The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
INTERVIEW 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - FOZZY VOCALIST CHRIS JERICHO

FOZZY - CHRIS JERICHO

TALKS TO THE ROCKPIT

ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM AND SO MUCH MORE...

CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OF 'DO YOU WANNA START A WAR' HERE

FOZZY MAY WELL HAVE RELEASED THEIR FINEST ALBUM TO DATE IN 'DO YOU WANNA START A WAR' AND CHRIS JERICHO WANTS TO LET THE WORLD KNOW - WE CATCH UP TO TALK ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM AND SO MUCH MORE...

Mark: Hi, Chris, it’s Mark from The Rockpit in Australia.


Chris: Hi, Man, how ya doing?


Mark: Not too bad, thanks. First of all, congratulations on the new album, “Do You Wanna Start a War’, it’s been on constant play since we got an advance copy down here! You must be over the moon at the moment?


Chris: Yeah, it’s been great. You put that much time and effort in to writing, recording and mixing, and promoting your record and we really feel it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, and in the back of your mind you always hope that other people feel the same way. But, now that it’s come out, it’s a fun time to be in the band because, you get dessert, you sit back and get all the accolades, and so far we’ve had 99% positive reviews. Best record you’ve ever had etc., etc.! It’s also number one on i Tunes in Canada and Australia.


Mark: I was going to say the response from over here in the last couple of days has been phenomenal, I think it’s sold out in our local record store - we still have those down here! So, it’s going well!


Chris: That’s good to hear, man! We always hope the world sells out! But the thing with I Tunes is anybody can buy a record any time, any place, and it never gets sold out, it’s a good back up plan to have that in your back pocket as well.

Mark: The response has been fantastic. Everything seemed to get really serious for you guys, I guess, from an outsider’s point of view, with the last album “Sin and Bones” which sold out everything you had done previously, and it looks like this one’s on the way to top that. Was there a change in emphasis, and did you get the feeling that things were more serious when that record came out?


Chris: Well, we made a conscious decision back before “Chasing the Grail” came out to make Fozzy a priority and put all of our time in to the band,  ever since we started doing that you can see the growth in the band’s potential to just speed up completely, so much faster than it ever had. We have grown as a band, fan base wise, sales wise, touring wise, over the last five years it’s been amazing to see, and that’s the result of a lot of hard work, you get the reward. When we got the momentum that we had after “Sin and Bones”, we wanted to keep that going, which is why we pretty much started writing this record after that came out, two years ago. We did a big tour with that record, seventeen countries over the course of those two years, and we did the tour in Australia with Steel Panther, and then basically went in to the studio and started recording this one. And you can feel that, it’s got more of a live vibe to it, took a few more chances with it, not worried about what the rules are, as to what you’re supposed to do, and not supposed to do as a Heavy Rock band, it reflects in this record, and that’s why we feel it’s our best record ever, a game changer in a lot of ways!


Mark: It must have been great to be on the bill at Rock in the Range and Download, and trial a few of these songs before a live audience. How did they take to them?


Chris: We did a tour in May/June, as you mentioned, Download and in the States, and people hadn’t even heard “Do You Wanna Start a War”,  we thought that was a kind of ballsy move, and to see the reactions for a song that people hadn’t heard, right up the back, singing along, clapping, and of course “Lights Go Out” which was our first ever top 40 hit, was just really cool, after all the years of us being in the band see our songs get that traction, that got a good reaction too. You know we’ve just finished rehearsals right now, we’re just packing up here in Los Angeles, we’ve rehearsed a couple of other songs that we’re gonna play on tour also. That’s the other fun thing about doing a new record, is starting to play the songs live, it’s hard deciding which songs stay and which songs go from your older albums! It’s sad to see some of those songs go, but also a lot of fun to play the new ones. Like I said there’s a really cool vibe, and it’s kind of a new dimension for us.

Mark: It’s been a great ride so far, it’s hard to believe it’s almost fourteen years since the first album came out, and you’ve now hit the peak of your form, there must be an amazing feeling within the band. Just looking at “Lights go Out”, it’s a pretty bold statement as a single, was that song the first choice, or was it a hard decision to make as to which song would be first out?


Chris: That was the song right off the bat that everyone reacted to. We liked it because it was something different, it had never really been done before, and it’s a heavy song with a sort of dance groove to it, it’s almost like a new genre of music, heavy metal, dance music, or something along those lines. Because it’s different that’s why we chose it, it takes everyone off guard, because they thought Fozzy doesn’t sound like this! As I said before we did take a few chances and sound a bit different, from what the conventional other, like I said what you’re supposed to do and not supposed to do as a band! So, it was the perfect choice and obviously the right choice as it has been successful so far.


Mark: Yeah, it sounds like now you are a band with no limitations, which is all part of the fun, it’s great to hear a bit of metal on there and party rock.


