Category Archives: Frank Iero

Interview: Running Wild With Frank Iero

N_072214D1

Over the past three years, Epiphone.com has had a running conversation with Frank Iero, inventor of the Phant-o-matic Wilshire and co-lead guitarist with pop sensation My Chemical Romance. When MCR broke up in early 2013, Frank granted us one of his first interviews and we’ve been along for the ride as he stepped back, re-grouped, and began making music again. Frank popped in to see us during NAMM and offered Epiphone and many of our friends around the world a sneak peak at his new album Stomachaches. And of course, we sat down with Frank before the show to talk shop about guitars and the mysterious ways of the music muse.

——————–

When we last spoke with you, My Chemical Romance had disbanded and you were working on some music at a very casual pace. Now things are picking up in a big way. What’s your life like right now?

You know, it’s crazy. I feel like if we had talked maybe… 4 months ago, I would have said: ‘Ok I have some down time on my hands. I’m enjoying the free time. I’m getting ready to pick things up.’ And now it’s so hectic, I can’t even breath (laughs)! It’s kind of nuts. Which is fun. I like being busy.

Running Wild With Frank IeroDid you miss that feeling? With My Chemical Romance, you kept a very busy pace. Physically, you must have been used to that. Is it good to have that energy back?

It is welcome but it’s a very different kind of busy. Mainly because I don’t have other people to rely on. Nobody else is picking up any kind of slack. And if things fall by the wayside, it’s all on me. If things go well, it’s all on me as well.

That must be pretty energizing, too since that gives you some more opportunities to be creative.

It does. I guess the concern there–or the juggling act–is not to let the craziness of the business-side seep into the creative. Because things will come your way and sound like really great opportunities and I always say ‘yes’ if it’s something I want to do. But I never think: ‘Oh my God! How am I going to pull this off?’

So what happened in those four months? What changed your answer from ‘I’ve got some downtime’ to ‘I’ve got a new record?’

I started out–well, I didn’t think I was writing a record. I was at a point where I was kind of beside myself with the way I felt physically. I just had these horrendous stomach aches–I battle with nausea, basically. But it had gotten where it was really coming to a head. It was sucking the life out of me.

So in order to kind of like–in a defiant way–reclaim my life back, my creative life back–I forced myself to do something to get my mind off of how I was feeling. And once again–like it did when I was young–music saved me. And I just started writing constantly and going down and demo-ing and recording. Slowly but surely, I realized I had this group of songs and I guess I had written a record. It was this weird reveal to myself. The funky thing about it is there are themes I feel run through that record but it’s very diverse musically–almost to a point disjointed–because it wasn’t ever thought to be a record. I like that janky feel to it.

Is there a theme or a thread to the new songs you’re writing now?

There are certain things I’ve always been fascinated with as a writer and as a person. The power in frailty–the beauty in the things that most people find mundane. Or even the things that some people are scared of. There’s a kind of purity that I see in these things, if take the time to look at them a different way. And the other theme that I feel runs through the album is this search for calm or peace of mind. A place where you can feel like you belong. At least in my experience we’re all searching for that. It’s kind of that life journey: what does it all mean? Where is my place in all of this? Where can I feel like I have finally found my point of existence, where I can finally feel safe.

Do you feel like you’re at that point as a writer because you’ve had such a big change in your lifestyle in terms of being at home and not on the road. Do you hear a different writing voice coming through?

You know–absolutely there’s a different writing voice come through. There is something to be said about coming home and having that down time. Because, you tend to have a hard time relating to real life again. When you finally come back down to Earth, it’s difficult to find your speed, so-to-speak. So there is something about that. But I feel like when I started writing songs and they started coming out of me, I had been off the road for awhile. Anything you go through changes the way you are now. And I had a lot of huge life experiences in a short amount of time. I came home off the road and I had three children. If that doesn’t change you then there’s something wrong (laughs)! But there’s definitely something to be said for a different outlook. I can’t imagine what the next stage brings.

Running Wild With Frank IeroTell us more about your new record.

The title of the new record is extremely literal. It’s called Stomachaches and that’s for a reason. Because I kind of felt like the spark for this creativity, the seeds of these songs, started as these horrendous stomach aches. So I could have called it “12 Songs” or “12 Stomach Aches” (laughs). They are near synonymous with each other.

