disservice.

One-Year-Anniversary-Update: I wrote this to say thank-you.