Interview: Chris Jericho Of Fozzy
Following their most successful US & UK tours ever, Fozzy is bringing the 'Judas Rising Tour' to Australia for their first headline run since 2010 & their first Aussie appearance since 2013! Armed with two top 10 US Active Rock hits off their monster record ‘Judas’, the band is ready to turn the country into "Fozztralia" once again this November and for the first time ever New Zealand! We got to speak with Chris Jericho to promote the upcoming tour, as well as chatting about their rise to fame over the past 12 months and a lot more.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to take this interview today, I know you're a very busy man. How's everything going right now?
I'm really excited man, everything has been going really good with the Judas record and having two top 10 singles, sold out shows worldwide and now with us formally returning back to Australia aka "Fozztralia" for the first time in 5 years. I'm so excited to be coming back, this will be our fifth or sixth time on your shores and it's been far too long, but we're ready and it's going to be just a great experience not only for us but for everyone that's going to come along to these shows and rock out with us for sure.
Definitely. How was the Rock USA Festival in Wisconsin just two days ago? Was that the first time you guys played that festival?
Yeah dude, well it's funny actually because we've been off for a couple of months so our first shows back since maybe April or something like that? So we had two festivals in towns in Wisconsin that I have no idea where they are, Oshkosh and Cadott, one was Rock USA and the other one was Rockfest and I don't know which was which but both were fucking awesome! Great fans, great people, we had such a good time. Like I said, the best thing about Judas taking off the way that it has is you have a band that has been waiting for this for years. We knew eventually that one of our songs, one of our records would break through and take us to the next level, and when it finally happened, we were ready. It's like a raging bull in a pen and somebody opens the latch on the gate and all you need is a second for us to just kick it in and run out to create some rock and roll havoc. That's what's been going on, it's been a whole year and three months since the song "Judas" was released and the band just keeps continuing to grow and grow and not just in the States but Worldwide as well. That's why after 5 years we're finally able to come back to Australia because the demand is off the charts with the success of the Judas album. It's a really good time to be in this band.
Yes indeed, I just had a look on YouTube before the interview and your song "Judas" is almost at 21 million views which is incredible. You must be very happy with how well it's still doing after over a year now?
Gosh, yeah it's so funny because our song "Painless" which is also on our new album just past 3 million views in like 6 months. But when your only problem is that when your video did 3 million views in 6 months and you're disappointed because the video before it did 21 million views in a year (laughs) for whatever reason, "Judas" was the right song, for the right place. at the right time, for the right band. I think there's been a lot of people keeping an eye on Fozzy and also fans of Fozzy for years now, but when Judas came out it just took things to the next level. People just latched onto that song, the riff is very heavy but it's very simple, you can play it on guitar. There's 3 or 4 hooks, just one after another that you can't get out of your head, and then lyrically it's something that everyone can relate to. It's not Judas like Judas and Jesus, it's Judas in that betraying yourself. It's something so simple like okay, I'm going to have this one last shot of vodka, it might make me throw up but I'm gonna do it anyway, and then oh my gosh, I'm throwing up now. You knew it was a bad choice, but you made that choice and you did it on purpose, you betrayed yourself. So everybody can relate to that and I think a combination of all these things wrapped up in a cool video with a cool album cover and a lot of buzz. Like I said, we can analyze until the cows come home, I'm not so much into analyzing it, I'd rather just sit back and enjoy it unfold. So yes I'm very proud with how huge "Judas" is, and if "Judas" is the biggest song that we ever have, then it becomes our "Enter Sandman" or our "Stairway To Heaven" or whatever may be. That's fine, because once you get that signature song, it takes your band to the next level and that's what's currently happening with us.
Yeah I was going to compare it to "Enter Sandman actually, in that Metallica were already big and people knew who they were, but when they released that song and that "Black Album" they just became astronomically huge! It's so good to finally see Fozzy have the same sort of success.
