Chris Jericho‘s scene is harmoniously balanced. The singer of heavy rock band FOZZY states: “On tour, I just sit in the dressing room after the show, having a couple of drinks, listening to music with the guys. At home, I just hang out with my family. That’s my scene at home. That’s the balance for me. When you do the job that I do, that’s kind of the non-stop party, and that doesn’t mean drinking, that means that you’re always doing something exciting, and fun, and adventurous. So when I’m at home, I just kind of chill out and relax.”
Jericho, also known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, came into being with FOZZY when it was founded from a (super) group of friends in 1999 who played under the name of Fozzy Osbourne. Shortening the name “didn’t mean much” but, as most fans know, “it’s great to chant”. The group are now on to their seventh album, JUDAS, which has a few surprises for die-hard fans. Jericho states: “Well I always base my lyrics around song titles. If I saw an interesting song title, something that kind of peaked my interest, and kind of construct a song around that, like Do You Want to Start a War, or Sandpaper, or Spider in My Mouth, or anything like that. You know, Brides of Fire, it’s all just based on imagery and visions, and that sort of a thing. But then for the JUDAS record, I actually didn’t write a lot of the lyrics. They were written by Johnny Andrews who produced the record, and we kind of decided that we were going to have him kind of take over, and be the boss. Which was great, because in the past Rich Ward and I did all the writing, and we had been kind of the bosses of everything. And now to have Johnny Andrews come in, and be kind of the voice of reason; it really helped the project. [pullquote]People have been behind us for a while. We’ve had a great fan base, for a lot of years. JUDAS is the one that kind of took us to the next level.[/pullquote]We got to the point where we didn’t really care who wrote the lyrics, or who wrote the riff, or who wrote the song. The most important thing was the song. What’s best for the song itself, and that’s what it kind of all boiled down to, and here we are with the biggest record of our career – three top twenty singles, two top tens. So we did something right, and we’re going to continue to do it that way.”
The point comes across loud and clear as Jericho belts out “And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind”. He states: “I think all of us have (been a slave) in a way, and that’s one of the reasons why Judas the song is so popular is because everybody can empathise with it, and relate to it. You know, what it’s like to betray yourself. You know, making the wrong decision. You know it’s not the right thing to do, but you do it anyway and then have to deal with the consequences. And that goes all across the board in life. So people can relate to it. They can empathise with it, and it tugs a lot of emotion when you feel those lyrics, and see them, and read them, and hear them. And that’s another thing about the album too, is that I don’t write the lyrics. I didn’t write those lyrics, but I have to sell them to the world. I’m the singer of these lyrics. So, I have to kind of incorporate those words into my mindset, and see how am I feeling about everything, and how do I relate to these lyrics? And once you can do that, then you can really sing them with conviction.”
Jericho continues: “This record has everything from Judas to Jesus, from wolves to bulls, and everything in between. But I mean we’ve always kind of had those spiritual influences in our songs. Once again, with our lyrics, I would always have a tendency to write a lot of what’s called imagery type of lyrics, like you know, Sandpaper, A Cat Scratch, Whiplash, a Witch Hunt in Black. That doesn’t mean anything; it just sounds cool, and provides imagery. And Johnny’s approach to vocals are more emotion, and more feelings, and more just every day life things. And that’s kind of the difference in our styles, but both work. I love word play, and I love the imagery of those type of lyrics. But you know singing Painless and that sort of stuff, it does fit very much as well. So that’s why in a live element it’s cool to sing those songs combined with the older tunes. It gives us kind of the best of both worlds all across the board.”
Jericho creativity is boundless. Jericho has podcasts, a successful web series, rock and roll wrestling crews, as well as “four books that [he’s] written. So, there are four books” with plenty of anecdotes. He explains: “Well you just make time, and you’re passionate about it, you know? As you continue to grow as a person, you want to continue to stay creative. And all those things are very creatively stimulating for me. So it’s a lot of fun to work on these things, and I think we’ve got a great fan base that supports me in whatever I do. So it’s worth it for me to put in the time, because I know people are interested in that. So, it all works out. When somebody has a passion for it, you find the time for it.”
