DATE OF INTERVIEW:
12th May 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: Obviously, as you mentioned, you’re doing Sonisphere over here in the UK alongside some pretty major names in rock and metal – will you be trying to find time to check out any bands in particular?
CHRIS JERICHO: Well, it all depends on what we’re doing, you know. When you have a show almost every day…I think the day after Sonisphere we’re in Germany or something, or the day before.
(Chris Jericho on garnering support from the legendary Black Sabbath bassist)
"Geezer Butler voted for me on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, you know, I don’t need any bigger of a pat on the back from the metal community than that!"
Chris Jericho onstage with Fozzy at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK, 14th May 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Fozzy Official Website:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview.
All That Remains (2005)
Fozzy Official MySpace:
Chasing the Grail (2010)
MD: I looked at your gig list and I think you’re in Germany the first day of Sonisphere when the Big Four are playing.
CJ: The first day, right. Then, the second day, we’re doing some kind of big Fozzy pre-Sonisphere beer bash in Camberley somewhere. Then we do our show so we’ll probably be able to stick around for a little while but the moment our show’s done we might have to split to get to the next place because, like I said, there’s so many countries that we’re doing on this tour. For the first time ever we’re kind of really going into Europe. So hopefully I’ll get the chance to see some stuff…I’m just looking at my schedule right here…yeah, we’ve got to go to Germany to play with Anthrax on the 11th. I don’t know how far it is from Knebworth to Saarbrucken…but hopefully I’ll get the chance to stick around and see some of the bands – Motörhead or someone like that but if not then I’ll be happy to play our show, get back on the bus, then go and rock the next town.
MD: You stepped away from WWE last Autumn so, apart from other bits and pieces you’re doing, has Fozzy now become your primary focus in life for the time being?
CJ: Well, yeah, and I think it’s…I didn’t just wake up one day and go “hey, I wanna be in a rock ‘n’ roll band”. I’ve been playing in a band since I was twelve years old and we’ve been playing with Fozzy for twelve years now so the fact that after ‘Chasing the Grail’ came out and we got so much momentum off that and all these shows we’ve been doing, and we just got a new booking agent which is why we’re on Sonisphere and all these other great gigs, you’ve gotta take advantage of that; you gotta ride the momentum while you can. So I think we’re probably gonna end up touring until about October; we’re hoping to end off in Japan. That’ll be eighteen months of touring on ‘Chasing the Grail’ which is a pretty good tour. Then we’ll have to start working on another record and go from there and I’ll weigh up my options to see what’s going on after that. But, for right now, the band is the big focus because we’ve been working on it for so long it deserves the time and it’s paying off finally.
MD: Definitely. You hosted the Golden Gods Awards last month – how was that experience?
CJ: That was great. I hosted it last year as well.
MD: Ah right, okay.
CJ: Yeah, but this was the first year I did it by myself and the first time Fozzy ever played it. Overall, it was a great experience across the board. The band kicked off the show and tore the house down and then hosting the show was a lot of fun as well. It was a great time. It was a very successful night all round.
MD: I saw some of the promo ads online - I was quite amused by the Sebastian Bach one where he’s teaching you to sing high!
CJ: Oh, yeah! [laughs] The Alice Cooper one too, I don’t know if you saw that one but…
MD: Of course, yeah, I did see that one, where you were scared of Alice Cooper. Were you actually scared of Alice Cooper as a child?!
CJ: Well, I think everybody was! Especially when you first saw him when you actually were a kid. I grew up a big Beatles fan – that was my band and that was really accepted then. So whenever I saw Alice Cooper or KISS, I was like, “uhh, look at this”. I was like, “come on, is that necessary?” because I was so into The Beatles. Then once I kind of discovered that chicks didn’t like The Beatles back in those days I switched over to metal!
MD: And then you’ve never looked back!
CJ: Yeah, exactly! [laughs]
MD: I have to ask, as well, about ‘Dancing With The Stars’ which you did, of course, in March/April this year. I saw some footage online and you actually dance really well but I think there was an interview clip at the end of the show where you said you’d never danced before in that way?
