After a hugely successful career as a legendary pro-wrestler in the WWE, Chris Jericho began to turn his sights more on his musical career with Fozzy, a career which began when he was a young kid pursuing his interest in both fields simultaneously. After 17 years since Fozzy broke through on their self titled debut record, the band have hit the big time with their latest release “Judas” which drops on October 13th. The video for the hit title track single has gained millions of views on Youtube and propelled the band to next level status which they took advantage of by hitting the road in the US which ends it’s run this month. A somewhat regular to our pages here at The Rockpit, we caught up with Chris ahead of the album release to discuss the success of the single, the release of the album and more.
Andrew: I hear you guys have been on the road lately so how’s the tour been going so far?
Chris: It’s been going great man! I call it the Judas effect, all of these things that are happening because of the success of Judas and one of them being just the numbers at the shows increasing exponentially. So it’s been a really cool time, we started in May and it’s going to move into this month. Shows are bigger, crowds are crazier, it’s been a whole lot of fun man. It’s a whole different world to have that elusive “hit single” that changes everything so it’s a different level now.
Andrew: Yeah it’s insane how successful this title track has been for you guys, millions of views on Youtube for the video. I mean you must be excited for how big things have been going for you guys so far.
Chris: Yeah absolutely. We’ve had successful songs in the past but nothing like this and it’s a whole different level and like mentioned, I think the right song at the right place at the right time for the right band is the best way to describe it. I would like to be able to tell you that I have all the secrets to how it’s done as good as it’s done and why it’s still growing after 5 months, if I did I would sell it to every band in the world and instead of analyzing it I’m just sitting back and enjoying all these wonderful things that are happening to us.
Andrew: Well obviously the new album is going to be dropping pretty soon so what can you tell me about how the creative process was like this time because from what I understand, you did a few little things a bit differently this time around.
Chris: Yeah Rich [Ward, guitars] and myself decided we wanted to work with an outside producer this time to really give a bit of show to the record. We had always done everything our own way and done it ourselves and then you bring in a third party and tells you this is right or this is wrong and this is what you are going to do and not going to do and at first we were like, ‘What’s up with this? Who does this guy think he is?’ But that was the rule, we said he has final say and he’s in charge. Johnny Andrews is the name of the producer and once we worked through all those issues like “Who is this person to come and tell us what to do”, we realized that the album and the songs are so much stronger and so much different from what we had done before. So it wasn’t as much about the song needs a guitar solo because that’s what a song has or this song should have a wicked scream because that’s what the song needs, it was more about what was best for the song utilizing the most important parts and cutting out things that didn’t really matter. On “Judas” there’s no guitar solo on that, there’s no guitar solo on “Painless”. It was all about the songs and that’s why this record really is our “Back In Black” or our “Black Album” so it was a different perspective of stuff that we were doing all along but just really honing in and making it much more concise and dangerous as you could say.
Andrew: At what point during the creative process or even in the recording process did you know that you had something special here?
Chris: Well I mean it’s hard to say. Every band always says, ‘This is the best thing we have ever done’ which is what you should say. The test of time is the most important thing and will everybody else agree. As far as the song “Judas” itself goes, I can say as soon as I heard it I knew immediately that it would be the title track of the record and it needed to kick the record off, I knew that for sure. As far as how popular it’s been, I don’t think anybody can predict that or realize how special that’s going to be. I do know that there was a lot of debate over which song should be the first single and I can say “Judas” was not the overwhelming first choice, there was a lot of choices of 3 or 4 different songs being bandied about as the one so to speak. “Judas” was the right song to be first, I think there was 2 or 3 other songs just as accessible and as good that were probably locked and loaded in the chamber ready to go and when “Judas” eventually reaches it’s peak whether that’s a month from now or 2 months from now or who knows how long and how strong the song is, it could be one of those things where since “Judas” has done the heavy lifting as far as opening all these doors for us that were never opened before, the second single could just kind of waltz right in there and becomes an even bigger hit. So it’s really exciting to see what’s going to really happen over the next few months and kind of compound on what’s already happening now.
Andrew: There are some great songs on here, one of my favorites is “Drinkin’ with Jesus” and “Painless” and even the last song on the album which shows how consistent the album is as well, is “Wolves at Bay” which I think is maybe one of the heavier ones on the album. So obviously the tracklist must have been pretty important as well for you to make sure that it would flow nicely.
Chris: Yeah we wanted “Wolves at Bay” to kind of be the “Damage Inc.” of the record, the total rock/thrasher type thing. I know our drummer wanted to open the album but I said that’s not really the opener, you close it off with an old school type thing but with an element of what we do. Those are very big type of songs like “Spider In My Mouth” to “Born Of Anger” and “Blood Happens” and those type of tunes so you always want to try and keep a connection to those but obviously those are different to the rest of the record so you digest all these other musical gourmet’s that we’re bringing to you. So I think like you said, the flow of the record is great. We wanted to make 11 songs that could be hits, 11 songs you should hear on the radio. An album you hear back like an “Appetite For Destruction” or “Hysteria” or “Kick” from INXS where there were so many songs on that record that were singles, one after another after another and we wanted that and I think we have achieved it where if there was a song that didn’t quite or wasn’t really up to snuff we just didn’t bother to continue with it. And that’s why we have 11 songs on the record, it’s kind of a weird number of songs but we had a 12th song and it wasn’t really working so we just dropped it. There you go, there’s your 11 songs for the album and I think it’s the typical cliche of all killer and no filler. That’s really the case here and that’s by design, we wanted it that way and worked really hard to get it that way.
