By Miranda Rosen
Frank Iero has been through a lot recently. He released a new album, Parachutes, with his band The Patience on October 28, just two weeks after a tragic car accident brought their Australian tour to a screeching halt.
Now, the rockers are back with a U.S. tour, bringing along Philadelphia natives Dave Hause and the Mermaid. We were lucky enough to have a couple minutes with the former My Chemical Romance rhythm guitarist/back-up vocalist before his show at Baltimore Soundstage to chat about the new album, his mindset coming off of the tragic accident and what it truly means to grow up.
Miranda: First of all, I’d like to wish your son a happy birthday. Are your kids at the age yet where they understand that their dad is a rock star?
Frank: They think it’s really weird that people come up in public and, like, want to take a picture and stuff. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to them. But they’re coming to find out what it is that I do, and I think that’s really funny.
M: That must be exciting for you as a parent. So you just released your new album, Parachutes. Is there any one thing you’d like to be able to tell people before they listen to the album for the first time?
Frank: Oh, man… No, you know, I think going in blind on it is fine by me. I think that you get to listen, as opposed to needing any kind of explanation for things. If you get too prepared … it ruins it.
M: The accident in Sydney last year must have been really hard for all of you. How has that affected you leading up to this U.S. Parachutes tour?
Frank: It’s kind of crazy. When something like that happens to you, you kind of say goodbye to everything you’ve ever known, you know? So in that respect, it’s a really strange, surreal feeling to then wake up, “Oh wait, you know I’m still here, and I still have a lot to do.” Things that I thought I’d never do again haven’t actually been taken from me just yet. So now i feel like the shows that we get to play, and to actually get to play these songs that you thought you’d never get to play live, that’s a really crazy amazing feeling. There’s a part of you that has this new lease on life almost, so to speak.
M: I can see that. Nothing like that has ever happened to me, but I can imagine it’s kind of like a wake up call, life-flashing-before-your-eyes type of thing.
Frank: Yeah, you know, it’s strange. A lot of people want to believe that it’s like this 100 percent positive experience, like, “Now you’re here,” but to actually meet death, and then have to walk away from it and know that you’re going to have to meet it again someday, there’s a part of you that feels a bit disappointed. That’s strange to say, and it’s strange to hear, I think, and it’s probably hard to understand unless you’ve actually been there. There’s this faction where, like, you’re really happy that you’re still here, but then the other part of you is just like, “Man, I gotta do that again?”
M: I can only imagine how that feels. Right after the accident, you released the first single from Parachutes, “Oceans.” What made you make that decision to drop that song in particular at that time?
Frank: The first taste of Parachutes, I felt like it had to be, “I’m a mess.” We kind of put that out there first because I felt like that would really bridge the gap between Stomachaches and Parachutes. At least for me, it made the most sense for how we got to where we finally ended up. That was the first song that I really sat down and wrote with another record in mind. I felt like the tone had changed at that point with where my writing was going and how I was approaching writing songs. I felt like that was the scene change that we needed.
M: Yeah, it was definitely an appropriate song choice for the things that you were going through at that time. Switching gears just a little bit, you’re bringing Dave Hause and the Mermaid along for the tour, how did you choose them to accompany you?
Frank: I’ve been a fan of Dave’s for a long time. We’ve been friends for a while and I’ve been a fan of all of his projects. We’ve had so many mutual friends and played shows and festivals together, but we’ve never really done a tour together. We started talking about doing a tour and playing shows around the last Home for the Holidays (show), and it just so happened that his record was finishing up and coming out around the same time that we were planning this tour, and it just made sense.
M: It must also be pretty cool to have your opener be someone who you’re a fan of and get to see them perform every night.
Frank: Absolutely. That’s the thing, I don’t tour with people who I don’t want to be with. I just don’t do it.
M: I definitely can’t say I blame you for that one. What are your favorite and least favorite things about being on the road?
Frank: Oh, man. I feel like I get more rest on the road. There ain’t no sleeping at home with three kids. I was talking to my wife about it, that’s kind of the defining line between childhood and adulthood, is when you open your eyes in the morning and you’re so fucking psyched, you know, “We’re awake! Let’s do something! This is great!” Everything is new, and everything is bright and beautiful, and that’s childhood. The day that you open your eyes and you’re like. “Aw fuck, I wish I was still asleep,” that’s when you’ve finally entered into adulthood. I have three beautiful, amazing, just happy kids that want to wake up at 6:30 on a fucking weekend like a maniac. There’s no rest at home, so that would probably be the best part.
Also too, getting to play shows and visit places. Especially the first tour of a record is fantastic. Seeing how people react to different songs and what become crowd favorites in different cities, that’s really fun.
Worst part is, of course, being away from home and missing your kids and your loved ones. That’s horrible, it really is. It’s the worst. They understand, though, or at least my wife does. My kids are getting to the point where they understand.
M: I can relate to not wanting to get up early. I’m in college, and it fucking sucks. Anyway, I’m sure you knew this was coming, but My Chemical Romance was in many ways the voice of a generation, in particular my generation, in those awkward middle and high school years. What was it like to let go of that, and do you still keep in touch with any of the guys?
Frank: It’s funny, the band has not lost any kind of connection in the… three, four, five years, however long it’s been, and that’s astounding to all of us, we never expected any of that. As far as saying goodbye… here’s the thing, you’re in college right now, right? So I don’t know if you have a game plan in mind, if you’re gonna go for a certain degree, and eventually I would imagine that you probably wanna be out of college. You don’t want to be in college for the rest of your life.
M: I would have liked to be out of college yesterday.
Frank: *laughs* Exactly, so that’s the thing. If you do something, there has to be a beginning and an end to it. You can’t do the same thing forever, otherwise it’s stagnancy and that’s creative death. To say goodbye, it was bittersweet, but I feel like college, eventually you need to graduate and go off and do other things.
M: Obviously I have to ask, is there any chance at a My Chem reunion, tour, album, anything like that?
Frank: Oh, Miranda… you know I’ve been asked that a lot, and my answer is always that I have no idea. The world could end tomorrow, anything’s possible, but would I put a large amount of money betting on that? No.
M: Fair enough. That’s all I have for you, but before I let you go I promised a friend of mine that I would let you know that he believes that you are the definition of a goddamn gentleman.
Frank: Well, you have a very smart friend.
Featured Photo Credit: Frank Iero and the Patience spread an infectious energy through the room as they played their punk-rock hits. (Miranda Rosen/Bloc Photographer)
Miranda Rosen is a sophomore animal sciences major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.