CJ: No, I’d never danced before. To do the show was quite a challenge and it takes a lot of guts to do that show. I’m really glad that I did - it was great for my prominence, my recognition factor and just to learn something new, and to be a pioneer for heavy metal and a pioneer for wrestling on that show. One of my favourite moments at the Golden Gods was I met Geezer Butler for the first time and I said, “hey, I’m Chris Jericho” and he’s like, “oh, I’ve been watching you on ‘Dancing With The Stars’”. I was like, “oh cool” and he said, “I even voted for you too”!
CJ: Yeah! Geezer Butler voted for me on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, you know, I don’t need any bigger of a pat on the back from the metal community than that! [laughs]
MD: Yeah, it must’ve been worth doing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ for that alone to get Geezer Butler phone up and vote for you! Fucking hell, that’s amazing!
CJ: When he went up on stage he said, “make sure you vote for Chris Jericho, he’s taking metal to the mainstream”!
MD: You had a new book came out this year – ‘Undisputed: How to Become World Champion in 1372 Easy Steps’. That seems like quite a random title so why 1,372?
CJ: Well, if you actually read the book you would know that was how many matches that I had before I became world champion. Then it will all make sense!
MD: Okay, so wrestling, singing, dancing, acting, writing…is there no end to your talents?!
CJ: Well, I don’t know, I just have no fear in trying things I think I can do and that’s the secret. I mean, if you look at it, they’re really all coming from the same place. Singing, dancing, acting, wrestling, writing…it’s all part of being a creative person and part of being an artist. And I pride myself on that moment I got interested – I said, “I want to be in a rock band and I want to be a wrestler” when I was a kid. Those were the two things I was really interested in and I was crazy enough to try and make them both happen. Luckily enough, they both did happen for me so once you have a success story in not just one crazy dream but two, it kind of opens the door to go, “you know what, I can try any of these things.” As long as I really feel like I can do it then why not, you know. I’ve always had that motto. I’ve failed on a few things before but most of the time they’ve been pretty successful so you’ve just got to take the chance and go for it.
MD: Definitely. Have you ever tried your hand at anything and been not so great?
CJ: Yeah, I was really never that good at sports, believe it or not!
CJ: Yeah! [laughs]
MD: You’ve obviously reached the top of your game in wrestling but is your aim to take Fozzy as far as you can and become a lot bigger than you are now?
CJ: Well, yeah, like I said, after all these years of working as hard as we have we’ve finally got some big people on our side that we’ve never had - a great booking agent, which we’ve never had. So it’s things like that when other people start taking notice, that’s when you believe that you’re doing something right. We’re touring with Anthrax this summer as well at a bunch of gigs and they personally selected us so there are a lot of things that are happening now that never did before. So, like I said, when the momentum starts to build you gotta take advantage of that. That’s what we’ve been doing and it’s been paying off so, yeah, I want to take the band as far as we can go. I know we have such good momentum musically after ‘Chasing the Grail’ was so well received and so good, if I do say so myself, that I’m really chomping at the bit to do another record and make it even better than ‘…Grail’ and kind of show that these are not flukes, that this is a great band with some very seasoned performers. I think Rich Ward is one of the biggest underrated talents in the metal world.
MD: Absolutely, yeah. Maybe one day you can return and headline Sonisphere!
CJ: That’d be great, man. It’d be the Big Five!
MD: Okay, the big question to finish up with – will we have to wait another five years for the next album?
CJ: Noooo, no, no, no! Absolutely not! Like I said, my work is already done as far as pre-production. Now it’s up to the riff master to come up with some jams that fit to the lyrics that I wrote. We’re hoping to record this fall and hopefully have something out in the winter-time or spring-time 2012. We’ve been working on it the last four or five months so it’s definitely not gonna be another five years.
MD: Cool, look forward to it. Okay, thank you so much for your time.
CJ: Hey, thanks man, great interview.