Did you write most of the songs on your Epiphone Phant-o-matic?

A lot of the songs stem from me playing bass. And I don’t know why. I have no good reason.

Now you have to design an Epiphone bass.

Yes, I would like that. I feel like the foundation of the melody and chord changes were written on bass. There are a lot of bass lines driving the songs on the record. Guitar on this record was another voice. And I think that’s something that I’ve always done with guitar lines that I write. Even with my past band, My Chem, I would come in and I would ride that space between vocal and rhythms. I tried to weave in and out of supporting those melodies. That’s something I’ve always loved to do. And on this record, I feel like the guitars are at times very dirty and squashed and it’s almost like a yell coming through.

Jarod Alexander played drums and you played all the other instruments. So when you went into the studio, did you track with bass and drums?

What we did was… well, you know there’s the correct way of doing things? That was not how it went! A lot of the demo-ing was me doing all the instrumentation and programming drums. And then I brought them to him. There’s a song on the record called “Blood Infections” that is basically almost all bass. It drives the entire song. So that one I did track with bass and Jarod. But then there are some songs like “She’s the Prettiest Girl at the Party and She Can Prove It With A Solid Right Hook” where I ended up using a lot of the original demo guitars. The way I recorded them was so integral that I couldn’t recreate it. So I thought, why try to mimic something that happened just in a moment in time. Now it’s done. It’s at the pressing plant. I got the test presses before I came to Nashville.

What kind of touring do you have planned?

So far, we’re booked for the U.S. We start in September. For the most part it’s supporting Taking Back Sunday and The Used. And then I would say we’re hopefully going to the UK in November. We’ll see what happens after the holidays.

Running Wild With Frank Iero

When you’re touring as support, you have a chance to surprise the audience and it’s also a very confined set. Do you like that idea? And you can go out to dinner afterwards instead of waiting until late.

I do like that! For me, I requested a support slot. I wanted to take our time and really become a band. The funny thing about making this record was that I did it by myself. So these songs will live with a band for the first time. The rehearsals for this tour are the first time I’ve had a chance to perform these songs.

Do you want to tell the bass player what parts to play?

Well funny enough, I asked friend Rob to play bass who is usually a guitar player. The bass lines were so important and so weird I thought that to get the parts played incorrectly (laughs) the way I did it, I needed to get a guitar player since I play bass like a guitar player.

This is a very personal record. Do you feel like you can tell the band to let go or do you want to try to recreate the record on stage?

You’re right. I had a very intimate experience with that record. Those were late nights with just me pining over things. These stories that I wanted to tell. As far as the stage show, in no project that I’ve ever been a part of have I wanted to recreate the record live. I feel like the live experience should be a totally different animal. It’s like book to movie. If you want to listen to the record then you have to stay home and listen to the record!

Via

Frank Iero streams first FRNKIERO and the cellabration track, WEIGHTED

10481728_10152536062248913_3095516632312489969_n

Frank Iero has streamed his debut single, Weighted.

The ex-My Chemical Romance man, whose new project goes by the name FrnkIero And The Cellabration, will be releasing his debut album, stomachaces, through Hassle Records on August 25. You can pre-order the release now on iTunes, or through Hassle’s online store.

Of FrnkIero And The Cellabration’s debut album, Frank says: “When I first started writing this record I didn’t actually know I was writing a record… I kind of just thought I was dying.”

 

Listen to Weighted below:

 

via

 

Frank Iero – “B.F.F.” video premiere

bff

The Story

Frank Iero solidifies the “Best Dad EVER” title he claims in his Twitter bio in his latest musical collaboration—with his children. Not only did he enlist his twin daughters Lily and Cherry as primary songwriter and backup vocalists for it, but the proceeds from all sales of “B.F.F.” go toward their, and their brother Miles’, college funds. “So no piracy please,” Iero said in his original announcement of the song. “You will literally be stealing from a baby.” 

The digital-only single is currently available via Iero’s B.CALM Press through the following retailers: 
iTunes | Amazon | Google Play

“[B.F.F.] began when my daughter Lily started singing this song she wrote over and over again at the top of her lungs whenever her and her siblings would get into a fight,” Iero told us. “One day I sat down with her and a guitar and we figured out the melody and finished the song together.”

