As guitarist for My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero was used to headlining festivals and filling arenas.
But following the emo-punk-pop megastars’ split in 2013, the various members have been ploughing their own musical furrows.
And Frank returned to the fray with his album Stomachaches – an album he says initially wasn’t intended to be heard beyond his basement back home in New Jersey.
When he spoke to The Guide, Frank was in the middle of an American tour, en route from Des Moine in Iowa to Denver, Colorado.
‘I recorded it in my basement and had no intention of releasing it until I was convinced to put it out’, says Frank. ‘And then it was: “Let’s take it on tour”, and I was thinking who’s going to come and see this? But you show up in these cities and places and there’s 200-300 kids turn up and singing along and having a great time.
‘I wouldn’t say I need that response to validate what I do, but it is heartwarming.’
Because of the nature of its creation, Frank wrote and played everything on Stomachaches.
‘There’s nothing on this album that didn’t come out of my head or my heart.
‘You could say: “I don’t care what anyone thinks”, but if you’re 100 per cent honest, you don’t mean it.
‘Of course you don’t want people to hate it, but I did do that album for myself.
I was never in a band thinking this will be a springboard for my solo career, and I always thought it was silly when I heard others say thatFrank Iero
‘I didn’t think of that next step of releasing it and having people hear it and criticise it. Now that it is out there, it’s nice for people to connect with it.
‘I want to stand on my own two feet, if it fails it won’t be because I didn’t do it to 100 per cent of my ability.’
And although Frank has been involved in other projects besides MCR, this is the first time he’s taken centre stage, and he admits: ‘I was never in a band thinking this will be a springboard for my solo career, and I always thought it was silly when I heard others say that.
‘Being the frontman is the second hardest job in the band – being the drummer is the hardest job in the band.
‘It’s a hard job to engage and to be genuine with it. It’s a fine line between asking how people are doing tonight and really meaning it.’
MCR’s former frontman Gerard Way has also launched a solo career – and he made his international debut in a secret gig at The Wedge before his ‘official’ debut at Reading Festival.
‘We’re doing the same show?’ says Frank when he’s told. ‘That’s awesome. He’s constantly on tour, and we’ve been playing in some of the same cities, but I didn’t know he played the same venue.’
FrnkIero andthe Cellabration are at The Wedgewood Rooms on Wednesday. Doors open 8pm. Tickets £12. Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk or call (023) 9286 3911.