Happy Anniversary: My Chemical Romance, THE BLACK PARADE
13 years ago today, My Chemical Romance released their third album, the LP that took them from being an up-and-coming alt-rock band into proper rock-superstar territory. And on top of that, it was a rock opera! Will wonders never cease...
Recorded at El Dorado Studios in Burbank, where it was co-produced by Rob Cavallo and the band, THE BLACK PARADE followed the story of “The Patient,” a character with terminal cancer, as he seemingly dies, enters the afterlife, and then finds himself reflecting the life he lived. My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has explained that the album’s origins arose from his notion of death appearing to the dying person in the form of their fondest memory, which in the instance of “The Patient” is a parade he saw as a child.
The title track, “Welcome to the Black Parade,” is so unabashedly Queen-influenced that you can almost taste the Mercury – or the May, really, since it’s the guitar work that’s an unmissable homage to that band – but it isn’t hard to see other noted concept albums in the mix, too, including SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, THE WALL, and WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE. As guitarist Ray Toro said in an interview with Alternative Press, “The intention was to make something that was classic, something timeless. Something that 20 or 30 years from now, parents could play for their kids and say, ‘This is what I was listening to when I was your age. Check it out, it’s still cool.’ We wanted to make a record you could pass down. There’s a lot of music out now that doesn’t feel like that.”
In retrospect, it’s remarkable that THE BLACK PARADE ended up being as successful as it did – it climbed to #2 on the Billboard 200 – when you consider that an incident during the filming of their music video left Way with torn ankle ligaments and drummer Bob Bryan with burns so bad that he was hospitalized, resulting in some of the band’s shows being cancelled. Fortunately, both members recovered in time to play during the pre-show of the MTV Video Music Awards a month later, and then two months later they performed on Saturday Night Live. After that, there was no question about it: My Chemical Romance were the next big thing.
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