It has been a wild few days for freelance photographer Nichole Torpea. The 22-year-old UMSL grad was shooting the My Chemical Romance concert at the Pageant for Riverfront Times this past Saturday night when, she says, she was assaulted by a member of the band’s security team.
But she’ll be shooting an MCR concert again this Friday at New York City’s Madison Square Garden — as a special guest of the band.
While taking pictures from the balcony of the Pageant during last Saturday’s sold-out show, Torpea says, she was approached by a man she believes is a member of MCR’s security team. The man, whom she later described to St. Louis police as six-foot-three, 210 to 230 pounds and dressed all in black, grabbed her arm, led her through a door to a stairwell and forced her to the ground. Torpea says the man paid little attention to the photo pass attached to her shirt.
“I was collapsing under his pressure,” she says. “I had no idea what was going on. He had no ID and wouldn’t tell me who he was. He kept saying, ‘You know what you did. Give me the fucking camera.’” Michael Mitchell, venue manager of the Pageant, says he and his employees were shocked when they arrived on the scene. “My first concern was their safety,” says Mitchell. “They were headed for the stairs. I jumped behind them and pushed them toward the landing. Both my heels were dangling over the top stair.”
The confrontation ended seconds later, after the man ripped the camera from Torpea’s body and fled down the stairs. He returned several minutes later and gave back her camera, having deleted all the images on the memory card. His parting words: “You’ll never work for MCR or [the band's label] Warner Bros. again!”
Mitchell says he’s still taken aback. “Three members of our staff, including me, witnessed it,” he says. “Combined, we have over 50 years experience in security and nightclub management. None of us had ever seen anything approaching the degree of unprofessionalism portrayed by their guy’s actions.”
Torpea, who was treated by the nightclub’s medic for an abrasion to her arm, says she blacked out momentarily after the incident, owing to hyperventilation. Two hours after the show, at the suggestion of Riverfront Times web editor Nick Lucchesi, Torpea called police. By the time an officer responded to the scene, the band had packed up its tour bus and left town.
The police report labels the alleged offense “assault third degree” and the suspect “unknown.” Torpea says she still doesn’t know the man’s name.
Luke Burland, head of press for Warner Bros. Records, says the New Jersey-based band was unaware of any incident until being contacted yesterday by RFT. She declines to speculate on the identity of the alleged assailant. “The band is definitely looking into it and will take appropriate action,” the publicist says. “They feel horrible about this. It’s not who they are. They want to make amends.”
The group’s raucous, punk-inspired music and angst-filled lyrics have translated to album sales in the millions since MCR hit it big in 2004. Despite the hardcore image, the band maintains a squeaky-clean image and a reputation as being exceptionally fan-friendly.
“Five geeky outcast dudes,” is how lead singer Gerard Way described MCR in a 2006 interview in Alternative Press magazine. In YouTube videos, the band expounds not on the clichés of sex, drugs and rock & roll, but on its respect for women and what its members see as their mission to save the lives of their teen- and college-age fan base.
Burland notes that it’s common for bands to allow press photographers to shoot only during the first three songs of a concert. Still, she hastens to add, that’s no excuse for the way Torpea appears to have been treated. “The band would never condone that behavior,” the publicist says.
Torpea says she now realizes she was in violation of the agreement she signed in order to obtain her press credential. “I misunderstood it,” she says. “I thought the rule applied only to photos near the stage. I didn’t realize it extended throughout the club and on the balcony.”
Torpea says some of her friends had been pressing her to seek legal recourse before she got a call late Tuesday night from MCR’s manager. “He said the group had no idea what happened and they are sorry about anything that may have occurred,” Torpea reports. “They want to make it right and have invited me to come see them in New York.”
The photographer had some initial misgivings about the band’s offer to fly her and her boyfriend to Manhattan but ultimately decided to let bygones be bygones. “Essentially I was looking for an apology,” she says. “Last weekend was pretty crappy. So if they’re going to make it up to me with a good weekend, I can’t complain.”
And what if during the concert she comes across her alleged attacker? “I’ll probably just say: ‘Hey dude, thanks for the free trip to New York.’”
Last night, Jersey goth/punk/mall rockers My Chemical Romance blew through town. The crowd was a cauldron of divorced dads, backward-hat wearing jocks, tween misfits, and straight-up hillbillies. Highlights-or lowlights, ahem-observed included the following:
Bam Margera looking like a pile of dirty laundry in the upstairs bar. His presence alone boosted the douchbag quotient of the night exponentially.
