5 Questions With Chris Jericho: Early Influences, Fozzy’s Progression, Touring + New Music
Fozzy have had a great year playing numerous festivals and now they’re gearing up for the KISS Kruise as well as a European trek. We had the opportunity to hang with Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho and he spoke about seeing his favorite bands play as a kid growing up in Canada. Jericho also discussed the constant evolution of the band as well as their growing fanbase and struggles they’ve had to get past, as well. He also dishes on a tentative timeline for when the band may completely recording their forthcoming album. Check out our full interview with Chris Jericho of Fozzy below:
We talked about a lot of shows you went to growing up. Was there one in particular that had a life changing impact on you?
I was a big music fan when I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Beatles. Three of my favorite bands are the Beatles, Iron Maiden and Metallica. The Powerslave tour in 1984 with Iron Maiden was one of the ones where the spectacle was amazing, I just loved the whole concept of what Iron Maiden was. Then Metallica in 1986, they played this place called the Playhouse Theater in Winnipeg, a very small theater. It was right after Cliff Burton died, their first tour with Jason Newsted, just being up close and the sweat and the vibe and the feel of it. I remember I brought my little recorder like the one you have here and recorded the show but it was in my pocket so you couldn’t hear much. Those were probably the two that I saw that opened the door for what rock 'n' roll was, I was probably 13. In that time frame from ’84 to ’89 you name a big rock act, I saw them in Winnipeg. KISS was a huge influence for me but not make-up KISS. I’m a huge fan of ‘80s KISS which is different from most but that was the era of where I became aware of what KISS was. We’re going on the KISS KRUISE so my 13-year-old self is flipping out.
I think most people don't realize Fozzy have been around for about 15 years ...
Well we started out kind of backwards, every band starts as a cover band but we just made records as that. It was kind of more like a side project and fun thing. Technically we’ve been around for 15 years but I would say really – Fozzy started for real in about 2010 when we did the Chasing the Grail record. That’s when we realized we wanted to do this full time and we think we can do something with this and to quit f---ing around. That’s when I started winding down my wrestling career and we really said “Let’s do this.” Since 2010, the band has really grown in leaps and bounds and you can see the progress and trajectory. Yes we were around for 10 years prior but I would really say that the band started doing things full time and seriously in 2010.
What keeps you guys going?
Just the fact that we continue to grow, every tour, we sell more records, we get more of a fanbase and more doors open. We’d been touring UK and England for years but still we couldn’t get into Wacken Festival in Germany, the biggest music festival in Europe and they wouldn’t take us. Finally a couple of years ago we played Wacken. Then there’s Heavy Montreal, we could never get into Heavy Montreal, this was the first year we were ever invited. We’ve probably had to work twice as hard to get respect because I’m in the band, “Oh it’s some kind of wrestling thing.” I’m sure it’s the same thing Jared [Leto] went through with Thirty Seconds to Mars, I’m sure it’s the same thing Taylor [Momsen] goes through in The Pretty Reckless.
People, at first, have a real opinion of what the band is before they’ve even heard the band because of who’s in it. I’m sure Slipknot went through it, “Oh they wear masks, how good can this be?” And then it’s like “F---k they wear masks!” Fozzy’s the same, it’s like “Oh it’s Jericho?” and then it’s like “Oh it’s Jericho!” We’re a great rock 'n' roll band, we put on a great live show and we have great songs if you continue to do that, anything else doesn’t matter. I could be a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, who gives a s--- either the band is good or we’re not. I think we’ve been getting a lot of respect and it started with our peers and then fans of those bands. Anybody who sees us live will walk away a Fozzy fan.
I grew up a metal fan and a wrestling fan and there’s such a bridge between the two. Why do you think the correlation between the two is so intertwined?
It seems like rock 'n' roll and wrestling are almost for misfits in a way, you’re not an outcast but it’s not the norm like a football fan or pop music fan or EDM that’s kind of what the cool kids do. To be a rock fan and a metal fan you got to make a choice, same thing with wrestling. It’s almost like a secret society so if you’re a part of it, it never goes away. If you’re a metal fan and you meet someone else from across the world who likes heavy metal then suddenly you have something in common.
They’re both highly intense forms of entertainment, very dependent on the audience, very aggressive and electric. When you’re performing live that reaction you get from the audience enhances the show whether I’m doing a Fozzy show or whether I’m doing a WWE show. If you have a good crowd then it makes it that much better. There’s a lot of similarities between the two but like I said it’s almost like a gang, if you like heavy metal or rock 'n' roll, you’re in a gang because it’s you against the world in a lot of ways. There’s more and more festivals and tours, that’s how bands are making their money but more and more people are coming out to shows to support their favorite bands.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store for you and the rest of the band?
We go into rehearsals for the KISS Kruise which is huge for us, I don’t care if it’s a cruise, it’s touring with KISS. It’s a big deal, handpicked by the band to go out with them. Then we go back to Europe and the UK in November and December with Nonpoint and a Canadian band called Sumo Cyco. I think that’s the end of the tour cycle and then we go back into the studio, we plan to have our new record written by January, our schedule is a record every two years that’s the way it’s been since 2010. It’s really exciting for us and we’ve learned a lot on this tour cycle.
This summer, instead of getting in a bus and touring for a three or four weeks we did festivals every weekend. It was kind of strange for us but it was really cool and fun playing in front of a lot of people, make a few bucks, there’s a whole new way of doing things now. The model of the past of how bands survive is different now, we’re one step in the old and one step in the new. You do things the old way because it’s habit but if you take a chance and do things the new way you realize that it’s a lot of fun. I think Fozzy of 2016 is going to be older and wiser but we’re looking forward to breaking down more doors, making more fans and playing some more great music.
Check Out Some Fun Portraits of Chris Jericho We Took at Heavy Montreal Fest: