Panic! at the Disco. My Chemical Romance. The Strokes.
At first glance I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell these bands have in common. Have they ever been used in a sentence together before now? A quick Google search reveals that they were all at Reading and Leeds once, but that’s about it. Although they’re all ‘rock’ bands broadly speaking, they play vastly different sub-genres of music.
What they do share in common are career paths; all three have spawned successful side and solo projects. Whilst the circumstances differ in each case, the bands have given rise to the solo careers of Brendon Urie, Frank Iero and Albert Hammond Jr. We sat down with the three musicians to find out what prompted the change and how the solo life compares to playing with the band.
“[Writing solo] was so much fun! That’s honestly my dream. When I’m writing these songs I hear the parts in my head separately…I knew exactly how I wanted the album to sound, I had the vision for it, and it was much quicker. I am honestly just selfish and I want to play all the instruments, so I did! I went from drums to bass and guitar to backup vocals to lead vocals to all that stuff. It just became like a fun process that I would normally want to do anyway.” – Brendon Urie
“Coming out of a band and just kind of working on a record where nothing made the record that didn’t come out of your head or your heart is a huge undertaking and maybe even confidence boost…there’s times when you wish there was somebody else in the room to help you along or give you some kind of feedback and then there’s times where that isolation and that silence is so welcome.” – Frank Iero
“[Band and solo] both have easier and harder parts. Easier about mine is I’m running it so as long as I wanna work then I’m working. Harder though because you’re getting people to listen to you. The band, The Stokes stuff has more money so it’s more comfortable. They’re both hard and easy. I don’t think that ever goes away. I think if it does then it’d be kinda boring.” – Albert Hammond Jr
“There’s a song ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ which is a really good example of [writing solo]. I started it by just sitting on my couch playing acoustic guitar…I didn’t write [the chorus] until later when I had my electric guitar, which was much louder, and I put a drum beat to it. It kind of pieced together separately…I wrote one piece here and another piece there and then kind of Frankensteined the entire song in that way. I jigsawed them together which was really fun.” – Brendon Urie
“You can chase an idea to infinity. There’s pitfalls to that of course where you can really do that forever and that could be a fools errand and never turn into anything, but I think even when that happens you learn something from it…all too often in band settings there’s a ceiling on how long you can chase an idea and some things don’t just come right away.” – Frank Iero
“It’s strange, I’ve done like a weird circle. I was reading this Miles Davis thing…he said he spent years practising and working to sound like himself, to finally sound like himself. And so I like that idea that you spend all this time to eventually, finally sound like yourself. I think that’s the hardest thing, to be yourself.” – Albert Hammond Jr
Check out the full interviews below