Frank Iero got his start playing guitar in Punk bands in his native New Jersey at a very young age. It was through that scene that he met the members of My Chemical Romance. It was a fruitful friendship — Iero joined the group in his early 20s while they were recording their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, which was released on Jersey-based indie label Eyeball, home to Iero’s pre-MCR band Pencey Prep. The label was co-owned by Geoff Rickly of Thursday, another Jersey group important to Iero’s music career.
My Chemical Romance, of course, went on to become one of the biggest bands of the world, calling it quits in 2013 after releasing a string of influential albums, including the kaleidoscopic Emo masterpiece The Black Parade.
Iero had several side projects during his MCR days, including Hardcore band Leathermouth and a stint in Reggie and the Full Effect. Post-MCR, he formed the electronic project Death Spells, then set out on a solo career, releasing his debut, Stomachaches, in 2014, on which he played every instrument but drums. He formed a band and hit the road with Taking Back Sunday and The Used.
Iero has always released his solo work under a “band” name — his debut is credited to frnkiero andthe cellabration and 2016’s Parachutes album was by Frank Iero and the Patience. Late last year he announced his latest solo work would use the moniker Frank Iero and the Future Violents. He debuted the new live band — featuring Thursday’s Tucker Rule — in Brooklyn earlier this year, opening for what was likely Thursday’s final show.
Want more Thursday connections? Rickly has been opening dates on Iero and Co.’s current tour and Thursday’s Steve Pedulla directed the music video for recent single “Young and Doomed.” The track is taken from Iero’s just-released new album Barriers, his first for Australian-based label UNFD.
Iero shows some musical diversity on Barriers, including notes of Soul and Blues, but fans of his past work will not be disappointed. There’s still that thick and resonate trademark guitar sound and Iero’s elastic, versatile voice sometimes sounds like The Cure’s Robert Smith if he grew up in the Post Hardcore scene.
Longtime MCR fans who haven’t kept up with Iero should check in with Barriers (which was recorded with studio legend Steve Albini). There’s lots of sonic crossover and on “Young and Doomed” Iero even gives an overt, self-referential nod to his past, at one point singing, “I promise that I’m not OK,” then offering the aside, “Oh, wait — that’s the other guy.”
Catch Iero and the Future Violents this Friday (June 7) at Bogart's. Click here for tickets/more show info.