Throughout their music career, My Chemical Romance saw soaring highs and faced pressures. In the wake of their breakup in 2013, fans have wondered about the reason behind the split, especially concerning the band’s lead singer, Gerard Way. Here, we delve into the journey of My Chemical Romance and the circumstances leading up to Gerard’s decision to step away.
A Timeline of the Final Years
2011-2013 saw a flurry of activity for the band. In 2011, guitarist Frank Iero hinted at new music coming ‘by summer.’ Meanwhile, the song ‘Sing’ sparked controversy when US broadcaster Glenn Beck labeled it as ‘propaganda.’ Responding to the accusations, Gerard Way said fact-checking is an important thing and hinted at the band’s intention to subvert norms rather than spread propaganda. Mikey Way, the bassist, noted that if they were getting reactions from figures like Beck, they were on the right track.
This era also witnessed the band’s appearance on the children’s show, ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!,’ in a Christmas special alongside guests like Tony Hawk and Tori Spelling. They set up a recording studio in Los Angeles, hinting at their fifth album, ‘MCR5.’ However, fans got ‘Conventional Weapons‘ instead, a series of songs from 2009 released over five months between October 2012 and February 2013.
However, My Chemical Romance’s journey took a sharp turn on March 22, 2013, when they officially announced their breakup, expressing the gratitude and fulfillment they felt from their 12-year journey. Gerard, on his Twitter, clarified that internal disagreements weren’t the cause of the split.
Behind The Split
In an interview with The Guardian in February 2019, Way provided more insights into the band’s separation. He touched upon the pressures during the sessions for their 2010 album, ‘Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.’ According to Way, the success of their album, ‘The Black Parade,’ set heightened expectations which the band struggled with:
“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… Everybody had a f*cking 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 anymore. I think breaking up the band broke us out of that machine.”
Besides, Way had previously mentioned that during the Obama era, there wasn’t as pressing a need for My Chemical Romance. Their music often acted as a rallying cry, providing solace during turbulent times. However, with the changing political climate, the impetus for their music shifted.
Still, the reunion did cross Way’s mind. He pondered on the potential positive impact but also acknowledged his personal changes, wondering how he’d fit into the revamped band dynamics. Despite occasional public appearances together, Way said he didn’t want to disrupt the peaceful lives of the band members.
Post-breakup and Beyond
After the breakup, the band members pursued individual musical ventures. Way released his debut solo album, ‘Hesitant Alien,’ in 2014, which performed commendably on music charts. Frank Iero, Ray Toro, and Mikey Way also embarked on their own musical journeys, with releases and collaborations.
This was no short-lived whim; they had first regrouped in 2017, working silently till the 2019 announcement. Their concert in December 2019 saw a staggering attendance, and subsequent plans for tours in 2020 were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The band finally embarked on their tour in 2022, concluding in Tokyo, Japan, in March 2023.