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The True Lives of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography

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My Chemical Romance were the most significant band in alternative rock for the last decade. Inspirational, original, stunningly creative, they forged an extraordinary connection with their fans. Author Tom Bryant was given unparalleled access to the band over the years and now he draws on interviews with Gerard Way and his brother Mikey, Ray Toro and Frank Iero, as well as My Chemical Romance were the most significant band in alternative rock for the last decade. Inspirational, original, stunningly creative, they forged an extraordinary connection with their fans. Author Tom Bryant was given unparalleled access to the band over the years and now he draws on interviews with Gerard Way and his brother Mikey, Ray Toro and Frank Iero, as well as friends and associates, to bring their stories to life. In this unauthorized biography, he takes us behind the scenes from their very first gig in front of thirty kids in New Jersey - the Ways downing beer to calm their nerves - to international arena-storming superstardom. He sheds light on the personal demons the bandmates battled and the haunted recording session that resulted in the brilliance of "The Black Parade". He also explores the genesis of their music, the constant reinvention that culminated in the visual splendour of "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys", and the strains that led to their split in 2013. Insightful and revealing, "The True Lives of My Chemical Romance" is the definitive biography of the most adored rock band this century, a story of self-belief and the pursuit of dreams.


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My Chemical Romance were the most significant band in alternative rock for the last decade. Inspirational, original, stunningly creative, they forged an extraordinary connection with their fans. Author Tom Bryant was given unparalleled access to the band over the years and now he draws on interviews with Gerard Way and his brother Mikey, Ray Toro and Frank Iero, as well as My Chemical Romance were the most significant band in alternative rock for the last decade. Inspirational, original, stunningly creative, they forged an extraordinary connection with their fans. Author Tom Bryant was given unparalleled access to the band over the years and now he draws on interviews with Gerard Way and his brother Mikey, Ray Toro and Frank Iero, as well as friends and associates, to bring their stories to life. In this unauthorized biography, he takes us behind the scenes from their very first gig in front of thirty kids in New Jersey - the Ways downing beer to calm their nerves - to international arena-storming superstardom. He sheds light on the personal demons the bandmates battled and the haunted recording session that resulted in the brilliance of "The Black Parade". He also explores the genesis of their music, the constant reinvention that culminated in the visual splendour of "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys", and the strains that led to their split in 2013. Insightful and revealing, "The True Lives of My Chemical Romance" is the definitive biography of the most adored rock band this century, a story of self-belief and the pursuit of dreams.

30 review for The True Lives of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Arya