Chris: Well, there’s only a few bands that can do the same style record overall, like Slayer, AC/DC, those type of bands, and that’s great, but for us we wanted to do a record like Queen used to do with a heavy rock song, a pop song, a ballad, and you just like it, it’s a good record because it’s all Queen. You don’t have to worry about it being too heavy or too “poppy” you just make sure it’s a good song, and that’s the most important thing, and once again that is why record is by far the best yet, because of the diversity and the versatility, and it’s unlike anything else you can find in the market place today.
Mark: The whole band seems to be on fire for this one, it’s great. If we could have a look at some of the songs on there, “Unstoppable” is amazing, it’s got a real Euro-rock feel to it, where did that one come from?


Chris: Once again, it’s a song that Rich came up with; we discussed having a female vocal on it, kind of an homage to say ‘Gimme Shelter’ or ‘Great Gig in the Sky’ again it’s something you don’t often hear a lot these days. There are a lot of female backing vocals but Chistie Cook, a great friend of ours from Atlanta,  you can hear on ‘Do You Want to Start a War’ and ‘S.O.S.’ – it’s a great extra colour that you can paint with and all of our favourite bands had that extra element, but there was a time in the early nineties where all of that stuff kinda went away, female vocals, three-part harmonies and we thought its about time we reintroduced that element. I mean maybe on the next record we’ll have a saxophone solo who knows!

Mark: [laughs] ‘Baker Street’ style that would be so cool!


Chris: [laughs] Why not right, if it’s good enough for those guys it’s good enough for us!


Mark: And ‘Witchery’ at the end opens up a whole new can of worms, it’s one of my favourites on the album. And I know you’ve done similar songs before, but it just reminds us of how expansive Fozzy is!

Chris: Once again, it’s a song that has a Prog element to it like songs in the past like ‘A Passed Life’ or ‘Wormwood’- songs like that, and ‘Witchery’ follows in that tradition. There are songs on there that are maybe a little more poppy, a little bit more groovy, or a little more rhythm and blues style, but Witchery comes out and its heavy and fast and has everything in there, a cool section in the middle, and a bass solo, so it’s great to let people know that there are heavy and crushing songs on there because that’s part of what we do as a band also. I think that’s one of my favourites too and like you said it’s a perfect closer for this great masterpiece of work we’ve put together!


Mark: It’s a great album as you say and I guess a question a lot of people are asking is whose idea was the ABBA cover?


Chris: Um, I remember we had a band meeting in Australia on the last tour where we talked about a whole lot of ideas like what we should call the album – would it be ‘Lights Go Out’, ‘Bad Tattoo’ and I think someone suggested maybe ‘Do You Want to Start a War’ and that won out ‘cause it’s such a confrontational statement – we’re not saying start a war with guns or anything, we’re saying start a war with things that oppose you, start a war with things that are bringing you down. It’s a real self-empowering statement and such a great album title “You got a problem with us?” “You Wanna start a War?” And so with that idea we kinda decided to strip back the logo and kinda go with something more basic than the classic Fozzy logo, same with the cover we stripped it back – rather than a Dungeons and Dragons cover of two armies fighting we went online and found some really basic pictures of a bomb and walked that over to the guys at Century Media and they came up with the cover – it’s very iconic, a very cool representation of the record, stripped down, no frills, just powerful, like it could explode in your face at any time and I think it’s the best cover we’ve ever done, it’s so powerful. A cool Heavy Metal album cover like someone like Pink Floyd might do.
 

Mark: You sidestepped that one nicely! But I got a better answer anyway. One question we got over the net was a bout you getting back in the ring recently?


Chis: Well that was kind of a scheduling thing – we had some time off recently, with Fozzy off from June to September and it was the perfect timing to go back for a time.  It’s something I still enjoy to do if the timing is right, do it for a month and get back on tour!


Mark: I know John said he didn’t see that coming!


Chris: Yeah you know John doesn’t know everything much as he claims that he does [laughs]!


Mark: And the final traditional question we ask everyone “What is the meaning of life”?


Chris: A great Monty Python movie where a fat guy east too much spaghetti – that is the true meaning of life!


Mark: And that Is my true meaning of life too! [laughs]


Chris: It’s wafer thin man, don’t forget that it’s ‘wafer thin’! [laughs]


Mark: When are we likely to see you down here next?


Chris: Sometime on this tour for sure! Australia is one of our favourite places, great bands, an amazing scene, every time we are down there; there’s so much stuff going on. We had the honour of being down there twice in 2013 and we’d love to be there again at the start of 2015, but if that doesn’t work out then I guarantee we’ll be down there soon as Australia has always been very good to us and we’d be stoked to come back.


Mark: I just get the feeling that this is the album to take you up there into the major leagues, certainly my favourite Fozzy album, and we always love to see you down here, you take care and we’ll see you soon.


Chris: I appreciate that man, and we’ll see you soon.

 

 

Chris spoke to Mark Diggins - July 2014

 

 

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