 He continued, “While I was tracking some stuff for my upcoming record in my home studio, the kids kept asking my wife what daddy was up to downstairs. So I thought what better way to show them than by recording Lily’s song together. We tracked everything ourselves at home and when it was done, we sent it to the amazing Ed Rose who mixed the track and then to Alan Douches for mastering.”

Iero remained true to his DIY ethos with the creation of this video—his first ever venture into the world of music video production.

“We cleared out a room, set up a tripod, and over a 3 day period filmed us performing the song. I then edited the footage together myself into the video you’re about to see. So now at the ripe old age of 3.5 Cherry and Lily are releasing their first single, having their first music video premiere on AltPress.com, and preparing for their and their brother’s college education all at the same time, and I’m basically the proudest dad in the history of the world.”

See the video HERE

Frank Iero announces “B.F.F.” single collaboration with his children

cats

Frank Iero, who is currently featured in our Most Anticipated Music Of 2014 issue, has announced that he will be releasing a collaborative single titled “B.F.F.” with none other than his own twin daughters Cherry and Lily.

All proceeds from the single, which will be available through his own B.CALM Press and digital retailers on February 25, 2014, is set to go toward the college funds of his three children.

Read his full announcement post below:

 
“hola mis amigos y amigas,
     i am incredibly happy to announce that my newest musical endeavor will be a collaboration between myself and two of my favorite artists of all time…. my 3 year old twin daughters, Lily and Cherry Iero. our single, B.F.F., will be released worldwide by B.CALM press available through all online digital music retailers on february 25, 2014. 
all proceeds from the sales of this recording will go directly into Lily, Cherry, and Miles Iero’s respective college funds (so no piracy please…you will literally be stealing from a baby). 
   B.F.F. was written by Lily and i, and features vocals by myself, Lily, and Cherry. i recorded and performed all of the instruments on the track at B.CALM Underground studios, it was then mixed by Ed Rose and mastered by Alan Douches at west west side music.
    i look forward to sharing more details on this single as the release date approaches but for now….that is all. 
thank you to everyone for stopping by,
                                                     xofrnk,lly,&chrry (2014)”

As pointed out in the comments, it’s very probable that “B.F.F.” could be a new song Iero played at the Fadeaway Records showcase in New Jersey recently. Check out live footage:

 

 

Via

Frank Iero: ‘DIY is where the revolution begins’

10973094294_6fd8f53236

Frank Iero has done a little bit of everything in the music industry. Perhaps best known as the rhythm guitarist for My Chemical Romance, he’s also fronted bands like LeATHERMOUTH and Death Spells, and worked on original material for soundtracks. Before all of that, he was a member of Pencey Prep, perhaps one of the paradigm examples of contemporary garage punk.

In December, Iero set up shop with B.CALM PRESS, releasing an EP of covers called for jamia… Earlier this month, Iero took some time via e-mail to share the B.CALM origin story and his thoughts on DIY with Velociriot.

Velociriot: I know you’ve talked about this before, but what is B.CALM? Where did the inspiration for it come from? Where did the name come from?

Frank Iero: B.CALM is an entity under which I can release the different things that I make. Instead of finding a label and a publisher and a merch company and a fine art distributor, etc, etc, for all of my different outlets, I just decided to start my own thing, from which I can independently release certain projects under one umbrella. So far we have done music and merchandise and I would like to expand that into the other mediums I feel creative in, but it’s an extremely small operation and a lot of work.

The name B.CALM stems from the nature of the company I wanted to make. It’s intimate and pure, very hands on and personal to me. A place where I can release the things that I hold dear, a sanctuary for my art. It’s an acronym of sorts…possibly more of a letter jumble. I wanted the name to really mean something so used my children’s initials, LB CB MA, and formed a statement I needed to hear.

V: B.CALM seems like it has been a pretty personal project for you – do you see it continuing to be a place for personal pieces, like for jamia…?

FI: Yes absolutely. I’m not saying I will never release things that I make anywhere else, but I wanted a place to have absolute control to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, the way I wanted to do them. I think of B.CALM as a home base of sorts. There are no ulterior motives or big schemes, just a love of the craft and a place to be as crazy as I want to be.

V: How are your experiences working with B.CALM different than your experiences working with major or independent labels? Is it different from just releasing your stuff on SoundCloud?

