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June 2020
Best of 2019

Frank Iero: "I've been learning to have more fun"

Days before My Chemical Romance announced their reunion, we hit up Frank Iero to discuss one of 2019's best albums...
Published: 11:30 am, December 09, 2019Words: Alex Bradley.
Frank Iero: "I've been learning to have more fun"

The reinvention of Frank Iero for his third solo outing was always going to be different from the rest following his well-publicised near brush with death while touring Australia back in 2016. Back, as The Future Violents, Frank took his new perspective on life and transformed it into his most ambitious album yet.

With 'Barriers' released back in May, Frank has spent 2019 making up for lost time. Touring the UK with Laura Jane Grace, playing one of the standout sets of 2000trees, shows here, there, everywhere, beefin' with Joe Jonas about rumours of a My Chemical Romance reunion but still managing to send MCR fans into meltdown for referencing 'I'm Not Okay' in his song 'Young and Doomed'; it's been pretty non-stop for him. (And no, he didn't let slip what was going to happen next...)

Ahead of the release of 'Barriers', you spoke a lot about how changed you were post-Australia and then time away after the crash. Having now released the album and seen the response to it, are you more comfortable with how changed you feel?
I don't know if my comfort level has ever been dependent upon other people's feelings about the things I create. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely nice that people enjoy the record and have been able to relate to the topics the record deals with, that's a very nice feeling.... but I think for me it's a day to day thing with how I feel. If you're not happy inside no outside influence is gonna change that y' know? Peripheral happiness is fleeting. I suppose the short answer is I'm still working on it, and I imagine I will be for the foreseeable future.

With touring for 'Parachutes' being cut short and then the time leading up releasing 'Barriers' being longer, were you nervous in the run-up to its release and how quickly did any fears you have for project subside?

Well, it was definitely nice to be able to tour this record as opposed to what happened last time haha! I 100% prefer playing shows over physical therapy. But aside from that, I think early on in the writing process, I became very at peace playing with Tucker, Matt, Evan and Kayleigh.
It was fun and inspiring, and there was little to no fear once I cracked 'Six Feet Down Under', and the songs came rolling out. The band gave me confidence, and after getting everything recorded and mixed in time, I knew the record was strong. The release shouldn't be a fearful time, that's just jittery excitement. I just wanted to be able to get the songs on a stage without my friends and I being taken out by a fucking bus this time.

Did you ever imagine you'd have to explain yourself so much for referencing 'I'm Not Okay' in 'Young And Doomed'?
Haha, no way!?! I probably wouldn't have done it if I knew. Eh or fuck it, maybe I would have.

Since playing songs from the album live in the second half of the year, how have the new songs evolved? What ones are enjoying live?

'Medicine Square Garden' is definitely one of my favourite songs to play, hands down. Even in the early stages of writing it, collectively, we were all just dying for the opportunity to play it live for people. I also think 'Fever Dream' got real exciting the more we played it, especially to energetic crowds... it's fun to see which songs become fan favourites. Sometimes you can predict it, and sometimes it's a giant surprise.

The Future Violents, both recorded and live, feels more special, can this project be more than just a one-off?

Haha! Well, rules are meant to be broken I suppose. Who knows what the future holds. Anything is possible.

What have been the standout moments of your year?

I think the release of 'Barriers' was a big one, of course. Touring South America with The Future Violents was a really fun time. I took my kids to their first Yankees game, that was exciting. Shit, the year ain't over yet! I still got some tricks up my sleeve.

What have you learned this year?

I've been learning to have more fun. Slowly but surely... I'm at a point in my life and my career where I just do the stuff that makes my soul feel good. I got no time for bad times.

What are your hopes for 2020?

It's usually the same, just to smile more than I frown.

Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Upset, out now.

December 2019 / January 2020
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