Frank Iero: I Ain’t Gonna Change

Art; Frank Iero creates art. From The Black Parade with My Chemical Romance to Keep The Coffins Coming with Patience, Frank Iero creates art. Whether it be his lyrics, his guitar riffs, or just his album covers, Frank Iero creates art. Music is an art and art is expression, of which he does so swiftly, so honestly, and so purely. With a new EP out, a relatively new band name, and his signature talent on clear display, Iero is ready to rock. New places, different cultures, and life changes all play a part in the down-to-earth, now 36-year-old New Jersey native’s music…or shall I say, his art.

Tell us about your new EP. What is the meaning behind the name it? Keep The Coffins Coming is pretty dark for an album that contains a song (one of my favorites) titled “BFF.” Although, it is a truly raw and intense album, overall.

Keep the Coffins Coming was the title of a “Pulp” novel by Julius Long about a guy who went around killing Nazis. The EP is not connected to the book really, but I loved the title so much because it conjured up so many images for me, and I loved the alliteration. I think about songs and the creations we make. We bring them to life, raise them, and then knock them off one by one. sending them off to slaughter so to speak. The title for me refers to keeping the art coming, constantly burning down the past and making something new.

How do you think you have changed as an artist? How do you think your music has grown over the years of being in different bands, as well as a solo artist?

I think I’ve learned how to better express my true self through my art…in a more clear and concise way. I’ve been playing in bands and writing songs for a long time, most of my life in fact, so I’ve had the opportunity to get some things right and also make a lot of mistakes. I enjoy working in a band setting and collaborating with other artists, but I also really enjoy the solo environment of everything relying on you. It can be stressful but also really rewarding.

New Jersey has been a home to many bands and music artists over the years. Do you think New Jersey has been a big effect on you? Do you find that there a true New Jersey music culture/scene?

Well yeah, I think it’s had an effect on me. It’s home and I love it. As far as a scene I think there’s a lot of talent here. A lot of musicians and artists playing together and being inspired by one another. It’s a bit incestuous where everyone has played in bands together or played shows with one another. That type of environment creates a bit of competitiveness sometimes, but I think it can be healthy. It forces you to get better and break down creative walls and make connections that help each other out.

What are some of your favorite things about touring? Your hometown stop at Starland on this tour, as well as on prior tours, must be exciting.

I love Starland, it’s a great venue and the staff is super rad. I’ve always had great shows there. it’s definitely a stop you look forward to on tour. As far as tour in general, I enjoy playing in different cities and countries. I wish there was more time in the day to experience the surroundings though. But I think the older I get I really enjoy the difference in cultures. The travel itself is never really fun though…that gets a bit harder the older I get.

This is the third album released from Frank Iero and the Patience. Although, the band used to be Frnkiero AndThe Cellabration. Why the name change? Any special meaning behind the new one?

The first time around I knew I wanted to name the band even though it was a solo project. So I thought maybe I should call it something that I wanted or felt I needed to have with me. And so the “cellabration” came to mind as a way to kind of detract from my feelings of inadequacy of being a new frontman. This time around I didn’t feel I needed that distraction anymore. But what I did want was the ability to take my time and appreciate the now. So I named the band the Patience.

As someone who has been inside the music industry and working hard in it for many years, how do you feel it has changed? From Pencey Prep to My Chemical Romance to Frank Iero and the Patience.

It’s completely different and changes on a daily basis. If I said I comprehended the complexities of it I’d be lying. The truth is I don’t know if I really ever understood it as a young man either. My dad once told me, “There’s music and then there’s the music business, and one very often has nothing to do with the other.” So I just create things that I love like I always have, and try my best not to get too caught up in the industry bullshit. I’ve never felt fulfilled by the business end, it’s always been the art of it that makes me smile. The rest often leaves you feeling empty or dissatisfied and I have no time for bad times.

Can you tell us what it was like to work with the talented and iconic people that are Ross Robinson, Steve Evetts, and Steve Albini? They must have brought a lot to the table when creating this EP.

Ross and Steve Evetts are so amazing. They worked on Parachutes and it was such an amazing experience. I love the way that record came out. Keep the Coffins Coming was our session with Steve Albini, and he’s amazing as well. It was a total dream come true for me to be able to work with all three of those guys.

As far as Albini goes though I’ve been a fan of his work before I even knew it was all his work. I would listen to records and fall for them and wonder why they made me feel the way they did. Why did it sound as though I was in the room with the band? I started to realize there was a common thread through these records, and it was Steve’s name in the liner notes. I think the openness of the drums and how raw those guitars sound is what really rings true for me in the EP. I love that he just really knows how to capture a band’s sound.

It has been just over a year since Parachutes was released. It is a highly regarded and acclaimed album. Did you expect that response from your sophomore album? 

Thanks. No definitely not. I just knew that I had always wanted to work with Ross and Steve and when we were done and I listened back to it I knew we got it right. That was enough for me. Because really that’s all you ever want — to work with people you respect and who inspire you and to get it right. To be able to hear what’s been slamming around in your head be born into the real world. The rest is a bonus.

The album artwork for Parachutes, as well as Keep The Coffins Coming, is so cool. I have to ask, where does the idea for it, and the art itself, come from?

Thanks. I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible artists on all of our releases. Heather Gabel on Stomachaches, Angela Deane on Parachutes, and Daniel P. Carter on Keep the Coffins Coming. The ideas have all started in different ways. usually it’s that I know what feeling I want to convey with the cover and when I find something that inspires me or speaks to me on that level, I chase it down with the artist that really gets it. Heather had taken the photo for the cover of Stomachaches, and I just knew immediately that was it. Angela does amazing work with painting atop found photography and so I asked her to use an old family photo of mine, and it was perfect. Dan had done a cover for the split 7” we did with Lonely The Brave a few years ago and have been trying to do another project for a while now. And this aging vampire painting was exactly the direction I wanted to go in.

You seem to be making music and touring nonstop lately. What are you looking forward to in 2018? What can your fans anticipate in 2018?

Ha, yeah. I think the plan is to now just stop for a little while. Stop and take some time to live. To write and record. To make some new things. I like having a pretty open calendar, I’ve never really had that before. At first it was terrifying, to make that decision to just exist for a minute.

But now I’m getting excited by it. That tends to be my way. Find the thing that scares you the most and then do it to the fullest. I’m interested to see where this takes me.