“The best music happens when you have a personal connection to it,” My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero says. “That same philosophy can extend to the instrument you hold in your hands: if a guitar means something special, you’re bound to do great things with it.”
Iero expects many great things to come of his new Epiphone Wilshire Phant-o-Matic model, not all of them musical. A portion of each guitar’s sale will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), a cause that Iero has championed ever since the disease afflicted his father, who is both a drummer and a music teacher.
“MS is terrible for anybody, and all of the stories are important,” Iero says. “In the case of my father, it’s been hard because it affects his playing, and that’s a major part of who he is. So when Epiphone came to me and asked me to work on a guitar, I knew I had to do whatever I could to try to help him and everybody else with MS.”
A longtime Epiphone fan, Iero describes the Phant-o-Matic as “a fantastic, moderately priced Frankenstein-type guitar.” Borrowing features from the company’s classic Sixties Wilshire model as well as the Gibson Les Paul, he fashioned an instrument that he says “can handle anything from jazz to metal. It’s got the sounds, it’s got a great feel, and it’s built for wear and tear. I’ve been playing it onstage, and it rocks!”
Iero says fans will hear the Phant-o-Matic on the next My Chemical Romance album. “We’re still coming up with a theme and songs,” he says. “One thing we know for sure, though: we’re going to do something that’s never been done before.”
Photo: Justin Borucki