Interview: Chris Jericho

WWF legend Chris Jericho is one of the world's most successful professional wrestlers but he's also the head-banging frontman of heavy metal titans Fozzy. After their recent gig at Norwich's Waterfront, LOUIS KERRY stepped onto the band's tour bus to catch up with the man himself.

WWF legend Chris Jericho is one of the world's most successful professional wrestlers but he's also the head-banging frontman of heavy metal titans Fozzy. After their recent gig at Norwich's Waterfront, LOUIS KERRY stepped onto the band's tour bus to catch up with the man himself.

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t How's the tour been?

So far, so good. This has been the tenth show in a row and we've been to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we've been all around the damn place so that's been very, very cool.

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t What are the British crowds like compared to everywhere else in the world?

Well, I think its always kind of been the second home for us. Here people just like what they like and we've really been able to fit in and build a good fan base for ourselves here. Some of the crowds are completely off the hook, the band have been really well received over here so we want to spend as much time as we can touring in the UK because of that.

t Fozzy played the Download Festival in 2005 which was a breakthrough for the band. Would you say that's the moment where music fans started to recognise you as Fozzy rather than just Chris Jericho's band?

Yeah, we kind of broke through there. We'd love to come back and do Download, it was one of the best gigs we've ever had. It really was a coming out experience, I mean we've been doing this for 11 years now, a lot of people know this band kicks ass, it doesn't matter who's in the band, it's either good music or not and I think people know what it is we bring.

t Your new album, Chasing the Grail, compared to your last album All That Remains, really shows off your heavy metal influences. There's a real Dream Theater vibe on the song Wormwood, for example.

I've always wanted to do a long song on this record, because I've always been a fan of the longer Helloween songs and obviously Dream Theater, Rush and bands like that. The thing about Chasing the Grail, the reason why I think it's done so well is that it's a very diverse record but it's also very much still a Fozzy record. There's heavy songs, there's slower songs, there's a ballad and that's how it came out, we didn't sit down and specifically do this and that, it just flowed.

t So what bands are you listening to at the moment?

I'm not a big fan of newer metal bands, I like singing, I love Avenged Sevenfold, their vocals are really cool, great harmonies, great background tracks, M Shadows is a great singer so that's my favourite newer band.

t Any British bands?

Bullet For My Valentine are kinda growing on me. I was a big fan of The Darkness when they were at their peak a couple of years ago, I was disappointed when they broke up. But then I still love Maiden, Metallica, The Beatles and the band all went to see Rush about a month ago, we really vibed on that.

t Do people come to gigs as Chris Jericho fans but coming out as Fozzy fans?

We do get that a lot. You know I'm Chris Jericho, I worked a lot over the years to build that name and there are a lot of people who come see the band that don't know much about music. There's a lot of people who come as com-plete wrestling fans, there's some that's half and half and some that don't care that I'm a wrestler they just like Fozzy.

t You show off a lot of charisma on stage. Did wrestling help you as a frontman?

It was kind of reciprocal, I've been playing in a band a lot longer than I have been wrestling, I've been playing in bands since I was 12. I took a lot of that rock'n'roll mindset into wrestling, especially when I started I was kind of the smaller guy on the scene. How could I be the biggest personality with the biggest charisma and have this larger than life personality, which those guys brought, you know, David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, James Hetfield.

t You invented the wrestling move 'The Lionsault' if you could have invented one rock stage move what would it have been?

Oh man, I always loved David Lee Roth jumping off the drum riser, I couldn't do that, but it's always fun watching it.

t Do you ever get jealous when the rest of the band are out touring with Stuck Mojo whilst you're wrestling?

I did at one point. I was like 'man, these guys are in my band' and 'why aren't we playing those gigs' but now I've realised there's a happy medium and whilst I was making my name in the world of wrestling, Rich was making his name in the world of Mojo. So we definitely can meet in the middle.

t Do you still get nervous before you go on stage?

The only thing that worries me, it rarely happens anymore is showing up and there's nobody in the place, you know a couple of gigs on this tour there's been some sell outs and some huge crowds and there's a few that aren't as big and those are the one's where I'm like how are we doing?

t Is it hard to get time off your wrestling commitments for Fozzy?

It's not really getting time off, it kind of worked out that by the end of September my contract was up and it was time to start concentrating more on the band, like as I said we're teetering on to the edge of going to the next level now. I want to get us to the next level so that means more emphasis on the touring. We want to be here next sum-mer for the festivals so it's not a matter of getting the time off, I've got the time off.

t If you ever go to the gym with the rest of the band, can they keep up with your routine?

Rich trains, I wouldn't say they can't keep up but I think my training would be a little bit more difficult than theirs as far as being in the gym but when we're on stage the band never stops. I haven't been on a scale since I started but I would say I've lost five to 10 pounds easy for sure, you cant get off stage with a shirt that looks like you've just jumped in a swimming pool and not have lost some weight. So are we a weight lifting gym band? No but are we a very cardiovascular in your face dripping sweat band? Everybody on stage definitely is.

Have you done much away from the shows whilst you've been in Britain?

A couple times, we've been to Edinburgh castle which was nice and we went to a Manchester United game which was great, I've never been to one before.

So are you a football fan?

Our guitar player Rich Ward is a huge football fan, so I went along to hang out and be a part of it. The best part was all the opposing fans in the one section being surrounded by the cops. Most of the time you finish the gig at midnight or whatever and we just kind of chill out, have something to eat, get on the bus and either we leave right after the show or we stay overnight so we don't go to bed till five or six in the morning and we sleep in till three in the afternoon.

t Chasing the Grail is out now.

t Further listening: