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14th May 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: How was the show at BB Kings in New York a couple of weeks ago?
FRANK FONTSERE: It was great.
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(Frank Fontsere on Fozzy's future plans)
"...I think they want us to do another record fairly quickly. There definitely wonít be a five year break between this album and the next."
Frank backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, 14th May 2010
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Official Fozzy Website:
Official Fozzy MySpace:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
Fozzy (2000)
Happenstance (2002)
All That Remains (2005)
Chasing the Grail (2010)
MD: You had a few guys from the scene there, like the guys from Anthrax and you gave up your kit to Mike Portnoy as wellÖ
FF: Yeah, Mike Portnoy came up and played a song with us. We do a cover of ĎFreewheel Burningí which is on the second record; we do that in the set and that was the last song and we just had him come up and do it. That was really cool, and he was there with the guys from Avenged Sevenfold because heís recording their record right now. Vinnie Paul was there; his band were there, and Vinnie came out onstage and brought us shots, you know, like he always does. So letís see, yeah, the guys from Anthrax, and Avenged Sevenfold, and Hellyeah, and PortnoyÖI think that was it. I donít know if there was anybody else there or not. Unfortunately, having so much to deal with when we do these fly dates, like dealing with rented equipment and bringing a few things of my own and stuff like that, I never get to truly enjoy the other stuff. Itís like - ďHey, how you doing? Nice to see ya. Right, Iíve got stuff to doĒ!
MD: So you didnít mind giving up your kit to Mike Portnoy?!
FF: No, no, because it wasnít my kit so I didnít careÖ ďGo nuts, do what you wantĒ!
MD: Itís been rumoured on a couple of internet forums that Fozzy have been booked for the Bloodstock Open Air festival over here in August - is that something you can confirm or deny?
FF: I canít confirm that, no.
MD: Thatís a redundant question, I guess, because until stuff like that is officially announcedÖ
FF: Itís one of those things that youíd have to ask Rich or Chris about. I hope so, I really hope so. I can say that because I really like playing festivals here. And yeah, I keep hearing talk of different things and that was one of Ďem, so hopefully it will happen. I canít confirm or deny it though.
MD: Were you still in the band when Fozzy did Download?
FF: Yeah, that was a great show and thatís why Iím looking forward to coming back and doing more.
MD: When Stuck Mojo reformed a few years ago, was there ever any option that you could return to the band?
FF: Well, when we actually first got together I was playing in the band again, when we did our first European tour in 2005 when Bonz was still in the band. I was in the band then and it was later that year that Rich and I parted ways and I wasnít doing any of his bands anymore. So I did the first reunion tour and I think weíll be doing some German festivals and stuff in July, if Iím not mistaken.
MD: So youíre a fully fledged member of Stuck Mojo again now then?
FF: Yeah, pretty much.
MD: I heard thereís going to be a European tour later this year?
FF: The only thing I know of is the German festivals and a few club dates along with it. Thatís all Iíve been told so far.
MD: Iíve got to stop asking you those kind of questions!
FF: No, itís fine! Stuff gets floated around and itís hard to tell whatís real and whatís talk, and sometimes things are just talk until they become real, and sometimes things are real until they go away.
MD: Touring obviously has its highs and lows but what are your happiest and worst memories of touring, and were you part of Stuck Mojo at the time when Century Media cancelled your transportation on tour?
FF: That was me, yeah, Rich and me.
MD: Rich told me that story and it was quite shocking! You had to hitchhike from Germany to Calais or something?
FF: We got a ride from Century Mediaís offices to Calais by one of their employees who didnít speak English and we were actually showing him on a map where to go. How he found his way back, Iíve no idea! We caught a ferry and then from the ferry we caught a couple of trains into London and we just barely got to the airport before our flights were leaving. So that was one of the worst, yeah. When I got home after that tour I was almost in tears because that was such a horrific experience trying to get home. Youíre sent out on a tour and then youíre basically told to find your own way home in a foreign country. That was the worst and the best, I would have to say, was when Stuck Mojo did a short tour with Pantera in Spain and Germany, because we werenít part of a big package; it was them and us. We were Panteraís special guests, Stuck Mojo, and we really bonded with all those guys and just had a great time. Weíd been touring constantly up until then. Weíd had a long European tour up until then and so we were just on fire. We were at our absolute best and then playing with someone like Pantera was, like I said, you grow up worshipping these guys and then you actually get to tour with them and get treated like a peer. We were trying to give them a run for their money every night, and I think we actually kind of inspired them to play a little tighter. So that was definitely my best memory.
MD: Did Vinnie Paul bring you shots onstage back then too?
FF: Oh yeah, they all did! Phil and Dimebag came out and sang a couple of songs with us. Weíd throw a couple of little covers into the set for fun and theyíd come out and sing with us, and it was just like a party. Yeah, it was great.
MD: Finally, whatís next for Fozzy and yourself as a musician?
FF: For Fozzy, weíre just gonna keep playing as much as we can and, hopefully, maybe in the Fall, weíll get to play a little bit more than we are now. And I think they want us to do another record fairly quickly. There definitely wonít be a five year break between this album and the next. For myself, this is what I do; this is my life, playing drums. I just wanna continue to do that and hopefully keep getting better at it and, eventually, start learning some stuff about recording and stuff like that because itís harder being on the road and playing like this when youíre in your fifties so it would be nice having something else like that that I knew how to do. I wouldnít mind being in the position where I can produce people and stuff like that.
MD: Rich said heís learnt a lot from Andy Sneap, whoís been like his mentor - have you learnt much from Andy yourself?
FF: A little bit but I havenít paid as much attention as a should have! I intend to pay more attention! Iím learning a little bit here and there. I just wanna live a music life and hopefully not be poor doing it. Iíve got a wife, we donít have any kids, but you wanna have some nice things and you wanna have a little security. When you come over and play shows it would be nice to be able to have your gear brought over instead of having to use rented equipment.
MD: Yeah, more crew too and that sort of thing.
FF: Exactly. As long as we can keep doing what weíre doing, but getting better and bigger at itÖnot for the fame or anything. I honestly couldnít care a less about that. Iím kind of a quiet person and if I donít get recognised, thatís fine with me. I donít see how Chris does it because he gets attention wherever he goesÖ
MD: Yeah, of course, because of the wrestling.
FF: Exactly. I actually wouldnít want that. Iíd like to be able to just go onstage and play great shows, and get paid nicely for it and, at the end of the day, go home to my wife and watch TV! [laughs]
MD: Thatís a very nice, unpretentious attitude to have.
FF: To me, itís all about playing; Iím not as much of an artist. I donít consider myself an artist, I consider myself a player. I just like playing drums and I like being part of making music. When Iím at home I play in a karaoke band. Itís a live band that does karaoke and people can come and sing to the band. So Iím playing Bon Jovi and Guns Ní Roses songs all night long but, you know. I enjoy it and it doesnít bother me because I donít care if I wrote the song - if Iím playing it well and youíre making the audience happy, and theyíre enjoying themselves, what could be better? I donít need to know that ďyeah, I wrote thisĒ. I donít care if somebody else wrote it; if itís a good song itís a good song.
MD: Is there any YouTube footage of you playing in this karaoke band?
FF: I donít know, I havenít looked. Maybe.
MD: Iíll be checking tomorrow!
FF: Yeah, there may be. Itís called Metalsome Incorporated. Check it out and see if there is. I havenít even looked myself!
MD: Okay, Iím intrigued now! Right, thank you so much for your time.
FF: Thatís absolutely fine, thank you.