Frank Iero is a lousy imposter because he’s not faking anything
In David Bowie’s eternal song “Changes,” he sings, “There’s gonna have to be a different man/Time may change me/But I can’t trace time.” If there was at least four square inches of space left on his body, Frank Iero should consider having those words etched on him in Vantablack ink.
Barriers, his third album as a solo artist/bandleader, is filled with hat-pin turns both sonically and emotionally. An artist’s job is to stake their claim and continue to grow and evolve while being true to the very reasons she/he picked up an instrument or a microphone in the first place. But when you’ve been doing this as long as Iero has, there has to be, at the very least, the psychological version of muscle memory. That feeling of confidence. A measure of “I got this.” And, of course, the carte blanche to phone it in for the sake of maintaining record release and touring cycles.
So when AP checks in 25 minutes prior to Iero unveiling his new outfit the Future Violents as an unannounced guest for Thursday’s show at St. Vitus in Brooklyn, he’s marinating in what can best be described as abject terror. This coming from a guy who successfully and without question carried his punk-rock cred into rock star status and passionate solo artist. And he’s genuinely scared.
“Whatever you have done in the past doesn’t piggyback onto a new project,” he warns, pacing in the basement of St. Vitus and peppering his sentences with nervous smirks. “You can’t fall back: The slate’s been wiped clean, and you’ve got to start fresh. Everything you’ve done up to this point doesn’t matter. And then you start to worry. And then you start to wonder, ‘Oh man, do I even know how to do this? Is this going to work?’”
When he checks in with AP later after the show, Iero is jittery. He’s literally stuttering. “It was...it was..it was…,” he pauses. “It was literally like the first time. I got up there, and immediately all the worry and the whole world faded away, and I didn’t want to come offstage. I wanted to keep playing.
“It’s funny,” he says, tapering off his exuberance to reflect. “You spend 23 hours of your day riddled with anxiety. Then you’ve got that half-hour or 45 minutes to be onstage, and that’s the pure joy of it. You feel free again.” He pauses to exhale. “And then you forget about it.” He busts into laughter. “It’s like Groundhog Day, isn’t it? But I’ve been in 112 bands, released 13 to 15 records and I still get to do this. It’s fucking unreal.”
This year’s model Frank Iero is equal parts fearless and frightened, rock star and regular guy, public and impenetrably personal. He’s not faking anything. Read the full story behind the creation of the Future Violents and the roads toward (and around) Barriers—and peep Jonathan Weiner’s quite handsome photography of Iero—in AP 370 over here...
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