FI: Well every label is different, but it’s a very different thing doing it all yourself. It’s fun, terrifying, difficult and exciting all at the same time. It provides a great satisfaction when things work out the way you wanted them to… but on the flip side there is also a horrible feeling of loneliness and fear when you need help and you turn around and realize you’re the only one there. But I am lucky to have an amazing wife and friends that help out wherever and whenever they can and ultimately I just have to realize it’s all for fun and the love of creating, otherwise what’s the point?

V: Your career has always highlighted your work ethic, and you’ve done a lot of do-it-yourself projects. What’s the draw in DIY for you?

FI: I don’t know, I’m a masochist probably. Haha. I guess I like getting my hands dirty. I have always been a fan of the do it yourself thing, ever since I was young. You start a band, you raid the copy shop, and you make do with the materials at your disposal. It’s inspiring, it teaches you problem solving skills and a good work ethic and ultimately, it means more. For me I enjoy the process…every step is important. The things I create are a part of me, and I like to be there every step of the way…falling all over myself. Fucking things up as I go along. My favorite parts end up being the mistakes.

V: Do you think DIY is important to the punk scene? Have you seen it grow in the community?

FI: I do, I think if it weren’t for the DIY ethics nothing would ever change. What you have to understand is, as disheartening as the thought may be, our world is run by business and all businesses have to make money. that means labels, distributors, publishers, hospitals, schools, government; you name it, it’s all about the bottom line. Yes, making ‘great art’ is wonderful and when ‘great art’ makes a profit everyone benefits and the world can change…(yes I believe great art can change the world). But if that ‘great art’ doesn’t sell, someone at the company is going to tell you and everyone else that your ‘art’ isn’t that ‘great’ and 99% of the time they will move on. It’s the nature of the beast, it’s not fair…but art and life seldom are.

Our creative world these days, especially the music industry, is set up to fail. We have a business that is losing money rapidly and the bossman is scared. ‘Don’t take any risks, play it safe, because we cannot afford to lose any more than we already are in this economy.’ So the same things are green lit over and over, more polished, more sexually explicit, dumb it down even more than last year, different packages of the same shit. Big money won’t take a chance on something new until it proves itself, because no one wants to be the guy or girl who lost their ass on some out of left field artist. But you see there is the problem..the only thing that can truly change the industry, or the world for that matter, is something truly new and inspiring. A hail Mary. Something so undeniably risky it ignites the world’s imagination. So, here we lie, dying in a vicious cycle. And this happens every 15-20 years or so.

DIY is where the revolution begins. Because greatness starts with being so goddamned crazy no one else in their right mind will help you, so you have to do it all by yourself. It’s how punk rock began, tattooing, street art, the fucking internet, you name it. Anything the mainstream has adopted, monetized, and bled dry over the years at one point in time started in someone’s basement. And that last statement sounds bleak as fuhk, I know, but it’s not all bad. Some amazing things have happened because of that. DIY has changed the psyche of the mainstream, of course it also means you have a billion or so dickbags wearing bedazzled tattoo flash on their jeans…but well you can’t win ‘em all I suppose.

V: DIY can mean a lot of things to different people – with B.CALM, you’ve released vinyls, whereas a lot of bands have taken to recording their music on their own and releasing it on sites like Bandcamp. What does DIY mean for you, as an artist?

FI: DIY to me just means doing it yourself on your own terms. I love the recording process. I enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing the songs and performing them… maybe even a bit more. And in today’s technological world it is a lot easier to have a home studio or a laptop and a microphone and be able to record a whole record in your bedroom. I for one feel blessed to be creating in a time where that is attainable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t record in an actual studio and still do it yourself, it’s all about the mindset and having your hands in the project at all times. The procedure of recording everything yourself allows you to make mistakes and learn from them. This will change you as an artist and as a player, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all musicians at one point or another. I independently funded ‘for jamia…’ I created the art, I performed everything on it, recorded it and mixed it. I only turned the songs over to have them mastered and pressed. And when the records were returned to me I hand packaged, numbered and mailed all 400 to those who purchased them.