    I have so much to say about this book. Firstly I want to talk about the author, Tom Bryant. Being so deeply in love with writing myself, I made note of Bryant's style of writing throughout the book. The True Lives of My Chemical Romance is a biography, and probably one of the first non-fiction books I have ever read. I had never expected to enjoy just the writing style itself as much as I do with fiction books. The smooth flow of the timeline was amazing; each MCR era slowly transitioned into the I have so much to say about this book. Firstly I want to talk about the author, Tom Bryant. Being so deeply in love with writing myself, I made note of Bryant's style of writing throughout the book. The True Lives of My Chemical Romance is a biography, and probably one of the first non-fiction books I have ever read. I had never expected to enjoy just the writing style itself as much as I do with fiction books. The smooth flow of the timeline was amazing; each MCR era slowly transitioned into the next through Bryant's text; there were no jumps or cuts. His use of metaphors and images managed to represent My Chemical Romance's story so beautifully, it was practically like delving into a regular storybook. Secondly, throughout the book, I kept in mind the fact that the majority of the quotes from the band members and their associates were from Bryant's interviews throughout several years. I know this must have been hard to put together, specially as it has been fourteen years since the formation of My Chemical Romance. Bryant's determination to tell a story that the whole world needs to know, is evident in this writing. Most importantly, this book gave me closure. It let me get over the fact that My Chem have ceased to be--something that an intense level of research (*cough* online stalking *cough*) failed to do for me. Now I understand the emotions of Ray, Mikey, Gerard and Frank, as they wrote, recorded, posed, performed, toured, and even when the Way brothers got drunk with self destruction in their minds. When I listen to each album now, for every track, I remember what the band or mostly Gerard and/or Ray were feeling when they wrote a certain song. I think of the hidden meanings behind each track of The Black Parade, with Gerard's personal thoughts curled up inside the massive black abyss that was the thoughts of The Patient. I feel happiness, joy, and a feeling of relief when I listen to Danger Days, knowing how relaxed, even though for only a little bit, the band finally were when working on this album. I feel happy that, for a short period of time, they were no longer struggling in their own skins. I feel happy that the emotional rollercoaster The Black Parade had taken them on had stopped haunting them. I finally understand why My Chem, though probably too soon, had to part ways. As musicians, My Chemical Romance have touched me in a completely different, glorious way. As individuals, with a passionate love for art, for being true, for being unafraid to "keep on living," My Chemical Romance have created a space of comfort for me and for several other fans; and despite the fact that they have broken up, they still live on among us, and I think that very simply shows how powerful the impact of this band really is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I have to admit I'm a lot late to this party. While I have always know of My Chemical Romance and always had a song or two of theirs on my iPod, I never really sat and listened to all their work until the end of 2015,despite having friends who were really big fans. And My Chemical Romance truly are absolutely amazing. So after listening to all their music non stop for about three months and binge watching live videos on youtube I decided to orded this book in january. Because of lots of life sh I have to admit I'm a lot late to this party. While I have always know of My Chemical Romance and always had a song or two of theirs on my iPod, I never really sat and listened to all their work until the end of 2015,despite having friends who were really big fans. And My Chemical Romance truly are absolutely amazing. So after listening to all their music non stop for about three months and binge watching live videos on youtube I decided to orded this book in january. Because of lots of life shit that happened I wasn't able to start it until last week,which led to me finishing the book today,22nd of March, of all days. The irony is not lost on me. It is really interesting to what went into and what was the inspiration behind something so great.The book is really good look inside into everything that happened, and in a way I guess it's better that it ended while they were still good,instead of continuing until you wished they had stopped long before that.(*cough* Supernatural*cough*) Maybe I say that because I wasn't the fan of them I am today when they were still a band. I wish I had seen them live at some point,which lets be real woudn't have happened even if was was a big fan of them when they were still together (thank you geography). They left a huge impact on people and the music industry. I do love Frank Iero's solo album so much,and its so close to my heart, that I can't say i'm not glad that i am able to hear it because they are no longer together. It is sad that its over,but it isn't over, not really. Gerard was right - "My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die. " Exactly beause new people find out about them every day(like me,despite the fact that I am 22 years old),and so many people still listen to them every day. That is why they will never be truly gone. And that is beautiful. "My Chemical Romance: 2001-2013:We were spectacular. " Yes,they absolutely were.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sian Hayley

    The final words of this book are heartbreaking and that's coming from someone who lived through the ending when it happened. I'd like to thank Tom Bryant for writing this, it has provided more closure than My Chemical Romance did when they announced their split on their website, and it has a lot of exclusive interviews in it that give a huge insight into the band from the beginning right to the end. I've read two other books on this band and this one was definitely the best, even though there is The final words of this book are heartbreaking and that's coming from someone who lived through the ending when it happened. I'd like to thank Tom Bryant for writing this, it has provided more closure than My Chemical Romance did when they announced their split on their website, and it has a lot of exclusive interviews in it that give a huge insight into the band from the beginning right to the end. I've read two other books on this band and this one was definitely the best, even though there is still a stronger emphasis on Gerard's input than the other members, this book is still a lot more balanced in terms of credit than the other books I've read, acknowledging that this was definitely not a one man band. Every fan of this band should read this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rue Baldry

    This is well written and it's a great story. Bryant had a lot of access to MCR over the years, and he interviewed the key people about the times when he wasn't there. Very occasionally he repeats himself and, of course, there are incidents which people won't talk about. I admire Bryant for admitting when these occur and resisting the urge to make things up about them or even to make suggestions about what might have happened. Whether you're an MCR fan or not this is a great book about how people This is well written and it's a great story. Bryant had a lot of access to MCR over the years, and he interviewed the key people about the times when he wasn't there. Very occasionally he repeats himself and, of course, there are incidents which people won't talk about. I admire Bryant for admitting when these occur and resisting the urge to make things up about them or even to make suggestions about what might have happened. Whether you're an MCR fan or not this is a great book about how people make music and there are some entertaining incidents described.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Wow, I must admit I've never enjoyed biographies but this interested me it gave me a bigger insight into the songs from the band I've always loved and looked up to, now I understand the break up and big thanks to the writer for making this possible.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Weasley

