I first jumped on the My Chemical Romance fan bandwagon back in 2009 as I was getting ready to enter high school. Because I became a fan a little late in the game, I missed experiencing some of my favorite songs as they were first released. But then again, the "I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love" era back in the early 2000s would have probably been a little much for my six year old self.
But I played catch-up once I did discover the band, because I've never been as attached to another band like I am to this one. At the risk of sounding creepy, I'm not going to edit that statement out, but I hope you'll trust me in my assurance that I've become attached to the band out of admiration and respect, and not unhealthy obsession.
My Chemical Romance has been broken up for three years now, but my appreciation towards the band members for making music together for as long as they did will never change.
1. First, I will never forget seeing the band live in 2011. There were two things about the show that really stood out to me.
The night my sister and I went to see the band live in Orlando, the band members welcomed a special guest onstage. A make-a-wish kid was attending the show that night, and at one point during the show they introduced the young girl and let her share the stage with them.
It was incredibly heart-warming. Whether staged or not (no pun intended), they let her pick a song for them to play, and they all rocked out to one of the band's newer songs at the time, "Planetary Go!" What I loved most was that all the guys made the effort to interact with her. Coming up to play their instruments with her, letting her sing into their microphones. It gave me a new level of respect for them.
2. My sister and I also waited for an hour or two outside the venue after the show to see the band come out.
She and I didn't talk to anybody else there, but the crowd anxiously waiting for the band to come out and greet the fans was huge. It dwindled a little as time went on, but not by much.
The band didn't end up making an appearance that night — we got to see their bus pull out though and we all waved like the dorks we were — but there was still this special camaraderie between us all. Without even interacting with the rest of the fans, it was a great feeling to be around people who had a mutual appreciation for the band.
3. Their music comforted me when I needed it the most.
I was in and out of hospitals a lot during high school, but when I was allowed my iPod, listening to the band's music calmed me and reminded me of some of the good things in the world. Their music made me feel like I was a part of something, and gave me something to smile about when nothing else could do the job. I'm not sure how or when their music separated from that of other bands I listened to and became something more. I don't remember how I came to associate their songs in particular with comfort, but it mattered to me that it did, and still does.
Some of the band members have opened up about their own struggles, from addiction to depression to having fall-outs with past band members. Even though they didn't have to disclose their struggles, they chose to open up about at least some of them, and by helping themselves, they inspired others to become sober or love themselves a little more, too.
4. Watching interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of My Chemical Romance.
Their interviews make me grin, and I loved hearing what they had to say about their music, their inspiration and their fans. But their behind-the-scenes footage, like their video diary, "Life on the Murder Scene," was what made the guys behind the instruments real to me.
Though fans never really get to spend quality time with the artists they respect the most, being able to see snippets of their personalities in the footage and getting a look into their lives humanized them; and as humans, I learned to respect them for what they stood for and how they grew over the years both as a band and as men growing into different versions of themselves. Like anyone else in life.
5. Their "Sing it for Japan" project to raise money for victims following the devastating tsunami in 2011.
Fans internationally participated in creating videos, raising money and spreading awareness for the project. I even made my own video, which has somehow earned over 6,000 views over the years despite it being slightly terrible.
I spent a couple years living in Okinawa with my family when I was younger, so the band's thoughtfulness in creating a campaign to raise money for the victims made me really happy at the time, and I was so proud of their efforts.
For a single day, there was a renewed hope among many fans of the band getting back together after they officially released a teaser video on July 20, 2016. They released a statement the next day refuting the rumor of the band's reuniting, stating instead their plan to release a deluxe anniversary edition of their 2006 album "The Black Parade" later this year. After checking out the track-list online, I'm still very excited.
Unlike some other big fans, I don't resent the band for not getting back together or desperately wish they would. After reading some things following their break-up, I've accepted that it might have been for the best. I admire the guys, and I think their health and happiness is more important than continuing to create music when their hearts have already moved on. It's a cheesy thing to say, I know, and I could never know the real reasons behind the break-up without having an earnest conversation with them all. Maybe they will decide to reunite years down the line, and maybe not.
I'm just grateful for the 12 years they did dedicate to the band. They made so many people happy. At the end of the day, I'm just a fan and they're musicians with their own personal lives and families and friends, but I'll never forget the comfort the band brought me when I needed something to hold onto. Though I may never be able to thank them in person, and this article is just a speck in a sea of fan appreciation writings, there are worse things to be ashamed of than adding my own two cents.