Interview: Chris Jericho of Fozzy

I had a chat with WWE superstar and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho before Fozzy’s sold out show in Glasgow.

Chris Jericho

DistortedNews: Your new album Chasing The Grail came out to a hugely positive reception, I gave it 9/10. Are you happy with all the feedback you have been getting?
Chris Jericho:
Yeah absolutely! That’s why we took so much time to do Chasing The Grail, because we knew with All That Remains, we kind of changed the whole concept of the band and doing so well for us and Chasing The Grail was our chance to move to the next level, and we wanted to make sure we made the best record we could, a masterpiece for Fozzy, so everything from the original songwriting, to the recording, to the marketing, to the artwork… we put so much time into it and to actually hear the response, it’s by far out most critically acclaimed record, the fans are digging it and the songs are going over well live so its very gratifying for us and it was well worth the wait, I’m glad that we took our time and we got the response we were hoping for.
DN: Do you think you have managed to capture the grail?
Not yet, not yet, but were getting closer, like I said after ten years and four records, to be able to come to the UK and I mean obviously were doing our first show here in Glasgow we got moved from one venue to another because we sold so many tickets. I think tonight’s gonna be sold out, so, I don’t take any of that for granted, its an honour for me that Fozzy gets the reception that it has because I’ve been playing in bands since I was 12 years old and this is something I’ve always dreamed about doing, to actually have it growing and growing, its exciting.

DN: When I interviewed Rich Ward, he said that, my personal favourite track, Wormwood, was all “from the mind of Chris Jericho.” What can you tell us about that song?
Well, when we started talking about a new record we never really said “well, I wanna do this, I wanna have a fast song, I wanna have a slow song” I just knew that I wanted to have an epic song. I loved Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (Iron Maiden), I loved some of the Helloween songs, like Keeper of the Seven Keys and Halloween. Dream Theater’s a big influence on us, I love rush… So I wanted to have a long song, and I knew we had the players in the band that could handle it. I always thought that Revelations and the end of times would be kind of a cool subject matter for heavy metal. So I got out the Bible and I got on the computer and started googling different things and I just started writing and the next thing I knew I had like ten pages of lyrics in seven segments, like a 2112 sort of thing, and I said “there’s our epic.” So that’s basically how it all started, and I talked to Rich Ward and he thought that Mike Martin who was with us at the time would be more attuned to writing the music for it, and between the three of us, we came up with this really great track. It takes a lot of balls for a band to do a fourteen minute song, and it takes even more talent to actually make it go by so fast, people love the track because it seems like it’s only three, four, five minutes long because it’s so well constructed. I knew also that by doing this song, it would put Fozzy in a different light, as far as “here’s a band that started doing covers, that changed to doing all original stuff.” “What is it like, is it good, is it bad?” “Well, they did a fourteen minute song, so obviously it’s not some kind of a novelty or something.” You got to be a pretty good fucking rock n roll band to do a song that long, so I think all across the board, Wormwood has been heavily praised, and it is one of the corner stones of the record. I’m very proud of it because it’s been a dream of mine for years to do a song like that.

DN: You mentioned doing covers. Have you got a favourite cover that you recorded?
Yeah, I love Freewheel Burning, we still do that in our set to this day, I love Eat The Rich, I think The Prisoner was great, from our first record. And, I loved the version we did of Big City Nights. All the covers we did we always made sure to put our own stamp on it, make sure that they were very much a Fozzy sounding cover. We did one just a couple of years ago, that was the last one we did, it was for a Judas Priest cover album (Hell Bent Forever, A Tribute To Judas Priest), it was called Metal Gods, that one turned out great too, It’s always fun to do them, I’m just glad were not basing our entire existence around them now.

DN: You’re very active on Twitter, do you find that’s a good way to communicate with your fans?
Absolutely man, I mean, I think it’s funny because a lot of people don’t understand Twitter, but for me, if Steve Harris had something like this in 1987 I would be freaking out, even if he had it now, what’s he doing, where’s he playing. And I think it is a great way fro people to think, or to fell that they are part of what’s going on, feel like they are behind the curtain, It’s a great way to make people feel that they know you, to give something back to the fans, make them feel involved.