An overpierced mallrat moshed into a fat librarian mom. His zealousness was quickly put in check with a swift throat grab by her trailer park hubby. At first I felt bad for the mallrat, I mean violence is never a good thing, but then what he did in my next point made me glad that someone tried to kick his ass.This champ then proceeded to make out with his very young girlfriend, grinding behind her during My Chem’s total bummer slow jam, “Cancer”, which is about the death of singer Gerard Way’s Grandmother. This song makes Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way” look like Slayer. Making out to this is like making out to Schindler’s List; i.e. just creepy.
Two chubby teenage lesbians with asymmetrical haircuts cuddled awkwardly during “I Don’t Love You.”
A trio of over-tanned, straightiron-abusing Jersey girls screamed along off-key to every. single. goddamned. song.
A 12 year old girl with a floppy ponytail punched a guy who kept bumping into her. Whoa, lil’ Kathleen Hanna, please do Philly a favor and start a riot grrrl band, PRONTO.And the award for Most Uplifting Moment At a My Chemical Romance Show goes to this pair: a mother and her tween son holding hands, pumping their fists in the air and rockin’ out in unison to the rousing set closer, “Helena.” It was so unpunk it almost did a full-circle and became superpunk. Afterwards, she told me that this was not only his first concert ever, but that this was his favorite band and that they won their tickets through a radio contest. It was like a real life Detroit Rock City, but with less Edward Furlong and more fingerless gloves!
A teen girl obsessed with a “suicide cult” rock band, hanged herself two weeks after becoming an “emo”, an inquest heard today.
Talented karate artist and “model pupil” Hannah Bond, 13, and fan of controversial band My Chemical Romance, was found hanging from beneath her bunk bed with a tie in the early hours of September 23 at her family home in East Peckham.
She had several self-inflicted cuts in parallel fashion on her left wrist, which she told her dad was “an initiation into emo”, the inquest at Maidstone Coroners’ Court was told.
The petite, year nine pupil had in the months prior become obsessed with the teen trend (emo) - a popular fashion and lifestyle fad followed by kids who emulate the older ‘gothic’ crowd.
On her Bebo page Miss Bond, who used the online name Living Disaster and has internet friends with names like Sam Suicide, said she was obsessed with the hugely popular My Chemical Romance band, who hit number one with their last album, The Black Parade.
Her mother, Heather Bond, told the court how she learned The Black Parade is “where you go when you die” as she researched the emo fad.
She said: “The whole concept is aimed at people Hannah’s age.”
“In emo it is a very glamorous death to hang yourself.”
“There are websites that show pink teddies hanging themselves.”
“The band she was into, the music she was into – the whole thing is based on The Black Parade which is all about dying.”
“She called emo a fashion and I thought it was normal.”
“I didn’t know about the cuts. She used to wear emo bracelets so her wrists were concealed.”
“Hannah was just a normal girl.”
“She had loads of friends.”
“She could be a bit moody but I though it was just because she was a teenager.”
“In the months before she had become obsessed with the internet.”
“But there were no signs this was going to happen.”
“She had everything to live for.”
In a tribute book left at a shrine at her school following Miss Bond’s death a pal wrote: “I hope you enjoy The Black Parade.”
Her father, Ray Bond, a sensei at the Kyokushin Karate Club in Gravesend, where Hannah was a member, wept as he said: “Two weeks before her death, I saw the cuts. I asked her about them and we discussed how it was an emo initiation.”
“She promised me she would never do it again.”
“She was in in touch with emos all over the world, particularly from America, over the internet.”
“The night before she hanged herself she came into the room and gave me a big kiss and said ‘I love you, Dad’.”
In the hours before her death Miss Bond had been hanging out with her boyfriend and others at a pal’s home.
She had not phoned her parents for a lift home when she was supposed to, playing up after she was told she would not be able to sleep over.
Her mum and older sister Jessica picked her up more than an hour and a half later to find that Hannah was “hyper active”.
Heather said: “She was hyperventilating. She used to drink the energy drink Kick, I don’t know if it had to do with that. She said she wanted a cuddle, so I reached back to her.”
As Hannah entered her family home she said she wanted to go straight upstairs. Heather told how she said: “I want to kill myself.”
That was the last time she was seen alive.
Nicola Appleton, the mother of one of the boys at whose home Miss Bond was spending time earlier that night, told the court how in the weeks prior she too had discovered cuts on her son’s arm.
She said: “He said they all did it.”
“I told him it had to stop. He just said emos all do it.”
“He said he didn’t really want to hurt himself and the cuts weren’t very deep.”
“He had done it at school with a compass.”
Vanessa Everett, the headteacher at the Mascalls School were Miss Bond was regarded as an outstanding pupil, admitted there had been serious concerns over the spread of the emo lifestyle among students.
She said: “Hannah was known to me as a model student.”
