“I always felt like festivals were a way to taste test bands,” begins Frank Iero backstage at Reading Festival. “You see as many as you possibly can in a slightly abnormal setting and if you like it enough, you see them in their natural habitat. I hope that people enjoy our set but also that it acts as a gateway to a real show.”
From the hand to mouth experiment that’s shaped a bulk of Frank Iero’s year with The Cellabration, today he seems to be entertaining the idea that his music, his voice, has a future. It’s obvious, from the way he discusses what comes next to every movement of his striding set that takes place later today, he’s moving forward.”
“After this we’ve got two Belfast shows, a Dublin show then we’re going to go home and start writing,” says Frank. There are no definite plans for a second album (“We’ll see, who knows”) but there’s the beginning of a next chapter forming.
“I want to get the ideas out of my head. “I’m looking forward to two months at home so I can get whatever’s swimming around my head, out just so I know what it is. Right now it’s just these swirling songs and ideas and it’s a little too much up here, right now. I can’t even concentrate.”
“My world’s so different right now,” he ponders. “In a good way but also, it’s just so different. Right now, there are so many open doors it’s a bit confusing for me. Last time around I was very shortsighted of what I wanted to do but now, oh man, I have such an open horizon. I don’t even know what that is but I just want to hone in on it. It’s just gong to take me some time,” he admits. “It takes me being home to finish things. I can start stuff on the road but I can’t finish things. What’s going to be fun is, first time around I didn’t get to trial anything. It was just for myself. Whatever I heard in my head, I put on the record and then tried to figure it out later. Now we can craft some stuff and then, if we do some end of year touring, we can see where it goes and road test the stuff, which is nice.”
‘stomachaches’ was written in a basement with no audience in mind. No notion of performance. One year on and Frank Iero has grown from the reluctant frontman into a more commanding voice.
“That was the biggest hurdle. The biggest learning curve was I had no idea how to sing any of this stuff, I’m still learning but the live show is so different now. It’s so much more evolved. So much has changed and that’s what’s kept it really interesting and creative on the road.”
Obviously Reading Festival means a lot to Frank. It’s where his former bands had one of their grandest victories and while it’s soaked in nostalgia, the portaloos are always on hand to take the sheen off.
“I remember last time playing Reading, there was a moment when I realised I’m going to remember this set for the rest of my life. I still remember it very vividly. It’s very rare that you have those moments. You look back and you remember it but you don’t remember why you were doing it. Reading was a big dimple in my brain.”
Frank Iero might have battles anew but their victories are just vivid. His balance of fatherhood and musician came together in the most beautiful way during a recent hometown show.
“We played in Jersey and my kids got up on stage. That was the pinnacle for me. Worlds collided that night; it was kinda weird but really amazing. I’ll never forget it. It was the end all, be all, best set I’ve ever played. They loved it,” he smiles. “My fear is now they’re going to want to do a whole set as opposed to one song. That wasn’t even planned. I had no intention of ever doing that but my daughter was like ‘I want to be in the band.’ Alright, we’ll do it. Fuck it.”
It’s an attitude that’s brought Frank Iero this far. Thankfully, he’s not calling time on it yet.