As far as releasing your material I believe that is up to the artist. No one should be able to tell you what to do with your art. If you want to put it up for free on a site like SoundCloud, as I’ve done in the past, or if you wanna put it on 8track and sell it through mail-order for a thousand bucks a song, that is your prerogative as the creator, and whatever you deem appropriate for you art is correct in my mind. DIY doesn’t have to mean give it away for cheap or free, that doesn’t change the do it yourself operation in my opinion, nor does the location of recording or sale.

I chose to press vinyl for my recent release because I have always wanted to release my own 45 and also because of the statement I feel vinyl has. For me I am a fan of the ritual. It takes more effort to put the vinyl on, and therefore demands more of you attention. I didn’t want ‘for jamia…’ to just be in the background, I wanted it to be an intimate conversation. I wanted the listener to be a part of it. You take the record out, lay it down, drop the needle and listen. Converse. Switch sides, hear a response, it should be an experience. Vinyl has more gravity than digital for me. However I am not oblivious to the world in which we live. I knew in order to have it reach more ears digital had to be widely available. But for me it was always about giving my wife the vinyl.

V: What effect does DIY have on the scene, given the recent trends of releasing music digitally?

FII think consumption of music digitally has really opened the doors and the reach for DIY artists. Before it was all about limited hand made releases, but now you have websites facilitating the worldwide distribution of independent artists, and I think that’s a great thing. Even though I have always been and will always be a fan of the artwork and packaging, I’m glad more independent artists will be able to see their work reach a wider audience. It’s much easier to fund your own batshit crazy projects these days, especially without the overhead of a physical release, and I think we’re going to see more and more artists doing what they want on their own.

V: It seems like DIY has become increasingly trendy – do you feel that it’s been commodified in any way? Do you think it will continue to grow as it has?

FI: I think DIY may be the new buzz word, but the trend of going back to basics in my opinion, is because of value. Doing it yourself brings the intimacy and care back to your art. Plus no one can tell you what to do, you’re your own boss, and that’s a special place to be as an artist. I’d like to think it’s also starting to make people realize there is a person and a soul behind the art and not just a product. But commodified? I don’t know. That seems to have a negative connotation, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with selling the things you create. Inventors and artists deserve to make a living and be paid well for what they do, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

People for some reason feel like if you’re able to download music easily or steal an artists whole discography in seconds that somehow you should, that it’s justified. That’s bullshit. The time taken to create and invent should be valued, respected, and revered…especially from independent artists.

Via

Gerard Way reveals My Chemical Romance ‘Greatest Hits’ artwork

tumblr_m1f2l5Rqb91r6i8tgo1_1280

When Gerard Way confirmed Warner Brothers will be releasing a My Chemical Romance Greatest Hitscompilation next year, he also noted that he would be designing the packaging.

Check out Way’s most recent tweet below with what appears to be the artwork for MCR’s Greatest Hits, subtitled May Death Never Stop You:

1004880_603509919686696_386161373_n

Recently, the former MCR frontman also teased that he was “working on something special” with the following photo, which you will recognize as a piece from the full image:

cats

Frank Iero announces two-song solo release, ‘for jamia…’

mcr-008

With the promise of more details to come this weekend, former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero has announced a two-song solo release titled for jamia…, which is set for release December 10 digitally and on limited edition vinyl.

Check out artwork and Iero’s announcement tweets below:

Frank Iero performs new songs live

fghjmm

Frank Iero, former guitarist of My Chemical Romance and current vocalist in Death Spells and a yet-unnamed solo venture, made a personal appearance at the opening of A&M Music Center in Lyndhurst, New Jersey today, where he performed a solo acoustic set.

Videos from the opening show Iero playing “joyriding.,” which he recently revealed on SoundCloud, leading to a sing-along from the intimate crowd, “Stage Four Fear Of Success,” which he also played at his live appearance on the Going Off Track podcast and another new song for which a title hasn’t been posted yet.

Check out the performances below.

“Stage Four Fear Of Success”

 

New Song (no title available on YouTube)

 

“joyriding.”

 

Many thanks to the YouTube users who uploaded these.

Iero ended his day with the following tweets about the in-store performance and meet-and-greet:

 

via

Frank Iero: The Epiphone Interview

Moving on from My Chemical Romance with Death Spells

Moving on from My Chemical Romance with Death Spells

Guitarist Frank Iero is one of Epiphone’s youngest and most eclectic signature artists. With his Wilshire Phant-o-matic–designed in collaboration with Frank and Epiphone–he powered My Chemical Romance’s world tour supporting their hit studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Though Chemical Romance recently announced their break up, Frank is already at work on new music with his group, Death Spells.

