Interview: Frank Iero talks “Parachutes” and his wild ride in music!

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I can’t imagine that there is any worse feeling then knowing after spending your life on the road playing music, it could be the thing that takes your life from you. Frank Iero and the Patience were in a horrible accident in Australia just a few weeks before the release of their latest record “Parachutes”. The band didn’t let it keep them down and after just a few weeks away from the road, the band rebounded so strong in 2017 and have spent the last six or seven months on the road playing the record Iero says he is most proud of from his career!

Recently I sat down with Iero to talk everything from the accident to the writing of the new record to his journey to who the man he is today. It was an enlightening conversation and I really think shed some light on the journey we don’t always hear about from him. While the band just finished their time on the road with Rise Against, Deftones and Thrice, they will be playing a show locally at The Sinclair in Cambridge Friday night with The Homeless Gospel Choir opening! Be there!

You’re doing a mix of headlining shows as well as well as these Thrice/Rise Against/Deftones shows. How do you differ from playing these opening sets versus the headlining ones?
I mean, it’s different man. It depends on the tour as well. Especially, with the Rise Against/Deftones shows, it’s a specific type of venue, it’s like a shell shape venue. So from experience, you know that with the opening slot, you’re going to have people filing in. There are going to be less up front and more patches in the seating around you. So you want to kind of dew them in kind of fast and quick and play some of the heavier stuff.

But when it’s your own headlining shows, your audience is there and you can take them on more of a journey and play everything that you want to play as opposed to what gets peoples’ attention from far away. So, for me, it’s definitely a plan of attack almost kind of thing. It’s still fun but basically you get thirty minutes to make an impression and then you’re gone. And sometimes it’s hard to do that. Outside, with the sun up, it’s a rough one. But I like challenges so it’s cool.

And then being out on this tour, obviously with bands that have been around just as long as you have been playing music and I’m sure people are coming out who have loved you for so long. Is there a pressure from fans of previous work when playing these live shows?
Honestly I haven’t thought of it like that. That’s the thing. I feel like if maybe I was a singer of every band I’ve been in, then it would be difficult but since I’ve done varied things in different projects, I think it’s a little bit easier. It all sounds so different, it’s hard to compare and contrast. The thing I’m really looking forward to is that I’m getting to tour again with bands like Thrice and Rise Against that I’ve toured with years and years ago. So it’s like a reunion type thing and that’s really fun.

Then you obviously, unfortunately, had a really terrifying accident right around the release of “Parachutes”, about two weeks before. So touring wasn’t really a thing that could happen. I’m sure it’s a rough thing to talk about but you recently did a full US run, you just played Slam Dunk. What songs are standing out to you as fan favorites from this new record?
It’s been crazy. When writing it, you have these expectations. Like this one will really work well in a live setting and people will kind of latch on to that line or this line. Hopefully they will pay attention and like it as much as I like it or hold as much gravitas to them as it does for me. Those expectations have been d which is amazing. You always have this thing in the back of your head where you’re like oh man are people only going to want to hear old stuff? And that hasn’t happened. The reaction has been maybe even better for the newer material which is crazy. When the accident happened, we had to cancel touring on this record. It was so disheartening and so debilitating to think I don’t know if we’ll ever do this again. So it was really important for us to now get back on the road and to be able to play these songs. Songs that I didn’t think we were ever going to get to play. I think it brings a fire to the band that we probably didn’t have before.

Yeah because this could be the end, to know you may not have the opportunity to tour again.
So that’s the thing. I’ve been i bands since I was eleven years old. I’ve been touring since I was like seventeen and to have an incident like that happen and to think that this part of your life, that you’ve done for more years than you haven’t, the thing that defines you that it could be taken from you, that was a little bit too much for me to handle. I think that was the reason that we got back up on stage because the recovery is still slow. I think that was imperative for us.

Then maybe because of that, maybe jump to it, I was going to ask.. you’ve been touring our whole life pretty much, this has been your life. Was there ever a defining moment for you where you knew that music was going to be your career?
Well, here’s the thing. As a kid, my dad played, my grandfather played. I just always wanted to be in a band. So there was ever this backup plan. I wanted to make monster movies but being in a band was my first love. That’s just what I did and I never thought I would do anything else. Even though my parents were like, please don’t do this. Some people are just born the way they are. I’m a redhead, like that’s just what you are. I was born to be in a band. So I didn’t think at any point how this was a career, I was just like this is what I do. So I would have to I guess get a job at McDonalds or something in order to support this but this is just what I do. I never thought that I didn’t do this. So I had never come to a realization okay this is going to happen. When I realized that I didn’t have to get another job, that was kind of awesome. Because I didn’t have any other plans.

