Since forming in 2001 in New Jersey, My Chemical Romance have evolved from emo-punk upstarts to arena rockin' renegades. Over the course of their comic-book-esque rock'n'roll journey, they appeared on the cover of SPIN three times.



Look back at the band's career from its early days through Danger Days here.

1.Hot Shot

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My Chemical Romance's first appearance in SPIN came in July 2003, when Gerard Way was featured in a photo package shot by Terry Richardson examining the hottest new frontmen in rock.

"I just got off the plane, and I didn't shower a lot back then, I used to drink a lot back then," Way told SPIN in 2010. "They were calling me Speed Stick because I smelled so bad. [Richardson] comes down, wearing a Vietnam T-shirt, and he's like, 'Get up here,' and we just started shooting.Then he sent me over to his CD rack and told me to pick anything out I wanted to hear, and we'd put it on, and I'd sing to it. So I grabbed Black Flag, and started singing 'Nervous Breakdown' and then this guy with a beard comes over and just started spraying me with water. And it's normally not something I'd let someone do, but I was so into it, just headbanging and shit. It's one of my favorite photos."

2.Hot Shot

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My Chemical Romance's first appearance in SPIN came in July 2003, when Gerard Way was featured in a photo package shot by Terry Richardson examining the hottest new frontmen in rock.

"I just got off the plane, and I didn't shower a lot back then, I used to drink a lot back then," Way told SPIN in 2010. "They were calling me Speed Stick because I smelled so bad. [Richardson] comes down, wearing a Vietnam T-shirt, and he's like, 'Get up here,' and we just started shooting.Then he sent me over to his CD rack and told me to pick anything out I wanted to hear, and we'd put it on, and I'd sing to it. So I grabbed Black Flag, and started singing 'Nervous Breakdown' and then this guy with a beard comes over and just started spraying me with water. And it's normally not something I'd let someone do, but I was so into it, just headbanging and shit. It's one of my favorite photos."

3.Sweet 'Revenge'

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My Chemical Romance's first appearance as a full band in the pages of SPIN came in February 2004, just before the release of their second album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Gerard Way talked about his impetus for starting the band — a dead-end career as an animation artist hustling his work to the Cartoon Network: "I had no direction. I thought, 'I need to make a difference in my life,' and music was my answer."

4.SPIN's June 2005 Cover

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5.Cover Stars

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My Chemical Romance nabbed their first SPIN cover in June 2005. SPIN contributor Andy Greenwald focused on the early days of rock's new superheroes, including Gerard Way's rise from comic store clerk to fledgling rocker with a drug and alcohol addiction that nearly broke up the band. "I took my first Xanax. After that, it snowballed," said Gerard. "I would get wasted for a show, then need to shut my brain off at night — because my brain is always moving a million miles a minute. The pills allowed me to relax and sleep. But then the cocaine came into play, and everything went out of whack."

6.My Drug Buddy

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In the June 2005 issue, Gerard Way also spoke of his recovery. It was only after snorting three grams of coke at a Killers concert and then vomiting in the street, then recklessly drinking and downing pills on tour in Japan, that he decide to get clean. "I was terrified to be sober onstage...," he said. "I felt like Spider-Man without the mask. Now I feel more dangerous and sharp than ever. I've got a memory again, and I've got a future. I feel like we're undefeatable."

7.Kid Stuff

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Childhood photos of the band from SPIN's June '05 issue. Clockwise from top left: Gerard, 8, and Mikey Way, 5; former drummer Bob Bryar, 5; guitarist Ray Toro, 9; guitarist Frank Iero, 6.

8.Glam-Punk Superstars

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With 2006's The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance broke emo wide open, indulging their influences — '70s glam rockers Queen, Broadway musicals, etc. — in a concept album about a cancer patient in a hospital.

"On their third album, My Chemical Romance give in completely to their inner theater geeks: It's a savage, heartfelt, at times hilarious goth-mosh emopera featuring strings, horns, a marching band, snarling obscenities, tender reflections on mortality," read SPIN's review (from the November 2006 issue). "On the album's multipart centerpiece and first single, 'Welcome to the Black Parade,' Way is still gleefully fetishizing death and vampires, but traveling the world and getting sober have given him a new sense of mission — and hope."

9.SPIN's March 2006 Cover

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MCR led the magazine's readers poll, winning the prized Band of the Year honor in 2006. "I'd like to thank the fans," said Gerard Way. "We have the best fans in the world, actually. They're a newer, unafraid, more dangerous model. But dangerous in a positive way."

10.Back to 'Black'

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This photo, which appeared in SPIN's January '07 issue, shows brothers Gerard (right) and Mikey Way rocking out in Los Angeles on Halloween night in support of their blockbuster third album, The Black Parade. "Halloween is a real special time for the band," Gerard Way told SPIN. "Since we wear costumes every day, we opted for the skeleton makeup. We'd never felt such an immediacy to the songs like we did that night."

11.A Fan's Notes

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MCR landed on the cover of SPIN again in February 2007. Writer Timothy Gunatilaka examined how the band's adventurous music, probing lyrics, and overall aesthetic encourages a rapturous response from their audience, resulting in one of rock's most intense band-to-fan relationships. "The My Chemical Romance phenomenon bridges two of the new millennium's most significant, if far-flung, cultural convulsions: the tragedy of 9/11 and the launch of MySpace," wrote Gunatilaka. "With every online post crediting them with rescuing another soul, devotion to the band approaches religious fervor. 'I'd meet these kids that were outsiders,' said Gerard. 'And I'd realize they're looking to use for the answer.'"

12.SPIN's February 2007 Cover

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13.'Fabulous Killjoys'

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After a four-year absence, during which the band recorded their fourth album twice, MRC returned with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in November 2010, and scored another cover of SPIN. Writer Josh Eells examined the band's expansive, searing, and conceptual new album. "It's exactly as over-the-top as that title would lead you to expect," wrote Eells. "The premise? The year is 2019, and some unspecified environmental catastrophe has befallen America. The survivors are ruled by a nefarious corporation called Better Living Industries, which employs an army of masked vampires called Draculoids. It's up to our heroes, a motorcycle-riding gang of 'rogue artists' called the Killjoys — a.k.a. My Chem — to save the day."

14.SPIN's December 2010 Cover

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15.Way Cool

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While MCR were still in the studio working on Danger Days, SPIN picked Gerard Way as one of three cover subjects — along with Spoon's Britt Daniel and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong — for our special 2010 anniversary issue, in which our favorite young rockers met their veteran idols. In Way's case, it was squirmy punk legend Iggy Pop. And in our interview, Way proved to be a true Stooges disciple: "I didn't want the girls to want to fuck me, I wanted the straight guys to want to fuck me. I got that from Iggy."

16.SPIN's April 2010 Cover

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