ITGS: WWE Superstar and Fozzy Frontman Chris Jericho Part 1

Since the release of their latest album Sin and Bones, in August 2012, American Rock band Fozzy has spent the last year touring the album across the globe, playing upwards of 100 shows along the way. While sharing the stage with Rock and Metal legends such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Exodus, Fozzy has used their hard hitting sound and phenomenal stage presence to win over audiences and build a well-deserved reputation as being a true powerhouse within the world of Rock and Metal. Recently, we here at Grizzly Bomb had the honor of catching up with the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, Fozzy frontman and WWE Superstar, Chris Jericho. Here is part one of our interview!

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Grizzlybomb: Well thanks for taking the time man, we really appreciate it. Are you at home right now, or are you on the road? What’s going on?

Chris Jericho: No, I’m at home. I got some time off, so just enjoying being at home for a while.

GB: Awesome. Well you have a big tour coming up, but before I get on that, I want to talk about the last album for a little bit. The album was, Sin and Bones, which is an amazing, amazing CD man- congratulations on it. Would you say that it was your most successful album to date, or I guess the most satisfying?

Jericho: Well first of all, thanks for saying that, I appreciate it man! The answer to that is “yes.” The simple answer is “yes,” all across the board. I mean, here we are a year after its release and it’s our biggest selling record ever. It’s our critically acclaimed highest charting, (and) our most played (album) on rock radio. So it’s been a huge success all the way across the board. We wanted obviously, and worked really hard to put together what we felt was our best record ever. We felt that way when we had it in the masters, but you never know for sure what everyone else is going to think. And when reviews started coming in, both from fans and critics they were all across the board 10/10, and “this is a masterpiece,” and “this is amazing.” It really took us to the next level, which is what we wanted because we had a lot of momentum from what we had done with our last record Chasing the Grail. And it was our first release on Century Media, which is the biggest record company we’ve been on. So we really wanted to hit it out of the park and by all indications we did just that.

GB: Yeah, definitely man! And I was going to mention that, it was your first release on Century Media. Do you think that added a little bit of pressure when you guys were writing it – to put your best foot forward?

Jericho: Yeah, absolutely! Whenever you start a new relationship with a record company there’s a little bit of a feeling out process. They’re taking a chance on us, we’re taking a chance on them – you know, what is it going to be like? I think they’re putting in enough effort to make it work, and I know we’re putting in all of our effort to make it work. But then once it does work, I think you’re going to see a whole new attitude from Century Media about Fozzy. Not that they didn’t have a good attitude before, but at first it’s just like, ‘let’s just wait and see what happens.’ We knew what we had to do, and we’ve really figured out over the past few years what we do best, which is very heavy riffs and very melodic choruses. I always said, ‘It’s like if Metallica and Journey had a bastard child, it would sound like Fozzy.’ I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve gotten so much attraction over the last few years, because we’re doing something a little bit different than what every other band is doing. And that’s really what you have to do to get to the next level and it’s really worked for us.

GB: One of the cool things about this album, is that you have a track on there called “Sandpaper,” where you have Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows singing with you. How did the idea come about to have him on that track?

Jericho: Well Shadows is a friend of ours, and a fan of Fozzy. He really enjoyed the (Chasing the) Grail record, and there’s a lot of mutual respect between the two of us. Avenged is one of my favorite bands from the last ten years and even before I knew Matt, I was telling everyone about them. When we were doing “Sandpaper,” there’s the opening lyric, “A Cat scratch, a whiplash, a Witch hunt in black.” When I was in the studio singing that, I wasn’t really nailing it the way I felt it should be sung. I wanted to maybe try it with a different vocalist- to add a different sound to that part. So I thought I’d give Matt a call, send him the song, and see what he thought about it. He dug the song, and not only did he sing the part that I asked him to, but he asked if he could mess with it a bit. I was like, “Dude, go ahead!” He added a bunch of harmonies, he doubled one of the choruses, and he took out another section. He really helped us with the arrangement of the song to make it a much more streamline piece of music. And as a result it’s become our biggest hit on rock radio, I think ever. He really went above and beyond, not just doing what I asked him to do, but putting a lot of effort into that song. We thank him a lot for that.

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GB: Is that the first time you guys have had guest vocalists and is that something that you think you’ll continue to do?

Jericho: We’ve always had guests from time to time on our records but only if it’s warranted. People always ask, “Who’s next that you want to collaborate with?” but it depends on the song. I never sat down and said, ‘I want to do a collaboration with Shadows.’ It’s just when an opportunity presents itself, then there it goes. On “She’s My Addiction,” Phil Campbell from Motorhead played the solo. Phil’s another guy who’s been a big supporter of Fozzy and he kept asking me, “Can I do something on the next Fozzy record.” “Addiction” is a very Motorhead, bluesy, heavy-bluesy, type of a song and I thought Phil would be perfect on it. It was the best place for him to do it. We’ve had Zack Wylde (Black Label Society) play with us before, Myles Kennedy has sung a chorus with us. But it’s all because I needed somebody or Rich needed somebody to fill a certain role. And we have a huge “friend base,” should I say, of guys who are friends and fans of our band that we can call up and use. So in the future, if it’s right, then I’d love to collaborate. You know, I love how when you listen to Top 40 Radio, you’ll always see like, Flo Rida featuring Pitbull. Or Jay-Z featuring Rihanna, but you don’t really ever see that in Rock and Roll. And that’s why I thought it would be cool to have Fozzy featuring Matt Shadows. You know if it’s warranted, we’ll definitely do more of it in the future.

GB: Cool! So switching gears to this past month, you guys were over in the UK and played a little festival by the name of Bloodstock! How was that?

Jericho: Yeah, it was amazing, man! The festival has grown so much over the last few years that it’s become a real alternative to Download (Festival). Which is amazing, because if you do Download one year, you don’t usually do it again the next. We played Download in 2012, so Bloodstock was a great alternative as far as the UK festivals. And it was our first main stage performance, in the middle of the day on the big stage, and we had a blast! It was kind of a homecoming for us. We’ve always considered the UK to be our second home. So to get to main stage level on a huge festival like Bloodstock was a real triumph for us. It was a great example of the massive fan base that we have in the UK that demanded us to be on that show. I think we hit a homerun for sure.

GB: Yeah, absolutely! I was just watching a video of it yesterday and it looked massive! Do you know how many people were out there when you guys went on stage?

Jericho: I think there was about 20,000- which was pretty damn cool! Any time you can play those festivals over in Europe, it’s amazing. Sometimes people know who you are, sometimes they don’t know who you are. Sometimes the sound is great, sometimes the sound is bad, but it’s the spectacle that really makes the difference. That’s what I love about festivals is that it doesn’t matter what else happens. If you go on the stage and make sure that you put on a great show, that’s the most important thing about playing those festivals. When you play your own shows, you’re kind of preaching to the choir. When you play a festival, you’re going to have a lot of people that know who you are and a lot of people who have no idea who you are and that’s when you gain your fans, that’s the idea. And we really love that. It’s part of what we do. We always know how to win over a crowd. Whether people are going crazy for us from the start or not, at the end of the show they’re chanting Fozzy and that’s a testament to us.


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