My Chemical Romance guitarist: ‘The emo tag doesn’t bother us as much as it did in the past’
With their theatrical stage shows and neo-goth appearance, My Chemical Romance went from the East coast underground scene to the vanguard of alternative rock in the 2000s. From the get-go, the band took on the “emo” label, but guitarist Ray Toro says that wasn’t in the plan.
“The emo tag doesn’t really bother us as much as it did in the past,” Toro told TheMusic.com. “As we’ve developed as a band that charge has really gone away to the point where it only creeps up now and then. I think what was really frustrating though was that the tag itself was really indefinable – we kept getting called something that to us made no sense whatsoever… “
His playful “revenge” on the critics who wanted to slap My Chemical Romance with the “emo” stigma is the band’s longevity. “Our revenge on all those journalists and commentators who wanted to call us ‘emo’ as if to suggest we were a band that teenagers liked for a couple of months, was to survive and carry on making good records and playing good shows,” he said. “And in doing that we’ve not only kept fans who have been with us from the beginning, but we’ve made new fans with each record; fans that appreciate us for a range of different reasons.”
If Toro were to coin My Chemical Romance one particular genre, would it be punk revival, alternative indie, post-hardcore or punk-pop? His answer: None of the above. “This is going to sound so clichéd and I don’t want to offer up platitudes, but I’ve always felt that we are one of those bands that doesn’t fit into the traditional categories that people use to describe heavy music,” he explained. “When we first started writing songs, we decided that we didn’t want to have boundaries and that’s why you’ll hear everything from a straight punk rock song right through to big emotional ballads like ‘Sing’… If a song sounds good we’ll use it and think about what genre it fits into later.”