“Everybody said she was a lovely, bubbly student who worked hard.”
“Right up to the weeks before she died Hannah was getting honours for her work in her lessons.”
“But we are very aware of this fashion trend which started with some of the older students.”
“Part of the problem it posts for us is it involves superficial self harm.”
“It can be difficult for us to differentiate between those students who were doing it because of serious psychological or emotional issues and those who are doing it for a fashion statement.”
“We wouldn’t have classified Hannah as one of those students with serious psychological or emotional problems.”
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Roger Sykes said: “She was a family friendly girl who was doing well as school.”
“A girl, aged 13 years, has taken her own life for no reason that could be regarded by anyone as sensible or justified and if in doing so she was thinking about how this would go down with those others who were involved with the emo fad; I just believe this a terrible tragic explanation for what happened.”
“It was not glamorous. It was a tragic loss of life.”
Visitors to the Miss Bond’s Bebo profile page are greeted with the words “Hi I’m Hannah and I’m addicted to My Chemical Romance especially Gerard Way”.
She even lists her hometown as “The Black Parade!!!”, and her playlist shows she has been repeatedly listening to 14 of the group’s hits.
She also asks friends to take part in an online vote on which member of My Chemical Romance is the sexiest.
The page is decorated with pictures of an emo girl with blood-spattered wrists after slashing herself in an apparent suicide bid.
Another picture shows a child’s exercise book scrawled with the words “Dear Diary, today I gave up…”.
She also glorifies in the slogan: “Brave is knowing that tomorrow isn’t a bright and happy future.”
Dozens of Miss Bond’s heartbroken friends have left tributes on her Bebo page.
One friend explicitly referred to the lyrics of Miss Bond’s favourite song when she wrote: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll never forget you, I’ll hold on to these memories till we meet again in the black parade.”
Another friend, Bonnie Price, wrote: “I miss you so much, when I found out I was devastated. I love you so much.”
Another added: “Black tears of death bring red tears of love and memories.”
My Chemical Romance have repeatedly come under fire for ‘glamorising’ suicide.
The band hit the mainsteam in October 2006 when their single Welcome To The Black Parade topped the charts.
Earlier hundreds of young devotees had queued all night outside London’s Oxford Street Virgin Megastore for a chance to see the band’s intimate in-store performance.
In the hit single the band’s frontman Gerard Way sings: “And though you’re dead and gone believe me your memory will carry on, will carry on.
“And in my heart I can’t contain it, the anthem won’t explain it.”
“Your misery and hate will kill us all. So paint it black and take it black.”
“Do or die, you’ll never make me, because the world will never take my heart. Though they try, they’ll never break me. We want it all, we wanna play this part.”
My husband, my sister and I got to the venue at around 11:30 a.m. or so. When we got there there was already a small line with the people in the front having arrived the day before at 30 in the afternoon. We took our place in line and made friends with the surrounding fans, all of whom were very nice.
I did some Skeleton Crew promoting by handing out fliers I downloaded. It felt good to be spreading the word. Me with my fliers I handed out.
We took turns walking into the venue area and since it was partially outdoors you could see the stage being set up, merch stands bing set up and all of the hustle and bustle. After a while they set up a security guard to not allow anyone in anymore. Not even to use the port-a-pots even though there was still a three hour wait until the doors were officially open.
Finally after two hotel runs to use the restroom and one food run to McDonald’s the doors were opened. They split the boys and girls into two lines and people quickly made there way through the not so tight security. We made our way to the front, second from the barrier between Ray and Gerard. The stage seemed incredibly small and I couldn’t have been more excited.
Drive By was first. I thought the frontman seemed very sincere in being happy to be there and said that they would be at their merch stand after the show and they wanted to meet everyone. The had a camera man filming video of their set and at one point the lead singer held up the camera and recorded the audience. I thought their set was good and we bought one of their CD’s for $5 which they all signed.
Next came Billy Talent. I have to say that I disagree with Kizzymie. I felt like their performance energized the audience from the first song. I think the lead singer was very charismatic and entertaining and quite a performer. The guitarist was wearing a shirt that said Mikey Fuckin Frey just like the Mikey Way one. I will definitely be looking into their music in the future.
Finally, after much anticipation it was time for My Chemical Romance. The crowd was already getting tight and it only increased throughout the set.
They came onstage and every went wild. Gerard did say that he was sick and I saw him shoot three….count ‘em THREE snot rockets throughout the show, so I assume he must have had a cold accompanied by a runny nose. I thought that despite his ailments his vocals were outstanding and his performance was not lacking. I felt like he didn’t talk as much between numbers as I have seen him do at other shows I’ve been to. They seemed to truck through the songs fairly quickly, in my opinion. The songs all sounded amazing and I was thrilled to hear the b-sides and Headfirst for Halos.
