Frank Iero of Frank Iero And The Patience talks Parachutes, the album’s emotional journey and returning to the southeast ahead of the band’s show at The Masquerade in Atlanta.
You’ve been involved with the music industry for quite some time now. With a background consisting of My Chemical Romance and LeATHERMØUTH, the name Frank Iero And The Patience seems a bit more settled-down and mature, how did you and the boys land on this collective moniker? Why The Patience?
Ever since starting a solo career I knew I would need a band to perform the music live and I wanted to be able to name that band. I’ve always enjoyed those types of projects as opposed to just the singer’s name. On the first record I named it the cellabration because I felt I wanted to take along something big and explosive to hopefully detract from my inexperience as a front man. This time around I felt I didn’t need that distraction any longer so I drew upon the virtue I felt I needed the most improvement on, patience.
In preparation of this interview, we’ve had Parachutes in heavy rotation and it has taken us on an emotional journey. It comes across as sincere, confident, at times angry, at times sad and raw. How difficult do you find the journey of channeling all these emotions into music?
I believe the difficultly lies in the struggle to put across the emotions and stories in the most correct yet impactful way. I spent a lot of time on this record paying close attention to what was being said and how it was being said. As far as performing and reliving those experiences, that’s usually not as hard as you would expect because they tend to evolve and change as time goes on. Watching the art those experiences have spawned ripple out and affect others is incredibly cathartic and really helps you grow as a person.
Closing track “9-6-15” is a beautiful ode to your grandfather. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the importance that this man had on your life. Would you be willing to share a story with us about him?
He was the biggest influence on me growing up, even into adulthood. My grandfather was the single greatest person I have ever met. Caring and kind, smart and talented, funny and yet stern when the time called for it. He was a musician to the core, played drums and xylophone and even though he was seated at the back of the band he was always the center of attention. He was everyone’s favorite person and the unequivocal boss. The first time I played music in front of a crowd was sitting in for him at a show. My grandfather played every weekend at a local speakeasy in South Jersey, playing standards and big band. One week the singer of the band was on vacation and so my grandfather decided it would be hard to do an entire set without anyone on the mic so for the couple of tunes that he decided he would sing with the accompaniment of the piano player, he brought me up on stage to play his drums… I was probably nine or ten at the time and almost threw up from fear, but he smiled at me and had the confidence that I could pull it off even if I myself was unsure.
“Dear Percocet” is an incredibly relevant song. Not only for opening-up and shedding a light to the struggles of addiction, but also because of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. What advice can you provide to our readers out there that might be directly or indirectly affected by this problem?
Well from the standpoint of an addict it’s definitely one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with. “Dear Percocet” is about deciding to be present, realizing how easy it is to give up and the struggle to do the right thing for the ones that you love. I haven’t got all the answers, and I know I will stumble along the way, but the ideas I put forth in the song are things that have helped me.
Onto a more joyous subject. The Frank Iero And The Patience tour is coming to the southeast later this month, what can your fans expect?
I think they can expect to hear a no filler set that runs the gamut of Stomachaches and Parachutes songs. I’m glad to be back in the southeast and hopefully getting to play for some people we haven’t gotten to reach yet.
Speaking of fans, how has your fan-base changed from your years in My Chemical Romance up to this point? Has it gone from rebellious/insane to a more chilled crowd? Stayed the same or mixed?
I think during the MyChem days most of our fans were relatively young. Now though the fans for this project are much more varied. There are some of the MyChem fans, but they have grown up and some have even spread the word to their younger siblings or kids. We also have fans that weren’t ever into MyChem coming out, and it’s amazing to see so many mixed ages and personalities at the shows.
Can you indulge us with your craziest fan story?
That’s actually one of my least favorite questions because I’ve found all it does is create a contest to do more weird off the wall stuff for the sake of outdoing one another… and before you know it I end up getting a bag full of dead bunny rabbits sent to my house.
Back to Parachutes. Can you tell us the story behind the album cover? Its grabs your attention when you first see it. What got you to say, “This is it, this is the album cover”?
Oh yea thanks, well it all ties into the title and concept of the record. While writing I started to think about life and how it’s a lot like getting thrown out of an airplane. We’re born and immediately the countdown starts to when we ultimately hit the ground. There’s no escaping the inevitable. However some of us are lucky to experience things that bring us joy or meet people along the way that show us love and they allow us to hover a bit and enjoy the fall, these are our parachutes. When I decided on that I knew I wanted my parents incorporated in the art for the record because our parents are our initial parachute. They protect and love us and show us the ropes a bit. So I found a wonderful artist by the name of Angela Deane and sent her a photo of my parents and I asked her to do her thing.
Favorite venue to play: Starland Ballroom
Favorite song to play live: “I’ll Let You Down”
Favorite instrument: Epiphone Phantomatic
Favorite city to play: Chicago
Favorite place to eat when on the road: The Tasty in Philadelphia
Before we let you go, this is a free-form question. Tell us about any subject dear to you that has not been covered and you’d like our audience to know and/or be aware about?
Well I think it’s important, especially these days to express what I believe is the most important message. We collectively need to remember what it is to be human and that love is a nonnegotiable right that we all must protect and share. These are troubling times, look out for one another. Don’t lose your heart.
Frank Iero And The Patience stops in Atlanta at The Masquerade on June 23. Tickets for Frank Iero And The Patience’s headlining tour can be purchased here. Showtime set for 7 p.m. For additional information on Frank Iero And The Patience, visit the official website or the band’s Facebook. Stream Frank Iero And The Patience’s full catalog below via Spotfiy: