Rig Rundown: My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero
A gift from Gary Holt, a bastardized Jazzmaster, a Squier baritone, bountiful boards, and stacks of amps litter the rocker’s tone bunker.
The 2000s were an odd period for music sales. The decade was a tale of polar opposites. Songs and albums never exchanged hands faster (thanks to file-sharing services like Napster and LimeWire), and thus the industry's sales plummeted.
During the aughts, one of the few acts growing through the free-streaming floodwaters, were the dark, theatrical rockers My Chemical Romance who melded punk, post-hardcore, indie, and glam. Singer Gerard Way started the band in late 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. He recruited drummer Matt Pelissier (replaced by Bob Bryar in 2004), lead guitarist Ray Toro, his brother Mikey Way for bass, and in early 2002 Frank Iero joined.
As a result of their skyrocketing success, the quintet went from opening dive bars to selling out arenas in eight fast years. 2002's debut for Eyeball Records, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, was a scorcher (and sold over 3 million copies). The follow up, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, had the fist-pumping hooks for TRL, but still retained the edge for the pits. 2006's soaring anthemic concept album, The Black Parade, learned from past classics (A Night at the Opera, Sgt. Pepper, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness), became a triple-platinum smash with the title track perching them on top of two charts (Billboard's U.S. Alternative and U.K. Singles Chart). And 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys dialed back the rage and ramped up the fun producing a rushing ride.
While the band did release new music (collection of singles eventually becoming a compilation, Conventional Weapons), they took a hiatus. Iero took this an opportunity to step out from just rhythm duties and added frontman to his resume.
First releasing Stomachaches as frnkiero and the cellabration in 2014. He followed that up by forming Frank Iero and the Patience who produced Parachutes (LP) in 2016 and Keep The Coffins Coming (EP) in 2017. After surviving a harrowing accident where he was drug approximately 10 feet by a passenger bus in Australia, he found catharsis in music and created Frank Iero and the Future Violents. So far, they've dropped Barriers (LP) in 2019 and earlier this year Heaven is a Place, This is a Place (EP).
Just after putting out his offbeat, stirring 4-song collection (complete with a ghostly cover or R.E.M.'s “Losing My Religion"), the good-time guitarist virtually welcomed PG's Chris Kies into his Jersey-based home and gear haven.
In this episode, Iero introduces us to his oddball offsets and sentimental single-cuts, he explains how unusual tunings and pinky rings give his “broken" riffs an extra off-kilter sound and extra gunk, and we witness how a pandemic turned his basement into a pedal warehouse.
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard:https://ddar.io/xpnd.rr
One of Iero’s newest guitars is this Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster finished in dark knight. (Iero calls this 6-string “Batman.”) His two favorite appointments are slight tweaks on the classic design—the responsive Panorama Tremolo and the sculpted neck heel improving access and comfortability.
Depending on the instrument and tuning, Frank will go with Ernie Ball Slinkys in various configurations of .011s to compensate for lower tunings and looser tension.
For My Chemical Romance, they’re typically tuned to standard for Future Violents stuff he rides in Eb standard.
Here’s a signature guitar owned by Iero, but it’s not his namesake instrument. He and Gary Holt become fast friends and the thrasher for Slayer and Exodus offered a guitar swap. So Iero got Holt’s ESP LTD GH-600 sig and Holt requested his Ampeg Dan Armstrong AMG100 BK reissue featured in the video for Iero and the Future Violents’ rollercoaster “Young and Doomed”.
When touring with his first solo band (Frank Iero and the Celebration), they visited a guitar boutique in a Canadian mall. He picked up a Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster and quickly began coming up with fresh ideas on the spot. Not wanting to deal with customs, he went online, ordered his own Antigua model and it showed up to his New Jersey doorstep before he finished the tour. Tuned to A#, the baritone was workhorse for his last full-length release, Barriers, and his just-released EP.
Always on the lookout for something unusual and different, Iero was on tour in Cincinnati scooped this Frankenstein Fender offset that has a ’50s body matched with a ’90s neck.
During My Chemical Romance’s rise, Iero’s main guitar was a white Epiphone Les Paul nicknamed “Pansy.” He’s since retired it from the road and was tired of playing similar same single-cut, humbucker-loaded guitars. As seen in this Rundown, he’s got instruments of many shapes, sizes, and configurations, but he’s always loved a white Les Paul. Wanting to bring one back into the fold, a serendipitous phone call from Thunder Road Guitars’ owner Frank Gross put this 1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom into Iero’s growing collection.
“If you’re looking for something affordable that you can rip on, I don’t think you can beat this one,” says Iero when playing this 2020 reissue of the Epiphone Coronet.
With touring plans still up in the air for 2021, Iero is unsure if he’ll go fully digital, full tube, or a hybrid approach, but he did admit that this Fender Twin Reverb will for sure be the clean tone. (And for those keeping track at home, this is the amp he played during the Rundown.)
The last Future Violents tour saw Iero bring out the aforementioned Twin Reverb and the above Supro Black Magick.
Like most of us, during the pandemic, pedalboards became fluid and tone hunting was a mind-saving pastime. Iero was no exception as you’ll see in the next few slides he has some mainstays, but nothing is permanent.
Here’s his closest gig-ready stomp station that has time-based effects and modulation on the left side (Fender Marine Layer Reverb, vintage Pearl CH-02 Chorus, old Boss DM-2 Delay, Ibanez CF7 Chorus/Flanger, and Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail). The right side is home to menace (Marshall Blues Breaker, SNK Pedals VHD Distortion/Preamp, Keeley-modded Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, and Klon Centaur). Everything is controlled by the Carl Martin Octa-Switch MkII. Utilitarian units include a TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini, Ernie Ball VPJR volume pedal, and a Strymon Zuma power supply.
Here’s his mess-around-the-house board (with a fine tribute to EVH) that has a pair of Strymons (BigSky and Volante), an Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo, gold Klon Centaur, Fuzzlord Effects Drone Master, Bowman Audio Endeavors The Bowman (company ran by Rig Rundown alumnus and Against Me! guitarist James Bowman), and a Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner Pedal.
His recording board is made up of versatile staples including a 4-pack of Strymons (Ola, Flint, El Capistan, and Iridium), Bowman Audio Endeavors Fortune and Glory, and a Templo Devices Model 33 Supa vibrato.
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Guitar Center Presents: Holiday Gift Guide
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Les Paul Desert Burst Satin
Fender Classic Series 5 Guitar Case Stand Tweed
Fender Holiday Guitar Cable Keychain
Fender Limited Edition Holiday Sweater
Harbinger MLS1000 Personal Line Array Speaker System
Sterling Audio P10 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Sterling Audio Harmony H224 USB Audio Interface
Apogee BOOM 2x2 Audio Interface
Railhammer Reveals New Billy Corgan Z-One Pickups
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level of performance. Rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. Railhammer Pickups have outstanding tonal balance. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Mono Releases the M80 Vertigo Ultra Case
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
MONO Vertigo Ultra Electric Bass Gig Bag - Black
For more information, please visit monocreators.com.
Gibson Unveils the Generation Collection of Acoustics
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird Acoustic-electric Guitar - Natural
For more information, please visit gibson.com.