MPR: I hate to ask you something you've probably answered so many times, but can you tell me how the name Fozzy came about?
Chris Jericho: Yeah we first started as a cover band, we were called Fozzy Osbourne and it just kinda started from there. We dropped Osbourne, kept Fozzy, and after a while it was just our name, so that's how it started.
MPR: What kind of covers did you do, aside from Ozzy of course?
Chris: Yeah we did Ozzy, Iron Maiden. Kind of all of our favorite bands when we were growing up. Judas Priest, Scorpions, all those type of things. It was a good way to start, like most bands do.
MPR: You put out your fifth studio album Sin and Bones about a year ago; I have to say, I think it's your best work yet. With each new record, do you make any changes or improvements to how you approach the writing and recording process?
Chris: Well first of all thank you very much. It is our best selling or highest charting or most played record radio wise, best reviewed record. We really wanted to focus while we were writing Sin and Bones and make it a real masterpiece work so to speak, and we really put a lot of time into what we do best which is very heavy riffs, very melodic choruses, and a lot of harmonies in the vocals. I think we really focused in on that for the last record cause like I said we realized that's what we do best.
So when we started writing our upcoming new record we just kind of want to continue along what we're doing, that's kind of the style of who Fozzy is. I think that's one of the reasons why we're so succesful and why the band has grown so much over the last 3 years is that we do something a little different than what's going on in the scene right now. That's what you've gotta do, so we're gonna continue to do things this way for sure.
MPR: The first thing that catches my attention on the album is the lyrics. Do you have a favorite track lyrically?
Chris: Um there's a few that I like. I like "Spider in my Mouth", I like "Sand Paper". Those are very visual type lyrics, they don't really mean anything literally, they're more like visual images, pictures that you might see in a book. I really like the lyrics to "Sin and Bones", for whatever reason that one speaks to me. I think the lyrics to "Storm the Beaches" are really cool. It took me a while to write those, that was about 9 pages of lyrics to tell the historical perspective of D-Day and World War II. So yeah there's a lot that kind of speak to me. Which ones do you like?
MPR: Pretty much exactly what you mentioned actually, "Sandpaper" and "Spider in my Mouth" are probably my favorites though. Where do you get your inspiration from when you're writing those, since they are definitely a bit different?
Chris: I write all my lyrics based on song titles, so I'll have an interesting song title and I'll write it down on the notepad on my IPhone. And then when it's time to write lyrics and I feel inspired I'll look through and see 'oh that looks interesting, I'll start working on that'. "Spider in my Mouth" I saw in a Stephen King book years ago. Like he woke up with a spider in his mouth or he dreamed that he did, so "I woke up with a spider in my mouth, cockroach in my head", it just kind of flew out of my mouth. That's kind of where it comes from.
Something like "Sin and Bones" or "Blood Happens" we had the title, just kinda working backwards. "A Past Life" I liked the double meaning of that, just kind of working backwards from those ones too. "Sandpaper" came from a riff that Rich was playing. For some reason he was playing this riff and I said it reminded me of sandpaper, so that kind of started from that and that's kinda how it goes, get the title and then work backwards from there.
MPR: Yeah they sound really unique, I guess you have a unique way of writing so that's not too surprising.
Chris: Yeah it's a different way of doing it, but it works for us! We're gonna keep doing it.
MPR: One particular highlight of the album is the collaboration with M. shadows on "Sandpaper". How did you end up working with him?
Chris: Shadows has been a friend of mine for years, he's a fan of Fozzy, and he really likes the Grail record (Chasing the Grail). When we were recording "Sandpaper", you know "A cat-scratch, a whiplash, a witch hunt in black", I wasn't really feeling it when I was singing it in the studio and I thought it would be better to have a different voice on that, so I thought I'd call Matt and see how he felt about it. He loved the song and the idea, and he actually came back not just with what I'd asked him to do, but he'd added a whole bunch of stuff in the chorus and harmonies and actually kind of rearranged the song for us and said 'listen, here's my opinion of what the song should be like if you want to use it, great, if not don't worry about it'. We liked it so much that we used it.
So not only did he come in and do a great job vocally, but he really helped us on the arrangement side of it as well. It's always cool to collaborate with someone professionally, musically, and then as a friend as well. He really went above and beyond on that song and it ended up being our biggest radio hit ever.
MPR: Yeah i've heard it played quite a bit.
Chris: Any time you get radio plays these days that's always awesome, so it's cool to know that.
MPR: Are there any other artists you would love to collaborate with if you had the opportunity?
Chris: We don't really have a list. It's just kind of like who we know that would fit the song. On "She's my Addiction" Phil Campbell from Motorhead played the solo on that. That's because Phil's another guy that's been supportive of our band. He came and played with us when we had a show at the Whiskey in L.A. a few years ago and he just called me and said he wanted to do something on the next Fozzy record.
When "She's my Addiction" came out I thought that's a real kind of Motorheady, bluesy kinda song, Phil would be perfect on that, let's call him. So I think we always like to have collaboration. That's what I wanted to do with Shadows. On the radio you see you know, Flo Rida with Pitbull or Jay Z featuring Rihanna, so I wanted Fozzy with M. Shadows. We like that kind of stuff, so if it comes up that we wanna add something that one of our friends can add to then we'll ask them and just see where the song takes us I guess.
