The Changing Faces Of My Chemical Romance
Throughout the 2000s, no rock band came close to achieving the scale of impact or influence My Chemical Romance managed. From their early days in dive bars, screaming their guts out to Vampires Will Never Hurt You, to the arena-ready anthems of Welcome To The Black Parade, the band changed with the times, developing their look in tandem with their sound. Here we trace My Chemical Romance’s visual history through the pages of Kerrang! magazine, from 2003-2012.
November 2003: Introducing My Chemical Romance
Look how young they are! Over 15 years ago, My Chemical Romance first graced the pages of Kerrang! magazine, with an Introducing feature. Sure, it looks like Gerard is getting sucked up into the ceiling, but you can’t beat a sweet headbanging action shot, can you? At the time the vocalist revealed that he ditched plans with Cartoon Network to pursue his music career, resulting in debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.
March 2004: My Chemical Romance's first Kerrang! feature
Of course My Chemical Romance’s first proper feature was in Kerrang!’s none-more-black Goth Issue special, alongside HIM, Avenged Sevenfold (then in full vampire mode), Evanescence and more. Not only do we catch a glimpse of Gerard and Mikey Way hanging out at home, but their mum makes a guest appearance! The feature came just a month before the UK release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – little did we know how then, just much it would shake the rock scene up.
February 2005: My Chemical Romance's first cover feature
Two days before the band’s breakthrough single, I’m Not Okay (I Promise), dropped in the UK, My Chemical Romance graced the cover of Kerrang! for the first time. We had a feeling that song was going to be massive. In a nod to the high school vibes of the video, we put MCR in uniforms, bloodied them up a bit, and gave Gerard a baseball bat to pose with. In the feature, Gerard hits the burgeoning MCR explosion on the head, saying: “We’re threatening. Unstoppable. Undefeatable. Dangerous. You can’t ignore us anymore.”
September 2005: Kerrang! cover feature / Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge era
Of course we were going to give My Chemical Romance another cover feature. Released the week after The Ghost Of You single, we dug even deeper into Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge than before, uncovering the dangerous headspace the band were finding themselves in. Gerard tells us he became obsessed with the concept of revenge, and the record was all about proving people wrong. The band also ditched their school uniforms for trademark mid-’00s emo attire – studded belts, eyeliner, and all-black everything. Classic.
September 2006: Kerrang! cover feature / The Black Parade era
What an album. A year on from the previous cover, My Chemical Romance were back on the front of the world’s best rock magazine, exactly one month before The Black Parade was set for release. To say that album was successful would be a huge understatement, it sent the New Jersey boys stratospheric, and proved that theatrics in rock’n’roll were alive and well. Gerard described the album as “a big middle finger to the world,” keeping that antagonistic attitude from previous features going. Was this the best incarnation of MCR? We reckon it probably was.
October 2010: Kerrang! cover feature / Danger Days era
Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Kerrang! covers – one for each member of My Chemical Romance. Coming a month before the fourth and final MCR album Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, the band ditched their gothic branding for bright colours and fancy jackets. Now a four-piece, the band came clean on the departure of former drummer Bob Bryar and how they found a new lease of life. It was really all about those jackets, though.
August 2011: Kerrang! cover feature / 10 years of My Chemical Romance
Ten months later and we were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the formation of My Chemical Romance. It’s unfathomable to think just how far they’d come and how big they managed to get in a decade – going from screamo underdogs to leaders of a contemporary reinvention of rock’n’roll. In this feature we traced the rise and rise of MCR, picking out key moments, their fondest memories, and assessed how drugs and alcohol affected the band. There was also an MCR crossword, because of course there was.
July 2012: Kerrang! cover feature / I Brought You Bullets, You Brought Me You Love anniversary
Back to where it all began. Covered in blood with painted nails, Gerard is screaming on this Kerrang! cover, released eight months before My Chemical Romance announced their split. It’s like night and day seeing the band in full I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love mode compared to the dazzling Technicolor of Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. They were a band constantly evolving, musically and visually, embracing the theatrical, the dramatic and the eccentric. Nobody has even come close to MCR since and the world of rock is a more ordinary place without them.
Listen to My Chemical Romance’s Welcome The Black Parade in the style of metal heavyweights Avenged Sevenfold
The biggest rock album of all time is officially bigger than you thought.