At one point during the piano solo, Frank brought an older woman onstage and she had his guitar around her neck. I had seem the woman earlier being escorted onstage by Matt Cortez. She watched the show from a chair on the side of the stage so I assume she must have been a relative of Frank’s maybe? Anyway, it was very sweet. I love Frank.
The dude that played the harmonica, I had seen earlier performing roadie duties. He sang along with the chorus during the Teenagers performance and his harmonica skills were great. It was pretty cool.
People were randomly throwing things onstage…stuffed animals, boas and the like, but one thing caught Gerard’s attention. Some one close to the front was holding up a scarf type thing that said something about France. He said something along the lines of, “Is that for me? I love France. They love my wife over there.” It was too sweet.
Before Desert Song, Gerard said that he was going to play a song from a little movie called Life On The Murder Scene. He said that the point of the movie was to encourage everyone to get out there and start a band. It was pretty cool. He did also mention that this was the last tour they would be doing for a couple years, but we pretty much already knew that. He also howled like a wolf a few times before they played House of Wolves.
We we literally 6-8 feet away from the band. I was amazing to be that close and to see the details of their expressions and the sweat dripping off of their faces. Ray was amazing as usual, and I agree that Mikey was a commanding presence throughout the show. Bob with his knee high socks and shorts never fails to make me smile.
I have to say that besides the show I saw in Ft. Lauderdale, this was the roughest crowd I had been in. People were definitely pushing forward aggressively, worse at times then others. People were bing pulled out of the front left and right losing shoes along the way. When the show was over there were two random shoes at my feet. The girl next to my sister passed out before the show even started and I saw another girl completely passed out being pulled out of the pit as well. If you were short, which luckily none of us were, you would have had a difficult time in the first 10 feet of audience. One such person having a difficult time actually threw up on my sister. It was so foul. And another girl- you are not going to believe this- she BIT my husband. He flipped out and tried to get security but they didn’t do anything. Piss poor. She said he was elbowing her. Dude, where we were everyone was getting elbowed. I was also fucking pinched in my back and it felt pretty intentional. It was kind of unbelievable at times.
MCR’s main security guy (Mehdi or something like that?) passed out water bottles probably three songs before the end of the show to a bunch of us in the front and it was much appreciated by that time.
For all of they hype I had heard about the band seeming tired on this tour, Ray drinking onstage (which he did not), and the shows lacking energy, I think all of that is rubbish. They were amazing.
As the crowd cleared I made my way the the merch stand and bought the Mikey Fuckin Way shirt: front / back ($20), a Ray Toro t-shirt that I had never seen before: front / back ($20) and a long sleeve jersey type shirt that had the tour dates on the back: front / back ($25). We chugged our $3.50 waters and headed back to the hotel to wash the saliva and puke away.
It was a great night and an amazing show. We’ll remember this one for a long time.
Gerard talking about Sloss being haunted and Mikey and the Ouija board.
Spring delivered an idyllic sunset behind the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion last night, not long before My Chemical Romance took the stage. If the band saw the display, likely the musicians recognized the marked contrast with the music it was about to deliver. The New Jersey group’s catalog, especially the comic opera of its newest album, The Black Parade, is about impulses more likely to emerge after the day’s sunlight has been spent.
That collection was the centerpiece of the previous tour, scheduled for Columbus but canceled because of illness. “We killed The Black Parade (after that),” lead singer Gerard Way said last night. “You didn’t miss much, other than a lot of prancing and some cool explosions.”
Still, the singer — newly returned to his natural brunet — and band performed an extended set of selections from the album. They were the highlights of the evening and spoke best for the potent personal medicine of the band’s material.
Way has said that his songs help him deal with personal demons, no more plain than on the album’s title track, wherein the protagonist leads a parade of damaged, wounded souls.
Last night, the tune not only thundered with the weight of the mission, but its circus-music style provided an absurdly comedic tone. The surreal, jaunty attitude was distilled in Mama, whose darkly comic catharsis was driven by a foundation lifted from Kurt Weill as surely as the Doors covered the Weimar-era German songwriter nearly 40 years ago.
The tunes also found the band sounding the most like Queen, an inspiration permeates the album.
First, though, My Chemical Romance is a solid rock-and-roll band. If hits such as Helena weren’t as dimensional as the new material, they thundered, nonetheless.
Hello! My name is Brandi and I run this joint. I, along with the other MCF Minions (Kristie, Brett, Vinny and Zach), will bring you all the latest news on My Chemical Romance, all their side-projects and other related news.