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The Day I Played Drums For My Chemical Romance

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:56 UK time, Monday, 7 May 2007

My Chemical Romance...LIVE!

See that? That's My Chemical Romance doing what they do best - rocking the house, causing mayhem and devastation, raising the roof and generally blowing up a storm. And that fella at the back with arrows on him, that's MCR's drummer Bob Bryar.

Now, the tale I'm about to tell you is perhaps a little hard to believe, and certainly the kind of thing that might make a hardened MCR fan want to smash up their computer screen with envy...but it is a true story. And it is a good story. And it goes a little something like this...

Not long ago, I met a man called Simon who, in the midst of a massively long chat about music, revealed that he'd done a few music interviews in his time, and that he had once stood in for Bob Bryar, and even played his drums at Wembley. Now, that sounded like a load of old hooey, so I quizzed him further, and he told me the tale you are about to read.

When he finished, I was impressed, and not a little bit envious myself, so I asked him to write it all down for the ChartBlog massive (that's you) to experience first-hand. This he did...but before you devour his every word, a note of caution... even a cursory look at this reveals a man who is still a little bit drunk on the excitement of that moment. Or just plain drunk. Either way, this amazing tale of rhythmic daring has altered slightly from being merely impressive in speech form, to an enormous rambling film-script for some widescreen epic, starring Johnny Depp as Simon and featuring thousands of CGI kangaroos raining from the very heavens...

...or not. You be the judge. All I know is that he's never been the same since. And quite right too!


The Day I Played Drums with My Chemical Romance at Wembley Arena
By Simon Vincent (aged 23)

There is a famous speech in the play Henry V, by our old friend Billy Shakespeare (bear with me here), in which King Harry leads the English army into battle at Agincourt against the French (the English win, by the way...).

On the eve of battle, Henry addresses his men and says:

"He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day'"

What Hazza is saying here, if my English Lit GCSE serves me correctly is;
"This is kind of a big deal. Y’know, one day you might wanna boast about this to your mates down the pub", or to put it into the words of Shalamar (and then Atomic Kitten), "We’re gonna make this a night to remember".

What I'm getting to is that, for those of you who attended the My Chemical Romance gig at Wembley Arena on the 29th March of this year, there was, I believe, an event of similarly momentous and world-changing importance (to me) going on, and you may have missed it.

For it was upon this hallowed evening that the greatest, most technically gifted (as well as the most dashing, intelligent and modest) drummer of modern times graced the Wembley stage, rocked out, and fulfilled not only his own dreams, but also those of all the beautiful ladies in attendance that night.

mcr_bob.jpgNo, not the erstwhile Romance sticksman, Bob Bryar (excellent though he is), but a little known rock journalist who just didn't get the lucky breaks he deserved in the music industry. That man...was Simon Vincent. 'He' was, in fact, me.

The way it happened is this. I was there to interview Bob for a specialist drumming magazine, which I duly did. He showed me his kits, his kaboodle, his skins, his cymbals, the lot. He has two kits, y'know, which are set up back-to-back on a 12-foot-tall rotating plinth which hardened gigsters call a 'drum riser'.

Things went well. Bob is a very nice man indeed. So nice, in fact, that at one point he even offered me a chance to play his drums. YES, THAT'S RIGHT! HE ASKED ME TO PLAY HIS DRUMS FOR HIM!

Now, it is at such crucial moments in one's life that one must remain, above all, calm and dignified, stepping up to the plate in a confident and swarthy fashion. One must be a master of lucid thought as well as being swift and nimble of tongue (and sticks, in this case).

I can recall my witty response to such a kindly offer almost completely accurately. It was, I believe, "B****r! Erm...alright then!"
(I know, I know. It's like Bill Shakespeare never died, right?).

Simon at his own kitI climbed the 'riser' like a hardened jolly jack tar swarming the rigging for the last ship's biscuit, which had been left in the crow's nest for the seagulls to peck at, but suddenly became valuable when all the ship's rations got flooded and spoiled. Once behind the kit, I grabbed a pair of Bob's best hittering sticks and, with a count of four, began to set about his skins and cymbals with unerring accuracy...

What followed was a performance for which other (lesser) rock journalists usually reserve the terms 'incendiary' or even, occasionally (very occasionally) 'good enough to make a little bit of wee come out.'

For my performance was not only powerful, it was performed with a lightness of touch. A piece of elegant rhythm so solemn and yet so elegant that it reduced grown men to tears (I believe they were tears of joy!).

Yes, my friends, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE TWENTY PEOPLE in the room thought it such a beautiful piece of musicianship that they felt undeserving even to be in the same room as such an accomplished rhythmic raconteur as myself; running, as they did, for the doors, screaming their approval to each other in beautiful hymns of praise.

