Heavy metal band, Fozzy has always been about a heavy groove and a good time. And when you have two high-energy performers like Rich Ward and Chris Jericho (it’s debatable on who jumps higher onstage) in the band, grooves and good times come easy; but these guys aren’t just entertainers. Ward is one of the most versatile and underrated riffers in rock and metal today, who has created his own style of heavy riffs, melodic choruses and the Duke groove…oh that crushing groove! And Jericho’s singing ability and overall passion for music makes one wonder just how he is able to find the time to excel in pretty much everything he does, including his hit podcast Talk Is Jericho, and a WWE superstar. It was these qualities that pushed the band to become one of the hottest up and coming rock acts of the past five years.
In his new Interview with Aesthetic Magazine, Chris Jericho discusses the making of Fozzy’s new album, Judas, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson running for president in 2020, his favourite WWE match, and more!
You guys began working on your seventh album, Judas, in late 2015. What was the writing/recording process like?
Rich and I decided that we wanted to work with a producer for the first time since up to that point we self-produced our records, And we felt that we wanted to get the band to the next level, and that we needed that Bob Rock/Metallica, Bob Ezrin/Kiss type of element. So we went through a bunch of different ideas and we decided on Johnny Andrews, who produced “Do You Wanna Start A War”, which is our biggest song to date, and we thought that he’d be the guy to collaborate with and that’s where it all started.
It was a hard because it was almost like “who’s this guy trotting in on our territory telling us what to do. We know what to do.” This time around it was much more based on a hook, the melodies, and not worrying if a song has a guitar solo or not, not putting screams on a song just because I can do it, and really focusing on the song itself. The idea was to create a record like Hysteria by Def Leppard, Appetite For Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, and Kick by INXS. We wanted a record where every song could be a single, so we spent a lot of time working on it. The classic saying “all killer, no filler” definitely rings true with Fozzy on this record because there’s not one song that wasn’t meticulously worked on over and over again.
How difficult was it to relinquish that kind of control in the studio?
It was difficult as there were certain ways we used to do things, where we wrote all the lyrics and Rich would hammer them into the songs and we’d go back and forth from there. But this time everyone did what they do best to produce a winning combination.
What are some themes that you focused on lyrically with this album?
It’s a dark record lyrically, and the centerpiece of the record is “Wordsworth Way” because it was the street that I grew up on, and I had kind of a bad experience in my childhood, and I’d never gone that far before lyrically. With this album, the lyrics are deeper, more introspective, and a lot more honest. So with that song, along with “Running With The Bulls”, and “Three Days In Jail”, those are all songs based around my experiences, rather than some sort of fantasy, so this album is a lot more about relationships, and feelings. The song “Judas” has become such a hit because everyone can relate to those lyrics because when you make the wrong decision and you betray yourself knowing that you made the wrong decision, that’s the judas in your mind. So we have those types of stories now, which we’ve never had before.
You are launching your very first “Rock N’ Wrestling Rager” cruise next October. How did the concept come about?
We did the KISS Kruise in 2015, and we had such a great time, and when I got off the boat, I wanted to do my version of that. What I’m most known for is rock and roll, and wrestling, so I wanted to combine the two because it’s never been done before where we’re going to put a ring in the middle of the boat and do matches at sea, while putting on some great rock and roll bands, live podcasts, paranormal demonstrations, and all the things I want to see on a cruise. It took me two years to get this up and running, but we did it, and it happens next October.
How did the paranormal aspect come into play?
I’ve always been interested in that and I deal with that subject quite a bit on my podcast. I have my podcast network and one of my biggest shows is Beyond The Darkness, which deals with paranormal stuff, and I think it would be cool for people to hear some real-life ghost stories around Halloween.
Have you had any paranormal experiences?
Not really, but I had what’s called a time-lapse years ago when there was some missing time when I was driving down a highway. It’s something similar that happens during an alien encounter, but I had no memories of it.
In WWE, everyone has their group of people that they’re close to and travel with. Who are those guys for you?
Usually I travel by myself, but in the past I had a great time with Gallows and Anderson.
Obviously fans are hoping that it’s a long time off, but who would be your perfect retirement match opponent?
I don’t think about stuff like that. I never really put too much emphasis on those sort of things. When it happens, maybe it has already happened, I’ll know.
If you had to choose one person, who would be the guy to induct you into the WWE Hall of Fame and why?
I don’t think about stuff like that, like I said. If it happens, I probably wouldn’t show up. I don’t like these big pomp and circumstance things like retirement matches, and everybody kissing your ass telling you how great you are, because I know how great I am, so I don’t need people telling me that. So, depending on what mood I’m in, I’ve always been the anti-star for that kind of thing anyways. But yeah, I’ll leave that to somebody else, but not me. I’ll show up, maybe, depends how I feel.
If you had to choose, which of your WWE matches would you pick as your best of all-time?
Probably my match with Shawn Michaels back in 2008. It was just a culmination of a great angle and a really great storyline.
There has been some talk about The Rock running for president in 2020. What do you think of the celebrities as politicians trend?
I say he should go for it. Maybe I’ll become the first prime minister and president where I’ll run Canada and the States together since I’m a dual citizen. You never know, I could make it happen.
You’ve been hosting Talk Is Jericho since Dec. 2013, what do you think is the recipe for your show’s success?
Diversity. It’s the same reason my cruise will be a success. I don’t let myself get into any one specific box because I have a lot of different interests, and I have no problems bringing those ideas to my audience. I don’t necessarily like every guest that’s on the show, but I trust their judgement and I want what’s best for the show.