Overcoming Barriers Frank Iero finds peace on his new album with Steve Albini

Formerly of My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero is pushing his third solo album, “Barriers.” (Photo by Mitchell Wojcik)

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Frank Iero had this vision. The singer-guitarist thought his ironic new song “Great Party” could best be told with his band, Frank Iero and the Future Violents, trying to convince a room full of questionable characters in a VFW Hall that the soiree is actually fun.

“I wrote the treatment and it came out better than I could have ever imagined,” Iero says. “It’s fun for me. I feel like it’s another opportunity to be creative and to create in a different medium.”

The video has been a hit on YouTube since its late-July release, garnering 50,000-plus views. It’s a respectable number for an indie artist.

“Great Party” is on Frank Iero and the Future Violents’ album, “Barriers.” Recorded and mixed by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey), the album is 14 songs that not only tackle the existential journey of Iero’s heart and mind, but help him redirect his musical path.

Working with Albini was a pleasure for Iero, the former My Chemical Romance rhythm guitarist.

“I was lucky enough to work with Steve once before when we did an EP together in 2016,” he says. “I got a glimpse into his world and what it was like to work with him. When I was writing this record, I knew he would be perfect for these songs.”

“Barriers” was a difficult album to make, as it was the first one he wrote and recorded since an October 2016 accident that injured him, his brother-in-law and manager. They were in front of Twitter headquarters in Sydney, Australia, unloading gear when a bus collided with Frank Iero and the Patience’s van. Iero ended up underneath the bus’ bumper and was dragged about 10 feet. The others were seriously injured, and the band canceled the remaining 2016 tour dates.

“Talking about those emotions and the process of trying to heal and make sense of it all was a really scary undertaking,” he says. “Once you put those feelings into song form, it tends to define it. If you don’t get it right, it keeps you up at night.

“Once I was able to tackle that, that took away the stigma on everything else. I put this record off for as long as I possibly could.”

“Barriers” is Iero’s third solo album. Each one is labeled with a different name and performed with a new set of musicians. Joining him this time is guitarist Evan Nestor, bassist Matt Armstrong, drummer Tucker Rule and keyboardist/violinist Kayleigh Goldsworthy.

“The idea is to change it up every time,” Iero says. “But rules are meant to be broken. This is my favorite incarnation so far.”

Like previous efforts, he claims incarnation and album may be the last one.

“I never expected to do one solo record in my lifetime, let alone three,” he says. “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 we fail and we find solace in that failure. But whenever I find something that scares me, that’s when I know I have 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 to protect myself. But these songs were also things that I’d never attempted before but had always wanted to try.”

more info

What: Frank Iero and the Future Violents w/Geoffrey Rickly of Thursday

When: 8 p.m. Monday, August 5

Where: 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Avenue

Cost: $20-$25

Info: 191toole.com