'It gave me an identity’: My Chemical Romance fans on band's incredible impact

my chemical romance

My Chemical Romance are back in the UK for their first shows in over a decade after their stunning reunion announcement in 2019.

In 2013, Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero and Ray Toro broke hearts across the world as they announced My Chemical Romance had come to an end.

For millions of people, the band had helped them through dark, difficult moments, or had allowed them to find a bond with people who would become their life-long friends.

From their earliest shows, Gerard would tell crowds that My Chemical Romance was a band that wanted to save people’s lives, and at every gig signs would be held in the air declaring the band had done just that.

After close to six years apart, on Hallowen 2019 My Chemical Romance announced their reunion, and with it, a world tour. First set for the summer of 2020, this tour has been postponed again and again, but now it’s finally here.

Metro.co.uk spoke to My Chemical Romance fanatics who grew up with the band, spent years without them and are now just days away from seeing them once again, about the phenomenal impact Gerard, Mikey, Ray and Frank have had on their lives.

Georgie, 24

‘I literally got laid off from work on Monday and the only thing getting me through the week is knowing I can cry my eyes out to MCR on Saturday.

‘I was 11 when I first heard them. I was in English class with my friends, and the teacher hadn’t shown up. My friend was like, “Have you heard this song?” and played Welcome To The Black Parade.

‘I went home and listened to the entire Black Parade album and then the entirety of MCR’s discography at the time. From there my life was changed!

‘It was like an instant thing. I still remember sitting at the desk and hearing Gerard sing for the first time and it instantly changed my life.

‘They got me through being a teenager, through some really hard times. I know most of my friend groups through MCR.

‘I became part of this insane online community, I met my boyfriend, met so many amazing people through it.

‘One of my favourite moments ever was when Danger Days was released. I remember begging my mum for £10 to go to HMV after school and pick it up, and her knowing how important that was. Getting to talk to all my online friends, having a massive community listening party.

‘I was on an anniversary dinner with my ex-boyfriend when they announced the reunion. He was focused on the diner, I was more focused on MCR. I was just on my phone with tears coming down my cheeks in the restaurant. We didn’t last long after that.

‘It means everything. It means I survived long enough, with everything I’ve been through, for them to come back and to see them live. Something I never thought I was going to get. I never got to see them as a kid. This is my first time.

‘I’m autistic and MCR has been my special interest since I was a kid, and without sounding overdramatic this is everything I have ever wished for. And finally, it’s happening.

‘They disappeared when I needed them least and they came back when I needed them most.’

Jessica, 21

‘The first time I can remember hearing them I was like seven.

‘My cousin was older than me by like eight years and he was like “Listen to this band!”

‘I remember hearing Welcome To The Black Parade and I was like: “This is cool”, but I was so young I didn’t have access to the internet on my own. And then years later when I turned 12 I heard it again and I was like Oh My God, that’s the song that I love! And I became obsessed.

‘They just are this wonderful thing that brings so many people together. They’re full of light even though they’re this little f***ing emo band. I love it, it makes me so happy and it’s brought me so many friends and that’s all I can ask for.’

‘I was half and half about them getting back together. I was in the mindset that Gerard is in a better place, Mikey’s got his kids, Ray is being a dad, Frank is doing solo stuff.

‘I would still have been happy if they never got back together.’

Bex, 26

‘I was 10 or 11 when I was online and happened to come across the I’m Not Okay music video.

‘It wasn’t the official one, it was the tour diary one. It was the first time I had ever been exposed to any sort of alternative culture, and literally, in that moment, straight away it hooked me.

‘Finding them was the most defining moment of my life. Nothing has ever had such an impact on me.

‘They’ve gotten me through everything in my life, whether I’m happy or I’m sad. MCR is basically the only consistent good thing I’ve ever had in my life.

‘Gerard did a Reading warm-up show in Portsmouth in 2014. He did a secret show in a venue that had maybe 300 capacity.

‘I was super excited to see him in such a small venue anyway, but after the show he stayed and met everyone.

‘There were hundreds of us, it literally took hours.

‘He was so kind and he spoke to all of us, took photos, did autographs. I was lucky enough to get his guitar pic as well.

‘I never thought [the reunion] would happen and I still don’t really believe it.

‘Until they actually come on stage, a part of me thinks it’s not happening.’

Emma, 31

‘I saw the original video for I’m Not Okay on an old Yahoo music site in around 2005. I remember seeing the video, going into school and saying to my friend “Have you heard this band MCR?!”

‘My Chemical Romance accidentally helped me get used to new situations. I went to a gig in December 2005 when we had moved to Canada and I had just started a new school, and I went with people from this new school.

