My Chemical Romance Shed Their Emo Roots

Call My Chemical Romance anything you like. Talented. Petulant. Even sell-outs.

Just don't call them emo.

"All emo means, to me, is being emotionally disturbed and having really bad hair," says guitarist Frank Iero, who, like singer Gerard Way, has been consistently outspoken when it comes to folks not calling My Chemical Romance an emo band.

You can't spell "My Chemical Romance" without "emo." No, really. You can't.
Neil Krug
You can't spell "My Chemical Romance" without "emo." No, really. You can't.

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My Chemical Romance perform Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, at the House of Blues.

"We've always wanted to stay away from that term because it simply doesn't apply to us," he says.

Much to his chagrin, though, the term has been associated with the band ever since its inception back in 2001. And, despite Iero's irritation, when listening to three out of the four albums My Chemical Romance have released, it's difficult to tell exactly why they shouldn't be considered emo. The band's 2006 effort, The Black Parade, is considered by many to be a landmark emo album.

"Thankfully, with our latest record, we have probably heard the last from emo," Iero says.

The album he's referring to is Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, My Chemical Romance's bold 2010 release. Besides being a great album, Danger Days is remarkable for being such a dramatic break from the doom-filled angst of the band's earlier efforts.

"We couldn't stay stagnant," Iero says rather matter-of-factly. "We just didn't want the same things as we did 10 years ago."

Yet the change in tactics on Danger Days is more than just a decade of maturity. Songs like the infectious (if annoyingly titled) "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" and the disco-pulsed "Planetary (Go)" sound like the work of an entirely different band—and, yes, a better one at that. It's as if Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen kidnapped these guys and taught them every power-pop trick in the book.

"The album is not a reaction to our previous records," Iero says, albeit somewhat unconvincingly. "We simply decided to write songs, not an album."

Indeed, Danger Days does play out like a diverse collection of singles. And, thanks to their embracing the change in sound so enthusiastically, it's difficult to fault the band's sincerity.

It's not just the music that is different, either.

"It was time to end the long stares, the bombastic props and get-ups," Iero says of My Chemical Romance's updated stage presence. "That look was part of the reason we got labeled emo in the first place."

Whatever you call the band, this much is clear: This is a band on the up-and-up, whether the band's fans are ready to embrace the new sound or not.

"There will always be assholes in the crowd wanting to throw change at you," Iero says. "But this new record is a party record. And I think fans old and new will want to party along."

My Voice Nation Help
Rosa Lui
Rosa Lui

Sonically, they were never emo. If all 'emo' is nowadays is a fashion and a state of emotion, I have no idea why it's getting stuck onto modern music in the first place.


People like you are the reason why MCR felt the pressure to be more mainstream. Fuck you. This is a load of fucking bullshit. I like their old and new songs, calling them emo before was ignorant and you didn't know enough about them to call them that. They are a huge inspiration to everyone and I would kill to meet them, literally.

Alice Florence
Alice Florence

Calling this band emo - even their previous three albums - is ridiculous and ignorant. If you actually listened to their lyrics, you would know they are all about hope and love, falling out of love, bad times, good times and when you have to trust yourself no matter what. Listen to any interviews, quotes, or even just follow their twitters you can clearly see that they are great guys, dedicated fathers and completely normal - just amazingly good at writing music.

I'm not emo. None of my friends are emo. Yet we ALL love My Chem and all they stand for. They are amazing role models. We've been to many of their concerts and even our parents like them. (Some of them maybe too much)

Their music is full of inspirtation and soul. When I grow up and have children I want them to love music like MCR, laced with real emotion and genuinely from the heart. It is so much better than all the manufactured mainstream music, which is false and sexist. You won't see scantily clad women dancing around a fully clothed man in MCR music videos, or most other alternative/rock/punk music.

Please, don't make judgments about things you don't fully understand. Because the fans will not stay quiet.

Chumstar Killjoy
Chumstar Killjoy

they can never be considered emo anyway EVEN SINCE 2001... EMO MUSIC NEEDS TO BE IN A LOWER KEY AND MY CHEM HAVE NEVER SANG IN A LOWER KEY... GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.... sorry for the rant but i love all of there albums and would never call any one of them emo... go take a music course


I love all of the MCR albums, I've been a fan since The Black Parade....But the first songs I've heard from them were I'm Not Okay and The Ghost Of You. I love every single MCR song...But if I had to dislike one, it'd be The Kids From Yesterday...It's just that, the title and meaning of the song makes me cry every time. I always think that they're saying "Oh, hey...We take back everything we ever said."But it completely pisses me off when people are like "Ohmigawd, I love MCR!" after they heard Sing, and then they listen to the whole Danger Days album. Then you go up at them and ask "So, whats your favorite song from all of their albums?" Then they'll stare at you blankly and say "They have other albums?" or they did listen to their other songs and be like "Those SUCK" or something like that. Honest to god, you're probably not a true fan if you hate the first three albums...And you'll probably never be an actual member of the MCRmy if you're beating their old work down all the time. But the people who became fans during Danger Days, the Killjoy Recruits, are still part of the MCRmy, they just have to appreciate what they were before....I miss the old MCR, I really do, and I feel like shit not being able to see one of those earlier concerts, but I still love them...I just can't believe Frankie chopped off his hair! Personally, I love him with his Revenge Era hair, like in the I'm Not Okay video...Super cute.

laksmi olivo
laksmi olivo

sometime i feel they put the old records down... they are my chemical romance because of those albums not dangerdays dont get me wrong I LIKED dangerdays and all , still mcr fan , but give 3 cheers and black parade their credit! not to mention Bullets! best mcr record ever.

Jordan Rance
Jordan Rance

I Love Mcr, But I only like a few of the songs off their new album. I was hoping they'd go back to their roots, but it seems not :/

Darrell Chillers Jr
Darrell Chillers Jr

>_> I hate when People act like MCR's previous albums are bad or something. There all masterpieces. If you don't like them well your not really a fan


Ha! in a lower key? since when? if you read the story, you will see that Frank himself describes MCR as being tagged as emo, claims the band's stage demeanor contributed to this description. and now, with this new record, they want to be completely free of that association. hell, half the time, being emo has nothing to do with music, in any key. it's a look, sometimes a (bad) fashion statement. it's bad hair. A writer could not make up what Frank said. It's actually a stupid thing to debate. Funny how some bands run from emo like the tag somehow taints their music. but that lower key stuff is just plain bullshit


That's just awesome, reminds me of high school when we all thought we owned our favorite bands. Also, you spelled "Cemetery" wrong.


first off great name... second i agree with everything you said from the old mcr and not being able to see them to the fake fans thing but i do disagree with one thing i love kids from yesterday cause to me its not like them saying i we take back everything but to me its them saying ya we have changed but we are the same ppl we are the kids from yesterday

Alice Florence
Alice Florence

Oh for god's sake. Go criticize music that deserves it.

"Funny how some bands run from emo like the tag somehow taints their music."


MCR don't believe in self harming. End of. Their style is part of their artistry. So I bet it really bloody pisses them off when ignorant people like you go calling them emo like you know what it means.

As long as it doesn't hurt others, people should be able to decide their own life, and if they want to be "emo", then fuck off and let them do it. Stop being so prejudice. We're all people.

What exactly do you not like about emo anyway, and why bother to write about them?


Alice,In my interview with Frank, he BROUGHT IT UP. He said, "Thank god with this new record, we will not be called EMO anymore." So I followed up with questions pertaining to that tag. I think the emo style looks stupid, but some of the music is cool. It was Frank who distancing himself from the whole emo genre and scene. I just reported it, like a reporter should. Get a grip and a life.

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