Before Frank Iero returns to play the first night of the Great South Bay Music Festival with his new band, The Future Violents, he will do a special in-store performance and signing at Looney Tunes in West Babylon on Sunday to promote his new album, “Barriers” (UNFD).
It’s the first album since the former My Chemical Romance guitarist’s near-death experience in Australia in 2016, when he and his band and crew were hit by a bus while they were unloading their van. Iero, who got caught under the bus’ bumper and dragged along the road, his guitarist and brother-in-law Evan Nestor, and manager Paul Clegg were all injured enough to be hospitalized for weeks. Though they all recovered, the accident weighed on Iero as he worked on the new album. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put it behind me,” says Iero, calling from a tour stop in Pittsburgh. “But some of the emotion now comes from knowing that you’ve overcome. . . . There’s a feeling that you got past the hardest thing you ever had to do.”
How hard was it to sort through all your emotions to get the album out?
It was difficult. It really was. It was one of the things where I questioned myself a lot, thinking, “I don’t know if I really know how to do this anymore. Maybe this event is a little too much or a little too big for me to record in some form.” But when you have this near-death experience, it kind of seeps into your DNA and changes you, you know? I feel like a different person.
That must make the warm reception for the album feel special.
It’s been overwhelming to be honest. . . . To write a record in the face of everything that happened and have it be a record you're so proud of and then get to be out on the road and tour it with all these wonderful musicians, it feels amazing. And I feel like we're getting so much more attention than we ever have. A lot of people are talking about it and really enjoying it and we're getting such a reaction of the crowd. It feels surreal. I feel blessed to be a part of it to be honest.
There are so many great styles on this album and it feels like you’re just celebrating being alive in any way you can.
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I think that’s a good way to read it. There were these things I've been influenced by that I've always wanted to try, things that made me love music and made me want to play and write music. And I sort of thought I don't know if I could really do something like that. You have this fear . . . so you stick with what you know. I think when you go through something like we went through, you end up with this fearlessness — this realization that failure isn't a bad thing.
Well, there are things here you haven’t tried before. “Police, Police” is political. And I think “The Host” sounds a lot like The Cure.
Well, The Cure is one of my favorite bands, so that is one of the highest compliments I could ever get, so thank you. . . . As far as the political aspects of the record, I’ve tried to stay out of politics and just be based on human rights. But now, it really is shocking to me that to say I think people should be able to love who they want to love and believe in what they want to believe in and do the things that make them happy as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. It's a political statement, right? That's insane to me. But in that sense, it is political. . . . Life is not just something that keeps happening to you. It is happening for you and you have to be awake enough to read the street signs along the path that's set up for you.
WHO Frank Iero
WHEN | WHERE 3 p.m. Sunday, Looney Tunes, 31 Brookvale Ave., West Babylon
INFO $14.99 (for CD and wristband for signing), $29.99 (for vinyl album and wristband); 631-587-7722, ltcds.com