Description ------------------------- "The funny thing about belonging to a scene," begins singer/gui- tarist Frank Iero, "is that at a certain point, there becomes all these factions. Are you pop-punk? Are you emo? Are post-hardcore? Hardcore? Are you a fuckin' hipster? In my last band, these factions were waiting to see, 'What are these guys? They came from here, they're not really this, we need to label them somehow.' The reality was had we decided we were something, that scene wouldn't have wanted us anyway. It wasn't like getting picked for a kickball team in elementary school. It was like, 'Well, you've got to go to a team, so you better decide soon. But none of us fuckin' want you.' So we decided to do our own thing."
Doing your own thing is a modus operandi that's worked well for Iero, the former guitarist in the groundbreaking outfit My Chemical Romance, who was responsible for bringing (and maintaining) an old-school punk energy to that band's bigger-than-life-and-twice-as-heavy rock vision. After 10 years, four albums and rounds of incessant touring, MCR quietly adjourned in March of 2013. But the creatively restless guitarist has always held a hardcore work ethic, a mindset that helped propel "Stomachaches," his proper debut full-length on Staple Records. Well, that and his rebellious lower intestines.
"I'm plagued with a bacterial overgrowth of the lower intestines," he says. "When those levels get out of wack, I experience digestive problems and pain. My levels are naturally out of wack, so every few months, I take a bout of antibiotics that kill everything and then I start from scratch. When normal people are digesting food, they don't notice it. When I'm digesting things, it causes me pain." He begins to laugh. "It's like saying, 'Every time I breathe, it hurts.' There's not a day that goes by when I don't feel nauseous: On my good days, I feel like a mess. I'm sure a lot of it is psychosomatic, because I'm such a nervous wreck, no matter what. For me, if I'm making something new, whether it's a song or a poem or a short story or a painting, that's what gets my mind off of how I feel. That's the thought process behind the entire record."
"My definition of a punk-rock mindset is that you do what you do because you have to do it," he continues. "Not because of who you are trying to please or what you're trying to make. These are things that need to be done for your sanity, for you to stay alive. I don't know if that's punk-rock or not. I'm a very sensitive person, and for me to say, 'I don't care about what you think,' well, that's not entirely true. Ultimately, it doesn't change what I want to do, but if you have something terrible to say to me, it's going to hurt because I'm a sensitive person. It's not going to affect the outcome." He beg