Frank Iero on creating ‘Barriers’: “Some of the most rewarding shit is not fun”
The singer-guitarist explains how his creative process is both ecstatic and agonizing.May 9, 2019
Barriers, the third album from Frank Iero, is slated for release May 31 on UNFD, and while it is truly something to behold, the process was absolutely maddening. Despite being relegated in all kinds of roles from crucial team player to trusted sideman, the singer-guitarist says the one thing those moments had in common was he was patently terrified through all of them.
“Oh, definitely,” he tells AP. “The illusion of confidence is what we all put forward. That’s why people take your lead and take this crazy, wild journey with you. Otherwise, things wouldn’t get done.
“If you were sitting there biting your nails and pissing your pants, they’d be like, ‘I don’t know if this guy’s got this shit figured out…’” he says in mock worry before laughing. “But you never truly know. There’s no 100% in any of this: It’s all a fucking gamble.
“The only thing you can do is put yourself out there regardless of success or failure—and I’m not talking monetary. I’m talking about the grand scheme of things, whether you successfully got your vision across. If you did everything in your power and accept that it just wasn’t in the cards, at least you can go down in a blaze of glory like that. But knowing for certain [that] things are going to work—that just doesn’t happen. So I worry constantly. That helps me think and overthink things. And that gets me to the point where I can fully form ideas and visions that I have. I think if I didn’t have the sleepless nights that I have, I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do.”
Despite the fears that ignite the massive hysteria in his head, Iero refuses to “phone it in,” citing both a great need to deliver what he feels is quality work while avoiding a diluted creative vision.
“I won’t cut corners,” he says strongly about his mindset in the studio. “I’m not gonna be like, ‘Yeah, that’s good enough.’ It’s not. When we’re dead and gone, all we’ll be remembered for are the things that we’ve made and the impressions we’ve made on others. I need that impression to be correct. I’ve taken too long and wasted too much energy on it to be just ‘good enough.’ It’s not always fun. And that’s OK. Some of the most rewarding shit is not fun. For the shit that I went through to do it, you’d think my hair would be either falling out or gray!”
Iero waxes profoundly on the travails that led him to create the most ambitious work of his solo career in the new issue of AP, available here.