Most people know Chris Jericho as a multi-time World Champion within a wrestling ring, and more recently he has a two-time best-selling author and nationally-recognised television personality on ‘Dancing With The Stars‘, but his focus and true love has always been rock music and performing with his own act, Fozzy. Chris talks us through his past, present and future with the band and about how much he loves playing to fans in the UK.
“We bring a lot of energy into everything that we do”
S] We were wondering how you’re managing your time at the moment between the release of your book ‘Undisputed’ and also working on touring with Fozzy?
C] “The hardest part about the book is actually writing it and once it comes out you have the chance to go on tour with it and that’s the fun part. It’s good to know it entered in the top ten in the New York Times’ Best Seller list. It peaked at number nine which is very cool. So yeah, all of it worked out great and so much of the book involves Fozzy, so it gave me a little bit of fire to get back on the road with the band and we had a great tour last fall in the UK. We’re getting ready to come over again in June, so we’re excited.”
S] What kind of things are keeping you motivated right now – are you getting much time to relax or are you working all of the time?
C] “Well, you have to keep a good balance between the two. I work very hard but now I’m starting to work out time to relax as well. I always have a rad time with my children, so it’s fun to enjoy time with them. When I’m at home, I basically don’t do anything but hang out with them, actually! That helps to give me some much needed down time and it means that I am not driven too crazy when I get on the road for a long period.”
S] Are there any similarities between the three strands of your performance? The wrestling (with WWE), the dancing (for ‘Dancing With The Stars) and your rocking, or writing (with Fozzy)?
C] “You know, it comes from the same place, and that really is the best part of being a performer. It’s all show business! I have to be an entertainer. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band and I wanted to be a wrestler. I started playing in bands when I was 12 and started wrestling when I was 19. But if you look at it, writing is being creative and dancing is a form of that as well while acting is the same – those things all stem from the same place. That’s why I don’t have a problem doing all these different things; they’re from the same mindset of being an entertainer and being a very creative person.”
S] A lot of our readers are aspiring writers and authors and also very interested in music as well. Do you have any kind of advice for say somebody who wants to be a best-selling author – is there any kind of technique to writing?
C] “It’s one of those things where if you have a dream and it’s something you really want to do then you just have to put your head down and go for it; don’t listen to the people that are negative because a lot of them will tell you that you can’t do something but if you really believe you can, then there’s no reason why you can’t. So, really, you’ve just got to go for it. It was the same thing for me with wrestling and music. I wanted to do both, I thought I could do both and I knew that I had talent – I listened to myself and nobody else, went ahead and did it.”
S] Was there ever a time when you maybe felt nervous and how did you push past that? Before you wrestled, or the first time you went on stage with Fozzy for example?
C] “Any time you do something or the first time, you’re always nervous but you just have to do it. You need to throw away all caution and go all the way. Once you get the confidence, that’s when you get better. No one can stop me once I get that going!”
S] What about the new material you’re working on? We wanted to know what you’d be doing any of that on tour and how will it move forward from ‘Chasing The Grail’?
C] “We’re not doing any new tunes on this upcoming UK tour because we’re still enjoying stuff from ‘Chasing The Grail’ and fans are really getting on those tunes because they’re very live-friendly. So, we’re just going to continue on, and when we come back next year we’ll play from the new record.”
S] What about themes? How are you moving forward in that respect?
C] “All the lyrics have been written for the next record, so it’s cool. We’re looking forward to laying down some new riffs and starting some new tracks. It’s going to be a lot of fun ’cause ‘…Grail’ was so huge for us, it gave us a lot of momentum so we could continue building on that. We’re going to do some more epic songs – a long one as well, so I am looking forward to those. We’re really taking advantage of all the work that’s been going into this band over the years.”
S] Is there a song you’re working on currently that you feel defines the state of Fozzy right now? Or perhaps it might be something left over from ‘…Grail’?
C] “I think if you’re going to play one Fozzy song then you might check out ‘Under Blackened Skies’ or ‘Martyr No More’. Those two pretty much represent what we do as a band more than anything.”
S] How about your relationship with your band mates? How’s that developed over the years?
C] “It’s like everything else – when you’re getting the band together and you know each other, then you get to really love the ‘sit-downs’ that you have, and the time that you get to relax together. Me and Rich Ward are like the leaders of the band and we have a great relationship now after 12 years. I’ve been with Rich longer than I’ve been married to my wife! [laughs] It is a very give-and-take relationship. We’ve reached a really good place where he knows his part, I know his part and we make a really good team.”
