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Ray Toro
Ray
A Former Member member of My Chemical Romance
Personal Information
Born July 15, 1977
Death
Related people
Career Information
Joined 2001
Left 2013
Role Lead Guitarist
Related projects The Rodneys, Dead Go West
Gallery

Raymond "Ray" Toro served as co-lead guitarist, backup vocalist, and co-founder of My Chemical Romance since its formation in 2001.

Early LifeEdit

Toro was born July 15, 1977 in Kearny, New Jersey. He is of Puerto Rican/Portuguese heritage. He grew up in a small house on the border between Kearny and Harrison, New Jersey, which he shared with his parents and two brothers. His neighborhood was a strange one; Toro has mentioned that there were drug addicts overdosing outside his house, and there were often bodies found in the park and lake near his home. As a small child, he enjoyed playing with his pet dog "Boy", but tended to be very shy.

By the time he entered Kearny High School, he had inherited a passion for music from his older brother, who "always [had] a guitar lying around the house" and would be "jamming on it day and night". In addition to inspiring him to pick up a guitar, Toro's brother introduced him to several bands whose guitarists influenced him greatly. Such guitarists are Ozzy Osbourne's Randy Rhoads, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Guns N' Roses Slash, and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. He enrolled in guitar lessons, as well as typing lessons to improve his manual dexterity.[1]

Toro became involved with several local bands, the most successful of which were The Rodneys, who formed in 1994 and released their first and only album "Soccertown USA" in 1998. Future My Chemical Romance drummer Matt Pelissier also played for the band. However, after graduating from high school in 1995, Toro decided on film over music. He enrolled in an editing course at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, and his only musical pursuits involved playing drums in the short-lived band Dead Go West.[2] In an interview with Rock Sound, Toro revealed that "being in a band wasn't really a dream of mine. I always wanted to write music. I enjoy recording more and the process of writing, I never thought that being in a touring band was a possibility. I enjoyed getting a bunch of scenes and cutting it together so it makes sense. I made one short film about a guy who was obsessed with eating eggs every day. He finally opens up this egg carton and there's one egg left, but he can't crack it open, so he gets driven insane".[3]

CareerEdit

My Chemical RomanceEdit

Rodney's frontman Shawn Dillon is credited with introducing Toro to Gerard Way in the late 1990's. Toro agreed to work with him and Pelissier in practice sessions, which were primarily held in Pelissier's attic.[4] After Gerard's younger brother Mikey joined the trio as bassist, My Chemical Romance was formed.

In 2007, Toro appeared as himself in the slasher/horror/comedy movie Punk Rock Holocaust 2, with bandmate Frank Iero.[5]

Especially since My Chemical Romance's third album The Black Parade, Toro has been compared to legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. He has long cited May as a key influence on his guitar style. As Toro revealed in an interview: "I appreciate [the comparisons]. He's one of my favourite guitarists. I just love his work. That guy is capable is everything. He can lay back when he needs to, then writes some of the best leads. He comes up with great harmonies, he's a great singer. To me it's an honour for anybody to say that I play like him or that parts remind them of Queen".[6] My Chemical Romance performed a portion of their 2011 Reading and Leeds Festivals headline concert with May.[7]

Toro has played a song with Iero's side project LeATHERMOUTH at a show.

Toro was the leading force behind My Chemical Romance's #SINGItForJapan project, which was dedicated to supporting those affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.[8] He arranged much of the instrumentation of the band's original track "Sing" to create a sound that emulated traditional Japanese music. "SINGItForJapan" was released on April 13, 2011 with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.[9][10]

My Chemical Romance has released four studio albums, two live albums, six extended plays, 19 singles, four video albums, 15 music videos, one demo, and have 11 original appearances on other albums. My Chemical Romance broke up on March 22nd, 2013.

Guitar PlayingEdit

In addition to being influenced by Brian May, Toro's guitar style is greatly influenced by 1980's heavy metal, such as Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth, as can be heard in many of the rhythm parts he plays with Frank Iero. Most of his solos are based off of the hard rock and metal blues of the 1970's, but also have a Johnny Marr-influenced pop sound, as mentioned in the DVD Life On The Murder Scene. Toro often uses power chords and makes the flow by the general mood of the music the band creates.

Toro has played a SG Gibson Guitar: SG Series, as well as an Epiphone Elitist Les Paul guitar.

The editors of Alternative Press ranked Ray Toro as 2010's Best Guitarist.[11]

InjuriesEdit

Like the other band members, Toro has had a fair share of injuries. These include "guitar burn" and a large gash to the head thanks to Iero and his guitar. One of My Chemical Romances first live moments caught on tape shows Toro getting hit in the face by Gerard Way's microphone after the vocalist had swung it, resulting in a torn lip and bloody nose; he ended up going to the hospital and got seventeen stitches in his lip.

Personal LifeEdit

Toro has a tattoo on his arm that says "SL", meaning "stage left", which was always his position at My Chemical Romance concerts. He also has a tattoo on his chest that is a scene from a horror movie. His trademark is his afro, which he doesn't mind people touching, though not pulling. Mikey Way once straightened his hair, which the rest of the band liked but he hated. Toro cannot cook, unlike the other band members, and is the most physically active member of the group. He runs every day, and keeps weights in the back of the band tour bus. Toro wears contacts, and his wife's name is Christa.

QuotesEdit

"We were birth control." (On his and Gerard's high school lives)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Haydn, Reinhardt (2008). My Chemical Romance: This Band Will Save Your Life. London: Plexus Publishing Limited
  2. ^ Bryant, Tom. "My Chemical Romance Interview". Kerrang!. http://www.tom-bryant.com/my-chemical-romance-kerrang--tom-bryant.html
  3. ^ {Haydn, Reinhardt (2008). My Chemical Romance: This Band Will Save Your Life. London: Plexus Publishing Limited
  4. ^ Haydn, Reinhardt (2008). My Chemical Romance: This Band Will Save Your Life. London: Plexus Publishing Limited
  5. ^ "Ray Toro and Frank Iero get murdered...?". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXvMkPKaUWs
  6. ^ Haydn, Reinhardt (2008). My Chemical Romance: This Band Will Save Your Life. London: Plexus Publishing Limited
  7. ^ "My Chemical Romance joined by Queen's Brian May at Reading Festival". NME. http://www.nme.com/news/my-chemical-romance/58869
  8. ^ "My Chemical Romance Interview with Gerard and Frank (03.05.2011)". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NviPfsowdfU
  9. ^ Toro, Ray. "#SINGITFORJAPAN". http://singitforjapan.com/post/4583044684/singitforjapan}}
  10. ^ "My Chemical Romance Interview with Gerard and Frank (03.05.2011)". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NviPfsowdfU
  11. ^ "The 2010 Editor Picks: Best Guitarist". Alternative Press. http://www.ahistoryof.net/index.php/mcr/2011/01/13/ray-toro-2010-best-guitarist


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