True Lives of My Chemical Romance | Book Review

Posted in Music
my chemical romance

When My Chemical Romance announced their split last year it was hard to imagine why a band at the top of their game, and constantly selling out Wembley Arena, would want to end their careers at their peak.

Fortunately, The True Lives of My Chemical Romance provides closure to why the band called it quits.

Most biography’s we read about bands generally involve members who are a lot older than ourselves and usually have had a long career before some of us were even able to remember; that’s not to say they don’t make enjoyable reads: Ozzy Osbourne and Slash’s books make you want to drop everything and become a fully fledged rock star. But, when a band like My Chemical Romance, who had the majority of their career in the past decade, come along, it’s fully relatable. On a personal level, I remember picking up a copy of ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ in 2004 when I was in the prime of moving on from pop music and into my teenage angst years of ‘emo’ at the age of 14. My Chemical Romance for myself – like many others my age – were a band we grew up with, watched and felt like we belonged to; which is why a biography like this is so important.

Considering this is an unofficial biography, and the entire book is created from research and snippets from interviews the author Tom Bryant had with the band, it’s incredible how rounded it is. The book almost feels like Tom was on the road with MCR for their whole career, from their rock bottoms to their incredible highs. To put it in perspective, imagine writing the entire life story of a family of five who you didn’t know for twenty two years of their lives. To piece together an accurate story of their lives and in MCR’s case, emotions, is a hugely difficult task, one which Tom has done magnificently. We’re sure all the hours of lengthy transcribing sessions are looking worth it now!

A big part of My Chemical Romance as a band was always the emotion and passion they put into everything they did. An album was never an album it was always a story and thus a pathway into the lives of the band. But, it isn’t until reading this book that it’s truly put into perspective: the dark avenues the band went through, pushing themselves to breaking point for us: the fans. Reading parts of the book about the recording of ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ and the death of Gerard and Mikey’s grandmother really makes you feel the songs more. The first time I re-listened to the album after reading that chapter the album sounded different. Certain words and phrases stood out more, emotional parts stung harder and overall it became more of a feeling than just three minutes of music. Sometimes it can be hard to imagine what a band are feeling when they make their music, or whether it’s just words on some paper and a great recording studio, but there’s no need to wonder now.

Whether MCR were a big part of your life or not this biography is a superb read which is likely to culminate in you wanting to dye your hair black, whack on some super tight skinny jeans and trash around to ‘I’m Not Okay’. Or maybe that’s just us?!

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August 12, 2014
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