Today I am chatting with one of the hardest workers in the Entertainment Industry, Chris Jericho.  Chris is well known to the world as a World Champion wrestler, currently with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), formerly a top echelon performer with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), podcaster extraordinaire, NY Times bestseller, TV star and importantly for this interview, the front man of the hugely popular Fozzy. With only a fifteen minute slot as the original timeslots had to be rescheduled due to Chris’s commitments, there’s a lot to get through…

It’s been a hectic few days for you I gather? “Yeah, but it’s great though man.  It’s all going to pay off when we come back to Australia. It’s going to be exciting.”

You are one of the busiest people in the entertainment industry. However, it can come with its downsides, you recently suffered a bruised larynx and injury to your vocal cords. Obviously, you are in a much better place with your injury now, but is there any continuing work you must do to keep in tune for Fozzy and your upcoming touring? “Yeah, I learned a lot about vocal chords and about Laryngology, as it’s called.  It was terrible, after thirty two years, it had never happened to me before.  I just got hit in the wrong place at the right time or whatever you want to say. It really did freeze up my singing abilities for a while so I had to basically relearn how to sing.  We just finished a UK Tour where everything went well. Actually, it went great but you have to make revisions, it’s almost like if you tore your shoulder and you were used to throwing a ball, you can’t just go throwing a ball fifty feet (about fifteen metres) like you used to.  You’ve got to start slow and work your way up again.  It’s been a whole process of re-learning how to sing, but it’s worked out great and there are certain things I have to change.  But that’s just part of being a professional singer. So there’s still a little improvement to go, but the onstage part has been great, it’s been amazing.”

Fozzy are heading here to Australia for a whirlwind tour with Buckcherry kicking off on the 30th November in Brisbane.  How much are you and the guys looking forward to getting over here and keen to meet the Australian fans again? “Yeah, we’ve been to Australia five times now which is crazy.  I think our first tour was in 2006, and we did our last one in 2018.  When we first started talking about this tour and co-headlining with Buckcherry, the idea was to start planting seeds with regular tours of Australia every couple of years.  Make it kind of a regular thing, we had to postpone for obvious reasons but that’s always the goal because we’ve always had great crowds, and great shows, and great tours in Australia.  We’re super stoked to come back and it’s the only place in the world, we’re the only band in the world that gets a “Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy, Oi, Oi, Oi” chant.  I mean no one else will ever get that, we’re the only ones who can get it (laughing). You can’t really say Buckcherry, Buckcherry, Buckcherry, Oi, Oi, Oi… It doesn’t really fit.  We’ve always had a great connection with Australia and it’s just going to continue to grow the more tours we do.”

I’ve been lucky enough to experience Fozzy several times live 2013 (twice) and 2018.  I love the music, energy and fun of a Fozzy concert.  You’ve got a couple of changes to the line-up since we last saw you guys in 2018.  What do P.J. (Farley) and Grant (Brooks) bring to the band? “Honestly, this is the best line up we’ve ever had, just from a playing standpoint, from an energy standpoint, from a showbusiness standpoint… P.J had a gold record, and he was on tour with Kiss when he was seventeen years old.  So the guy is a lifer and a true pro.  Grant is the youngest member of the band and he brings so much enthusiasm.  You get a new drummer and it reinvigorates everybody, kicks everybody in the ass. It also allows us to do some songs that we haven’t played over the last few years… like Spider In My Mouth from Sin and Bones, that’s back in the set now.  I was like why did we ever stop playing this, and you know it’s Grant brings such an energy to that song. So we can really play anything that we want now.  We look better as a band, sound better and then on stage there is just so much more energy.  It really was a great move and we are really fortunate to have those guys with us, along with Billy (Grey) and Rich (Ward).  So it’s a real kind of a whole powerhouse now with a whole new fire that we haven’t had before.”

For those who have never experienced Fozzy, what do you hope they will take away from the experience?  Because there will be a lot of new guys.  “The thing is with our band, we have a great fanbase of fans that have been with us either from the start, or for fifteen years.  We have a whole new fanbase because the last couple of records for us were so huge.  I mean Judas came out in 2017 and just went through the roof which then brings in a whole new generation of fans.  Whenever we do a show I ask the crowd, how many people have seen Fozzy before, and usually half the people say Yay. I ask how many are seeing Fozzy for the first time, and half the people say Yay. I think people that haven’t seen us probably have heard about Fozzy. Know what they’re kind of getting into, with just the vibe that we have, you know once again it’s a Rock N’Roll party. I think the people that have never heard of us, which I’m sure there will be some because you know, Buckcherry has a huge fanbase as well. I’m sure they’ll be very pleasantly surprised because the vibe that we have is very similar to Buckcherry’s – We just want you to have a great time.  It really is a great package and a great bill, so if you’ve never seen us before, bring a helmet and get ready to have an awesome time.”

I spoke to Josh (Todd) recently and he had similar sort of questions and he reacted similarly, having really positive vibes for you guys.  I remember you guys were together in 2013 with Steel Panther, so you’ve had a bit of experience together. “Yeah, we’ve also done a bunch of shows in the States, so we know it’s going to be a good mix.”