    Brilliantly detailed and insightful with a smooth flow... definitely my favourite biography of all time!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Quite eye opening to see each person's actual view on the split and the different things that happened between the band!Would definitely recommend to any MCR fan!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy H

    i would be a liar if i said reading this gave me nothing. bryant certainly has a way with words, and mcr's life is presented in an engaging, riveting manner. it's no small feat, chronicling an entire lifespan, and for that, i commend bryant. my hunch is that some details were glossed over for the sake of coherency- but overall, it showed the highs and lows of one my favourite bands, and for the most part, it's well-written. perhaps it's a little too dazzling a story, but then, mcr was dazzling. i would be a liar if i said reading this gave me nothing. bryant certainly has a way with words, and mcr's life is presented in an engaging, riveting manner. it's no small feat, chronicling an entire lifespan, and for that, i commend bryant. my hunch is that some details were glossed over for the sake of coherency- but overall, it showed the highs and lows of one my favourite bands, and for the most part, it's well-written. perhaps it's a little too dazzling a story, but then, mcr was dazzling. (is. is dazzling. they're back together, which renders some of the more bittersweet prose of the ending rather moot, but that's no fault of bryant's.) what this biography did, more than anything, was launch me into a contemplative rut about the very nature of being a fan, which i won't get into for the sake of brevity. anyway- it's a solid read and a nice way to pass the time in quarantine. would recommend and read again. 4/5.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vylette

    This book is awesome, it really answered questions I've been wondering. It really caught and held my attention and there were no dull moments. In a way, this was a great way to get to know the band better. I wish them the best of luck in their future. Afterall, the future is bulletproof! Thank you for writing this and thank you MCR for creating your idea :) Thank you for the venom. So long and goodnight, Killjoys!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Janine Zachariae

    A really amazing and interesting book about the guys from My Chemical Romance. It was great to read how they came together as a band and their beginning. It was interesting to read everything about The Black Parade and Danger Days. It was sad to read how they actually splitted up. Which is not a spoiler because it'S well known since so many years.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

    ~Recent events~ caused me to finally dig this out of the bookcase. Easy read, some great insights and interviews, and I even learned some things I didn't know. One for initiates rather than the curious, but no less for it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    R. E. Henderson

    Such an amazing book!! I miss this band!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Everything is great until the end when it's like "Ope, Danger Days for 10 pages and then the end." Excuse.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I loved it! Though i already knew most of the stuff in this book, it was still a very good read! As a long time fan, i am kind of shocked by myself that I didnt read this earlier

  15. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I'm not going to pretend that I've read tons of band biographies, because I haven't, but of the few that I've read, this is by far the best. Of course, I knew My Chemical Romance's story well already (they're one of my all-time favourite bands), but this biography delves way beneath the surface, going into heartbreaking detail about the struggles and strains the band were put through during the course of their time together. At times it was almost painful for me to read about the terrible times m I'm not going to pretend that I've read tons of band biographies, because I haven't, but of the few that I've read, this is by far the best. Of course, I knew My Chemical Romance's story well already (they're one of my all-time favourite bands), but this biography delves way beneath the surface, going into heartbreaking detail about the struggles and strains the band were put through during the course of their time together. At times it was almost painful for me to read about the terrible times my idols went through to put out music to us fans, but this book was so well-written that I couldn't put it down. Tom Bryant was the perfect person to choose to write their story, due to his countless meetings with them through the years, and I personally feel he did a wonderful job of bringing their trials and tribulations to light. He didn't gloss over the difficulties and hard times the guys went through, and I would be extremely surprised if they didn't think he did a good job in this biography, especially since it is his first. And, yes. I did cry. I am not normally a book crier, but I couldn't not cry at the final quote used. It was from Frank, talking about how he wished the band could have continued to make music together: "I don't think it was ever on the cards for us to do this forever. But that doesn't mean I don't wish we could have." Way to destroy my fangirl emotions, Mr Iero! Overall, I really enjoyed this book, no matter how heartbreaking it may have been, and would highly recommend it to any MCR fan interested in the band's backstory.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ♫✯Em loves Hollenstein✯♫❤the summertime and butterflies all belong to your creation❤

    You know the craziest thing? It took ONE song, for me. It was, "Bulletproof Heart." Straight away, I knew. On of my best friends is crazy obsessed with MCR. She kept trying to force-feed them to me, and god. Do I wish i'd listened earlier. I wish I listened to this back when they were together. I'd been going through a lot of shit before I listened to them- what, not even 3 months ago? And their music helps me through that. When I want to cry, I crank up "I don't love you." When I want to headban You know the craziest thing? It took ONE song, for me. It was, "Bulletproof Heart." Straight away, I knew. On of my best friends is crazy obsessed with MCR. She kept trying to force-feed them to me, and god. Do I wish i'd listened earlier. I wish I listened to this back when they were together. I'd been going through a lot of shit before I listened to them- what, not even 3 months ago? And their music helps me through that. When I want to cry, I crank up "I don't love you." When I want to headbang and dance, I listen to Planetary (go!) or Na na na. I want Gerard Way's hair. I want to count as a real fan, by having listened to them post-breakup. But I didn't. And if I could turn back time, i'm pretty sure I wouldn't have liked it- I was listening to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez back then. Finding bands like FOB, Paramore, PVRIS, Mayday Parade and MCR has helped me a huge lot. And while i'm so crazily upset about the breakup, I am just so grateful they existed as a band. SO will I be reading this? Of course.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cicely

