What happens when a group of musicians get together to "make a difference" and suddenly within the space of 3 years they're playing on national American television, being forced to stand awkwardly next to "their peers" in Simple Plan in USA TRL studios, playing to an audience with only a miniscule of the amount of energy they're used to at live shows, with teenagers across the country watching and judging. The pessimists and "hardcore" fans of the band are secretly wishing this hype will result in the bands down fall, that "it'll all get to be too much" and the band will crumble. Others are just discovering the band, thinking this is the coolest band since The Used and ‘Oh my god did you see hot how the lead singer is?’

My Chemical Romance is a band you have indefinitely heard of in the last 6 months. They've broken their home country with the release of the single "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" from their second album "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" and has managed to make the transaction from the coolest band on the underground scene, to the handsomest new death oriented band around MTV. British magazines such as Kerrang, Metal Hammer, Rock Sound and yes, even NME have written about this band, expressing excitement for the change of pace they will indefinitely bring to punk, screamo and rock in the next few years. The band's fanatic following however is more of a circus show than anything else. A fan's status is decided by the clothes vocalist Gerard Way was wearing when they first discovered the band and went to a show, the oldest remember his ghoulish ensemble, the acceptable middle fans remember his leather jacket, the "Three Cheers" generation remember his suit and white shirt and the MTV kids know of the colour co-ordinated band, all in black with either red ties, neckerchiefs or collars. In other words, elitism in this fan base is to the text book extreme, a fact which many presume the band, renown for their open acceptance of everyone that crosses their path, are ignorant to. Thankfully for some, this isn't the case at all, as Gerard Way stares me right in the eye, speaking with a slightly bitter snap in his tone that is only managed by those scorned by elitists in the past.

"We've always seen elitism as a negative thing, even before there were fans. We've always been very open about talking about how much we hate it" he begins, going on to explain the possibility of stumbling across fan elitism being part of the reason he stays away from the internet; discovering such a disrespect for new fans would leave him feeling "disappointed in the older fans". Guitarist Ray Toro whole heartedly agrees with his band mate, explaining how older fans got into the band because of their connection to the band and the music, because My Chemical Romance was a way to get away from the elitists hassling them.
"It's kind of dumb; everybody should be able to listen to the kind of music they want and just because you're a fan of a band for a longer period of time doesn't mean you have a greater stake of claim to the band or the music." Toro goes onto say, showing that the 27 year old is no stranger to this kind of attitude from fans either. But with the bad must come the good, and My Chemical Romance have no shortage of over excitable, eager and generous fans, many of whom will happily arrive at a venue 12 hours before doors are due to open if My Chemical Romance are the headliners.
Some fans will not only shell out the cash to get peak cost transport to shows, but will also put a more than generous amount into presents for the bands. Some fans buy presents, some fans make presents, but either way the band love them and are frequently lost for words and unable to decide what is the coolest present they've received thus far. The presents range from hand made ties, t-shirt and socks, to cookies designed to resemble each band member, to replica dolls of band members (a personal favourite of Gerard's, the story behind which he tells with the enthusiasm of a child at Christmas, gushing over how "It looked JUST like Mikey! It was practically the same size as him too!") However, the most treasured present is the quilt featuring MCR related patches made by fans from across the globe. The quilt itself has been feature in a photo shoot for a Germany magazine and Toro and Way both hope shots of it are found by the quilt's founder, to whom they send their sincerest thanks.

Clearly with the band's rising fame a "wider demographic of ages" of fans has begun to attend shows, with the average age of the MCR fan dropping to approximately 16 from 22.
"In the beginning it was mostly people that were like, 19 and older punk rock dudes and now it's like younger kids, so it's all mixed in now" speculates Way, "It's still the same people that like to have a beer while they watch us who are in their later 20s and its younger kids too. We notice a lot more younger kids". These younger kids are indefinitely the previously mentioned MTV generation, a selection of girls in their mid-teens who can regularly be found front row at shows, screaming their lungs out with pleas to be impregnated by various band members. Not surprisingly, Way notices these kids too, admitting his sympathy for the older fans who find these new fans a "fucking drag" at shows, but he also hopes that the band's live performance will convert these girls to a new appreciation of music rather than clothing.