Then thinking of that, is there any advice that you would have given yourself at the beginning or maybe advice to bands just getting started?
Alright, so basically I think the advice is don’t expect anything out of this. It’s a very loveless profession. If you’’re looking for a career where you second guess yourself constantly and hate the things that you make more then the times that you love them, it brings you down a lot but the highs you get, you love it. Only do this if you have to do it. That’s the only way that this works. Don’t be like, “I want to be in a band so I can blah, blah, blah”. That right there is wrong. You’re wrong, stop what you’re doing.

Perfect, now going back to the record. It’s been out for about eight months, I’m sure it was a long time in the process. When it came to the writing/recording of this record, how did it differ from the first solo Frank Iero record? I know there was a new moniker for the band this time around but maybe within the writing/recording process itself?
Well, first time around it was kind of like a happy accident. I just was writing songs because that’s just what I do. I didn’t have like a project I was working on. I was doing Death Spells stuff but James had a Reggie record going on so he was out and I was just at home. So I was just writing and recording. Just kind of keeping track of the things I was writing. And while I was was doing that, I was finishing it up, my friend and booking agent for many, many years asked me what I had been up to. I played him some of the tracks ad he was like, “Well, what are you doing with this” and I was like, I really don’t know. My plan was to write these songs, record them, put them in a drawer and that was it. But he played them for somebody else and before I knew it, I kind of had this record deal in place. I was like I guess this is it. I guess this a new thing. I did’t feel like I had sat down and written a record, it just happened
This time around, I did. I knew that I had a solo project and an audience in place. A record deal in place. I wrote a record. It was going to come out and people were going to hear it. So that was a neat mindset for me. Which definitely added pressure because the first time around, I didn’t really try to do that. So I did’t know if I knew how. But the great thing about it was, because I knew people were going to hear it, I thought long and hard about how an outsider was going to hear what I was making. How they were going to interpret it so I took a lot of time kind of crafting. What I was saying, how I was saying it and so on and so forth. So that was a big deal for me. I put a lot of time and energy into it.

It’s kind of funny. It’s the record that I’m most proud of out of any record that I’ve made with any project I’ve been a part of. As an artist, you get this one thing every ten years where you’re like I did it, I got it right! Every ten years, you’re like I get this one right. Man, that was it. Nothing else is ever done but this one, this one is done.

That’s excellent, and maybe considering the feelings you have about “Parachutes”, do you think it will still be a while before you’re writing a new record or is it something that you’re already working on? Considering how proud you are of this record.
That’s a good question. When you have one of these every ten years, you think to yourself, alright well if you got it right, do you just fucking go out on that? It’s almost like a comedy show. Shit can only go down from here. You’re supposed to make everybody laugh, not walk out. So yeah, I have been writing. And that’s the thing, as any artist, you don’t know when to stop. It has to be taken from you at some point. Like you have the next great thing and then you die. So that’s where I’m at.

And then, you balance this with being a father of three children so I’m sure you have to balance it out. As an artist, what’s coming up in these next few months? You’ve announced shows in July but besides that, nothings really been announced so far. What is the focus for you in these next few months?
We are booked up to the fall right now. So we’re probably going to be doing more touring to the end of the year. But at that point, I think I want to take a little bit of a break. these last six to seven months have been really insane. I know it was probably premature to get back on the road as quick s we did but it was very important to us to be able to do that. But now that we’ve done that, I feel like now it’s time to take it back a step and enjoy the life again. I’m glad that we got back on the road. I feel like it was good for our psyche to do that but physically and emotionally, I think we’re going to take a little breather to spend some times with our families. I think that will be good for us for sure.

Frank Iero and The Patience will be playing The Sinclair in Cambridge with The Homeless Gospel Choir opening. Tix are 18 ahead of time and 20 day of. Doors are at 7:30 with the show kicking off at 8:30!

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.