Chris Jericho on Fozzy, Classic Metal + More – Interview

2017-05-23

Story by Anne Erickson

Chris Jericho and Anne talk Fozzy, classic metal bands, WWE and more in this in-depth interview

Chris Jericho grew up loving metal music. From Iron Maiden to Van Halen, he listened to all of the classic metal greats, and that musical background comes across in his band Fozzy’s music.

After taking 2016 off, the guys of Fozzy – Jericho, guitarist Rich Ward, drummer Frank Fontsere, guitarist Billy Grey and bass player Randy Drake – are back and raring to go with a new spring tour and new music on the way.

Speaking with Jericho about the tour, it’s obvious he’s pumped to get back on the road and bring Fozzy’s killer metal music to venues across the U.S.

Jericho and Anne spoke about the spring tour, new music with Fozzy, his popular podcast and WWE. Keep up with Fozzy at FozzyRock.com.

Anne Erickson: Fozzy has such a strong fan base. People flock to your shows. When you first started Fozzy, did you ever think it would grow into the popular band it is today?

Chris Jericho: I don’t ever start anything with the intention of it not being huge, and I think the way we came around is a little backwards from the way but most bands do it, but I think when Rich (Ward) and I decided to really go full steam with the band, that’s when I knew the potential that we had as a worldwide band and, like you said, as a mainstream type of act. I’m not going to say that I expected it, but I’m not going to say that I didn’t expect it. In my mind, I’m still want to get bigger and grow, and we have been from record to record. And, that’s all you can ask for—to see the band growing every release and every tour that we do. It’s very gratifying for us.

Let’s talk about the spring tour! This is your first tour in more than a year. Are you stoked to be back on the road?

Yes! We have a first single from the new record that’s out, and the whole concept of the tour was to let people know that we’re back. We took 2016 completely off by design. We spent the last year working on this record, and now that it’s ready to come out in September and the single it out now, it’s really cool. We want to do a new song or two on this tour, but you don’t want to pull a Neil Young and play the new record in its entirety when nobody’s heard it yet. So, we can do a couple new songs, and people are excited about that, and then just go right in and play all the hits and all the songs that people know.

I think it’s really cool Kyng is on this tour. They’re great guys. Have you played shows with them before?

We did a couple festivals and shows with them, and I was really amazed by not only the onstage chemistry but they just have a real do-it-yourself attitude. They were touring in a van. They set up their own gear. They sold their own merch. And they were excited to be doing it. So, whenever you see a band like that that’s doing it for the love rock ‘n’ roll, you know that they’re doing it for the right reasons. Also, we were looking for a couple bands that really fit the same vibe Fozzy. Our vibe is Van Halen in 1979—we want everybody to have a great time. We’re not going to lead a wall of death. If you want to do that, go for it, but we want you to chant along and drink some beers. I think Kyng is in that same sort of wheelhouse, and so are Sons of Texas, so we really wanted to put together a bill from start to finish that people could get a vibe on and have fun the whole night and leave knowing they saw a great night of rock ‘n’ roll.

What were some of the first classic metal bands you remember hearing and loving?

I was a big Beatles fan when I was a kid. The first band I heard that was out of that genre was Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden—those are the two that I would hear certain songs and see people wearing their shirts and that sort of thing. And that was around the heavy metal explosion in 1983 or so. I can vividly remember hearing Iron Maiden for the first time and just being terrified! (Laughs) So, at first it was the Beatles, and then as I got older, I just became a super-crazy metal fanatic across the board.

Aside from Fozzy, your podcast, “Talk is Jericho,” is massive.

Thanks! Yeah, I think part of the reason it’s so successful is because of the diversity. It’s about music and wrestling and whatever. If somebody is interesting and I know that they’ll be a good guest, I’ll have them on the show, no matter what they do, so I’m constantly looking and keeping my ears and eyes open. I think people like it, because they never know what they’re going to get with my show.

You have this Fozzy tour and obviously have to take time off from WWE to make it work. What’s the status with that?

You can’t do both at the same time. We took 2016 off specifically to do WWE, and Rich wanted to do another Stuck Mojo record and a tour, which is great. But now that we’re going to fire up the Fozzy machine again, WWE goes to the back burner, as it has the past seven years. I never use the word “retiring.” I think that’s a stupid word to use, because there has been so many people in bands that say were retiring and then they come back. Why do you have to put that type of a stamp on it? So, I come and I leave and if I feel like coming back to WWE, I will, and if I don’t, I won’t.

You’re playing The Machine Shop Tuesday (May 23), and it’s not your first time at the venue. What do you dig about The Shop?

I think all the way in the middle of America, The Machine Shop is kind of the “Whiskey a Go Go” of the Midwest. Everybody has a Machine Shop shirt or hat or hoodie, and I think they do a good job of passing them out to get the word around. Plus, when you get there, the vibe is great. It really does remind me of the Midwest “Whiskey a Go Go.” The same type of great fans show up, and whenever we see that venue on the list on the itinerary, I know it’s going to be a fun show.

Courtesy photo

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