The PV Q&A: Frank Iero Talks 'Parachutes,' Band Reunions, and his Electronic Project with James Dewees

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By Josh Chesler

Just over six months ago, Frank Iero released an album that he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to perform. When Parachutes came out at the end of October, it was just two weeks after the former My Chemical Romance guitarist and his current band — Frank Iero and the Patience — were involved in a devastating car accident in which a bus smashed into their tour van.

But now, Iero and his crew are back on the road in support of the new record and more grateful than ever. We caught up with the guitarist, songwriter and singer ahead of his stops in Southern California to talk about Parachutes, his electronic duo, and the importance of certain bands reuniting.

PUREVOLUME: Now that you’ve had a solid six months since your latest record came out, how do you feel about Parachutes?
FRANK IERO: I feel like it has evolved and changed for me. Some of the songs that we wrote last spring meant a certain thing then — and some of that carries all the way to the end — but a lot of life has happened in the last few months. We definitely have a different outlook on things. It’s exciting to breed something that evolves and changes with a life of its own. The coolest thing is that I just recently had this realization when we were playing a show in Russia. I was singing a line I’d written months and months ago, and it just took on a different meaning for me. It changed what this song meant for me at this moment in my life. The fact that things like that can happen is what’s so special about music for me.
PV: Aside from releasing Parachutes last year, you also put out the first full-length record from Death Spells, your electronic hardcore duo with James Dewees (the Get Up Kids, My Chemical Romance, Reggie and the Full Effect). What was it like to finally see Nothing Above, Nothing Below come to fruition after years of working together?
FI: It’s crazy. It just feels so good to finally have that come out. Working on those songs and putting your heart and soul in them without having people being able to really experience that band or that project, it felt like there was a missing chapter in a lot of the stuff that I was writing. I felt like it was really important for people to be able to experience that band fully and experience those songs to get where a lot of the things I was coming up with were stemmed from. When Vagrant approached us to put it out and we were able to do that series of shows, it felt like a long time in the making. I’m really proud of that project. It was so much fun.

James [Dewees] is a genius, and he’s somebody who I’ve looked up to as a musician and a friend for a very long time. I feel very lucky to be able to do a project with him.

PV: How was the process of creating Parachutes different from all of the other albums you’ve released over the last 15 years or so?
FI: Everything you experience and everything you go through affects the person you’ve become — especially on an artistic level. There’s no way I could’ve written this last record without the things I did as a youth and the bands I was in during my teenage years. You learn a lot as you go. You have to have these pitfalls and ups and downs along the way. That’s how you hone your craft. The most different experience on this record was that I’d never actually sat down to write a record by myself before.

The last record, Stomachaches, kind of happened by accident. I was writing songs because that’s just what I do, and I ended up recording them in my home by myself, and then my friend asked me what I’d been up to. I played it for him, he played it for someone else, and before I knew it, I had a record deal and I was out on the road. This was the first time I actually sat down and tried to write a record. That was a bit daunting, and I was a bit fearful of it, because I didn’t know if I really knew how to do it. That’s why it’s such a special record for me. I went through a lot making this record, and I found out a lot about myself as a person and as an artist.
PV: Now that we seem to be in the time of reunions, what’s it like to see a lot of the bands you played with a decade ago getting back together for tours and new albums?
FI: It’s exciting to see that. I remember the day that Thursday ended, and it was a really sad day. It felt like someone had sucked all of the air out of the music scene. That band especially was a band that we really, truly needed. To see that band out on tour again just feels right. Some bands you see, and you’re like “Yeah, that probably should’ve ended…” but there are some bands you see and you’re like “No way! We need that band. That band’s way too important for all of us.” Thursday’s definitely one of those bands, and I think At the Drive-In is another band like that. I’m excited to hear that record.
PV: After this tour supporting Parachutes, what’s on your radar for the rest of the year and beyond?
FI: Until the end of this year, it’s more touring. After winter of this year, I’ll probably take some time off and try something different. You’ll see me out on the road quite a bit more, and then next year I’m going to take a step back and try to reinvent the way that I go about creating. I’m excited for that.

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