Frank Iero’s enthusiasm for his craft–and for all kinds of music–was very evident in our recent interview in which artists as diverse as The Ramones, King Curtis, Richie Havens, and the Smiths came up as influences. The Epiphone Frank Iero Phant-o-matic was released to great reviews in 2011 and continues to be embraced by both new and veteran players. It features a Mahogany body, a vintage style Varitone™ control, and Alnico Classic™ pickups in a beautiful Antique Ivory or limited Emerald Green finish. And as you’ll read in our interview, Frank’s Phant-o-matic never rests.

Great to speak with you again, Frank. First things first–have your kids started playing your Wilshire Phant-o-matic yet?

Every time I pickup a guitar, they are all over it too. They are definitely intrigued by the instrument. And although I have been pushing the Phant-o-matic on them, my good friend Cara from Epiphone sent them these tiny Zack Wylde Pee Wee and Vee Wee guitars. So they have gravitated towards those for the time being. It’s pretty rad. They have their own little half stacks and everything. I’m super jealous.

They are officially little people now with opinions and personalities–no longer screeching amoebas–and it’s blowing my mind on a daily basis. They are without a doubt the best things that ever happened to me. They make life worth living. And they love music too, which fills me with such a sense of pride (laughs). They are not the best singers yet, even though they think they are, but their interpretive dancing skills are unsurpassed. My wife and I blast the Ramones for them and you can literally see the rhythm take control like a psychotropic drug.

Frank Iero: The Epiphone InterviewThe last we heard, My Chemical Romance was working on a new album in their studio in LA. But after the Conventional Weapons series concluded, MCR announced their break-up. What happened?

Yea, well you know, life happened. The band ran its course. We had an amazing 12 years together, which I wouldn’t trade in for the world. But it had just come time for the band to end and for a new chapter to begin.

What’s next for you?

Well, there’s lot’s to come actually. I’m currently working on a few different projects at the moment. One of which is Death Spells, a project James Dewees and I started a few months back. We have a bunch of songs recorded, and I’m actually finishing the vocals in the next week or so on some of those. We did a short tour last month just to stretch our legs and knock the dust off the songs We are looking to get back out on the road again with Death Spells as soon as we can figure out a release schedule. But it’s a really fun project. It’s always evolving and I get to play and think about music in a whole different way.

I have also recently been in the studio recording for an as-of-yet untitled project. I found myself with a bunch of songs that I wanted to hear come to life and decided to just go in and do it before they killed me in my sleep. I’m unsure as to what may come of this record I’m making. It’s way different from Death Spells, maybe more in the vein of what I did for the Frankenweenie soundtrack. But it feels like a crime of passion–something I’m compelled to create–ha–or destroy. We shall see who survives, the songs or me.

And then there are always a few other side projects and creative outlets I have to have going at all times. Fun death metal bands I dream up with friends, possible scoring opportunities that intrigue me, and I also started a website (www.frank-iero.com) where I’ve been posting my photography, poetry, and short stories. There’s also some music posted there from my SoundCloud page.

Do you feel pressure to create something that’s very different from My Chemical Romance?

No, I don’t think that’s ever really come into my head. No matter what I do next, it’s going to be different from My Chem. That band was special because of the 4 guys involved. Nothing any of us do on our own will ever be what that was. And that’s a good thing. There’s no sense in repeating yourself

So with a new attitude and the freedom of starting again, what have you been listening to?

Jeez, how long do you want this interview to be (laughs)? I’m always listening to stuff and trying to seek out new things–or at least things that are new to me. My dad just gave me the King Curtis Live at the Fillmore West record. Wow, what a listen that is. The incredible playing aside, I’ve been amazed at the mixing of that record. There’s such clarity and space. It’s really well done. I love the sound of the new Queens of the Stone Age record. I think Josh Homme did a great job on that. The Pissed Jeans records are on repeat a lot. My friend just got me into the Mummies, this California garage rock band from the 90’s that used to dress up like mummies–really rad stuff. And then the staples of course; The Pixies, The Smiths, The Stones–lots of Joy Division lately, Johnny Cash, Richie Havens. So sad about his recent passing, that really made me sad. Seeing Richie as a young kid with my dad literally changed my life, it made me want to start a band.

