Fozzy's Chris Jericho: "I see us as the bastard sons of Journey and Metallica!"

The wrestling vocalist is having the time of his life right now, and he wants us all to join him...

 

I’m worried. A quick squiz at Fozzy’s tour dates on their website (they are currently tearing up the miles in the US on a headlining tour) finds Chris Jericho and company slap bang in the path of the hurricane (or superstorm, or Frankenstorm, depending on which US news outlet you’ve been watching) known as Sandy. As soon as we’re connected I ask for his location. “I’m in Albany, New York State.”

Jeez. That’s where it all kicked off. Are you okay? What’s the weather like now? “I’m very well. The weather’s okay, we came through Cleveland and Toronto before we got here and it was a lot worse there, but yes, everything is fine.”

Metal as Fuck – like the Weather Channel but with better music and looser-fitting clothing.  Well, having ascertained that everything is as it should be, on with the interview. Although we’re talking because Fozzy are heading down under early next year for a run of Soundwave Festival appearances (and, let’s face it, hopefully a Canberra sideshow),  I start off by enquiring of Chris as to whether he’s happy with the response to newish album Sin and Bones? “I am very happy.  You know, it’s gotten pretty good reviews everywhere, the single Sandpaper went in to the top forty, we’ve sold more copies of this record than any other Fozzy record, so yes, I am pleased!”

I must admit I haven’t heard a bad word said about the album. For me, it sounds absolutely where Fozzy belong musically – you’ve found your place I think. “Absolutely. And that really started around the time of (last album) Chasing the Grail. I kind of like to think of Fozzy as being the bastard son of Journey and Metallica!. Which is really because we have very, very heavy riffs and then very melodic choruses. For me that’s what makes a song, and if you don’t have songs well…”

I find myself nodding in agreement and then realise Chris can’t see me so  I add my tuppence ha’penny worth on the subject. It seems to me that a lot of younger, or more modern-sounding metal bands forget the song sometimes – as someone who grew up in the eighties , I do miss the songs you can sing along too, that fun element of heavy metal. “Absolutely, that’s right. You can play as fast or as heavy as you want, and that’s great, but primarily Fozzy is about having a great time- it’s entertainment- and a great song helps that process.”

You’ve now succeeded in two different, very different areas (please, please if you are reading this don’t tell me you didn’t know Jericho was one of the most famous wrestlers in the world!). How hard is it to get to the top in two different spheres? “Well, I don’t think they are that very different. Like I said before, I consider myself an entertainer, and I entertain as a wrestler and as the singer in a band. I’ve been singing since I was twelve, you know, it’s not like I just woke up one day and decided I’m going to be the singer in this band. Since I was a kid all I’ve wanted to do was to be a wrestler and a singer. And because I’m unlucky enough to be so pig headed I’ve done both. I think if anything it was more difficult for Fozzy at first because having ‘Chris Jericho the wrestler’ in the band hurt us; People were expecting songs about metal chairs, that sort of thing. But I have to get the crowd up, and make sure everybody is having a good time in both jobs.”

You are doing your own tour at the moment, you’ve been touring festivals in the US all the (Northern) Summer – given what you’ve just said about entertaining, do you change the way you approach different types of show? “Well, whether we play to 100 or 100,000 we have to entertain, and help people to have a good time. This summer we played the Uproar Tour, with bands like Shinedown, Godsmack and Papa Roach. And every day obviously there are some hardcore Fozzy fans there, but also a lot of people who either haven’t heard of us, or haven’t heard our music, or haven’t seen us live, and we aim to have everybody enjoying themselves. That might be singing along, clapping your hands, starting a circle pit… It’s all about enjoyment. And if you hear us and don’t like us, please step aside and make room for those who do. That’s why we love playing in Australia – we’ve done a couple of headline tours there and Australian fans love their music, love having a good time.”

Indeed we do.  So, you’ve been out pretty much since the album came out in support of it, the band is in America now and then heads over to Europe in November and December, then it’ll be time for those Soundwave dates we mentioned. By the time you finish those it’ll be time almost for the Euro festival season to begin – will you be heading back there? “Yes, we’re already booking about eight months ahead. Last year we played Download in England, and next year we’re already confirmed quite high up the bill at Bloodstock, and we’re hoping to confirm places like Wacken too…”

I think about saying ‘you should change your name to Bizzy’ but luckily stop myself. So, with all this touring, are you going to have time to start thinking about new songs – in fact have you already started the process? “When we started the Uproar tour we set up a studio in the back of the bus. On August 14th the album came out, and by August 23rd we had 1 new song written for the new album. Rich (Ward- the band’s excellent lead guitarist and Jericho’s musical foil) – has about six sets of great riffs and I have about the same number of lyrical ideas together. We’re hoping, time permitting, to have another album out by this time next year”

I guess there’s nothing quite like striking while the iron’s hot, eh? But whichever way you look at it this is good news – Fozzy are at the height of their powers right now, and the news that they are looking good to maintain this current form for another album at least is something we should all be rejoicing about. Hell, if the songs are as good as Sandpaper I wouldn’t even mind if they were all about metal chairs…