So being on a bill with Buckcherry.  Does it make you try and one -up each other, I mean does it bring a better performance from both of you?  “I don’t think one up is, because that would make it like (goes into gruff voice) Hey, well, watch out buddy. It’s more along the lines when you get to the level of Buckcherry and Fozzy where we’ve been doing this for a long time. Both bands have had some really great success, both of us have gold records on the wall. I think it’s more along the lines, it’s not one upping each other in a negative way, it’s like it’s going to be… I think the package and mix of bands, obviously it’s going to be great.  I think if anything, I, probably, knowing Josh, is going to take the challenge that we’re going to lay down.   Because we have the luxury of going on first, so you’ve got to follow Fozzy.  If Buckcherry was on first then we’ve got to follow them, and both bands are play the same amount of time, it’s a co-headliner.  And when there’s a co-headliner, sure you can’t play at the same time so we’re going on first.  So I think, we’re going to do what we do best, which is to tear down the fucking house. Which they’re going to have to tear it down even more.  Which if anything, I think the fans are going to be the winners out of this because both bands will be out for blood, but in a positive way and not like a ‘Fuck these guys, watch what’s going to happen’.  It’s more like Fozzy’s going on first and we’re throwing down the hammer, now Buckcherry take it on home.  Whatever’s left of the audience just grind them up into smaller bitty pieces of rock (laughing).” So it’s more you are pushing each other to get better and better.  “Yeah, exactly.” We do get the benefit of it.

The VIP experience is a great set up, I was on one back in Sydney 2013.  It has evolved quite a bit since then, what makes the Fozzy VIP such an experience?  (Note – Adelaide fans, you’re the only ones in the country who have tickets left available) “It has.  We started VIPs years ago, you mentioned you came in 2013, I think it was maybe 2010.  I got the idea because I was looking at Meatloaf who does it, Ozzy (Osbourne) does it, Bon Jovi does it, but they’re really not giving their fans anything.  This was pre VIP being the thing, so what can we give fans.  I remember the Bon Jovi one was a roadie meets you and tells you stories about Bon Jovi, and that’s it, there’s no meet and greet.  I think with Ozzy, you get like a VIP bag of stuff, how was that VIP?  So, we went through a lot of phases, like going to dinner with VIPS, which was pretty awkward and just meeting and saying Hi.  Then we kind of got this idea from Kiss, where they would do an acoustic set before their shows and I said why don’t we do a mini concert for the VIP’s.  We’ve got to do a sound check anyways, so why not do a sound check for them. Even though it’s not really a sound check because the sound is already ready, let’s do an actual mini concert for the VIPs and do some songs that they’re going to hear later and some that they’re not.  And I thought that’s a pretty cool idea, because I knew if I was a fan, and you know Metallica had a VIP and they did some songs you weren’t going to hear later that night, I would be pretty happy with that. So, that’s kind of how it all started over the last five or so years. And that’s kind of how we stuck to it, you still morph it, obviously after the pandemic now, you can’t take pictures with people.  We can do a Q and A, we can still hang out with everybody, and I always just want to make sure that people get their money’s worth when they do something like that.  And I think that I feel that we are doing that and I think everyone else pretty much agrees.  So we’re excited, like you said, it’s sold out in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Adelaide has still got a few left but I think everybody’s going to have a great time and walk away thinking I saw something special, that that was worth every penny I paid.”

Second last one, as we are pretty close to time.  Boombox was released in May this year, it has some great tunes on it, Sane and I Still Burn to name a couple. Now that it has been out six months, how are you feeling it has been received? “It’s been great, the songs that were singles, all went Top ten in the States where radio is still very popular.  I Still Burn is one of most, I think it may be the most played song on iHeart Rock Radio which is a big kind of satellite conglomerate here, I’m sure you have it there. I think it went great and the thing about Boombox is that it was ready for a year prior to us releasing it.  So even though it came out in May, it’s been with us for eighteen months or so, so it’s time to start working on some new material.  I don’t know if a new record is necessarily the answer, more so maybe just doing a new song and releasing it every few months. So, you constantly have new material coming out. And then no song kind of like, gets left behind in the dust.  Like Boombox, half the record doesn’t get played live and wasn’t a single so the songs just come and go and you never hear them again.  There’s a song called Ugly On The Inside, that when I first heard it I was like this is going to be huge.  And it… didn’t even get released as a single, and it doesn’t get played live, so it really doesn’t exist. It’s a shame because it is such a great song.  So I think maybe we just do a song and then release it and give it it’s due every little bit. Either way, Boombox was a great success for us.  The songs go over amazing live, we are playing half of it live, you are going to see half of it on this tour and it was nothing but thumbs up for us.

I recently listened to a number of rock autobiographies (Dave Grohl’s Storyteller and Bruce Dickinson’s What Does This Button Do?) on audible and hearing the actual person recount the tales has been great. You’ve released four NY Times Bestseller books, and I really enjoyed all of them, but none are on audible.  I think you doing that would be great, any thoughts of doing some readings of those?  “There was one audiobook for No Is A Four Letter Word, that’s one that I did and the thing is it’s hard doing an audiobook.  Because you are reading and you’ve got to get every single word right, and the enunciation right, so dude, it takes hours and hours and hours… And No Is A Four Letter Word’ is my shortest book and it took sooo long.  So yeah, it’s cool, but you’ve got to be ready man.  You’ve got to have time and it’s not one of those things where it’s like you’ve got to get this thing done in thirty two hours starting now. You’ve got to do like four hours a day.  So when I do my next book, I’ll probably do an audio version.  But you can find No Is A Four Letter Word on audio, read by Chris Jericho.” I’ll definitely have a look for it.

Thanks heaps for you time and I’ll see you in a week or so.

“Sounds good, Thanks Paul”.

Fozzy are touring Australia with Buckcherry in November/December – dates below:

Wednesday, November 30

The Tivoli – Brisbane

Friday, December 2

Max Watts – Melbourne

Saturday, December 3

Manning Bar – Sydney

Sunday, December 4

Lion Arts Factory – Adelaide