Guitars and motorbikes have gone hand in hand for decades, with blistering riffs accompanying almost every film or tv reference to motorbikes. That’s why it’s never much of a surprise when we meet a musician who also has a love for life on two wheels.
Frank Iero and Evan Nestor found a great musical camaraderie over the span of Iero's post-My Chemical Romance career, forming a key part of Frank Iero and The Future Violents in recent years. Nestor in particular has a real passion for being sat on a bike, as we found out when he visited our Mutt store in London’s Bethnal Green pre-lockdown for a chat and to take a GT-SS for a quick rip whilst on tour.
“I ride because there are not many other feelings of being that free,” Evan tells us. “It gives you the sense of being on your own rollercoaster. It’s an adrenaline rush you can experience whenever you want.
“Apart from riding being on tour with my band gives me the same sense of freedom,” he continues. “There is nothing like seeing a crowd of people react to the art you’ve helped produce. You can see the joy and energy of life flowing through the room. It’s an incredibly humbling experience.“
Adrenaline rushes are something all too familiar when your life is spent touring and rocking out on stage, but Evan seems to find a calming effect from being out on a bike. “The main difference in my life before and after riding is my mental health. I can be having the worst day mentally and getting on my bike going for a ride helps clear any negative thoughts. It really revives my soul.”
Living on the East coast of the US, there are plenty of open roads for Evan to venture on - in particular, he loves riding from his New Jersey home up to Warwick, New York. “It’s about an hour ride up there through beautifully scenic roads of woods and farm lands. Incredibly relaxing. Rewarded with Apple cider donuts, coffee and ice cream. What can get better?
“I love riding through the country. Twisting roads and sweeping turns really lets you feel in tune with your motorcycle. Riding past a creek and noticing the air temperature change is such a surreal feeling. Highly suggest getting out of the city to experience this if you haven’t already,” Evan’s passion for having some time to think really shines through when he talks about life on the road.
As part of My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero was expecting to be spending 2020 making a much-anticipated return to stadiums across the UK playing a selection of hits from their heyday until things all got a bit weird. Though Evan is surprisingly upbeat about facing adversity, and tells us how his greatest achievement in riding was actually overcoming a non-riding accident that gave him permanent nerve damage. “I thought I was never going to be able to ride again. But after changing my shifter to a heel-toe shift it gave me the ability ride again. Mentally this experience was really hard to get through at first and being able to ride really helped me deal with a lot of things I was going through.”
Ultimately, he finds that life on the back of a bike goes hand in hand with his music career - striking a much needed balance between intense music-focused sessions and a calming ride to clear the head. “Riding fits into my creative lifestyle by helping bring new ideas and approaches to how I write,” he explains. “If I’m stuck on writing a guitar part I’ll take a break and go out on a 20-30 minute ride.
“During this time I’ll replay the part I’m struggling with in my head as almost background music to the ride I’m on and this can crack the writers block I’m having. I’ll come home feeling refreshed and the creative process continues.”
There’s nowhere quite like being on the back of a Mutt when it comes to clearing the head, so we reckon Evan’s advice is solid and we’re looking forward to catching him and the band live when things get back to normal.
Check out our photoshoot with the full band in the latest issue of our magazine MMM HERE.