Video production is another aspect Jericho’s creativity. He states: “There’s kind of committee, me and Rich, and then we have a great director that we work with, Nathan Mallory, we would come up with stuff. But the original idea for Judas came from me. That was based on an old Guns and Roses video called Garden of Eden where it was all filmed in kind of a similar way. And then Painless, I kind of came up with the sequel to that. You know, kind of multi-dimensional, different characters living in two different worlds type of thing. So I was heavily involved in those two. And then Burn Me Out, which is the house party, I stayed out of that one, because I got no more ideas. So, that was more, Rich on that one. But it was great. All three of them are great videos. They’ve all done really well. I mean Judas obviously is the big one. It’s almost at 23 million views now. And it just won’t stop. So it’s cool to see how people just keep finding it. It keeps growing. Judas has become kind of the career defining song for us, which is very, very cool for sure. Once you have that, it just brings things to a completely different level.”
As for touring, Jericho states: “I love it! I mean you’ve got to do that, and it’s cool to show the success of Judas, and the fact we’re playing in all these places where we’ve never been before, or haven’t been in years; like Australia. It’s been five years since we played there. And we’ve always had a great fan base in Australia. So it’s cool that we’re getting a chance to go back, and that’s solely on the success of this new record. And like I said, when you strike, you know, when you get that lightening in a bottle, and you’ve got to strike when the iron is hot. So the best way to do that is getting out there, and touring the world, playing your songs, and kind of continuing to build the band, grow the band as you get bigger and bigger every album.”
“We’re just excited to come back to Australia. The last time we were there was 2013 where we played there twice. We did Soundwave with Metallica, and we did a tour with Steel Panther, and it was just a really great year for us as far as Australia goes. That’s why it’s very sweet for us to come back five years later, and do New Zealand for the first time. We’re just really looking forward to it, because like I said I think the first time we came to Australia was 2005, and we’ve always had a great crowd there, and great fans there. So it’s going to be really cool for us to return.”
Following their most successful US & UK tours EVER, FOZZY is bringing the Judas Rising Tour to Australia for their first headline run since 2010 & their first Aussie appearance since 2013! Armed with two top 10 US Active Rock hits off their monster record ‘Judas’, the band is ready to turn the country into Fozztralia once again this November and for the first time ever New Zealand!
The band is firing on all cylinders with Rich Ward, one of the most versatile, underrated riffers in rock n roll and Chris Jericho, who’s vocal range and passion for music makes one wonder just how he is able to excel in pretty much everything he does, destroying stages worldwide. Throw in the powerhouse rock solid drumming of Frank Fontsere, the blazing leads of Billy Grey and the genius & energy of returning bassist Paul DiLeo and it’s no surprise that FOZZY has skyrocketed into becoming one of the hottest rock acts in years.
The band inched up the ladder after releasing four progressively popular studio albums. However, it was 2012’s Sin & Bones, that found the band reaching a level of success that drew a mass audience to drink in their trademark heavy melodic groove. But it was their next album, Do You Wanna Start A War released in 2014 that really blew the door open, debuting at #54 on Billboard and giving the band their first top 30 single in “Lights Go Out”.
But as much success the band had enjoyed, nothing compared to the juggernaut single known as “Judas”, lifted off the album of the same name.The song spent 5 WEEKS at NUMBER ONE on the highly influential ‘Big Uns Countdown’ on Sirius/XM’s Octane channel, amassed over 20 MILLION views for its video on YouTube and stormed into the TOP 10 on the US Rock Radio Charts, where it was joined by the second single “Painless”. FOZZY is back on the road on their wildly successful Judas Rising Tour and now it’s Australia’s turn. FOZZY is coming back to bring the high energy, can’t miss rock show that that is their trademark, down under! It’s the perfect time to remind the world that not only is Judas Rising, but so is FOZZY!
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits.
She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East.
Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.