DN: Obviously you were used to performing in front of thousands of people when you are wrestling, but what was it like the first time you stepped on stage with Fozzy?
I think there was probably about 100 people, it was in the Hangar in Atlanta, maybe 150? But I loved it because, like I said this is a passion of mine, I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old, playing in bars and high school battle of the bands and parties and stuff like that, I always wanted to be in a rock band, I always wanted to wrestle too, the wrestling took off, the band didn’t at the time but we still continued to record songs and play my own songs and it was a great experience to play in front of 100 people, which is the same number of people I had at my first wrestling match, so I know what it’s like to build something, I know what it’s like to make it, I’m so fortunate to have this happening aging for the second time, you can feel it building and there’s a buzz there, and there’s a little bit of a break, and there’s another break and another break, it all kind of culminates the same way and comes from the same place. I’m very honoured that we’ve been able to build Fozzy as much as we have.

DN: We’ve got a question from a fan here, she asked: “Are there any differences between partying like a wrestler and partying like a rockstar?”
Well, I don’t do as much either way now, obviously when I was first touring the word and I first started wrestling I’d be drinking all the time, having a good time and we still do that every once in a while, but now there’s a lot more responsibility, especially when your in a band as a singer, you can’t be going out burning the candle at both ends because you have to wake up the next day and do a show. The worst thing for your voice is too much alcohol, you gotta pick and choose your spots nowadays. For me, the big party now is actually doing the show, that’s where you have most of your fun.


DN: You’ve been known to work with some big names, on the new album you have Jeff Waters (Annihilator), on the last album there was Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, ex Ozzy Osbourne) and Marty Friedman (ex Megadeth), even live you’ve had some huge names playing with you. You mentioned Andy Sneap playing with you tonight. What is it like working with these huge starts?
The thing about it is, they are all friends of ours, which is cool, that’s why I asked Zakk to play a solo on All That Remains, then Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy who is singing with Slash now, I didn’t know Marty, but our producer did. The reason why we had all those guests on All That Remains is because we were going from doing a lot of cover to all original stuff so we wanted people to take note of what we were doing. On this record we didn’t want to have any guests at all but we decided that, with Mike leaving the band, Rich is a great soloist but we wanted somebody to do something really fast and shreddy and I’ve known Jeff for years, and he was a fan of the band as well, so it was cool to have him involved, and these other guys are just friends, like I said. When we were in new York City last week we had Frankie, Charlie and Joey from Anthrax there.
DN: That was when all the rumors about Anthrax getting back with Joey started, isn’t it?Y2J: Yeah man, the magical healing powers of Fozzy helped Anthrax get back together. Also Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) came on stage and played with us, I’ve know Mike for ten years, Vinnie Paul (Hellyeah, ex Damageplan, Pantera) came onstage and bought us shots, I’ve know Vinnie, he toured with Rich and Frank for years, so, It’s all reciprocal, it’s a big family. One of the first production jobs Andy Sneap ever did was for Stuck Mojo, I think it was Rising, or maybe even earlier than that. Sneap used to play with Fozzy; he was on the second record, Happenstance so it’s great to have him back with us. All these guys are just friends of ours and you want to hang around with your friends. That’s what it’s all about.

DN: You’ve been known to do a lot of things, obviously you have the band and wrestling, but you also do acting and you’ve hosted shows on VH1 and the Revolver Golden Gods. How do you find the time to juggle all these different things?
You’ve just got to pick and choose, I mean obviously, my number one priorities are wrestling and Fozzy, but all these other things kind of come up and you’ve just got to pick the ones that are most important, the ones that are gonna do the most for you and your career. And also I’ve got to make sure I have enough time to spend with my family as well. It is a real juggling act but I like it that way, I’m a busy guy and I’ve always been that way, I have a lot of ideas and a lot of energy runny through my brain so I’ve got to stay stimulated and keep it going.

Official Fozzy website
Fozzy Myspace

1 Comment

  1. Fozzy rules and Chris is the best at what he does.

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