‘It was the first gig I went to without a grownup, I went with my friend’s sister who was a couple of years older. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m going out and there’s no grownup!”

‘That’s my favourite memory. They played Disenchanted when it was still a demo. I have a really strong memory of hearing that… and thinking “Oh my God, we were like the first people to hear that”. I’m always so attached to that song.

‘With Covid, so many people haven’t been believing [the gigs] could happen, even when you had the tickets in your hand. Now they’re actually in the UK it’s like “It’s actually going to happen!”

Olli, 23

‘I was 14 when I started heavily listening to My Chemical Romance. I saw them on Tumblr and thought I’d give them a listen, typed their names into YouTube and thought: “Oh my God, this is the most amazing thing.”

‘The band has always been there. When I first started listening to them I was like most teenagers who got into them, starting to go through a very prolonged period of very bad mental health episodes, depression, anxiety.

‘So many of their lyrics were just what I was feeling so much. Now when I listen to them I have that additional feeling from the memories of that time. Being a little kid who was still in the closet, still really unsure of themselves. There’s that extra level of how they carried me through all this and it makes them extra important to me.

‘I went to a very small boarding school in Hertfordshire, there wasn’t a lot of emos. But my best friend, Cass, and I would go to the IT lab and cut out photos from Tumblr and put them up in our room.

‘I remember going to the local town and buying black hair dye from Poundland and white powder from the Halloween shop and giving ourselves emo makeovers.

‘We were both really struggling at that point, we had this intense bonding over it.

‘We got into them just after they broke up and we had the added pain of not seeing them live. And 10 years later I finally am.

‘Famous Last Words is very important to me. Those final lines. It’s a very important message and it’s funny how people thought MCR was a suicide cult but one of the most popular verses was ‘I am not afraid to keep on living’.

Dani, 30

‘I was 14 years old when I first got into My Chemical Romance, and Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge had just come out.

‘I would hang around with kids a lot older than me at school, one of them, who I’m still friends with, lent me a copy of the album and said they thought I’d like it.

‘Instantly I was hooked, I fell in love with it, wanted to know everything and anything I could about the band.

‘Growing up MCR really kind of helped me flourish. I was a shy child, I kept to myself. Went into school, was good and went home. I didn’t have very many friends.

‘They really helped me become a more confident person and embrace the fact that I like different things, I’m geeky, like comic books.

‘They taught me it’s OK to be you and embrace yourself, it’s OK to be emotional and embrace everything you’re given in life, good or bad.

‘When they split up I remember waking up that morning and thinking, “Right, they got me this far, I have to go on alone for the rest of life”. And when they announced the 2019 Halloween show it was like: “They’re back, everything is OK.”

‘But even getting the ticket for this tour, with Covid I thought it wasn’t going to happen. It was a lovely idea and something to cling on to, but I never thought I would see them again.

‘Part of me was saying “I have to get through [the pandemic] to hopefully see them”. Things were really difficult – my job was incredibly stressful, I was a key worker.

‘I kept saying to myself, “Things will get better, you will get to see them soon.”

‘It was a lifeline for a lot of people.’

Briony, 28

‘I was 12 or 13 when I first heard Cemetery Drive. It was on a CD my brother gave me with lots of random songs. I was like: “I need to know who this band is!”

‘I got into Three Cheers and instantly fell in love.

‘It definitely turned me into a full-blown, emo alternative person. It gave me an identity, especially because of the MCRmy.

‘Having loads of other people into the same music and fashion style… it was a lot easier back then, seeing someone in a MCR top and instantly having that connection.

‘It still happens as an adult! I work in a school and found out one of my students is going to the same MCR show as me. It’s been a big thing in teaching, I teach art and every alternative kid knows MCR so it’s so easy to create a bond with students when the band has influenced their lives as much as mine.

‘I never, ever, ever thought I would get to see them. They broke up a week before my 18th birthday. I was absolutely devastated – my mum had just started letting me go to gigs alone and they broke up. I thought I would never get to see them!

‘I’ve got So Long And Goodnight [tattooed] in a custom font on the middle of my throat. On the left side I have a letter that says ‘I don’t love you like I did’, and on the right side I have a crucifix with ‘Never coming home’.

‘I had grown up with it, it means a lot to me and I thought it would be amazing to have that on show.

‘I have a Gerard Way portrait on the back of my arm with Cemetery Drive lyrics, that was my first My Chemical Romance tattoo, and I have a Frank portrait on my thigh.

‘Oh – and I also have a MCR shrine in the spare room!’

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