The My Chemical Romance Reunion: A Timeline Of Events
“When it’s time, we stop.” Those words were just five of around 2,200 that My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way had penned in an emotional statement on March 25, 2013, just two days after the New Jersey emo heroes revealed that they were breaking up.
Now, some six-and-a-half years after the members of My Chem parted ways to focus on their own individual projects, the band are reuniting for one of the most highly-anticipated comebacks of all time. The band – completed by Mikey Way, Frank Iero and Ray Toro – will be joining forces once more for their first live show since 2012, taking on The Shrine in Los Angeles on December 20, 2019 (additional shows have also since been announced).
News of the surprise gig slowly started trickling through on Halloween, as My Chemical Romance began a thrilling hour-long online teaser campaign, sending the internet into meltdown. At around 6pm GMT on Thursday, October 31, the band changed their social media icons to a mysterious black logo with a white candle on, with thousands of fans instantly reacting excitedly but also somewhat cautiously; back in 2016, the band had caused a similar wave of reunion excitement with a cryptic teaser video, only to hastily have to announce that there would be no comeback – only a 10th anniversary release for their world-conquering third album, The Black Parade. The MCRmy were understandably hesitant about getting their hopes up again.
What followed this time, though, was something else entirely. The quartet had also set up an Instagram account for the first time ever, and slowly unveiled four separate logos with the captions, ‘Clarity’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Courage’ and, ‘Devotion’. Then came the most heart-racing update of the lot: all four icons combined around the letters ‘MCR’, revealing an entirely new band logo.
Then, in his typically hilarious online form, guitarist Frank posted a thank you message to followers who had wished him a happy birthday on the day, knowingly keeping the rumour mill swirling, but not acknowledging what was going on elsewhere on the internet.
By 7pm, back on their main band profiles, My Chemical Romance revealed a poster for their Shrine show alongside the words, ‘Like Phantoms Forever’, letting the world know that they were reuniting. Finally.
Rumours of a My Chemical Romance comeback have been circulating for pretty much the whole of 2019, of course. Between the well-documented fact that all four members are still great friends, and Gerard, Frank, Mikey and Ray’s individual musical creativity never dwindling in the years following their parting of ways, it was only a matter of time before they decided to properly regroup as a band.
It doesn’t mean that they’ve let the world in on their plans at any point, though. Back in February, while promoting the hugely successful Netflix adaptation of his comic book series The Umbrella Academy, Gerard was quizzed by The Guardian if My Chemical Romance were getting back together, to which he responded, “I don’t think so…”
The frontman then recalled how he was able to see things coming to an end during the recording of their final full-length, 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys.
“When things start to succeed and go really well, that’s when a lot of people start to have an opinion and that’s when you run into struggle,” he explained. “Everybody had a fucking opinion about what MCR should be. So it made it difficult to figure out what direction to take next. You get caught up in this trap of, ‘Is it ever gonna be good enough?’
“It wasn’t fun to make stuff any more,” he added. “I think breaking up the band broke us out of that machine.”
Then, when flat-out asked about the possibility of a reunion, the vocalist suggested that it wasn’t something he wanted to pursue, saying, “It’s flattering, it’s really nice of people… I miss playing with the guys…” before crushing all hopes. Couple Gerard’s comments with his focus on the comic world, and it seemed as though we were still a long way off My Chemical Romance ever getting back together.
However, that (sort of) changed in June, when pop star Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers told radio station KISS FM that My Chem were in fact back in action.
“I’ve got some dirt,” he revealed, clearly unaware of the enormity of what he was about to say next: “My Chemical Romance were apparently rehearsing next to us in New York recently, which, I thought they broke up? So… that’s the gossip!”
While no official comment from the emo titans followed, it was left to Frank to shut down the speculation. In an interview with the Asbury Park Press, the publication stated that he “denied the report”, with the guitarist then referring to a life-changing bus crash that he’d been involved in three years prior, and how his perspective was different now.
“I survived a bus accident, so anything is possible…”
In the years following the 2013 split, it’s also worth noting just how busy My Chemical Romance kept themselves, meaning that their return always seemed like a distant dream for fans.
Gerard’s involvement with The Umbrella Academy for Netflix in 2019 has taken up a huge chunk of his time – but he’s also been working on plenty of music, too. Following debut solo album Hesitant Alien in 2014, the musician and author told fans in a 2018 end-of-year blog post that he’d been making music again almost every Friday of that year, and that he was glad that this noise was playing a role in his life again.
He also joined forces with bandmate Ray for a couple of ace covers specifically for Netflix – Hazy Shade Of Winter (Simon & Garfunkel) and Happy Together (The Turtles) – telling Kerrang! in early 2019 that their collaboration felt similar to what they’d done previously in the band.
“It’s a bit more work, because it’s for something cinematic,” he said. “It’s not that it has to reach a higher level, it’s just that it’s a different level. The solo stuff is just kind of up to me, and what I want that to convey, or what nature it has. Whereas with the show, everybody has to really be blown away by it.
“So maybe, in a way, it’s more a little bit of what Ray and I and the guys in My Chem used to do; we apply a little bit more of that to what we do in these cover songs for Umbrella Academy.”
Frank, meanwhile, was arguably the most prolific, music-wise, out of everyone, with three equally brilliant studio albums released under three differently-named bands (frnkiero andthe cellabration’s .STOMACHACHES., Frank Iero And The Patience’s Parachutes, and Frank Iero And The Future Violents’ Barriers). Elsewhere, in 2016, Mikey teamed up with Sleep Station vocalist David Debiak for ace new wave project Electric Century, and Ray unveiled his excellent debut solo effort, Remember The Laughter. Clearly – and crucially – the four members of My Chemical Romance still loved making music.
With that in mind, then, does this also mean that a new album could follow their comeback shows?
Given the way in which the band ended – with their integrity very much intact – it seems very plausible. After all, as soon as Gerard began to realise that he was going through the motions with the band, he instinctively knew that things were coming to an end; he would never fake anything with My Chem – and nor would Frank, Mikey or Ray. Coming back, then, the situation will undoubtedly remain as genuine as it always was in the first place.
“I perform, semi-automatically, and something is wrong,” the singer wrote in his unflinchingly honest blog post following the split, referring to their last-ever gig at New Jersey’s Bamboozle in 2012. “I am acting. I never act onstage, even when it appears that I am, even when I’m hamming it up or delivering a soliloquy. Suddenly, I have become highly self-aware, almost as if waking from a dream.”
In a world-exclusive interview with K! in 2014, Gerard explained his feelings in greater detail, and considered the fact that many fans felt it wasn’t the right time for things to end. “I guess I decided I was gonna preserve it for everybody,” he admitted. “I didn’t want the fans to ever have the memory of it being ruined. I didn’t want you to be like, ‘Uh, are that band still around?’ I wanted you to have, ‘That was a great band.’ Even if you’re a little angry at the band – ‘I’m angry at them, but that was a great band.’ I’ll settle for that over, ‘These guys are washed up…’”
Explaining his mind-set following that fateful final performance, Gerard concluded in his blog post, “With honor, integrity, closure, and on no-one’s terms but our own, the door closes.”
The door now, though, is wide open – and, actually, maybe it always has been.
“My Chemical Romance is done,” Gerard wrote. “But it can never die. It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside all of you. I always knew that, and I think you did too. Because it is not a band – it is an idea.”
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