Reflections on a Black Parade

If I heard My Chemical Romance on the radio during college, I don’t remember it. Which isn’t much of a shock. Back then my listening preferences were mostly formed by or based on my boyfriend’s. To be honest, I didn’t have much of an existance outside of him, he was my fucking world. I advise against that sort of thing, by the way.

So, the first time I ever remember being aware of My Chemical Romance wasn’t until around The Black Parade. I was home in Johnstown for Christmas and caught site of a magazine cover with the guys on it, entirely dressed in their Black Parade costumes.

I’m sure it wasn’t this particular cover, but you get the idea.

At the time I remember thinking “Hey, the lead singer’s kinda hot,” and “Wow, those guys are really British, aren’t they?”

Hey, I was one for two, okay?!

It wasn’t until much later that I actually started listening to the music. While I’d seen the videos for Helena and I’m Not Okay (I Promise), the first MCR I remember hearing on the radio was “Welcome to the Black Parade.” And while I won’t say I was bowled over, it was the first time I was interested enough in the band to really look into their music.

I want so much more of this. Note to Mr. G. Way: if you ever resurrect them in comic form, I will do your laundry for a month.

I got hold of a copy of TBP and on the first listen I wasn’t impressed by most of the songs. It took repeated listening for me to really get the album. But since then, it’s become a standby on my iPod, when I don’t know what else to listen to, I’ll start that album at the beginning and go from there.

Then I heard the B-sides and around the same time became aware of Gerard Way’s comic obsession and that he was working on his own title. I picked up the Free Comic Book Day edition, figuring it would be some piece of self-indulgent but potentially enjoyable crap. And I was wrong. His writing vaguely reminded me of Joss Whedon and in the few pages he had he managed to get me interested in his characters.

And it all spiraled. My interest in My Chemical Romance was spurred on largely by my love for the concept of The Black Parade. Seperate stage personas struck me as both theatrical and symbolic and made me realize this wasn’t just some angry group of boys from Jersey (that would be NEW Jersey self, not the old one), this was a return to when rock and roll was a spectacle, a stage show, like Manson but more inviting. It was like Alice Cooper appearing on The Muppet Show…it shouldn’t have worked, but it totally did.

So now, my friends, we come here today not to honor The Black Parade, but to bury it. And to bitch a little that I can’t find Bob’s coat anywhere, because that fucker looks comfortable.