    As a late MCR fan, I was very excited to read this. I loved all the stories and the thoughts behind all the writing, recording, marketing, and performing of all the albums. I have a greater depth of understanding of the songs and the band. My only issue with the book is the writing: sometimes reading was a hassle. Tom Bryant is not a bad writer, but for a book like this, there could have been some improvements. The two most important things would be the incredible repetition, whether it be ideas As a late MCR fan, I was very excited to read this. I loved all the stories and the thoughts behind all the writing, recording, marketing, and performing of all the albums. I have a greater depth of understanding of the songs and the band. My only issue with the book is the writing: sometimes reading was a hassle. Tom Bryant is not a bad writer, but for a book like this, there could have been some improvements. The two most important things would be the incredible repetition, whether it be ideas or quotes, and the lack of good quote editing. Maybe I don't know how journalists are supposed to use quotes in their writing (leave them as the person said them!?), but the way the quotes were used made everyone sound ineloquent and repetitive. Slight editing, that still left the idea of what the person was saying, could have improved ease of reading. Other than that, I loved diving into the world of my forever-favorite band.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lucie

    Gained a lot of insight into the band especially concerning their formation and early days, having only learned about them through the Black Parade era. Reading about how perceptions of the band changed and their own evolution as musicians was really interesting especially their 'us against them' mentality that was their driving force. The author draws from his interactions with the band and those around them since the beginning, his role as a frequent Kerrang journalist exposed him to the band Gained a lot of insight into the band especially concerning their formation and early days, having only learned about them through the Black Parade era. Reading about how perceptions of the band changed and their own evolution as musicians was really interesting especially their 'us against them' mentality that was their driving force. The author draws from his interactions with the band and those around them since the beginning, his role as a frequent Kerrang journalist exposed him to the band repeatedly over the years from their first visit to the UK to post breakup. Although not an official biography, Frank gave long interviews and the band all gave their blessing for the publishing. The book helped me appreciate their albums more and was an easy read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dominika

    I already tweeted Tom Bryant to thank him but I'll say it again here. Thank you so much for writing it. I enjoyed it. From the start- when MCR were no one and did great things even though no one would expect them to, through all their strugles and success, until the very end. It helped me understand how much they loved it but also how much they suffered. I think this is the closure the fans - or at least me - needed in order to start, slowly, moving on. Wonderful book, i'm gonna add it to my MC I already tweeted Tom Bryant to thank him but I'll say it again here. Thank you so much for writing it. I enjoyed it. From the start- when MCR were no one and did great things even though no one would expect them to, through all their strugles and success, until the very end. It helped me understand how much they loved it but also how much they suffered. I think this is the closure the fans - or at least me - needed in order to start, slowly, moving on. Wonderful book, i'm gonna add it to my MCR shrine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Juan Ocampo

    Un maravilloso libro narrado por un periodista que acompañó a la banda en distintos momentos de su evolución. Un documento serio y meticuloso, que se adentra en la psique colectiva de la banda en sus momentos más significativos. Me encantó la manera en que hilvanaba sus múltiples entrevistas con los miembros para respaldar y justificar los distintos altibajos y situaciones que enfrentaron. Me encantaría que pudiera escribir una segunda parte empezando desde su separación, sus experiencias como s Un maravilloso libro narrado por un periodista que acompañó a la banda en distintos momentos de su evolución. Un documento serio y meticuloso, que se adentra en la psique colectiva de la banda en sus momentos más significativos. Me encantó la manera en que hilvanaba sus múltiples entrevistas con los miembros para respaldar y justificar los distintos altibajos y situaciones que enfrentaron. Me encantaría que pudiera escribir una segunda parte empezando desde su separación, sus experiencias como solistas, la Reunión y su nueva gira que se vio interrumpida por la pandemia.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13057029 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13057029

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jade

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adela

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nora

  27. 5 out of 5

    SusannaP

  28. 5 out of 5

    Georgie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  30. 4 out of 5

    denise

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