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Commentary: My Chemical Romance surprises die-hard fans with breakup

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

Oftentimes, a band breaking up is foreseeable and long overdue. But the recent announcement that My Chemical Romance had broken up was surprising, and for many fans, sad.

MCR was a New Jersey-based alternative rock band. It released four albums from its start in 2001. The most recent was “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” in November 2010.

The band posted a message on its website Friday which read in part, “Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing … We’ve shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.”

The band’s lead singer and founding member Gerard Way tweeted Friday “Beyond any sadness, what I feel the most is pride.” 

With an adventurous variety of album concepts, the band ought to be proud. From the classic dark love songs of its first full-length album “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love” to 2006’s massively successful rock opera “The Black Parade” the band was able to break out of the rut so many “pop-punk” bands seem to fall into.

Though the venue (Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati) was terrible, in hindsight I’m so glad I saw the band on one of its last tours, which was with Blink-182 in summer 2011. The guys put on a high-energy and theatrical show.

The announcement of the breakup was surprising since the band had previously announced it was working on a new album and I hadn’t heard any rumors of any rifts in the band, though it was having trouble finding a full-time drummer. MCR’s longest-serving drummer, Bob Bryar, left after touring in support of “The Black Parade” and his replacement drummer Michael Pedicone was fired in 2011 after he was caught stealing from the band, according to the band’s website.

The news also obviously leaves fans wondering why the band broke up. Maybe it was “time for it to end,” but it’s odd when a band chooses to end on a successful note rather than waiting for the fans to leave.

Way posted a long-form tweet going more in-depth about the breakup, but it still didn’t give much away. He said there was always a detonation device in place for the band, and the members would be done when they felt it was over.

“I can assure you there was no divorce, argument, failure, accident, villain, or knife in the back that caused this, again this was no one’s fault, and it had been quietly in the works, whether we knew it or not, long before any sensationalism, scandal, or rumor,” he said.

He ended on a hopeful note and said while the band was over, its idea and message remained. 

As someone who grew up angry and disillusioned, MCR was always more than a band to me. It gave me hope, a release and wonderful memories. I want to thank Way for the longer explanation I think all the fans deserved, and I wish all the members success in the future.

And who knows, maybe MCR will eventually produce a reunion tour and album, as Fall Out Boy announced it was planning earlier this year. But I’d like to hope the members keep this last promise and go out on a high note instead of later succumbing to the draw of money and last-chance fame. Because that was never what it was about.

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