Frank Iero on Performing, the Paranormal, and the Recipe He Can’t Live Without

Frank Iero Photo by Jenna Kauffman

On Thursday, May 30, Frank Iero and The Future Violents took over Baltimore Soundstage with opening act Reggie and the Full Effect. The badass show gave insight on what one can expect from a typical performance for Iero and his band, and in an interview with lead singer/guitarist Iero, i99Radio found out what he’s up to off-stage and how his interests inspire the music he creates.

The band just released a new album, Barriers, and this tour is the first time they’ve played many of the songs live, with seven songs from the set on the album. So far, Iero’s noticed that “Medicine Square Garden” and “Ode to Destruction” seem to be fan favorites on the new set list.

“It’s really fun,” he says in regards to playing the new music. “We’re still kind of figuring them out. Songs are amazing [by way of] where you write them, you think you know what it is. But when you bring it to a band, it changes, and then it’s like, ‘Oh alright, this is what it is.’ Then you record it, and it’s like, ‘Oh, this is what it is!’ But then you take that and bring it to a live setting, and it has to change again.”

Frank Iero and The Future Violents

Iero surrounded by two of The Future Violents: Evan Nestor and Matt Armstrong
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Iero describes his set as “long, but exciting.” He admits that in the past, he never went over an hour with sets due to his mindset that he wouldn’t want to see his favorite band for that long of a time, thinking it was a bit much. But after some suggestions that he should make the set longer, Iero gave it a go.

“Now that we have three records, I feel like we should [go longer],” he explains. “So we do, like, an hour and a half and it’s really long. It’s great, though. It’s a different animal to attack, and I have to pace myself better. Not saying that I’m holding back, but there’s certain things I need to do to make that set work.”

And he and the band didn’t hold back. In fact, the crowd got so rowdy that people started crowd-surfing— something that Baltimore Soundstage was not prepared for. There was a barricade in front of the stage, but as staff assumed it would be a calm show, a few security guards had to get to the front to catch crowd-surfers halfway through the set. At least one girl had to land on her own, but Iero and the band checked that she was okay as they performed. As soon as the crowd noticed security would help them out, it encouraged more audience members to join in. A few songs also invited moshing, but the band’s fans had the utmost respect for one another as they helped each other throughout the show.

Along with the new songs, older ones were also brought out from the band’s other iterations “Frnkiero andthe cellabration” and “FRANK IERO and the PATIENCE.” This included songs such as “Viva Indifference,” “Joyriding,” “.tragician.,” “.weighted.,” and “Oceans.” The band also played the song “BFF,” with Iero proudly stating that his daughter, Lily, wrote it and that it’s one of his favorites.

Aside from his family, a love of horror also inspires Iero.

“My first thing was like, ‘I wanna be in a band, but I also wanna make monster movies,’” he explains, regarding its inclusion in his music. “I can [still] do that by making [music] videos and stuff like that. The first video we did was for a song called ‘.weighted.’ and it was like a lo-fi, 50s horror movie in a music video. That’s really fun to do— to tie those interests together. And I’ve gotten to do a couple of small movie roles with friends. My friends John and Brandon are finishing up their first feature length movie. My friend Tate Steinsiek just did a film called Addiction, and I did a cameo in that. It’s really fun to be able to do that kind of stuff.”

Frank Iero and The Future Violents

The band performing at Baltimore Soundstage
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

When it comes to different paranormal notions such as UFOs and ghosts, the ideas aren’t typically reflected in Iero’s music. However, he does see how their concepts align metaphorically.

“As far as the paranormal or UFOs, it’s very interesting to me. I think the reason it interests me so much is the idea that something else is out there, or the idea that not everything can be explained. That there is still some magic around,” he says. “I think that’s why Harry Potter and stuff like that appeals to so many people. The idea that you’re living your life, and then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Oh no, by the way, there’s this other thing out there that you don’t even know about’— like that’s something people just fantasize about. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this wasn’t all there was?”

Iero then goes into how this aligns to what he deals with in real life.

“I think a lot of the songwriting that I do—even the stuff we consider mundane—is based on the ability to write stuff in our basement, and then go out to different states and countries and play songs that I wrote, and the audience understands them even though I’m not singing in their language,” Iero says. “That’s fucking magic and it’s a wonderful thing. I feel like that’s almost the same feeling as realizing there’s another world out there. The fact that we communicate on a different plane, and there’s something as weird and mystical as energy. There’s a path in the universe whether we pay attention to it or not. That’s where I get most of my ideas, and if you’re in tune with the road map, you kind of get inspired by it.”

While his ideas don’t directly stem from actual paranormal entities, Iero does still have an interest in it.

Frank Iero

Frank Iero holds i99Radio sign
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

“I think it would be irresponsible for us to think we were the only ones out here. I would love for there to be solidified proof,” he states. “I did get a CNN alert the other day that the Navy got weird footage, and they’re trying to have a new way to deal with UFO sightings. In 2016-2017, there was a plethora of sightings on the east coast with these Navy pilots, [where] they couldn’t not come out and say there’s something going on.” He pauses, and adds, “I know Tom DeLonge is probably excited as fuck.”

As for whether he would ever write a future album in a haunted location, like he did with the rest of My Chemical Romance for The Black Parade album, Iero isn’t so sure.

“We were intent on making things very difficult for ourselves in My Chem, you know? Some fun shit, but also at the same time it was like, ‘Really, like, why? Why we gotta live in this haunted house, that’s fucking weird.’” He chuckles. “And I know that it was rough, for a few people. Mikey had to sleep in Gerard’s room the whole time. I was in this weird spire, cut off from everybody. It was nice. It was really, really nice. Sometimes life’s scary enough, though. I don’t need a haunted house to help me create a new record.”

When Iero isn’t creating music or pondering the paranormal, he also has other hobbies and interests. One thing he enjoys is cooking and trying new vegan/vegetarian foods. He isn’t strictly vegan, as he admits it’s a bit difficult to do— especially considering he enjoys honey. But he does try his best, and even shared a recipe for one of his recent creations.

“There’s this thing that my friend taught us how to make. It’s really simple if you can find, like, a vegan crescent roll. You spread that out and make a fake meat crumble, and cook that up in a pan with a little caramelized onion and ketchup and mustard,” he explains. “It sounds weird, but throw it in there and it smells like McDonald’s. Put that in the crescent roll, fold it up with a pickle on top, and then put that in the oven, and it’s unbelievable. It sounds disgusting, but it’s so fantastic. It’s like a cheeseburger ring, like a Sloppy Joe cheeseburger. You can also do it with real meats if that’s your preference. It’s so good. Everyone likes it; my kids even like it, which is very hard to do.”

Going back to the music, though, Iero is thankful for his fans’ support because, without that, he wouldn’t be able to work within his interests or have the time to pursue other things off stage. The fans let him live his dream on a professional level.

Frank Iero

Iero gets absorbed in the music
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

“Thank you for allowing me to do the things that I do,” he says. “I’d probably still do them, but it’s a lot better when people are listening. Allowing me to be able to do this full time is a wonderful thing, and for as long as I’ve been doing it.”

Frank Iero and The Future Violents will be on tour until mid-August. For a schedule of upcoming shows, visit Frank Iero’s website. Their new album, Barriers, just released on May 31, and you can check that out via UNFD.

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