Fans are a big part of My Chemical Romance, performance wise and in the band's mentality. I doubt a show goes by when Way takes a moment to thank the crowd for letting them play, and similarly, each band member will spend as long as possible talking to the ever increasing number of fans before and after shows. By doing so, MCR's fan base is not only widely varying in extremes but has also grown to the point where fan fiction is written about the band. Not particularly stunning I hear you say, but having two brothers in the band has tempted fate and incest fan fiction has appeared as well. Mention fan fiction to either Toro or Way and a mild look of confusing spread over their faces, with Way asking "Fan fiction's scary cause they write that stuff about Spock right?".
After a slightly awkward silence and further elaboration, Way finally catches on, giggling like a kid; "Is it erotic fiction? Who's got the biggest dong?" Alas, I don't know, but instead choose to bring up the question of incestuous fan fiction, which rather alarmingly enough is brushed off with little reaction;
"Well actually believe it or not the first fan fiction we heard about was incest fan fiction and that was before any of the stuff you're talking about. Like years ago, there was incest fan fiction" he says, pausing for a moment in thought, sighing slightly "I don't know, we can't control it so, um, at least they're being creative."

This close and occasionally worrying connection between band and fans wouldn't be possible if My Chemical Romance weren't primarily a touring band. Having taking little time between recording and touring in the past, the band have recently received their schedule for 2005, which consists of a headlining tour of Germany, France and Japan, as well as a slot on the "winter Warped Tour" Taste Of Chaos when they return to the States, sharing the stage with the likes of fellow Jersey boys Senses Fail, partners in crime The Used and a favourite of all band members, Killswitch Engage. Once Taste of Chaos is done and dusted the band head out opening for Green Day on their tour of the USA, stopping back in the UK for a few shows in April before going back home to take up a headlining slot on the first half of this year's Warped Tour, followed by what one can only presume (and hope) is a string of European festivals. Extensive touring in the past has brought the band to a point now where they are one of the bands everyone should see at some point in their life, with a live performance that is not only captivating, but each audience member leaves the venue feeling like they've just died twice over from extremity of enthusiasm shown by each band member. Sadly the enthusiasm and constantly impressive energy of the band is greatly minimised when the band perform on TV shows, an activity which is becoming all too familiar in the past few weeks.
"It's 20 million times different to doing a show. It's not anything you're used to" Way begins, turning to Toro for confirmation, "it's like playing to this empty void cause like almost always they've had the lighting so low you really can't see the people in front of you. It's really bizarre you know, so we try to play for each other and really just try to have a good time" replies the afro haired guitarist. Way continues to explain, sounding almost as if he needs to justify something to himself or clear up something for the fans who've claimed the TV performances are some of the band's worst performances;
"You have to learn to control certain things on TV, like I can't really sing like I would sing live and lose my shit, you're going to sound like shit on TV no matter what but if you do that, then you're going to sound even more like shit. I have to control my voice and we have to control what we're doing because it's so naked when it comes through the TV". Hopefully that clears up that misunderstanding and doubt in anyone's minds about the band's abilities live.

With the TV performances have come an increasing number of photo shoots, which one would presume have become monotonous by now; there's only so many ways you can cover yourself in fake blood after all. Way insists this is not the case, and a recent Clockwork Orange-esque photo shoot is just one example of the type of creative photography work the band hope to be used in in the future. If Clockwork Orange sounds like something that's been done again and again by bands over the years, then not to worry, Way insists this is the My Chemical Romance take of the movie, thankfully for the girls, it will still feature Way in a white suit. But how does a guy deal with this every growing adoration from young females and males, as well as the media continually labelling the 27 year old singer an "iconic figure whose lyrics really do save lives". Humbled by any compliment given to him, Way has decided to take the neutral approach to criticism and compliments alike, showing not only his own personal humility, but that of his fellow band mates;
"As much as you read something positive, you're just as likely to read something critical of you. Obviously there's a weight that comes with that, there's a pressure and I think all the guys feel it because we all do those kinds of things, like saving peoples lives. How do we deal with it? We just kind of ride it out, our expectations are never superb and we've just being riding this whole thing out".

Overall, My Chemical Romance are finally receiving the recognition they deserve. They are coping with the fame and calls in the streets in an expert way and most importantly, nothing is changing about the attitude of the band, nor the purpose of the music; to save the lives of music fans and to make a difference. My Chemical Romance are predicted to own 2005, and with my own personal growing expectations of the band, I'm assured that this band will stay true to itself and will exceed all my expectations not just in 2005, but over the next several years. My Chemical Romance have only just begun to "Unleash the fucking bats".