INTERVIEW: Frank Iero

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In a second floor dressing room of Sheffield Leadmill, Frank Iero is sprawled across a leather couch. “Hi!” he greets us, looking up from his iPhone. We retire to a corner of the large room to begin our chat, not without Frank first offering to hold the dictaphone. He’s done this before. Dressed in a hoodie emblazoned with the word “c*nt”, Frank is anything but, as we begin our chat with the nicest guy in rock.

 

HTS:  So… How’s the tour going?

So far, so good! It’s been really fun, like all the bands have been really nice and the kids that come to see Mallory Knox have been really really nice to us as well. Um, its been a while since I got to tour over here so I was really looking foward to this and actually I feel like its surpassed my expectations.

HTS: From what we can see on Twitter, the support you’ve recieved on this tour seems overwhelming!

Yeah, yeah! So many kids have come out, I really wasn’t expecting that, its a really nice feeling.

HTS: Are you sure you weren’t expecting it?

Well you know, you expect some kids to like carry over but I wasn’t expecting like so many to know the songs and be that excited to see the new band.

HTS: How does the support feel?

It feels nice! Especially when I think you do a record like this and, I didn’t expect to ever put it out you know, I didn’t write it like that, so when it came to fruition like to actually do it this way, you think “alright well this could either go really well or really bad”  (laughs) and the fact that its going so well is very nice!

HTS: You’ve been to the UK a lot, how good are you at regional accents?

(laughs) I’m terrible! I can’t, I can’t do any. I can’t even understand English most of the time. Seriously I… theres a few things that I cannot do, accents – I really have a hard time understanding Scottish accents, I don’t knoe why, and I cant guess a persons age, I have no idea. I know what a baby is, anything older than that I have no fucking idea, could be anything (laughs)

HTS: How is the feeling different stepping out on stage with this band compared to MCR/Death Spells/Leathermouth?

Well thats the thing, every project is different, so um you know I mean as far as from Death Spells, its very different because that was very visual based and just me and James kind of like in our own world. This is more band based, which is something that at least I’m a little bit more comfortable in, um but uh do I feel, it’s  a challenge too because I never thought of myself as like a frontman and never wanted that, I never wanted to be the singer or anything like that, so thats a new thing for me. Do I love it? Not just yet (laughs) but I’m getting there.

HTS: How easy does lyric writing come to you?

I guess you know um, its just something that I enjoy doing, I don’t know if that necessarily means it comes easy you know, I throw more out than I keep, which I think you should. I think its song based too you know, certain ones the lyric comes first and youre like wow that was kinda easy, should it be that easy? Then you have to rethink everything. And some are very difficult.

HTS: How was making the ‘Weighted’ video?

(laughs) fun! Everybody can attest to that, it was a rough couple of days. We did joyriding first, and then weighted was the next day, and no one had any sleep, we worked on a very small budget with a lot of great people, it was amazing. I’m surprised the cops didn’t come and shut us down.

HTS: Give me an influence for stomachaches that might not be obvious? Like Stevie Wonder or something.

Ha! Yeah Stevie’s all over that record (Laughs). Um I don’t know, as far as like musically, I’m trying to think where influences came from, I don’t know if I was conscious about that. When I write a song it usually starts with a melody or a feel and um I try not to like reference another song because I’m wary of ripping things off. I think you can be inspired by somebody and be like oh thats a great feel I’ll use that for future reference but then you have to forget about it until you can actually use it you know what I mean. So I don’t know if theres anthing I can pull off the top of my head, really for me the songs just kind of came from experiences and stories. Some of them, I wanted to sound a certain way to portray a certain feeling or story that I had.

HTS: We got some fan questions, from the internet.

Oh okay yeah. Oh boy. Those are dangerous! (laughs)

HTS: Are there any artists you hope to collaborate with in the future? Friends or otherwise.

I get asked that a lot and I never think oh wow that’d be fun to do; I like playing shows with people more than I guess collaborating but the last time I got asked that I couldn’t think of anyone so I’ve prepared an answer (smiles) but I think Matt Skiba, I think I’d like to do something with Skibes. That’d be really fun, I’m just a fan of everything he does, hes a good dude.

HTS: Do you like starting all over again?

Yes! always, thats so much fun, some of the most fun you have in a band I think is deciding what its gonna be and naming it, coming up with the first tshirt design – all that is so much fun,

HTS: How did you come up with your logo? (We try to draw it in the air)

That was good! I came up with that way before the band, it was a play on… I wanted a symbol that represented the push and pull of good and evil, so what I did was I started to manipulate a cross and I figured the best way to reperesnt the evil were the cobras at the bottom, so its in this kind of anchor shape.

HTS: How do you feel when you see people with the tattoos of it?

It’s kinda awesome! You know its funny, I had that symbol for a while, I wanted something to represent on artwork and stuff that I was doing and I debated whether or not I should use it for a band, and its kinda cool to see other people attached to it. I like when they know what it means, as oppoosed to using it for… I mean you can just like it too I guess! But yeah its rad. There was this girl the other day in Leeds and she had a throat tat of it and I was like “whoa, thats badass, I hope my next records good!” (laughs)

HTS: Whats the possibility of you doing Otis Redding covers?

I imagine if they’re wondering if thats ever going to happen, I don’t know, (laughs) we have to figure it out, but we’ll figure sonething out, maybe, it’d be fun!

HTS: Is the “EVOL” on your guitar a reference to the symbol on the vinyl looking like “EVIL”?

No its not, the symbol looking like evil, that was pointed out to me by a friend of mine, the evol thing is just love backwards, its anti love and its also another creative way of saying “hate” I suppose. And its also my favourite Sonic Youth record so theres that.

HTS: What are you going to do with all the drawings and letters you’ve recieved from fans here?

Oh man, theres been a lot! I think I’m gonna have to either get another suitcase, or I think what we should do is find a backstage room that doesnt mind and we should just wallpaper it. I don’t know if that’ll actually happen!

HTS: What was your involvment in MCR’s Greatest Hits?

We picked track listings, and did the insert writing, stuff like that, listened back and made sure everything was alright because there were a couple of tracks like early demos that needed just to get changed, um other than that I was very hands off. But I think it came out perfect. The shirt I think was a really good idea it was like folklore of the band, that was the first shirt that G made and stuff.

HTS: What do you think of the other guys’ new stuff?

Ray’s stuff is awesome, have you heard it?! It’s all good. I know Gerard has been on tour the same time as me; we keep missing eaachother, its weird!