"Twenty people?" I hear you ask, "I thought you said it was at Wembley Arena?".

Ah, did I not mention I was only a sound-check?



If anyone else has a story about playing a famous person's instrument (easy, pop pervs!), then do send it in to chartblog@bbc.co.uk


  1. At 08:40 PM on 07 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    that man is a very lucky man. and i must thank you for doing a mcr blog, they make my day and distract me from those '5 star' songs. ahhh, it brings back the memories of the nia, birmingham on 22 march when i saw them...BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE, EVER! was anyone else there? does anyone else know what im going on about when i say "everybody tie your shoes clap clap" *clap clap*? ahhh *sighs* gerards so hot! :P poor americans though whos shows got cancalled due to the bands food poisoning, get well soon! and mikeys on honeymoon...
    ill shut up now as there is a great chance (if it hasnt already started) that im going to ramble....so, over and out for now :)

  2. At 09:24 PM on 07 May 2007, Seth wrote:

    I WAS THERE!!!!!!!
    about 3 rows in front and to the right of you if i remember correctly

  3. At 09:34 PM on 07 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    yes i waved to you :)

  4. At 09:40 PM on 07 May 2007, Kat wrote:

    Ahh you lucky people!! *cries*

  5. At 09:47 PM on 07 May 2007, Rob wrote:

    I was at the front...cha cha cha....3 meteres from the band cha cha cha.... beat that....cha cha cha....er sorry kerri...next time! cha.

    [I think playing Bob Bryar's drums beats that, doesn't it? - Fraser]

  6. At 09:49 PM on 07 May 2007, Seth wrote:

    hmmm, im fairly sure i waved back....

  7. At 09:57 PM on 07 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    well 'seth' (sorry) and rob know that i can beat both of that! so ha!

  8. At 09:56 AM on 08 May 2007, chris wrote:

    wow. Im so jealous!!! I can't beilieve you got to play his kit!!! i wasn't at the gig cos my brother didn't get me a ticket! But i heard he had a pretty awesome time too! Well Done.

  9. At 10:08 AM on 08 May 2007, MikeyV wrote:

    ...was the battle won, did your fingers bleed, did the body ache, do you still bear the scars - were the skins put to the sword?

  10. At 04:46 PM on 09 May 2007, cat wrote:

    very very very very lucky. someone gimme a chance to meet mcr ?!?!?!?!?! PLEEEEEASE I WILL DO ANYTHING!!!

    shame that'd never ever ever ever happen :l (damn)

  11. At 12:08 PM on 10 May 2007, megan wrote:

    i want that to be me!!!!! i love mcr!!!!!!!!!
    i will do anything to meat then!!!! AND I SAY ANYTHING!!!!!

  12. At 09:12 AM on 11 May 2007, Matt wrote:

    the black parade album is one off the best album's to come together but why does it start with the end as track one?

  13. At 11:40 AM on 11 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    matt - my theory is that it starts with the end as track one cus this story of the patient is about life isnt it, and the beginning of life is ultimately the beginning of the end as thats the only certain thing, that one day its going to end as we die. in disenchanted is when your meant to realise this '...a life long wait for a hospital stay...'

  14. At 08:46 PM on 14 May 2007, skittles wrote:

    Matt, and Kerri-

    My theory (might as well get it in) is that the album is about death, so the start of death is the end of life...so the album(death) begins with the end(of life)...Does that make sense??

    Very cool about playing for Bob by the way...I'm ever so jelous! Can't wait to see them in July!

  15. At 10:18 PM on 14 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    it makes sense but its not about death, you see thats where youre wrong..the album is about life, and seeing it when experiencing the close touch of death. thats why the music isnt depressing, its inspiring!... "To ignore death and to be afraid of it is dumb because everyone is going to face it at some point, says Toro. If you look at death and the reality of it, you realize that were all going to die, so lets use this time on Earth to be positive and do good things. Thats the point of this record. " see what i mean? and also why would it end with 'i am not afraid to keep on living' if the patient is already dead? we dont actually know that the patient does die. and why does it have references as to life being just a long wait for death?..'a life long wait for a hospital stay' if this isnt what the album is partially trying to communitcate and ready you for 'and if you think that im wrong, this never meant nothing to ya...'

  16. At 10:31 PM on 14 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    goblins fraser :( my name is there >>>> on the recent comments but my comment isnt here

  17. At 02:44 PM on 16 May 2007, Lyn wrote:

    wow! lucky lucky lucky! i wish i could play bob's drums... even though i don't play drums. but i do play bass. i could play mikey's bass. but he's on his honeymoon. damn. *sigh* i want to meet my chem sooooo much!

    by the way i was at the march 22nd gig in brum. haha the shoe-tie song rocks! me and my friend still sing it. good times.

