TAMPA — Frank Iero and The Future Violents will perform Thursday, June 13, 7 p.m., at The Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Tampa.
Tickets start at $20. Visit www.crowbarybor.com.
Music fans may recognize Iero from his previous solo work or his bands Leathermouth, Pency Prep, Death Spells, or of course the big one, My Chemical Romance. Iero's latest solo iteration, which now features members of Thursday and Murder by Death, released their new record “Barriers” May 31 via UNFD.
For Iero, making music has always been a coping mechanism according to a press release from ReyBee Inc. But it’s also much more than just a way of dealing with the hardships of life — it’s a means of stepping back to take in the hurricane that is life, both in all its glory and devastation and acknowledging the things you could, and maybe should, have done differently.
“People like to say ‘I live my life without any regrets,’ and I think that’s BS,” Iero said. “I think that if you don’t have any regrets then maybe you didn’t really live. Life is about mistakes and life is about scars and those are the things that help us remember that we’re alive. You shouldn’t get everything right — you should know what it feels like to feel sorry.”
Regret flows through “Barriers,” Iero’s third solo record, more than anything he’s ever made before. Made with his new band, The Future Violents, it’s an album that directly and deliberately challenges the doubts that plague us, whether on a trivial, everyday basis or a more meaningful level. To that extent, its 14 songs are much more than a deeply existential journey into his heart and mind. They also reinvent who he is as a musician and tackle head-on the fundamental question of what it means to actually be alive, to be human.
“I never expected to do one solo record in my lifetime, let alone three,” Iero explained. “Every time I start a new record, I say to myself ‘This is it. This is the end. This is the last one.’ It got me thinking about how we set up these obstacles around ourselves. Sometimes they’re for protection and sometimes they’re to keep people out, and sometimes we even set them up so that we fail and we find solace in that failure.”
Whenever Iero finds something that truly scares him, that’s when he knows he has to do it.
“And so these songs are about experiences that were either walls I wanted to break down or walls that I’d built up around myself in order to protect myself,” he said. “But these songs were also things that I’d never attempted before but had always wanted to try.”
With this latest cohort of musicians — previous collaborator Evan Nestor on guitar and backing vocals, Murder By Death’s Matt Armstrong on bass, Thursday’s Tucker Rule behind the drum kit and Kayleigh Goldsworthy on piano, organ and violin — Iero has created his most expansive and full-sounding set of songs to date. After the despondent yet hopeful soul of the opener, lead single “Young & Doomed” is an insistent, dark rock and roll anthem that flails with a wild and uncontrollable angst and energy. “Basement Eyes” and “The Unfortunate” turn the regret up to 11 yet still pack a bold and rebellious punch, while “Six Feet Down Under” is a bluesy stomp through the underworld of existence.
While musically there’s more space on these songs — more room to breathe and contemplate, more tender, fragile moments than ever before — it’s no less vicious or intense than anything that preceded it. It’s a frenzied whirlwind of everything Iero has experienced and felt in his life, but in the eye of that past, present and future storm, it finds him at his most comfortable and confident.
“This is who I am,” Iero said. “I create in order to survive. And every chance I get I’m going to evolve and change. The ambition is to be for these songs to be perceived without any kind of past notion of what the project is supposed to sound like, to break down any and all boundaries and barriers that we’ve set up or that other people have set up for us. We really did go in and create something brand new for ourselves and that’s been such a challenge and fun undertaking.”