PART FOUR: This Is How I Disappear
Apologies on my end, life got a little busy -
The date is October 24th, 2006, and here’s a funny detail (or lack thereof) I can’t really remember the whole day. Maybe because my mind was more than preoccupied at the time, that the gritty details have fallen to the wayside, but there are some shining stars that I can never forget - and it starts with a walk through the halls, unfortunate to have had to go to school on such an important day - but there I was...
While scoping the halls I quickly come to find that many had done exactly as I had requested(?) - suggested(?) - demanded(?) …and donned their blackest of black attire. For most this was an extreme, as anyone who typically wore black on a regular basis, was in some form doing so as an expression of their musical interests, which often came with the appropriate labelling. A few faces I met along the way insisted, ‘Oh sorry man I forgot’ but it was the unexpected amount of people who responded with ‘This is my friend, totally got them to wear black today,’ that was the exciting part. Be it an adolescent social experiment or simply an expression of a shared interest, there had been culled a sense of unity.
But the day hadn’t ended just yet…
Later in the afternoon after school had come to a close, and unfortunately for Emily who had chosen to wear black heels, we found ourselves at the local haunt, a place none other than the Seaway Mall. - Mostly because my Mom drove us. A stomping ground for the adolescents of the region, a place that everyone seems to know by the back of their hand. For as long as my squishy purple brain can recall, there was a particular corner in the mall that had always been my resistance to the world around me, a CD Plus. And a month before Oct 24th, 2006 had ever come, it was the only place I wanted to find myself in on the release date of The Black Parade.
A side note to my story, is that Emily and I had both purchased Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge in the same mall - and we did so separately and without knowledge of the each others intentions. Completely by chance, when her group of friends smashed into mine, and we had realized the coincidence, it was apparent that this phenomenon would be repeated - together.
We had arrived.
Impatiently walking at a pace much slower than if one hadn’t worn heels to school all day, we whip around the corner and find ourselves - at long last - in front of a wall of CD’s, and in the corner of which, was a row dedicated to The Black Parade, and we were overjoyed. We soon come to find that the album had been made available with two variant slipcovers - one in a beautiful black, and another in the gorgeous grey many are familiar with, and in that moment - were ripped apart by indecision. I chose black…and then I chose grey. Then black again. And then we came to the conclusion that we were both broke teenagers, and not being able to afford both, made very clear that one of us would buy black, and one of us would buy grey. So I bought the black one - I promise.
It was then, after a quick stop to scarf down a couple of veggie burgers, that for whatever reason, whether we were breaking curfew or had reached our parentally designated quota of socializing, were driven to our respective homes, and part ways.
With my patience to dig into this album having expired when I woke up that morning, my feet carry me to my bedroom in a bolt of lightning, and I’m met by a silver saviour, my CD player.
Now, in a lot of introspective stories or accounts of one's life, there are moments when the author will pause to say something to the effect of, ‘Words cannot describe how I felt, when…’ But as the album clips into place, and the translucent cover reveals a wildly spinning disc, that the first notes begin to play, and I find exactly the words I was looking for…
Part Five: We’ll Let The Fire [Just] Bathe Us, continues soon!
PART THREE: We Are The Black Parade
I must admit I had to step away from my writing efforts over this next part, not because of tragedy or a lack of inspiration, we'll get to that later, but simply because at this point in the timeline, so much was happening - I just didn't know where to start...
So let's pick up where I last left off, with me, flying from my drafting class as if, as Gerard Way would later come to describe his vocals on The Black Parade - there had been a scorpion up my ass. To tell my soon-to-be (or perhaps already was) first love. A girl by the name of Emily. Need I make mention of track 23 on Living With Ghosts? But it didn't stop with her. As the weeks wore on, I told anyone and everyone who would listen, and you bet your ass, I extra-told the people who weren't listening...which was...mostly anyone and everyone.
My efforts certainly didn't spark a phenomenon, but I managed to rally a good 20 or 30 people for the cause - But for what purpose? Well, I proposed to judge and jury that on the release date of My Chemical Romance's third studio album, that we would all wear black. 'Anything you can find, an old t-shirt, or jeans' is what I may have remembered saying if this blog didn’t make me realize I have a crappy memory for mundane details.
A movement which I saw to cultivate, with inspiration from a simple saying scrawled atop (you guessed it) a black tshirt, in silver foil letters 'We Are The Black Parade.' And long after I stood on American soil, buying said tshirt in a Hot Topic in Buffalo, the phrase resonated with me. It was more important now, than it ever had been before, to stand as a singular unit, in celebration, in appreciation, and in anything you could find that was black.
You see, not only had MCR performed the monstrous title track atop a skyscraper in New York City, tricked an audience (for a brief moment) that My Chemical Romance had fallen ill and were replaced by The Black Parade at a concert in London, or announced a Limited Edition velvet encased CD-set (which would later be nominated for a Grammy) but that they had also announced the release date and official name of the new album, The Black Parade, to be released October 23rd, 2006 in the UK, and October 24th in the U.S. and Canada...
And while the album reaches a fever pitch of the pale and macabre, I believe it was this unintended concept of togetherness the album promoted, that is not often enough in the conversation.
...And it was on the latter of those days, that we would march.
Part Four: This Is How I Disappear, continues on Oct 27th.