  18. At 08:13 PM on 16 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    yay! someone else knows the tie your shoes song :P so random, so funny

  19. At 08:47 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    to all mcr fans, the moment we've been waiting for..................TEENAGERS SCARE THE LIVING S**T OUT OF ME!!!!!!!!!!!! if you havnt already guessed then its the VIDEO TO TEENAGRS :D:D:D:D


    enjoy enjoy enjoy, and dont be too jealous of those american fans who got to be in the video, even though i know i can hardly talk!

  20. At 09:17 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    oh it did work, sorry then no need to post the other, but why did it come up with an error? oh dear, the error machine thingy has an error, thats never good!

    [Note for everyone else: Kerri's had some problems getting that last comment live. As you can see, she's very excited about MCR's new single. She's not mad, honest! - Fraser]

  21. At 09:28 PM on 30 May 2007, Kat wrote:


  22. At 09:30 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    thank you for clearing that up for me fraser :)

    did you watch the video?? its great isnt it :P im sooo happy, over the moon, joyous etc (you get the picture) that its finally been released! every day for like over a month the 1st thing ive done whenever ive come online is go on the offical site, then their myspace and then you tube to see it i could find it and finally my wishes have been answered :D and i didnt even have to look for it, i had an email telling me all i needed to know :D (note to self: shut up or everyone will think youre mad no matter what fraser says..oh no, now im talking to myself :S !......)

  23. At 09:59 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    im a bit hyper atm so just ignore me, but why do they miss out the words 'gun' 'murder' 'your shirt' and 'pay'??

  24. At 10:09 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    ohh kat, im sorry :'( ....if it asks you to update media player or whatever then do so, i did and it worked fine

  25. At 10:26 PM on 30 May 2007, Kat wrote:

    Yeah it said to update it to 9 but I have 11! Can't install anything on my laptop right now though anyway because of some system failure thing so will need to wait until I have my desk put back together and my regular comp up *cries*

  26. At 10:30 PM on 30 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    awww, mine didnt say anything like that, it just had a box saying update and i said yes....erm, well by tomorrow its bound to be on youtube anway.....maybe you could dream about it tonight (or just dream about gerard in general, thatll do me :P tehee). that way youve seen your own version of it so the waiting wont be so bad. or you could sit there and cry :S

  27. At 04:19 PM on 31 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    for anyone who had difficulties when they tried to watch the vid yesterday here it is :D


  28. At 05:47 PM on 31 May 2007, Rachel wrote:

    YAY I've seen their new video! YAY! OMG i missed it on the tv but saw it on youtube today...how cool.
    And I know about the tie your shoes song as well lolz.....
    Hee hee

  29. At 06:05 PM on 31 May 2007, Kerri wrote:

    yay! another shoe song knowing person!

    "everybody tie your shoes clap clap *clap clap*
    everybody tie your shoes clap clap *clap clap*
    everybody tie your shoes, i dont care about you, everybody tie your shoes clap clap!" *clap clap*

    heres a video of that too, the visual is rubbish but its the audio you need and even though thats pretty bad for first it gets better!


  30. At 10:22 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Kerri wrote:

    MCR FANS, BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i can now officially end any doubt over whether gerard is engaged or not...he IS. dont believe me??? check out this link http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/44170776
    anyhoo im reall happy for him and i hope he has a great life with her, lucky girl!

  31. At 12:56 PM on 02 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    I'm soo happy for him....i knew it was coming since 'I Don't Love You' came out. Don't ask me why, i just knew. He deserves it!
    Lolz my moms getting annoyed cos i keep singing the tie your shoes song and its really annoying her...she keeps calling me a moron!
    Bye people!

  32. At 08:50 PM on 02 Jun 2007, Kerri wrote:

    in the i dont love you video was when we first saw him wearing the ring, so that started loads of rumours "gerards engaged" "it was his grandma elenas ring which mikey wore and now hes married hes given to gerard" "hes not engaged, hes gay!" etc are just a few i read so i got really confused, and that wasnt helped by the band members themselves not being honest about it! then in an interview he said that he had found someone special or something but thats all he wanted to say on the matter. now as we all know hes confirmed it, but not after bob tried to cover it up by saying it was a freindship ring from him!

    again and i cant say this enough congrats gerard!

  33. At 06:36 PM on 03 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Hee hee look who's back!....me! bet everyones getting peed off by me now >;)
    Lolz I'm still singing it now!
    .......Bored now.....I might start a discussion about something random now.....
    :S what though? Someone help me out?
    Bye everyone!

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