Yeah and I mean that's the thing, we're like this 17 year overnight sensation. Once again, I'm not comparing us to Metallica or Led Zeppelin or any of those bands but for us, this is the biggest Fozzy has ever been in 17 years. Granted, it was only in 2010 when we sat down and said, let's make this a full time gig. Let's take this as far as we can go. But it was only 7 or 8 years ago and here we are now with two top 10 singles and a single that has the equivalent of 200,000 singles sold in 2018. My goodness, if this was 1990 we'd be quadruple platinum by now. It's just all of this hard work and knowing how to put on a great rock show and writing some great songs and incorporating a great producer in Johnny Andrews who helped us get to that next level, he's our Bob Rock I guess you could say. Now you have to go out and promote it and play live shows, and there's not a band on the planet, this is not ego by the way, this is how I really feel. But there's not a band on the planet, with the exception of maybe the Rolling Stones who in their 70's still blow away most of the bands I see playing today. But there's not a lot of bands that can blow away Fozzy on stage. Now there's bands that have history, and bands that have quadruple more fans than we have, but if you took our band and any other band to an alien planet, that had never seen a rock show before and you said, judge band A versus band B, who's the better live band? Who's put on a better show? Who did the crowd get into more? I would say that 9 times out of 10 those aliens would choose Fozzy. So can you please put us in a rocket ship and send us to an alien planet so we can do that?
Well that's definitely something to aim for (laughs) but before you do that, of course we already know Fozzy is bringing the 'Judas Rising' tour to Australia for your first headline run since 2010. Are you excited to get back to Australia in a rock and roll capacity this time around?
Absolutely, we've had a long relationship with Australia. Our first tour was in 2005, we came back in 2010 and we came twice in 2013 including Soundwave Festival which was one of the best tours we've ever had. For some reason, that was it. We haven't been back for 5 years, so we did not take that lightly. We've been trying to come back to Australia since then, but it just didn't work out. Now it is working out, Judas the album and Fozzy the band, biggest we've ever been and we've always had a great time in Australia. Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, now we're getting a chance to go to New Zealand as well. We are very honoured to come to Australia, it's a long way away, but Australia is a great rock and roll country man. The last time we were there, we were touring with Buckcherry and Steel Panther and at the same time Bon Jovi is there, I think Slash was there and all of those rock legends were there and it was crazy. Obviously being in WWE as well I've had some great times in Australia wrestling wise. Everything we do with this band, we never take it for granted, like "Oh you guys are going to Australia in November." "Oh that's cool, but what's for dinner?" Instead it's like, "Fuck really? We're going back to Australia? YES! We've been waiting for this for years." That's why I'm on the phone with you now, we've just finished playing here at the Cadott Rock Festival not even an hour ago, but to me I want to promote these shows and I want to sell out all of these shows, some shows are doing better than others. But the bottom line is, I love Australia, we love Australia, we want to come back and have some great shows and have a great time and re-establish Fozzy's place in the rock and roll market of Australia. Because 5 years is way too long, it really is. I've always said, people go "Where are your biggest countries for Fozzy" and I usually say the UK, Australia and the States, and since we haven't been back to Australia in a long time, we're going to change that in November and we're going to re-emerge as the entertaining, energetic, fun, rock and roll band, that everybody who's ever seen us before remembers and anybody who hasn't seen us before is about to experience. It's going to be a good time.
Well I hope for our own sake that the crowds blow you away and Australia moves up to number one on your list of top countries. You're always on the road it seems, whether it's on one of those crazy WWE schedules or touring all over the World with Fozzy rocking stages. Does being a rockstar who tours and parties take a toll on your body as well?
