Frank Iero opens up on accident for first time: “It’s incredible to me that we’re all still alive”
Now, nearly three months later, the frontman has opened up about his near-death experience for the first time in a new interview with MTV News. Read what Iero had to say below.
Frank Iero And The Patience were parked in front of Sydney's Twitter headquarters, where they were scheduled to do an acoustic performance. While Iero, guitarist Evan Nestor, drummer Matt Olsson, manager Paul Clegg and their publicist were unloading gear, a bus—not carrying any passengers—collided with the Patience's van.
“The amount of HD-clarity that transpired in the next few moments is engraved in my memory,” Iero says. “I can remember every second, every action, every sound. I had this little briefcase pedal board that I had been carrying around with me. I put that down and I turned around to say to Evan and Paul, ‘I think I’m just going to take the tuner out of here.’ I said, ‘I think'—that’s all I got out of my mouth.
"Right before high school, a couple of friends [had] this pickup game of football. The only other kids at the park at the time were these really big high school kids who wanted to play us so they could beat the shit out of us. I remember being tackled from behind. That’s exactly what it felt like.
“I ended up underneath the bumper of this massive vehicle.” He explains further, “From my vantage point, I could only see Evan, and I could hear Paul. I thought whoever I couldn’t see or hear had to be dead, and if they weren’t dead yet, then we all would be soon.”
The Patience would go on to cancel all their remaining 2016 tour dates "due to the severity of injuries sustained in Australia," which included an extensive run in the United States.
Iero says "an enormous rucksack" saved his life. “There’s no doubt in my mind that it saved me,” he says. “The way I got hit, it hooked on underneath the bumper and lodged me between the curb and the bus.” MTV goes on to say Iero was dragged about 10 feet along the curb by the bus before he was released by their publicist pulling the van forward.
“Paul collapsed into the trunk. Evan fell down onto the ground and said, ‘I can’t feel my legs!’ I got out of that rucksack, got my coat, and put it under his head and held him. That’s when I saw the puddle of blood coming from Paul’s injuries. It was the brightest red I’d ever seen. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from," Iero says about what happened next. A bicycle cop tied a tourniquet to Clegg's leg, something MTV said likely saved his life.
Iero, Clegg and Nestor went to a hospital in Sydney. They returned two weeks later to the U.S. for further treatment.
About the album, Iero says to MTV, "The record is called Parachutes because I started thinking about life, how we’re put here without asking to be.
“It’s like being pushed out of a plane. You’re plummeting toward an eventual end. Some of us fall at an alarming rate, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Some of us are lucky enough to find people and things that bring us joy along the way that act as a parachute, slowing that ride down, and you’re able to enjoy the fall."
Iero talks about the new record in the context of this life-changing event, “I wish I could say that it was a tragic experience that’s now a positive thing because I’m still here."
He continues, "It’s funny to have written a record like Parachutes [and] to have something like this happen. You can’t write that shit.”
On the weeks since the accident, Iero says, "I keep going back to the open trunk door, how it accordioned back after the hit and gave their backs and heads room.
"It broke that impact. I don’t even know what would’ve happened. It’s incredible to me that we’re all still alive. No one that witnessed the accident thought that we would be.
“I have a hard time allowing myself to believe there is a higher power doing things behind the scenes, but I tend to think things do happen—even the shitty things—for some reason.
“After an experience like that, you split off into three ways of thinking. The first is, This is our birthday. We have this second lease on life that we should not have. What is the purpose of that? Why have you been saved? What can you do with that time you weren’t supposed to have?”
On the second, Iero says, "is less positive. When you’ve met death and you can see firsthand how fragile we all are and how truly horrific death can be, you know that this is something you’re going to have to experience again. That’s a terrifying thought, to have to live through it again. Part of you wishes that it was over.
"The third is much weirder. You wonder if you didn’t survive and if all this is an imagination. Maybe this is what happens when you die—your brain keeps going and you manufacture an existence. I thought that I was crazy for a while until I spoke with Paul and Evan and we had similar feelings on it. [But] you have to snap yourself out of it. If this is existence, it’s yours now, and you have to make do."
Members of My Chemical Romance showed their support to their former bandmate on the day of the accident.
MTV says the Patience is "looking forward to embarking on another tour in 2017."
“In time I will feel more grounded," Iero says to MTV. "For now, I’m existing. That’s something, in that moment, that I didn’t know I would be doing.”
Watch more: Frank Iero takes us back to the early 2000s, talks symbolism and the Cellabration