Based in Essex County, My Chemical Romance was formed with lead vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, Mikey Way on bass, and Matt Pelissier on drums (later replaced with Bob Bryar). They went platinum with the release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but had much bigger plans in mind.
The band’s followup, The Black Parade, was a breathtaking rock opera that told the story of “The Patient” as he was dying of cancer. The central theme is that when people die, death comes to them in the form of their strongest memory. For the main character, that memory is of being a child and taken to a parade by his father. So when death finally comes for him, it comes in the form of a black parade.
The album is an amazingly theatrical epic that brings to mind the work of classic rock acts from the ‘70s like Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and Queen. The band toured in costumes and literally became The Black Parade each night. Gerard Way even got so into the concept that he cut and dyed his hair to help him channel his character even more.
It’s an amazing journey through one’s final days on earth, death, and the afterlife. It is one of rock and roll’s true masterpieces.
Highlights include “The End,” “The Sharpest Lives,” “Welcome To The Black Parade,” “Mama,” “Teenagers,” “Disenchanted,” and “Famous Last Words.”
Photo by Neil Krug