I've been very lucky man, whether it's WWE or Fozzy, but sometimes Fozzy is more taxing than WWE. We just played for 60 minutes today and from note one to note done it's a nonstop cardio workout. Once again, I'm wearing jackets and I'm wearing scarves and tight leather trousers, it's not easy man but I wouldn't have it any other way. I mean, Paul Stanley doesn't take off his starchild costume just because it's hot outside, it's a part of being in a rock band. I also started doing yoga years ago which helps, I always try to concentrate on my diet, because nobody wants to see a fat, bald, rockstar or a fat, bald. wrestler. although there have been some very successful ones in the past (laughs) but I do take great pride in the fact that I can still do everything that I always did, but you also have to look good man. It's show business. if you go to a Rolling Stones show and you see this skinny guy with long brown hair running around the stage for 2 hours, then you find out he's 75 years old, well he certainly doesn't look it. You can still rock, no matter what age you are but you have to look the part and you've gotta put the work in and that's something that I've been doing since I was 19 years old. People say to me, "So now that you're not wrestling as much anymore do you still work out? Of course I do. I'm not just going to stop and turn into some fatso because I don't wrestle every night. That's ludicrous. Once you get into the mold and into the habit of staying in shop, no matter what it is you do, because I'm a showman and I'm going to die a showman, I was born a showman. I might not be wrestling, but there'll be rock and roll and thee'll be live shows and podcasts or whatever it may be. Nobody wants to go to a concert and see someone up on the stage that looks like somebody standing in the crowd next to them. The Gene Simmons principle, always dress to impress. Stand out from the crowd and people will react to you and that's very important when you're in the business that I'm in which essentially is show business.
I wanted to ask you as well, if you could only take 3 albums on the road with you and only listen to those 3 albums on the tour bus, what would you choose?
It's funny because I love Iron Maiden, I love Metallica, and I'm also a big Stones fan like I've mentioned, I love The Beatles, and The Police, KISS, Ozzy, Helloween, that's the metal side of what we do. But all of us in the band, we're all big rock fans and lots of 70's rock as well like Journey, Boston, Styx, bands like Player you know? "Baby come back!" All these kind of crazy bands that have great rock songs, like Orleans, "Still the one!" (laughs) and yeah just those songs that you can sing along to and have fun listening to. We also listen to a lot of funk and soul, bands like Kool And The Gang, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire, anything that's got a groove to it and a feel to it. We love AC/DC, big fans of that band. I've come to realise over the years that AC/DC is the greatest rock and roll band of all time, the most basic/difficult band with the best hooks, the best singer, the best guitar players. So we'll listen to all that stuff as well. People always ask me, "What is the style of Fozzy?" I always say, if Journey and Metallica had a bastard child that was raised by AC/DC then you might get an idea of what Fozzy sounds like and we still stick to that to this day.
There's also a certain big wrestling event being held in Melbourne about a month before the mighty Fozzy will be in Australia, I'm talking about WWE Super Show-Down, do you think that it's possible that you'll be at said event?
I wasn't invited and I think we have a festival that night in New Jersey, so I don't think I'll be there. If they asked me to and I was off then I would totally go but we have commitments with Fozzy on that particular date. I'm sure it's going to be a great show, I was in Melbourne back in 2002 for a stadium show called Global Warning. We had a great time and it was a lot of fun. I claimed to not know what a wanker was because the audience kept directing that chant at me, "You are a wanker!" I got on the mic and said, "I don't know what a wanker is, but if you're calling me that then it must be a good thing, so yeah, I'm the biggest wanker in Australia! I am King Wanker!" And of course everyone had a good time with that. So I'm giving that line to somebody else, I'm sure someone else will use it because everybody always steals my shit anyway. So I won't be there for the WWE show in Australia, but I guarantee you that I will be there in November with Fozzy, returning to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. It's going to be a great time and we're really excited.
Before you say goodbye, is there anybody on the current New Japan roster that you'd like to face? Perhaps for your IWGP Intercontinental Title? Or are you waiting for somebody to step up and challenge you?
That's for me to know and for you to find out brother. But even if I did know, I wouldn't tell you. See you in November!
Written by Steve Jenkins
FOZZY 'Judas Rising' Australian & NZ Tour Dates:
Wednesday 7th November AUCKLAND The Studio
Friday 9th November MELBOURNE Max Watts
Saturday 10th November SYDNEY Manning Bar
Tuesday 13th November ADELAIDE The Gov
Wednesday 14th November BRISBANE The Triffid
Tickets: On Sale Now From: http://silverbacktouring.com.au/fozztralia