Few entertainers these days are able to sustain the longevity of their careers as Chris Jericho has. “The Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla” or “Y2J” as he is known in the professional wrestling world has spent the past three decades in Japan, WCW, ECW and most notably, the WWE where he became the first WWE Undisputed Champion in 2001. When not performing in a WWE ring, Chris regularly hosts his podcast, “Talk is Jericho” and has fronted heavy metal group, Fozzy since 1999. We recently caught up with Chris to discuss all things Fozzy.
Your new record, Do You Wanna Start a War has been out for a while now with some time to breathe. Talk to me about your feelings regarding it.
The record was our highest charting record to this date and debuted at #54 on the Billboard 200 Chart. It has been a really cool response so far and like I mentioned our best record which is very gratifying. It was very different from what we have done before all by design and became more accessible for people in our lives. We have already performed half of the record and are planning on performing a few more on our next tour. Anytime that you can play that many songs from a new record while each one becomes bigger than the last is pretty special. It’s always exciting to do something new and seeing everyone get into it which has made it a blast so far.
What do you feel was this record secret to success compared to its predecessors?
Every record is generally more successful than the last one but this one created more of a buzz for us. More people knowing who we were. The last tour we did in Australia felt like a US tour we did with Shinedown, going out on the road with Buckcherry, Theory of a Deadman and any of those other bands who we have worked with. It brings a bigger fan base and builds more anticipation for when you do the record when kicking it off with a song like, Lights Go Out, which is a total pop, metal, dance, sex and a little bit of everything. It kind of creates a name for your band so the people will know a little bit more about them compared to other bands. It was the perfect song to kick off the record and it opened a lot of doors and dimensions since it was the highest charting single we have ever had. Radio is still very important and viable to building your band. We just want more people to know the band and what we sound like.
There are a lot of bands coming up in the industry who are focusing on creating their sound and stage production. When Fozzy first started, the band was known as a gimmick band similar to what Pantera were and what Steel Panther is all about. What do you attribute Fozzy’s success from this over the years?
We are a lot more focused now than when we first started. Project was a good word for our early days but about three years ago we decided that Fozzy would become the priority for everyone in the band. Once we made that verdict, we started to get a lot more buzz and more growth which is expected once you become more focused. Once it becomes your priority, it shows more results from just working more on the song writing, on the band and knowing what the style of our music is. I’d say our music would be if Journey and Metallica had a bastard child and it sounded like Fozzy. After we knew who we were as a band, it was easier to focus on what we wanted to do with our song writing, live shows and is very much a focused effort now which it really wasn’t before in the past.
Speaking of personas, I have noticed that yours resembles that of Freddy Mercury and David Lee Roth. How have you been able to hone in on this character of yours as an entertainer?
Yeah absolutely, once again we know who we are and what we want to do. I am a very explosive frontman being influenced by those singers who you mentioned and I am very proud of it. There are a lot of bands who don’t have that vibe right now and we want to be like Van Halen in 1979 where everyone is having a great time on stage. Everyone has a vibe on stage and its fun when talking about rock n roll which kind of bleeds off into the crowd. I guess knowing who we are now it’s easier to sell for a show business perspective since we know who we are; this is what we do live and on stage. Once they become more familiar with you it’s to commit to you.
Fozzy just announced their addition to the Welcome to Rockville festival in April is there artists who you are looking forward to?
Well funny thing and I don’t mean this egotistically but when you play so many shows that we do it’s difficult to keep track of who’s playing when and where. I remember playing last year and Avenged Sevenfold were on the lineup. Slipknot is always a cool band to watch and I think Slash is playing as well but I am not sure if they are on the same day that we are. It is one of those festivals where you show up and when I get there I will find out what time our set is, where all my friends are at and then make my viewing plans accordingly.
Love the mention of Avenged Sevenfold as they were the hometown act who I was fortunate enough to see become who they are today.
Yeah man they have become the biggest metal band on the planet and deservingly so. Shadows is a great friend of mine who sang on our song, Sandpaper from the last record. They are the real deal and have helped bring back metal in the 2000s when a lot of people were confused on what metal and hard rock were. They understand who they are, their live shows and the concept of guitar solos.
To wrap this up, as Chris Jericho the entertainer, what is the greatest moment for you?
Last year in England at Download Festival where we played an amazing set on the main stage to 40,000 people who were singing along to our songs were so many classic legendary bands have was amazing. Every show came be better than the last and it all depends on the vibe but can really be special, even if it is a match in the ring. I still love being able to wrestle and I hope to continue it when I can based around Fozzy’s schedule and whether or not we can find something cool to do.