Ray Toro is the lead guitarist and backing vocalist for New Jersey based alternative rock/emo band, My Chemical Romance.
Raymond Toro Ortiz was born July 15, 1977 in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up in a rough neighborhood, but his home life with it’s mix of Portuguese and Puerto Rican influences was happy. He learned to play guitar as a teenager, influenced by Iron Maiden, and his older brothers record collection which included Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix , Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
My Chemical Romance was formed in 2001, by front man Gerard Way and drummer Matt Pelisser, shortly after the September 11th attacks after feeling moved to express their feelings about it. Ray Toro an old school friend was asked to join because Gerard Way, a singer and guitar player could not sing and play at the same time.
Gerard Way’s brother Mikey suggested the name for the band after seeing a book titled Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance and he joined the band as a bass player.
The band recorded their first material in Matt Pelisser’s attic – later known as the Attic Demos and were signed to New Jersey Independent label Eyeball Records.
They released their debut album, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love” in 2002, less than four months after the formation of the band and became a much talked about underground band.
They signed to major label Reprise records in 2003 and their debut major album release “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” was released in 2004, attaining Platinum status shortly after.
The band became more Emo influenced after the first album – a title that the band members deny preferring to describe their music as hardcore rock or violent dangerous pop. However there is an undeniable dark flavor to their lyrics and they have been accused of glamorizing suicide and death. Ray Toro writes most of the bands music but lyrically all members contribute to the song writing process.
My Chemical Romance have released four albums in total – the most recent Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in 2010.
The Black Parade – their third album has been their most successful to date, reaching gold and platinum status around the world.
Ray Toro plays a Gibson SG and also a Epiphone Elitist Les Paul guitar with a mahogany body.