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Chris Jericho – Vocals for Fozzy

Date: 8/18/13
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. When Fozzy goes on tour this fall in the US with Saxon, will it be in support of the last album “Sin And Bones” or do you have some new songs to debut as well?

CHRIS: No its still in support of “Sin And Bones”, its been going great we just got back from Europe, we also did the Uproar tour with Shinedown and Godsmack. It’s been a successful record so we are continuing touring on it.

2. You are a Saxon fan. What songs are looking forward to hear?

CHRIS: They have so many great songs, from the beginning of their career up to the new album “Sacrifice”. ‘Denim And Leather’, ‘Crusader’, ‘Wheels Of Steel’, ‘And The Band Played On’, so many… ‘Rock The Nations’, ‘Call Of The Wild’, ‘Battle Cry’, the tune ‘Lionheart’, ‘Demon Sweeny Todd’, ‘I Gotta Rock To Survive’. When you’re in a position like Saxon with so many albums and songs its hard to put together a setlist and hit upon everything. I understand they did something where the fans picked the setlist for this US tour which is cool. ‘Call To Arms’, ‘Hammer Of The Gods’.

3. When you started the band Fozzy, was it difficult to separate yourself from your wrestling character and be recognized as a musician?

CHRIS: Well I’ve been playing in bands since I was twelve years old and wanted to be in a rock band, and a wrestler since. I never saw any reasons why I couldn’t do both. That stuff doesn’t really bother me, especially over the last three years we worked real hard to build this band to get to the next level with each album and tour, and we have done that. I think I had to work twice as hard to get half the respect because of me, Jericho the wrestler, but I think once we do gain people’s respect we gain it for life and they know this is for real, it’s a great rock n roll band with great songs, not the Chris Jericho show, each member in this band is as important as the other, its not all about be. I think people started to understand that after 2000 and making more original songs. I’m sure Jared Leto, who is an actor, from 30 Seconds To Mars went through it where he does something else.

4. Who are the current members of the Fozzy band?

CHRIS: Its been me, Rich Ward (lead & rhythm guitar) and Frank Fontsere played on every Fozzy record, Frank left for a little while. Billy Grey on guitar has been with us for about three years now and was there in the beginning as well and came back. Our new bass player Paul Di Leo has been with us for two years now and was the missing piece to the puzzle, amazing player, great image, hopefully this is the last lineup of the band.

5. Over the course of the Fozzy albums you have dabbled in different styles of heavy metal. What direction are you taking the new material in?

CHRIS: Over the last few albums we focused on what works best, heavy rhythms/grooves with melodic vocals and guitar harmonies, I always say its if Metallica and Journey had a bastard child. I feel it’s a little different for what’s out there and people like it.

6. Do you ever think about retiring either being a wrestler, or a musician, to focus on one of the two full time?

CHRIS: Well, over the last few years my wrestling schedule has been based on my Fozzy schedule. I’ve been trying to put as much as I could into Fozzy and make it full time. But I can still wrestle also. I just saw the Rolling Stones recently and they are 70 years old still doing it, so I don’t see a reason why to retire doing one or the other if I’m still healthy and can do both on a high level.

7. You have been very vocal about your love for Helloween. What other European Power Metal bands do you feel are as important and should be recognized?

CHRIS: Helloween are underrated because they are pioneers of that sound and style, combining speed metal with traditional metal, and there are so many imitators now. I really like Blind Guardian, their mid-90s albums are classics, what Tobias Sammett does with his band Edguy and the rock operas Avanatsia are a natural progression of Helloween. Gamma Ray’s “Land Of The Free” is a classic, “Insanity And Genius” another great album but they kinda lost a couple steps on the last two albums. Never got into Stratovarius.

8. Tell me five bands from the 1980s, and 90s, who you think should have been bigger and respected more for their contributions?

CHRIS: Helloween for sure, the “Keeper of the Seven Keys” albums should have been bigger especially in America. Raven, who kinda shot themselves in the foot when they got on Atlantic Records and became more commercial, same thing happened to Saxon, Loudness, I think their first few albums are amazing. There is a band from Canada called Kick Axe, they had a little run in the 80s, opened for Judas Priest, they only made three albums but were all great. Nasty Savage I thought were way ahead of their time, the doom band Trouble, Annihilator very eclectic and different at times depending on the album. From the 90s I’m a huge fan of Mother Love Bone, the early incarnation of Pearl Jam, if the singer hadn’t passed away I think they would have been massive and Pearl Jam never existed. Its funny because a lot of the bands never got the recognition they deserved because hard rock and heavy metal were not seen as cool anymore to listen to, but a band from Brazil called Angra are great, “Angels Cry” and “Holy Land” are amazing records, they did well in Europe and Japan because at the time over here it was not seen as in vogue. People always talk about how metal died in the 90s but some of the bands kinda shit the bed with some of the music they were making, look at Priest, Maiden, Metallica, some of their stuff got weird at the time. And then again metal already had a bad name because everything is so trendy in America and people mostly fall what’s considered “cool”, but the bands who were suppose to be flying the flag really didn’t do a good job of that either.

9. What bands would you like to tour with in America to give their music more exposure?

CHRIS: I think we are at the stage now where most of the bands we tour with are at the same level or bigger than us which gives us more exposure. When we were on the Uproar tour there was a band called Mindset Evolution, Candlelight Red who were smaller than us. A band from England called Luna Vegas we toured with were really good, kinda like The Faces, early 70s combined with now.

10. Plans for the rest of 2013 into 2014?

CHRIS: The Saxon tour in North America goes till October 18th, then back to Australia in Dec, start working on the new record Jan/Feb which is in progress. Also, check out the video for the song ‘Sandpaper’.

Official website: http://www.fozzyrock.com


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