Famous Last Words: How did My Chemical Romance get so big?

Few bands can claim that their popularity post-breakup may well exceed it while the band was still active. My Chemical Romance, though the band has been dead for 6 years now, is always the constant source of “OMG will they come back please” news pieces. Don’t worry, we won’t be participating in those.

Anyhow, it’s pretty clear that the band accomplished much in their decade+ together. Touring with Linkin Park? Check. Platinum records? Check. A vanguard for the Myspace generation? Double check. The list of accolades the band racked up is certainly a special one, but now we ask ourselves this – just how did the band get so big? Our friends at The Punk Rock MBA – as well as us – weigh in.

One of the biggest reasons My Chemical Romance were able to launch themselves into the stratosphere was their ability to take advantage of social media and the Internet in general. Pure Volume free downloads, Myspace bulletins (remember these?), and the building of an early dedicated fanbase as well. Even before the band gained their swell of popularity, friendships with Thursday’s Geoff Rickly (who produced the band’s debut record) and their signing to Eyeball Records eventually resulted in a wave of hype, eventually signing to Reprise Records for their Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge album.

While the band would gain even more popularity with 2006’s The Black Parade, it’s important to note the band’s amalgamation of various musical influences – especially Queen and David Bowie, among plenty of others. These influences often got swept under the rug, as MCR were pigeonholed as an emo act, despite their obvious pomp and grandeur on The Black Parade.

While the band obviously isn’t around today, they’re one of the 21st century’s best examples of building a cult fanbase. Coming along at the perfect time and utilizing social media, it’s not really surprising how My Chemical Romance attained their popularity.