Not the Life It Seems
Tom Bryant
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Buy *Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance* by Tom Bryanto nline

Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance
Tom Bryant
Da Capo Press
352 pages
September 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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It's easy to understand why bands on a downward spiral ultimately break up. There is a dissipation of focus and passion, egos crash into one another, and most seriously, creative juices dry up. That's why when My Chemical Romance broke up last year, it came as a surprise and a shock to everybody. They had released four stunning records that all sold incredibly well, were part of mammoth tours around the world, and were responsible for shaping the style of music known as emo.

Bryant's book will help you understand what happened and more importantly why events led up to their eventual dissolution. The band was virtually forged around the disaster of 9/11, and from that point onward, the history of the group is documented. The author is a gifted rock journalist with a keen ear for narrative and description. Here is the opening paragraph

A scene from Belleville, New jersey, sometime in the mid-eighties. A wrestling show is blaring its pantomime brawls from a TV turned up to near the max. In front of it, the two Way brothers are re-enacting every move, leaping on top of each other, yanking at each other's limbs, pulling each other's bodies around. It was as close as Gerard and younger brother Mikey would ever get to fighting.
It's a beautiful paragraph that is professionally written, poignant, and poetic. On top of his wonderful prose, the author has interviewed all the band members and includes that illuminating dialog here.

This is one of the better biographies you'll read. My Chemical Romance will never record together again, but the history of what they've done is carefully documented here. If you loved their music, you need to read this book to truly understand who they were.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2014

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