In Defense of My Chemical Romance: 10 Bands That Look Emo, But Aren't.

You know the look: Checkered sneakers, skinny pants, that forlorn gaze through a cascade of floppy bangs. Emo kids are easy to spot. Or are they? Can you tell that a band is emo by the way they look?

In this week's paper, we talked to My Chemical Romance guitarist Frak Iero about the emo tag, which the band has vehemently denied over the course of their career. As far as they're concerned, it has never properly applied to them. Still, largely because of their look, they've had to put up with it:

"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." Continue reading...

Clearly, the band hates the term. In the past, frontman Gerard Way has even gone on record as saying that "emo's a pile of shit." And, hey, we kind of get where the band is coming from; they're hardly the first band that's looked emo, even if they sonically aren't.

After the jump, we list our favorites. The lesson: Don't let the floppy hair fool you.

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Girl Talk

His name sounds like it might be emo. And, sure his sideswept hair is a further count against him. Same goes for the fact that his shows draw crowds of kids in skinny jeans and Converse shoes. But this brilliant mashup artist, who will probably be famous long after he's gone, gets our "Not Emo!" stamp of approval.

Tegan and Sara

They went through a serious emo hair phase. And they rock the skinny jeans. But these cute twin sisters' lighthearted pop music is definitely Not Emo.

L.A. Guns

There are two L.A. Gunses running around right now -- one with old frontman Phil Lewis at the helm, the other featuring guitarist Tracii Guns. And both are now making liberal use of the textbook emo look: black sideswept hair, skinny pants, mopey gazes.  A note to all bands calling themselves L.A. Guns:  You're all nearing fifty (the original members, anyways).  Might be time for a new look.

Avenged Sevenfold

The guys in Avenged Sevenfold are not mopey, despite their brooding facial expressions, tight pants and, yeah, the emo-tastic bangs of guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates.  They're just angry. Well, as angry as a dude named Zacky can get. And though we're kind of upset that they canceled their Verizon Theatre show last night, like, an hour before it was supposed to start, we begrudgingly admit: Not emo.


This Tyler-based family act, which has recently released a bang-up new album, may be made up of teenagers sporting side-parted hair. But they're certainly not emo.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen O's hair says "I wanna go cry." Her music says "I wanna rock." File them under "Not Emo."

Alien Sex Fiend

These '80s goth-punksters may look sad, but, despite the fact that netizens are calling emo the "new goth," the Fiends reside solely in the original realm.


They've been repeatedly called the godfathers of emo, and we're not sure why. Whatever emo is, it's not Weezer.

Bright Eyes

We have a lot of friends that confuse "indie" with "emo." Not sure why, Omaha's Bright Eyes aren't helping matters, sounding indie, but looking all emo.

The Rolling Stones

Can they even see through those ridiculous hairdos?  Don't mope, Keith Richards - despite your floppy bangs, you're officially "Not Emo."

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