Frank Iero is a nice man.
When we talked the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, I’m sure he had a lot on his mind. Family plans, friend plans, his upcoming album Barriers (which is out tomorrow, so get those credit cards ready). Despite the looming long weekend and the beautiful weather, he spent far too much time indulging my questions about the afterlife, barbecue sauce recipes and true crime podcasts. As a long time fan of his first band, My Chemical Romance, and a current fan of his solo project Frank Iero and the Future Violents (you might also know them as frnkiero andthe cellabration or Frank Iero and the Patience), it felt like all my teenage / adult dreams were coming true.
Only meet your heroes if they are this friendly and this knowledgeable about cereal.
I was looking through your Instagram today, because that is a crucial step in preparing for any interview, and I noticed that you were sent a skate deck with “Young & Doomed” on it. What is the coolest trick you can do on a skateboard?
Oh man. Here’s the thing, I’m horrible at skating. I can move down the street and if I’m lucky, I can ollie up a curb. That’s kind of about it.
That sounds really impressive to me.
Oh really? Thank you very much. I was the kid that skated all through high school and I think maybe landed one and a half kick flips. I was never really good. I broke my ankles twice playing basketball and once skateboarding… But it was always a good form of transportation for me, but I was never much of a tricksman. If I can get up on a curb, I’m psyched.
I’ve been listening to the new single and anticipating the album and your band name this go around is Frank Iero & the Future Violents. I’ve heard you talk about the lake analogy that you use to describe why you chose that name, but what I’m kind of interested in is the ‘future’ part of the name, so I wanted to know, what is your favorite science fiction movie, novel, etc?
Maybe Blade Runner? That’s definitely up there as far as favorite science fiction movie. And I like the narration. I think you can enjoy the movie without having your hand held and walked through it, but I do enjoy that added way to enjoy the movie.
It does give it that hardboiled noir detective feeling.
Yeah. Exactly. It’s like Blade Runner meets Howard the Duck.
I loved your album Parachutes and I loved the cover especially with the two ghosts holding a baby. Do you believe in ghosts?
I want to so badly. I feel like, in having that knowledge that there’s something else out there, it makes real life a little more manageable. The idea that there is something else after this, it’s not just total darkness and emptiness. It’s unfortunately one of those I need to see it to believe it kind of things. If it’s something like an afterlife I kind of need a little more proof, or at least personal proof, to believe in it. But I’m hopeful. I’m still holding out.
What do you think would solidify their existence for you? Is it… Like, do you own a ouija board?
No! I’ve done that and that just proves to me that some people are assholes. That’s the thing. I feel like, in all this time, if we’ve been searching for something we would have found, even nominal proof, as opposed to a lens flare. That’s kind of troubling to me.
I do however truly believe that the universe has a path, while you’re here, if you pay attention to it. But I feel like a lot of us don’t pay attention. A lot of things fall into your lap and there’s signs everywhere. I think being in tune with that is a little harder. That I truly believe. I think things happen for a reason, even the shitty things. But as far as after your heart stops beating, I think it’s just memories and energy. I don’t think that there’s anything else.
Kind of like fate but not quite.
Yeah. I think we make our own. I definitely think you have that free will that choice to follow the path or not, but I think there’s definitely a trajectory and if you follow that I think things do work out… But we are ultimately our own worst enemies and if there’s a way to fuck it up, we’re going to find it.
Totally. To go back to your album art, I really loved Keep The Coffins Coming with that really great vampire illustration. I was going to ask, if you could be any classic horror movie monster, which would you pick… But I thought it would be more interesting to ask, if you could be any classic cereal monster, which would you choose? Like Count Chocula…
Or Franken Berry or Boo. There was a mummy a some point too, but they discontinued it didn’t they?
Yeah, there was Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute, he was a werewolf.
That’s right. If we’re going cereal, I’m going Count Chocula, but if we’re going with the actual monster… I think I would go Wolfman only because you have duality and I really enjoy that. I think Frankenstein has to be super depressing, that’s a rough one. I also feel like Dracula is a little… I like that he’s a loner, but I feel like he would be lonely. The Wolfman is kind of cool because you get both sides. It’s like you’re a part time monster. I can do anything part time.
As far as cereal goes, I love different flavored cereals and I am a mixture kind of guy. I like to make my own mixtures. Right now, I’ve been on the Nutter Butter cereal and I mix that with Honey Nut Cheerios so it cuts some of the sugar intake. If you have a lot of those cereals it coats your teeth in this horrible film. The only time I can ever eat a marshmallow is if it’s in a dehydrated cereal bag. I don’t like actually fluffy marshmallows, as delicious as they appear to be, I find them to be revolting.
I get that because I also think they’re kind of gross.
Yeah! If they’re in Lucky Charms, I’m good, but if it’s a Peep? Oh god. They make me gag.
Since we’re talking about food, I watched an interview you did where you mentioned that when you talk to the guys in My Chemical Romance, one of the things you sometimes talk about is barbecue sauce. So what are your barbecue sauce tips? Have you cracked the code of the perfect sauce?
Here’s the thing, I’m not making my own barbecue sauce. I’m very much a connoisseur of bottled sauces. I enjoy a bottled hot sauce, I enjoy a Stubb’s, as far as barbecue goes. I think the best sauce that’s ever been made is the Chick-Fil-A sauce. You can probably make your own with a mixture of honey mustard and barbecue and I think you’d kind of the same thing… But that sauce is probably the most delicious out of all the savory sauces.
With My Chem… It was mostly with Ray, because Ray is very into barbecuing. He makes really good scallops. He likes to do that kind of thing. With the Future Violents, we’re very much hot sauce oriented and a lot of the knowledge is coming from Matt Armstrong, our bass player, he’s very sauce forward. He brought in Mark’s hot sauce, it’s a habanero base and it’s very spicy and you only need a little dab. A good thing is to mix that. I think Louisiana is a fantastic tasting sauce, but it’s not very spicy, but if you were to use that and add a little bit in there… Also, I’m definitely a fan of Cholula, the Bob Saget sauce, and also Tapatio, which looks like my son with a mustache.
I love it. This is based off one of my favorite songs on your first record, Stomachaches, but have you ever been in a fist fight?
I have. I’ve been in a few.
Oh no. Are there any non-sad stories you can tell me?
They’re never good stories. Here’s the thing, they start over ridiculous things. I remember the first one I was ever in, I was in grammar school, and I think it was maybe seventh grade? Something happened where somebody said something about somebody else and it got back to whoever. It was actually a stranger kid who I had met maybe once at a party, but was trying to stir something up. They said I said something about them, so they came to the school with plans to jump me. It was crazy. It was like, “Oh my god, I’ve seen this in movies and it’s actually happening in real life.” It was overwhelming, but you get a little bit more used to it when it happens more. It’s weird. I don’t recommend them, but I think you should have at least one in your life.
Definitely. I know you have your podcast Casual Interactions, so I wanted to ask, what’s the best podcast you’re listening to right now?
I do like This American Life. I just finished Dirty John about a month ago and I thought that was really good. Serial, of course, is fantastic. I like the Mike Row one, I think they’re very quick and manageable and I did just finish that one about the Harts. Usually I listen to true crime, to be honest. Those are my go-tos, anything based on true crime.
That’s so funny, the company I right for has a true crime festival.
It’s so interesting… By listening to more of them and knowing more about true crime, does it make you more paranoid? Or does it make you more prepared? I don’t know if there’s a definite answer there.