American rock band Fozzy are back in the UK, beginning a string of dates tonight (24th November) at the Sub89 in Reading. The band continue to enjoy increasing success following the release of their sixth album ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ in 2014 on Century Media Records. A good number of tracks from that album have become fan-favourites, being included in their ‘live’ set. You just have to see this band perform on stage to ‘get’ what they do. Chris Jericho, their lead vocalist, is no stranger to taking center stage of course, yet he forms just one part of the whole Fozzy experience. With the anticipation and excitement of hitting the studios in early ’16, now is as good a time as any to catch a Fozzy show and witness what this band can throw down on stage.
I caught up with Chris Jericho and began by asking about the reception Fozzy’s last album got.
TCRS: The last time we spoke was back in April 2013, when you were on a co-headline tour with Drowning Pool. Since then of course, we saw the release of “Do You Wanna Start A War” in July last year. Do you still get goose bumps over well that record went down with the fans?
Chris Jericho: Yeah, I mean it’s pretty cool. Obviously, it’s been over a year now, but when you spend a lot of time on a new record especially when, well I’m not going to say there was a different style of music on the records, but it was very diverse. There were a couple of opportunities that were taken and you know we wanted to really expand on what the Fozzy sound is, and basically just kind of go on the Queen route, where it doesn’t matter if a song is a rock song or a metal song or a pop song or whatever it may be. Either it’s a good song or it’s a bad song and that’s something I always loved to go dance like Queen or Led Zeppelin or the Beatles, or even Guns N Roses! There’s a lot of diversity in that sound, but it’s still and always was those bands. But there was no kind of box that they had to put themselves into. So the fact that there was a song that I like to go out on it was just almost like, you know, that old dance club tone and have it become the biggest hit of our career was very goose bump inducing shall we say. And the fact that I think we do 7 of those songs ‘live’, it makes up a lions share of our set and every song people love and every song people are into. It does show that you know this experiment, this chance that we took really paid off. So it was really really cool boost in momentum, definitely the biggest selling record of our career, the most currently acclaimed and the most popular. So it’s a great place to be as we start writing materials for our next record and kind of finish off this tour cycle over in UK and in Europe in November, December.
TCRS: We’ll come to your plans for the new record in a moment. But, since the album was released, Fozzy has been on numerous tours as well as the festival circuit which you seem to have all enjoyed. Tell us about some of the highlights.
Chris Jericho: Well, I mean you know, obviously Download is always a highlight. We kind of kicked off the tour right before the record came out at Download, it was the first time we ever played the mainstage. So that was the highlight for us. I think we did a lot of touring whether it was the Theory of a Dead Man or Texas Hippie Coalition and that was a lot of fun. I think that those were my two favourite tours and one of them as hasn’t happened yet, but it’s about to. But I love the short run we did with Slash back in May, that was a real great mix of two killer Rock and Roll bands. We got along really well as people and as peers. I would love to be more with that band in the future, because it was a great mix and it was a really good tour for us. It was a lot of fun, you know you have Slash watching our show ever night and kind of commenting positively about the band. You know, it’s always cool to get that from people touring with us. But obviously when you’re touring with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and it’s your icon like Slash it was just…I don’t know, I’m not going to say it’s a moral boost, but it’s just really cool to know that other people feel the same way about the way we do about the band, that are in such high high lofty positions.
TCRS: And you went on the Kiss Kruise just recently?
Chris Jericho: Well yeah, yeah! You know my hero is Paul Stanley. Not only were we there with Kiss, we were hanging out with one of my best friends that I’ve made over the last year or so and it was a blast. I mean what more do you want right? Playing rock and roll with one of the biggest bands of all time on a f*****g cruise ship. I mean if that doesn’t tell you that you’ve made it then nothing else does!?
TCRS: Fozzy begins a 12-date tour of the UK on 24th November, starting at Reading’s Sub89, how does it feel to be coming back to the UK?
Chris Jericho: Oh man, we’re super-stoked to be coming back! You know, the UK has always been so good to us. The energy that the British crowd brings is unlike any other. We really can’t wait to play for you.
TCRS: You’re bringing along two bands with you, Nonpoint for whom it’ll be their first time in the UK, and Sumo Cyco.
