In October 2016 former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and his band the Patience were unloading equipment from their van in Sydney, Australia, when a bus careened into them. Everyone miraculously made it out alive, but the experience shook the reluctant band leader so much so that he had a hard time writing about it.
“What I was writing didn’t encompass all the emotions that I had about this event,” says Iero, calling from a tour stop in Alabama. “I thought, maybe I don’t know how to do this anymore. Maybe this event changed me so much that this isn’t in me anymore.”
It was a daunting process to relive such a traumatic event, and Iero wanted to make sure he did it justice.
“If you’re going to write that album,” he told himself, “you better do it right.”
Despite the emotional and creative hurdles, when he got the opportunity to start a new band with Thursday drummer Tucker Rule and Murder By Death bassist Matt Armstrong (as well as his brother-in-law/guitarist and fellow crash survivor Evan Nestor), he couldn’t pass it up.
“The stars were aligned,” he says. “I’ve known Tucker and Matt for 20 years. I knew that this was the ultimate band and how silly it would be for one event to change something that you’ve wanted your whole life.”
Frank Iero and the Future Violents, which play Amos’ Southend Tuesday, got to work addressing his feelings about the accident and aftermath in song.
“Of course that’s what shapes this record,” he says. “Once I did that, the other elements of my life that I’d been afraid to write about didn’t seem so scary.”
Having already made two solo albums, Iero was comfortable lyrically.
“Working on the last record (2016’s ‘Parachutes’) with producer Ross Robinson (Korn, At the Drive-In), I learned a lot about the songwriting process, how to say the things you want to without worrying about how it’s coming across, and about myself as a person,” Iero says. “What I needed (for the new album ‘Barriers’) was someone at the helm to help me chase this record sonically. I wanted a genius engineer who could capture it.”
He turned to famed producer Steve Albini — best known for his work with Nirvana and the Pixies — to help him hone the eclectic pastiche of styles that make up “Barriers.” Albini, however, isn’t your typical producer brimming with ideas and suggestions.
“It’s funny. He forces you into that roll. It’s empowering, if frustrating,” Iero says. “He forces you to say yes. I never wanted to be a producer, or a frontman, or have my own band. But I was ultimately forced into that roll.”
And that’s ultimately the underlying theme of “Barriers”: confronting fear, facing your truth, and living more actively.
“It’s off-putting and challenging to get out of your comfort zone,” Iero says. “You truly find out who you are and when there’s something to overcome, you learn something when you get back up. We need those scars.”