Have you noticed that your writing is changing, too?

It’s funny–that process is ever changing for me, especially now with having new bands and new capabilities in technology. It used to be the only way to have band practice was to turn up to ’11’ in a small room and just sonically punish one another. And sometimes that’s still the best way–depends on the band. But the writing process with Death Spells, for instance, has been a lot of communicating online. Sending files back and forth, tweaking things in Logic or recording ideas in Pro Tools and then bouncing ideas off of one another that way. It gives us a chance to really flesh out an idea or hear the song come to fruition early on. And that’s exciting.

When working on other projects where I am the only composer, working on my laptop has opened up so many doors. The fact that I can demo everything on my own relatively quick and know early on what works and what doesn’t has been amazing. Also, having a digital studio at you fingertips let’s less of those late night ideas slip through the cracks. This can be a great thing and a terrible thing by the way.

Frank Iero: The Epiphone Interview

You’ve had your signature Epiphone Wilshire Phant-o-matic for over a year now. Do you use it for your writing?

Yes, absolutely. Everyday in fact. The Phant-o-matic has been my go-to instrument since the day it arrived, finished, in my hands. I love that guitar. It’s everything I wanted it to be and so versatile. It feels like an extension of my body.

It’s one of those things where at the end of the day, if the Phant-o-matic doesn’t happen to be the perfect guitar for recording a certain song I’ve made, you can be sure it played a major part in that song’s birth. That’s why there are so many guitars in the world, a song will tell you which guitar it needs in order to become whole.

You pulled double duty at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival in New Jersey performing with 2 bands on 2 days. You like to stay busy.

Yeah, it was quite a busy weekend to say the least. We did a Death Spells set on Saturday and then a LeATHERMOUTH set on Sunday. It was really hectic and crazy and stressful. But at the end of it all, it was really fun. I love playing music, especially with my friends. I have such an insatiable appetite for creating and performing that maybe it’s best for me to have 8 bands going at the same time, even though I find performing and creating absolutely terrifying (laughs). I don’t know, maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

I’m a pretty high-strung person to begin with. I worry about everything and everyone constantly. And on top of that, I have weird social anxiety/stage fright thing. My wife just laughs at me. I do it to myself though. It’s kind of like how a stunt man finds joy in near death experiences. I have a love-hate relationship with music. It keeps me alive, but it will probably be the death of me. The Evel Knievel of rock and roll does have a nice ring to it though.

What can we look forward to this year? More touring?

Well, I’m in the studio now working and the plan is to have a Death Spells release out this year. I’d love to do a full tour with that as soon as it makes sense. And as far as the other projects I have going on, I’m just playing it by ear and letting the music tell me when it’s done with me.

Via

 

AP #300 – The universe and Everything #5

tumblr_mn7x7f1tS11r9kslto10_1280

“I WIPE THE MAKE-UP OFF; I TAKE THE SUIT OFF; I TAKE THE TIE OFF AND EVERYTHING. I’M NORMAL AGAIN. I’M GERARD AGAIN.” -Gerard Way

Pelissier, who now works as a mechanic back in Jersey, is still searching for answers, insisting, “I was flat-out told the only reason I’m being kicked out of the band is because ‘We don’t feel comfortable with you onstage anymore because one, you don’t play to the click track, and two, those couple times you messed up, we just don’t fell comfortable.’ Even through Gerard was drunk every night and messed up every night…” His voice trails off.”They haven’t even avoiding the subject.”

“People probably though it was weird that we didn’t make any kind of statement beforehand or really talk about what happened,” Toro responds, carefully. “It must’ve been weird for people to notice, ‘Wow! One of the members who started the band and has been in the band for three years is now gone, and they haven’t said anything.’ The main reason why we decided to do that is because we didn’t want to get into a pissing match, and we didn’t want to have this sort of he-said, she-said bullshit.