Chris Jericho: Nonpoint and Sumo Cyco…they’re both the perfect type of bands for us to bring over, because we want to expand that audience. You have to put together the best package possible and not just for the people who buy tickets to see those bands, but also people who come and don’t care who the opening bands are . We still want to give them the best show possible so that when they leave they maybe have some appreciation for a new band as well. So we love Nonpoint, we think that they are a great band. And as you said, they’ve never really been to the UK, it’s a perfect time for them to come out with us on this tour.
TCRS: Two of the 12 dates are Festival appearances, the Winter Rocks Festival at The Corporation in Sheffield, where I’ll be seeing you, and at Planet Rockstock in Wales.
Chris Jericho: Yeah! So we’re ending off with two great shows, we are the show, it’s just about high energy entertaining rock and roll show so I’m looking forward to that and like you said it’s a great way to end off the two cool festivals.
TCRS: Before we finish up Chris, just tell us about what you’ve got planned for the new album scheduled for 2016?
Chris Jericho: Yeah that’s kind of the plan you know, we want to have the album ready for summer 2016. I was just talking to Rich (Ward) the other day and he was just finishing up a new Stuck Mojo record. He’s got lots of Fozzy ideas, continuing in the same vein, let’s just be Fozzy and not worry about it. Is it too heavy, is it too poppy, would you dance it, would you rock and roll, just make a bunch of great songs and see what happens because, like it says, doing something like ‘Lights Go Out’, ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ that have generally been really huge for us, we’re going to continue to go down that route. What kind of songs do we want to write and try and see some different things? I’m actually writing a song right now, I’m not going to say with who, but if it turns out good, it’s going to be a mind blower. It is not somebody you would expect Fozzy to write a song with, and vice versa, on his end and if it turns out great, it could be kind of starting another new type of genre, like ‘Lights Go Out’ was a dance club metal song. I think this song, if it works out, could be something completely different again, kind of mashing two genre’s together and why not?! You know, what I mean that is one thing I loved about, like you say, I mentioned The Beatles before, everyone says that they are the greatest rock and roll band of all time and never made the same album twice, it’s always something different, always something pushing the boundaries and outside the box. That’s kind of the direction we’re going in, because it’s the only chance we have to continue to build the band. We can’t be like anybody else, we aren’t like everybody else, we never have been, we never will be, so let’s just be ourselves and just see what happens. I think that’s one thing that our fans appreciate about us, and I think it’s one thing that makes the band very exciting right now in a world where there’s a lot of copy cats, you know, I’m not saying that in a bad way but that’s kind of the way that the music business goes. If something is hot, there’s a 100 bands trying to copy it and I don’t want to copy anybody, I just want to be ourselves and what does that mean, we sell one record, we sell 1 million records as long as we can be ourselves, I know that the band will continue to grow.
TCRS: Well you pretty much answered my next question, Chris, because I was going to say how did you sort of continue as you hopped on consistently as a band, continue to turn heads and turn people on to follow you is an amazing effort.
Chris Jericho: Well, like you said, I mean, the one thing that, at this point in time, there is very few people that are still hung up on the fact that I have another job. I figured this point, Fozzy is a great band, but there is always still people that we have to work twice as hard to get respect from. I mean, we still have never done shows in Japan or South America or places like that, that I know we do huge business in, but I takes a while for people to accept the band because I’m in it. And that’s okay, I mean we don’t care, we’ve been coming to the UK for 10 years now. People know what’s up when they see Fozzy on the bill and the only way to continue to expand that and kind of open those doors is just to continue to be ourselves, whether it’s word of mouth or whatever it is we’re not in any rush. We’ll just continue to do what we do and it’s been working for us so far, so we expect that to continue to grow for us.
TCRS: I’m certainly looking forward to seeing you guys on stage again in the UK, along with a lot of our listeners.
Chris Jericho: Well I can say we’re looking forward to it and we always consider the UK to be our second home. We always have great shows and great tours and we’re super excited and looking forward to coming back. See you all down the front!
24.11.15 (UK) Reading – Sub89
25.11.15 (UK) Tunbridge Wells – The Forum
26.11.15 (UK) London – Islington Academy
27.11.15 (UK) Manchester – Sound Control
28.11.15 (UK) Chester – The Live Rooms
29.11.15 (UK) Southampton – Engine Rooms