Growing up I was always a huge fan of My Chemical Romance, and I still am. As time went on, and members started doing other projects, I really started to focus my energy on a certain member, Frank Iero, now of Frnkiero AndThe Cellabration. I have seen him perform with many bands, including Against Me!, and cannot wait to have him share the stage at Taking Back Sunday’s Second Annual Holiday Spectacular at Starland Ballroom Saturday, Dec. 19.
I recently had the chance to chat with Frank, and he is just as cool and down to earth as I imagined. We talked about upcoming projects, his current tour, life on the road, and so much more. Check it out!
Thanks for taking the time to chat Frank, where are you right now?
No problem at all, Maria! I am in Columbia, Missouri. We have a show tonight at the Rose Music Hall. Really looking forward to it.
I have heard great things about that place, I hope it’s a good show. I had to mention you are currently on tour with a local friend and musician, Jared Hart, so that is cool to see!
Ah, yes! I love Jared. He is doing great—seriously, it’s a pleasure sharing the stage with him. We’ve been friends for a while, and getting to see him do his solo stuff, aside from The Scandals, is just awesome. It’s wonderful to watch him as an artist, and as a songwriter, he is just super talented all around! And of course it helps he’s from Jersey… (laughs)
Haha, yes naturally. He is a fan of yours as well so it’s cool to see you guys out there together. Now, you have altered your musical identity a few times with multiple projects, but I must say Frnkiero AndThe Cellabration has been my favorite. How has this tour been going for you?
Yes, thank you. It’s going great, I am definitely a bit homesick, but that’s natural this time of year. The band is hitting its stride, we’re at a peak right now, it’s nice to go out, on top! We’ve toured this record for a little over a year now, and I have learned so much. I’ve learned a lot about the band that I never realized, and I learned a lot about this record that I never realized either, all in positive ways, so it’s been amazing. I think we’ve all grown together a great deal, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I am really in a great place for the next chapter with this band. All is good!
That’s great to hear. I must admit, it’s pretty cool seeing you as a frontman. At first I wasn’t sure what I would think, but seeing you up there, it’s almost as if you were doing it your whole life.
Haha, well I guess I fooled you Maria (laughs). No seriously though, that’s a huge compliment, so thank you. It’s crazy; being in bands my entire life, I have always seen how hard the drummer’s job is. He is the backbone of the band. If there is a feel to the band, the drummer controls it. The drummer is the loudest member; if you fuck up, everyone notices. Plus, no one helps you pack up at the end of the night (laughs).
The second hardest job is the frontman. I used to think, “Whatever,” but it seriously it’s really so hard. To engage, and not be comical, with every element you have, and absolutely no control over what affects the way you can perform each night; your voice is an instrument you cannot see or possibly try to understand, without years of work on it. It’s so challenging, and I have so much more respect for people who have done it their whole lives. If I have pulled it off, that it looks like I am now what I am doing, then I am very lucky. So again, thank you!
You are so welcome! Doing so many different projects, would you say that your fans understand that one project isn’t tied to the other, and each has its own identity?
Absolutely, yes. The fans are great, in every aspect. With the projects that I have done, they can’t help but see that, I think. Also, I have been very vocal about that; if you wanted to do the same thing over and over again, there would be no reason to start a new band. You know? Everything is different; everything is also, on the contrary, influenced by the things that you have done. Every project that I have had and every experience I have been through, there is a connection.
On that note, I wanted to ask you, do you notice with this project a lot of new fans or some of the same fans over the years coming to your shows?
Good question, there is definitely different factions of kids coming out; both [a lot of familiar] in the beginning ,rubbernecking. What I meant by this is, they wanted to see what this project was about, and see if they liked it and such, which is natural. Once we started really touring though, we’ve gained a core fan base, and it’s so cool to see some of the same faces, and new ones!
I think you really got the world’s attention with Stomachaches—dare I ask if there is more new music in the works?
Thank you! Actually, we are writing right now. What does that become? I don’t know, actually (laughs). I know I am onto something, I just… I don’t know what it is yet. Maybe it’s something completely different, but it’s the next chapter, for sure.
I wanted to point out something I have been seeing on your Instagram with collaborations and art—it’s really awesome, but I was hoping you could tell us about this idea a little more.
Thanks for asking that, there are a lot of very talented and amazing artists that come out to see my band, and they like to communicate with me by giving me artwork, it’s so cool. Phenomenal and beautiful, and at the end of the day, I can enjoy it for as long as I can enjoy it, but then I have to part with it. You know, like if you came to my house, Maria, and you saw pictures of me all over the place, you’d think that was a little weird—my kids would too (laughs).
So, this is what I have decided to do: I keep them, I put them up on Instagram, and I thought, “Well, it’s such a shame. What if we could prolong this art for a little bit longer, and I could communicate with these artists?” I asked them if they would be cool with it for collaborations of the artwork, I pick certain pieces with the supplies at my disposal, and I add to it or alter the art that is given to me. Then, as you have seen, I repost it! I get to collaborate with these artists in a whole new way! They give me a piece and I alter it. I get to communicate back through art. Then who knows, maybe I help them out, we can raffle them off or something for charity. How cool would that be? Either way, I have been having so much fun with it!
I love the idea, so original and fresh. Now, last time I saw you was out on the road with Against Me!, and I am so excited to see you back home again in Jersey with Taking Back Sunday Saturday, Dec. 19, at Starland Ballroom. This show should be tons of fun.
Oh I know, I cannot wait! It’s their day, it’s their party, they are such a fantastic band, and I am just so happy to be invited! I have seen so many shows at Starland Ballroom, and played so many shows there; it’s one of my favorite places not just in Jersey, but in the world. I am so happy I get to experience their holiday festival; it’s a happy place, can’t wait to see it! I am not even aware of all of the surprises they have in store. The band and Jillian [manager] are working hard with pop-up shops and all of that stuff, it’s going to be awesome.
As far as our setlist, we’re playing everything that we know (laughs). We are going to jam pack it as much as humanly possible. Christmas stuff… rock block… who knows!
So exciting, and Christmas stuff sounds appropriate. Well, it’s the perfect way to close out the year with a bang. On that note, what can we expect for 2016?
The only thing I can really talk about… January we are headed to Australia, lots of stuff in the works, writing and recording, but later in the year. For now, all about the holidays!
You said it, friend. I will see you Saturday, Dec. 19, at Starland Ballroom!
Catch Frnkiero AndThe Cellabration at Starland Ballroom with Taking Back Sunday on Saturday, Dec. 19. Stomachaches is available now. For more information, go to frank-iero.com and starlandballroom.com.