MPR: So instead of kinda forcing it to happen you just see where the song takes you and if it brings anyone specific to mind?
Chris: Exactly, if it's right. That's the best way to do it. I love Slash, he's a good friend of mine. We don't have the right song and Slash would have to feel it, but maybe in the future if we have a song that he'd be perfect on I'll give him a call, send him the song, and see what he thinks.
MPR: You're getting ready to hit the road again on a headlining run, are you excited to get back out on there and tour some more?
Chris: Yeah I'm really excited. We're touring with legendary English band Saxon who've influenced so many great bands and they're still a great band to this day, so we're really excited to get back on the road with them. As far as touring on the Sin and Bones record we've never really done extensive tours of the states before. Our first one ever was last year when we did the Uproar tour with Shinedown and Godsmack. It was amazing, it was a huge hit for us, then we spent the rest of the year overseas.
We've done England 3 times and the rest of Europe 3 times, Australia we've gone to twice. So to come back here and do an extensive tour of the states we're really excited about it cause our fan base is huge in the states, there's a lot of people asking why don't we play more here, and now we get the chance to go everywhere from coast to coast so we're really looking forward to it, especially B.B. Kings in New York City is a big one for us, we're really excited about that.
MPR: That's the show I'll be covering, I'm looking forward to that one.
Chris: Yeah we played there 3 years ago, it's a great room and we're excited. I think New York has been one of our best cities for years. We've played more shows there than we have anywhere else so we're really looking forward to that gig as kind of a homecoming for us.
MPR: The metal scene in Britain and throughout Europe is still pretty strong despite the stuff that's all over the radio these days. Do you see a difference in the crowds when you're touring over there?
Chris: It's interesting. I think that in Europe people just like what they like. There's no real rock radio scene or corporate, conglomerate Clear Channel type thing. It's just people like what they like and over there you'll see Iron Maiden headlining with Metallica headlining with Limp Bizkit headlining with Prodigy. There's a lot of diverse styles that people will go see.
I think there's still a great metal scene in the states, but it's still kind of more underground. It's still more about top 40 radio and who Clear Channel decide should be on the radio, and what's going on at the VMA's and all that sort of shit. Metal's worldwide, I mean there's a rabid fan base anywhere you go, there's just maybe some more opportunities for the festival vibe in the UK, but we're excited to go across the states with Saxon. It's a good heavy metal bill and if you're a fan of it then you're gonna enjoy the show.
MPR: It would definitely be great to see more festivals like Download over here.
Chris: Yeah we've got the Uproar's and Mayhem's, and thank god for that. That's what's kind of keeping it alive, Gigantour this year was kind of the same vibe. More of the traveling festivals, which is cool. Obviously in Europe and the UK it's more one weekend a year like Download and Soundwave, that's the only thing that doesn't happen much here. They have Coachella and festivals like that, more indie like Bonnaroo. We need more of a big four one day only festival, so hopefully more of those will come up over the next few years
MPR: I was looking at your tour schedule, and it's absolutely insane. When you finally get one of those rare off days, what do you guys do on your down time?
Chris: Most of the time if we're in the states I'll come home. If it's close enough to fly then I'll leave in the morning and spend a day home then leave again the next day. Overseas when you can't fly home and we don't have a lot of days off, this year we had a day off in Austria and we went to this awesome waterpark which was amazing, waterslides and stuff.
So when you have a day off you just wanna do something like that. The last thing you wanna do is just hang out on the bus cause you spend enough time on the bus as it is. So we wanna get up and do something fun, even if it's like going to the movies or going out to eat, or get a hotel room for the day and get away from the craziness of being on the road. Depends what you're into, but we usually try to do something fun at least.
MPR: You have two pretty different careers of course, being a wrestler and musician. How do you juggle those two totally different jobs?
Chris: You can't do em both at the same time. At this point over the last three years my schedule has been based completely around Fozzy's schedule and I still do WWE from time to time, a couple of months here and there. But my days of being a full time WWE performer are pretty much over at this point, it's all based on Fozzy's schedule.
If we have time while writing a record or if we're off tour for a bit and I feel like going back I will. When I was a kid I wanted to be in a band and I wanted to be a wrestler, those were my two dreams and I got the chance to live them both out. Now that the band is really taking off to the next level and growing so quickly I need to spend as much time as I can working with the band.
MPR: Yeah that's awesome, most people don't get the chance to live out one of their dreams, nevermind both.
Chris: I know, it's pretty awesome. I was too stupid to give up I guess.
MPR: I don't want to take up too much of your time, so I'll wrap this up with something totally random. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Chris: Flying. I think it'd be fun to be able to fly and it'd save me a lot of money cause I'm always traveling. So if I could just fly myself that would be amazing. And also X-ray vision so I could see through girl's shirts.
MPR: Yeah you'd want an off switch for that one sometimes, there are some things you just don't want to see.
Chris: That's true. Exactly, just works when I want it to.