As a teenager/college student, I was a punk/alt/metal kid. A lot of it started in the Tooth&Nail/Solid state family, but it grew pretty wide beyond that. Norma Jean, Demon Hunter, Emery, and Anberlin were my favorites, hands down. I was never a Warped Tour kid, I never rolled in the scene, I was just an obsessed listener/fan. And I went to St Andrews/the Shelter a LOT from 2003 – 2006 for Solid State shows. Life changes, I got older, and I haven’t been in a mosh pit in a decade. My musical tastes are a lot broader than they were in 2006. I can’t say I’ve listened to a lot of alt/punk/metal of late.
So it caught me by surprise the other night when I was listening to All Songs Considered and caught a discussion about My Chemical Romance’s album The Black Parade. It’s the 10th anniversary of that album.
See, I graduated college in May 2006. Black Parade released in October of that year, and a month later over Thanksgiving, my buddy Dylan found out he had lymphoma.
In March 2008, lymphoma killed Dylan.
Somewhere back then I packed that genre away, for the most part, and haven’t revisited it since. But now here we are, a decade later, and the subconscious and the real come crashing back together.
The Black Parade is a musical story about The Patient. A young man who finds out he has cancer and his story of dying and the afterlife is told over the course of the album.
When I hear The Black Parade now, it’s as if they are narrating the last months of Dylan’s life to me and it’s an incredible thing because I never expected a 2006 emo/alt album to be the story of my friend.
But it is, to me.
So thank you to My Chemical Romance.
Thank you for telling Dylan’s story to me, over and over again. Thank you for keeping him from receding into the dusty corners of my memory.
I love you My Chemical Romance.
I love you Dylan.
Dylan’s thoughts from the summer before he died:
“I’m not really afraid to die. More than anything, I just don’t want to look back on my youth – this time when we should all be out having fun and doing stupid things – and realize that I missed my chance to do it. Really, that’s all I’m afraid of.”
and the last track from The Black Parade, titled “Famous Last Words,” leaves us with
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I’ll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home