PART TWO: Welcome to the Black Parade. (Oct 25th, 2016)
It’s the first day of school and I’m to be a freshly minted 10th grader in only a moments time, but first I have to catch the bus. A change from my normal routine of trekking down an ever-long driveway, was to meet-up with my friend who had recently moved just down the road, I live in the country, and our houses are connected by a laneway running through two fields that run parallel to each other.
On this particular day, I’m a black fucking raincloud - and a far-cry from being dressed in khaki shorts and an obscure t-shirt reading ‘Orange Dingo,’ which had become my nickname. Black hair. Black jeans. Black converse. And you can only imagine the shade of the straightjacket I was wearing, too. I can only wonder what my friend may have been thinking, but I seem to recall a pleasant exchange of appropriate curiosity.
We got off the bus and I explicitly remember making my way straight into the cafeteria, heading toward the back of the large, mostly vacant area, where my group of friends would meet occasionally. However, I was first met by only one familiar smile. After what I’m sure was another (of many) exchanges about my attire, I was asked, 'How was your summer?' And responded with what would become my catchphrase for weeks to come. Something that probably pestered the holy hell out of anyone whom I encountered around that time, I asked simply…
‘Have you heard of the band My Chemical Romance?’
‘Have you heard of the band My Chemical Romance?’
‘Hey - you ever hear of the band My Chemical Romance?’
Enough so, that I probably could’ve billed the band for advertising fees. (You can laugh at that one).
While my love for MCR was nothing new, and had grown over the course of three years leading up to this point, for whatever reason, my adolescent mind found it so vitally important to use this period of bold new approaches, as a vessel to connect with those around me. To set the record straight I wasn’t mindfully trying to fit in, and in actuality, it appears that I was doing everything in my power to be pegged as the weird kid, the outcast…
As I had recently started the 10th grade I was able to take a drafting course for first time, something that I was incredibly interested in, (and came to be the reason why I cannot for the life of me write using lowercase letters) and unknowingly before 'signing up' I was introduced to some untapped potential - A row of old Dell computers that we could use for Auto-CAD drawings, but more importantly to me (at the time) it was a row of old Dell computers that I could use to check the My Chemical Romance website for anything resembling a new album.
And on what I had to Google was Sept 11, 2006, when it came time for us to turn our attention to our Auto-CAD drawings (I seem to remember we were drawing a screw), there was a completely revamped website waiting for me in the form of five closed fists adorning hospital bands, and a tune that would change everything for years to come...
...As a song begins to play with a note in G.
PART THREE: We Are The Black Parade, continues Oct 26th.
PART ONE: The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance. (Oct 24th, 2016)
Beginning as the album does, I'd like to start at The End.
I'm standing in a room that's mostly an office, kind of a bedroom, but entirely dedicated to making great things - art. And it's all mine. At any given time I'm able to sit down with a variety of medium and make almost anything my creative mind calls for, and I do it often. While still in the early years of my artistic career, I'm both at the beginning, and end, of a long process. A journey shaped by the trials and tribulations of life, love, loss, and an album known only as The Black Parade.
Back to the beginning.
It's late 2005, and I've just landed myself a bootleg copy of the then-titled song Shut Up and Play. Something that quickly found it's way onto the blue glow of my silver iPod mini, and was taken quite literally. This was the first taste of new material, and acts as a refreshing new sound that would soon come to enshrine My Chemical Romance as power-ballad extraordinaire's. While a roaring audience slices away at your eardrums, the shredded jersey drawl of Gerard Way calls aloud And if you go/Run don't walk/And if you sing/Scream don't talk. An inspiring line anyway you look at it, really, but at the time I was looking at it through the lens of an awkward teenager, and it wasn't until years later when the sentiment was repeated in other forms, that it'd really sink in. Perhaps a foreshadowing to the powerful impact that music would soon have on my life.
While it would be nearly a year's time before fans chomping at the bit for new material would have their wishes granted, there had been a brief glimpse of what may arise before us filed under a segment called The Future, within the bands first official documentary A Life On The Murder Scene. A very brief account of the bands recording process while on tour for their second album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. An encounter that showed a laid back tour-laden Gerard Way soulfully spewing the lyrics When you go/Would you even turn to say/hey/I don't love you/Like I loved you yesterday. While quick, it was enough to make you feel it in the air around you. Propelled by a potential title for the new record The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance, had set the stage for what was to come. And suddenly the new album stopped parading like any other, and started feeling like something big was on its way.
All aboard the shitty memory express...
It was the summer of 2006 now, and the constance of the hype machine, coupled with a lack of content for what's to come, stirred a period of creative self-discovery in me. To sidestep my point, I never really felt bullied in school, or threatened by my peers to any extreme, but I was far from front and centre - and as a creative individual, this was a threatening self-realization. If I'm unable to connect with my peers visually, through art or other medium, how was I ever going to make my voice heard? Or for that matter, how would I get others to hear the voices I was listening to. So, I slipped into a mindset I think every kid (and often some adults) struggle with from time to time.
'The only way for me to be cool, is for me to be someone who I think is cool.'
Though it never felt as cut and dry as that, I began to mirror visual elements of the band for the first time. And I loved it. As MCR began to strip away at a bleak new look, I too would be side-by-side in those efforts, and when the summer of 2006 bled into the fall - I was far from where my peers had left me...
PART TWO: Welcome to The Black Parade, continues Oct 25th.