Monday, March 24, 2014

May Death Never Stop You

This Saturday marked a year since my favorite band My Chemical Romance announced that they were breaking up. I still remember the emotional roller coaster the news threw me on, how shocked, saddened, and in disbelief I was. MCR was one of those bands whose music, once I discovered it, I was instantly hooked on. And while at that time when I first heard them I was also into a bunch of other bands that changed my life in some form or another, MCR was the only one that kept changing me.. It was almost like we literally grew up together. Aside from the catchy tunes, the one thing I always appreciated was just how personable, down to earth, and relatable the band members were, particularly the lead singer Gerard Way. One of the first songs they became famous for was "Helena", named and written for Gerard (and bass player brother Mikey)'s late grandmother. And the album that single appeared on (Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge), was a dedication to her as well: a bittersweet tribute to somebody that clearly meant so much to the Way brothers. Somebody that they really missed and never wanted to forget..

But even though I knew of the back story when that album was first released, as the teenage fan that I was, I (fortunately) had not yet experienced the loss of a loved one. The raw emotion behind that album's creation is now more intensely clear to me today. I can now say that I truthfully understand the pain heard in Gerard's voice when he belts out the line "so long and goodnight".  You see, two weeks ago I lost my grandfather...

That was incredibly hard to type. I'm still kind of in disbelief about it.

I find myself riding on an even crazier sentimental roller coaster at this time, this year. My favorite band died last year, and my grandfather this one.I've always believed that music can heal, and even though they don't work together anymore, My Chemical Romance's music will always hold a special kind of power. And although the sadness behind Three Cheers and the following album, Welcome to the Black Parade, is magnified, its also therapeutic. I listened to both albums this weekend, sang along to every word, and was comforted. If Gerard Way was able to get through the heartbreak of losing his grandmother, (and make wonderful art because of it), then I know that I'll overcome my own heartache, one day.

The photo at the top is my own rendition of the cover art for Three Cheers, (drawn by Gerard Way). It's just a quick sketch I did in my art journal, while thinking of My Chemical Romance, and of my grandfather. I used a ballpoint pen. My grandfather was a bit of an artist, himself, (and he only used a ballpoint pen). I can still clearly remember the night he pulled me aside once, when I was very young, and told me he was going to draw something for me. Using only a pen, he quickly sketched out what magically transformed into a realistic looking dog, and I can remember being so amazed at how wonderful it looked. Today would have been his 85th birthday... I'd like to think that I inherited at least some of his talent. And of course, these days Gerard Way is known more for being an artist, and I know he's mentioned in the past that it was his grandma Helena who first put a pencil in his hand, too.

Cherish your favorite musicians, and cherish your elders.

Until next time.

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