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    My Chemical Romance Bounce Back from the Brink

    They scrapped a whole album, lost a drummer, and are besieged by pesky Draculoids. Why is it that the crazier things get for My Chemical Romance, the happier they see? [Magazine Excerpt] Around this time last year, all Gerard Way could talk about was how different the next My Chemical Romance record was going to be. The band were coming off two long years supporting their 2006 album, The Black Parade, a rock opera about cancer and dying that sold more than three million copies worldwide. The two albums before that, 2002's I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love and 2004's Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, were also conceptual, chronicling a couple's journey to hell after dying in a desert shoot-out. But the new record, Way kept promising, was going to be back to basics. No epic plotlines. No crazy uniforms. No makeup.

  • Paramore: Party in the U.S.A.

    Paramore: Party in the U.S.A.

    Fueled by high-grade chocolate milk on a bus that smells of popcorn and Twizzlers, Paramore traverse the country on a mission to bring sunny angst to the masses. SPIN tags along for the ride, and wonders where they go from here. [Cover story excerpt] THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 11:30 P.M. Somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike Hayley Williams is on the bus, yanking off her fake eyelashes.

  • Band of the Year: Kings of Leon

    Band of the Year: Kings of Leon

    In 2008, Kings of Leon wondered if they'd ever be as popular at home as they were over-seas. In 2009 they got their answer. But as Caleb Followill and family celebrate their victory, they're also learning they need to be careful what they wish for. "Shot and a beer?" says Caleb Followill as he bellies up to a bar in Manhattan's West Village. "Patrón, please-Silver, chilled." (He quit drinking whiskey earlier this year. "The hangovers.") He could use a drink-just 72 hours earlier, the Kings of Leon frontman was jetting back from the United Arab Emirates, where his band headlined a private show for 20,000 at a Formula One racetrack in Abu Dhabi. For four country boys from Nashville, it was a fittingly surreal end to a very surreal year. "They put the fear in us-don't do this, don't do that," Followill says. "But in the end, we did everything we weren't supposed to.

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    Tegan and Sara: Across a Crowded Womb

    Here's how Tegan Quin would like this to go down -- we start with the basics: She plays with her sister Sara in a band called Tegan and Sara, they sing catchy songs about relationships, they're from Canada and they like hockey (go Flames!). "Journalists always blow their load in the first paragraph," she says, sipping water at a bar in downtown Vancouver. (She's ill.) "Then they spend the next five floundering around with boring details." Fair enough. So what next? "Then we get into the twin thing," she says. Okay: Tegan and Sara are 29-year-old identical twins born eight minutes apart. (Tegan is older.) They admit to sometimes trading places for interviews, but otherwise they're far from interchangeable. Tegan dates an L.A.

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    Review: Green Day's 'American Idiot' Musical

    Brought to the stage by director Michael Mayer, the man behind 2006's surprise Broadway hit Spring Awakening, the stage-musical version of Green Day's American Idiot is currently enjoying a trial run in the band's native East Bay, and early indicators were promising: Ushers in the Berkeley Repertory Theater handed out earplugs before the show -- what is this, My Bloody Valentine? -- and one kid in the lobby even had a mohawk. Better still were the charmingly didactic essays in the playbill ("Punk rock was born in the late '70s out of a reaction to the status quo..." Got it, Grandpa?). And not to spoil anything, but by the end of the 90-minute performance, the stage had been witness to half a dozen chugged beers, a couple of joints, several syringes of heroin, one drug-related suicide, one O.D., and one bout of very realistic-looking sex on a futon.

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    Pearl Jam: Moving Targets

    You haven't really tasted death until you've been inches away from an ax swung by Eddie Vedder. Not that Vedder is careless. He's just...focused. He gets this look: You know the one, from the "Jeremy" video, vaguely lupine -- lips curled, fangs bared, eyes crazy. He grips the haft with both hands, draws the blade back over his head, and lets it fly, watching it tumble end over end in an elegant arc, sinking into its target -- a three-footwide cedar stump -- with a deep, satisfying thunk. "Bull's-eye. Mark it," Vedder says, pumping his fist. "Hey, you need another beer?" At this point I've been in Vedder's company for about eight hours. We've surfed, we've swum, we've sailed. We've drunk and drunk some more. I've met his wife; I've high-fived his kids.

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