Fozzy are a different kind of beast. Having stemmed from the brunt of a joke Ozzy Osborne cover band, Fozzy are setting up to release their undeniably brilliant sixth studio album, ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’. Hitting shelves this month, the record is a testament to how quickly Fozzy can grab the attention and praise of fans, old and new. We chatted with frontman Chris Jericho about the upcoming release, Australia and his wrestling career.
How are you feeling with ‘Do You Wanna Start a War’ coming out soon?
I feel great. I’m excited. We’ve been living with this record for a year now and when you finish it and then put it on the shelf for everyone to start hearing it, with that so close, we’re pretty excited. We’re interested to see what people say about it but as much as we have to make a record for what you want to hear, we think it’s the best thing we’ve done in our career by far. I think it’s gonna be a game-changer for us.
So on the new record, there’s a lot of poppy, radio-friendly stuff like ‘Tonite’ and then there are really heavy tracks like ‘One Crazed Anarchist’. Where do you think Fozzy shines the best, the pop stuff or the heavy stuff?
What we do best is the heavy; a lot of riffs, a lot of groove, a lot of melody and harmony in the vocals. With the style of writing, well there was only one rule on this record and that was that there were no rules. We have a lot of affinity for bands like Queen and Pink Floyd and U2 where every record sounded different from the last and every song sounded different from the last, but it still sounds like Queen or whatever. No matter, Queen always sounded like Queen. Whether it was rockabilly, heavy, pop, disco or a lush piano ballad, it was always Queen. There was no box for them and we thought that in rock music, why do bands have to fit a mould? That’s never been a concern for us. Let’s make good songs and let everyone decide what box it fits into. The only box we care about fitting into is whether it’s a good song or not.
Well, how do you think you’ve evolved and changed then? I know it was once Fozzy Osborne so there’s no doubt been A LOT of change.
That was twelve years ago and things always change. We were Fozzy Osborne and now we’re Fozzy. We started in 2000 and so to see the evolution of the band would be to listen from records one to six. In terms of ‘Do You Wanna Start a War’ and evolution and change, it’s a whole new world. And it will always change. You learn what you do best and what your sound and style is and who you are as a performer. There’s always a search and a growing process like anything you do for a long time; whether you’re acting or dancing or writing, you look at the things you did first and they’re never as good as what you do now after years of experience. I think the same for us; we’re now a band that I think can go toe-to-toe with any band on the planet.
When do you think you can come back out to Australia?
That tour we did with Steel Panther last year was a lot of fun. One of the best tours we’ve ever done and one of the best bills we’ve ever been a part of. We want to come to Australia again hopefully for Soundwave 2015! I think we were one of the hit bands last year and kind of surprised people with our live setting. Australia is very important to us, always have been and always will be. We’ve been coming since ’06 and we will be coming as often as we can every record cycle. I look forward to coming back next year!
So Fozzy is growing exponentially each year in hype and popularity, and you’re getting a lot more demand nowadays. Is that why this has become a priority over your wrestling career?
I’ve always had a two-sided coin to my life really. I’ve wanted to be a wrestler and be in a rock band since I was a teenager. I started playing in bands since I was fourteen and haven’t stopped since. Even when the wrestling started taking off, I still played music. And as Fozzy started growing that slowly took over as you can’t wrestle forever; I’m not gonna do it forever. There are a lot of things that fall under the Chris Jericho umbrella but Fozzy is by far the most important. I still might wrestle but it’s based around Fozzy’s schedule but I get to do both! People will try and box you in and say you can and can’t do this or that but I never listened to that. I just do what I feel is right.
When you started with Fozzy, did having that wrestling platform help the band get a step ahead in terms of popularity?
No. Probably the opposite. I think people stayed away from it as they thought it was just some novelty thing. Some kind of ego project. I’m sure Jarod Leto goes through the same thing with 30 Seconds to Mars and Taylor Momsen goes through the same with The Pretty Reckless. Like I said, people will put you in a box and think the band is a wrestling thing; like we’re singing about body slams or something. Never been a wrestling thing and never will be. Bruce Dickinson is an airline pilot. Doesn’t mean Iron Maiden goes on stage and sings about small bags of peanuts and sitting in the middle seat; it doesn’t make a difference. What matters is if you find it good or not!
‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ is out July 25 via Century Media. Read our review here.