Andrew: That’s great and one of the other stand out tracks is “Three Days In Jail” because there’s some different vocal styles in there with some guest vocals, how did that thing come about?
Chris: We’ve always had that kind of diversity and we appreciate bands like Led Zeppelin, U2 and Guns N’ Roses and the Beatles and David Bowie that changed their style from time to time and add different elements that you would never necessarily expect to hear. We had a song with a rapper featured on the record “All That Remains” back in 2005 and I think that just kinda really fit, we had room for a part that had a kind of rap element to it so we said, ‘Let’s go for that and see what we can come up with’, and who would we like to lay down the part that really kills on that so that’s what happened. So we got a guy called “Highway To Hero”, we had met him over in England at the Download Festival and we knew he was into that sort of stuff and he came in and laid down a great part. That song takes a real left turn when the rap comes in but it really adds to it for sure.
Andrew: Yeah it definitely adds a different dynamic to the song but I guess the whole album in general has a lot of dynamics, it’s quite diverse with a lot of variety which is obviously something you were trying to go for.
Chris: Like I said that was by design and we realized a long time ago that for us to really get to the next level and become the band that we wanted to be and grow the way we wanted to grow, we just do things our own way and not worry about what’s trendy or what other people do or what other bands do and I think that’s really benefited us over the last little while. People know that there’s a certain Fozzy element, it’s a Fozzy sound and not a lot of other bands are doing what we’re doing right now and we take great pride in that. We’ve put in a lot of work and in some ways we’re a 17 year overnight sensation with all the stuff that’s been happening but we’re ready and maybe 5 or 6 years ago we wouldn’t of been ready for this but we definitely know who we are as a band, we know what our crowd is, we know what we want to accomplish on stage, off stage and everywhere in between and we’ve been working hard doing that and it’s really paying off. A lot of that is the diversity the record and the songs that we’re doing in a very good and proven way.
Andrew: We mentioned before about you guys being on the road at the moment, obviously you will be taking this album out on the road further overseas. We’re hoping we see you guys in Australia at some point in time!
Chris: You know, that’s one thing that I love is everybody in these interviews has asked me that question from Australia. I love Australia, we’ve been fortunate to go there twice in 2013 and for whatever reason we haven’t been back there since. It’s a long time coming and we’re really looking forward to coming back, it’s one of our big items on our to do list in 2018 is to come back to Australia. Australia was one of the first countries that really embraced Fozzy, I think the first time we went there was back in 2005 and we’ll never forget that. The people of Australia have been so good to us and like I said, we were there twice in 2013 and then after not coming back for 5 years it’s a long time coming. We know that the interest is there, it’s definitely there from our stand point and I think we got a lot of headway over the last couple of years and a lot of desire and interest having us there so we want to do this right. Put together a great package like we always do and come over there and if they can give us a 3 or 4 month notice then we can really do it right so it’s definitely on our list of things we want to do and knowing how we are, we’ll make it happen.
Rocklahoma 2017 | TM Photography
Andrew: We are looking forward to seeing you back here then. We saw you I guess it was 2013 when you came over and did a fantastic spoken word show with Scott Ian. I was lucky enough to see it and it was amazing stuff with some of the stories that you guys were telling , it was just a great night!
Chris: Yeah that was a lot of fun, I do those from time to time and doing them with Scott was a blast. I remember one of the highlights of Australia was doing those side shows, it was a lot of fun man. Good crowds, good reactions. Soundwave from what I understand doesn’t exist anymore but it was a lot of fun and it was a great way to reintroduce us to Australia on a higher level and we’ve been trying to get back so it’s definitely on our list for sure.
Andrew: Yeah definitely! Before I let you go I do want to ask you, obviously Fozzy is exploding and you are probably so busy at the moment so I’m guessing the WWE career is being put on hold or are you done with that?
Chris: Well Fozzy has been the priority since 2010 and I haven’t been a full time performer since then so it’s the same thing as always, when the Fozzy run is done and the tour cycle is over I’ll evaluate where I’m at and see what’s going on and see what the options and ideas are. Maybe I’ll come back and maybe I won’t, if I didn’t wrestle again it wouldn’t bother me. I’m sure at some point I’ll be back as long as there is some kind of reason and an idea and a storyline behind me being there that intrigues me, once I get that I’ll probably be back for sure.
Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album, it sounds fantastic and we’re loving it over here. We’re looking forward to hopefully seeing you in Australia next year so thanks for your time, it’s really appreciated.
Chris: Absolutely man! Thanks for your support and like I said, Fozzy and Aussie 2018 – let’s make it happen!