Illustration by Andrea Nebhut
This Halloween, Christmas came early for Killjoys everywhere: the American rock band My Chemical Romance (MCR) announced a “RETURN” on their Twitter, quietly advertising tickets for a one-night-only show set for Dec. 20, 2019, in Los Angeles at Shrine Expo Hall. After radio silence, conspiracy theories and a couple of false alarms through the past six years, MCR’s fanbase of over 1.3 million (on Twitter alone) is finally getting to see their beloved band together again and, hopefully, we can keep them playing for many years to come.
Tickets for the single show went on sale on Friday, Nov. 1, at noon PST for $149.99 and sold out within minutes after the band tweeted their flyer titled “RETURN.”
With prices so high, tickets in-demand, and a venue that holds only 5,000 people, some fans are desperate for MCR to announce a real tour, and there is some controversy around what exactly the band means by the word “return.”
Is it a one-time show before they kill the band again? Is it a return to the genre and the music industry as non-solo artists?
More questions surface as fans remember the context of that fateful day, March 22, 2013, when the band officially broke up.
When any group separates, there are hardly concrete answers, but fans have cited lead singer Gerard Way’s fear of the band’s decline after “The Black Parade” album, band member conflicts, disagreements about genre and style and the pursuit of solo careers. Although having the band together is worth more than the sum of its parts, members do currently have their respective projects and solo careers. So why are they getting back together? And if this is a permanent reunion, will they start making new music?
Way’s solo music veered toward the pop side of indie, and he is currently the executive producer for tv show “The Umbrella Academy.” Other band members are similarly invested in either a new band or career. Why did they choose this moment to reveal a reunion (other than Frank’s birthday being on Halloween)?
One theory has been a conspiracy even longer than the band has been apart: the Smashing Pumpkins Theory. In an interview other conspiracy back in Dec. of 2006, Way mentioned how inspired he was by the band Smashing Pumpkins, and that he wanted to follow their path. SP was active for 12 years, broken up for six, and is now back together again, which now matches up exactly with the timeline MCR has followed. This points to a permanent reunion, and many fans are excited about their twitter bio changing from “2001-2013” to “2001-Present.” Other conspiracy theory articles out there reference a quote where Way claims that the band “wasn’t needed anymore” because the political climate in America seemed to have improved from 2001 to the Obama administration.out there reference a quote where Way claims that the band “wasn’t needed anymore” because the political climate in America seemed to have improved from 2001 to the Obama administration. Punk has a history of being politicized, but it is more accurately a creative expression of political and social dissent. After making fans happy for so long and changing so many lives, the band was predicting losing popularity like the genre was.
Through all of this speculation though, my personal favorite theory was based on the coincidence that the last song released was “Fake Your Death,” insinuating that the break-up was fake and that they would return and now they have!
It is so satisfying to see fan accounts post “I told you so!” again, and this time it isn’t a false hope like the “MCRX” post for their 10-year anniversary or the Jonas Brothers ,rumor that MCR was overheard practicing in a studio next door. Although … looking back, who knows what they heard?
I think that whatever the circumstances were around the break-up, the reunion is what matters. MCR is a landmark group in the post-punk emo scene and was (now we can say “is”!) a big part of a lot of fans’ coming of age stories.
Now, instead of listening to old albums with nostalgia, there’s a chance to be a part of something big again.
The difference between loving a band from beyond the grave and being able to see them live after their music has been with you through everything is tremendous.
In response to immediately selling out their first show in six years and receiving massive positive feedback from the MCRmy, the fanbase’s nickname, @mcrofficial tweeted, “It is truly unbelievable to us the happiness we have experienced over the past two days. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the warm welcome back. We truly did not expect this. See you soon. Xoxo, MCR.”
I’m sure I can speak for all fans when I say that although all the conspiracy theories are fun, and that it’s disappointing that we can’t all go to L.A. for Christmas, we’re just glad to have the band back.