“There are obviously things that went along with that [decision],” Toro continues, ‘like a lack of getting   along with him and a lack of being able to play songs the same way every night. But the main reason was that we weren’t having fun being in the band… he had to have known in this heart-whether he’ll admit it or not-that he wasn’t performing up to the way we needed to perform. You had to have been fucking blind to not see the relationship problems between each of us and him-that we just didn’t get along. When I started getting into the reasons of why we made the decision, he just walked away. That was the last time I spoke to him.”

Pelissier, obviously, doesn’t see things the way his former bandmates do. “I had Ray come up to me once or twice and ask me to play to a click track [a metronome-type machine that helps a drummer keep time] live, and I said no. Pretty much no drummer does, because it takes away the whole live feeling. And that was it. I got back from Japan, and only Ray come to my house with [manager] Schechter. It’s like your whole world comes crashing down, after I gave everything I ever did, everything I ever owned to make sure the band would survive, and that’s the thanks I get.”

While Pelissier dealt with the blow, the rest of the band had to find a replacement. Enter well-respected soundman and secret MCR wannabe Bryar. “It was at Irving Plaza, maybe a year-and-a-half ago, and My Chemical Romance [were playing with] Finch and the Used,” recalls Bryar. “My Chem finished playing, and I walked into the back and said something to [their manager] like, ‘I wish I could  do that.'” At this point. Bryar was just a cellmate the band met along the way. The band didn’t even know he could play drums, but after flying him out for a test run, there was no doubt Bryar was the perfect blend of personality and technical ability they were looking for.

No one in the band has talked to Pelissier since returning from Japan, except for Iero. “I called him right after it happened and was like, ‘Yo, I wanted to be there, but I understand why Ray wanted to talk to you alone. I hope that we can be mature about this after everything.

THE JETSET LIFE IS GONNA THRILL YOU

In three short years, My Chemical Romance have done things some bands only dream about-dueting with punk-rock royalty, hanging with hip-hop heavyweights and chilling with Frodo Baggins. But that’s not to say the men of MCR still don’t get starstruck. Here are their top three out-of-body encounters that had them scratching their heads, wondering. “Is this really happening?”

Attending a 2004 post-Oscar bash attended by the cast of  The Lord Of  The Rings and other A-List celebs. 

“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘I don’t belong here. What am I doing with these people?'” remember Ray Toro, eyes wide. “I was sitting this close to Kirsten Dunst. I could’ve literally touched her.” In addition to lighting his hair on fire and seeing Countney Love moon a deck full of innocent bystanders. Toro and the rest of the band also watched as an actor (known to play an all powerful wizard) eyed Mikey Way “like he was a piece of chicken” Mikey refused to comment on the poultry comparison, but did say it ranked as his craziest night in Los Angels.

Giving Keith Morris vocal lessons during the recording sessions for Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.

“I wasn’t coaching him,” Frank Iero insists, “but the was asking me how we wanted it.” The band invited the Circle Jerks singer to sing on “Hang Em High,” and it was all Iero could do not to pinch himself in the vocal booth. “Basically, I was like, ‘Do it like this.’ Then he’d do it, and I’d say, ‘Done one more take.’ We just sat down, ate Chinese food and he just talked to me for hours and hours. Ir was so fucking cool.”

Being invited to tea apt Rubin’s house.

After an MCR show with Piebald at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, a mysterious man came up to Gerard Way and said, “Rick Rubin would like to meet you.” Legend has if that the producer rarely leaves his house and hardly ever goes to see bands, so Way was intrigued. Rubin eventually invited the band over to his house to talk about abour music, and MCR jumped at the chance. 

“We get to his house, and they asked us all to take off our shoes and they hand us these giant bottles of water,” Gerard recalls. ‘We sat in his library with a huge stufed polar bear and picture all over the wall-original points of John Lennon photographs and Black Flag. He came in and sat across  from us I don’t think he blinked at all. He stared right into our souls. And then somebody comes to the door and asks if we can close the two doors to the library, and it’s Cedric [Baler Zavala] We all turn to each other and go, ‘Was that Cedric?’ Then we ask, is that the Mars Volta in there? Can we meet them?’ We totally nerded out. So Rick gets right up, opens the doors and goes into the piano room. It was their last day. They were finishing De-loused In The Comatorum. He goes, ‘Would you mind meeting these guy?’ They were the coolest guys. I remember Omar [A Rodriguez Lopez ] went. ‘I really like your belt.’ What the Fuck? That was huge!” [LS]

Part #6