S] Do you feel like they’re almost like a second family as a band?
C] Well, I suppose there wouldn’t be a Fozzy if Rich wasn’t involved. Sean [Delson, bass] has been with us for around nine years now, and Frank [Fontsere, drums] has played on every album so there is a real brotherhood between us and even Billy Grey, the guitar player, was playing with us back in 2002. There’s a lot of ‘keeping it in the family’-type feelings for Fozzy. We’re excited to be touring and, like I said, to do all the work that we’ve been doing for the last 12 years has been paying off and that’s the way we like it, so it’s all good.
S] Where is it that you write your lyrics?
C] “You can’t really plan that. You just need to write when the ideas come. I always write song’s titles first and work backwards from there. So, I have a list of songs and when it’s time to start working on the lyrics for the new record I just flick through the song titles and see which ones have inspired me the most and over the course of three months, I’ll figure out a routine for the songs and lyrics and get all ready to go. It just kinda hits me one at a time, so I just write them whenever. On a plane or in my house – whenever I feel the motivation or inspiration I’ve got to get the pen going.”
S] Are you planning on taking inspiration from your entrance when you wrestle and expanding Fozzy’s live show to incorporate fireworks?
C] “We bring a lot of energy and a lot of fun to everything we do. It doesn’t matter where we play, it could be the smallest room or the biggest festival, we play the same show. We go out of our way to make sure everybody has a good time. We make sure we connect with everybody in the crowd. We take great pride in that. I think it’s one of the reasons why we’re growing in size at every show we play, and with every record we release ’cause people know what they’re going to get when they come to a Fozzy gig and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to tour the UK, I think, 10 times over the past five years – because our reputation precedes us.”
S] Will you be taking time out after festival season, or will you be straight back into work?
C] “We’ll hopefully go over to Japan for the first time this fall and do some more shows in the States and then start work on our new record which should be out by Winter of this year or spring of next year. That’s our next goal.”
S] How important is it for Fozzy to focus on the smaller areas of countries like England and cover areas like Yorkshire as well, rather than just London or Manchester?
C] “Very important! Because like I said we’re excited that we get an opportunity to play at all these countries. We play anywhere! We were taking a ferry to Paris last year and we had the day off before we left – we found a place to play ’cause we hate days off and found a space in Margate [Kent]. We’re going back there in July. We don’t mind playing in wherever. We just want to take our music to any part of Europe and we’re starting to do that. We want to play our music to anyone who will hear it, so be it Sonisphere or Margate or everywhere in between we’re happy. It’s an honour for us to be able to perform in the UK which is like a second home for us at this point, and we want to tour here as much as we can.”
S] And have you got a message for the people coming to see Fozzy and the UK fans that have supported you for your entire history?
C] “We’re excited to come back to the UK. Like I said, we do consider it to be a second home for us and we’re very honoured that we’ve been selected to play on Sonisphere this year as a result of all the demand from the UK Fozzy fanatics and we’re looking forward to coming over again and doing what we do best which is tearing the house down and making sure everybody rocks their socks off.”
S] Do you notice any major differences in the way that UK fans treat your sound in contrast to US ones – your influences are very British after all?
C] “I think one of the reasons is that the UK music fans just like what they like and it’s not so much that way back in the States. There’s a lot of trends and things along those lines and people don’t really follow them in the UK and don’t pay attention to it too much. We noticed that the first time we came over as Fozzy in 2005 – how people are just so in to it and it was the first country that we really felt that way, first in England and the UK and that will always hold a special place in our collective heart, ’cause people really took a stand for Fozzy and kept bringing us back even when the music press ignored us and our own record company did as well – the fans never did and we’ll never forget it and that’s why we always want to come back. It’s very exciting to return.”
S] Obviously you’re used to the spectacle of the wrestling ring and national television, but even up until very recently, you were touring in a van with Fozzy and you basically took it back to basics, building up the profile. So what does Fozzy mean to you?
C] “I’ve always wanted to be in a rock band, so it does mean a lot to me. It’s a passion, you know. I’ve been playing music since before I got into wrestling and I’ll be playing music after I get out of wrestling. So it’s a part of who I am and it’s the real deal. It’s one of the reasons why people respond to Fozzy so well – they know this is not just some side-project. This is part of who I am and it’s part of my DNA. It’s something that I’m always going to do and keep on doing!”
For more information visit the official Fozzy Undisputed.