Latest release: Chasing the Grail (Riot!)

Watching Fozzy on their last Australian tour in 2005 was an exhausting experience as the band threw absolutely everything into their performance. Chris Jericho seemed to be constantly on the move as he climbed things, dived into the audience and used every inch of the stage as indefatigable riff-meister Rich Ward continued to tear shreds from his guitar while stagedivers literally launched themselves off him into the crowd. In a little less than two weeks, Fozzy will be on our shores again, kicking off their latest jaunt in Melbourne on December 2.
“Yeah we’re excited man,” the exuberant Jericho says, talking on the hands-free as he drives across town. “It’s been a long time comin’ but we’re excited to come down there and tear some heads off.”
Fozzy has moved forward in leaps and bounds since the release of All That Remains in 05, but it has been this year’s stunning Chasing the Grail album that has really delivered the goods for the band.
“We’ve been very, very happy with the way it’s been received, both critically and saleswise,” Chris says. “It’s cool because we really took our time to get it right and to take the band to the next level if we could do so, and we’re so glad that we did it right because the record’s just gone through the roof.”
Chasing the Grail certainly lived up to Jericho’s expectations, finally legitimising he and Ward’s ambitions to have Fozzy accepted as a serious metal band. They did it by being meticulous and by making sure it was chock full of nothing but good, honest, pure heavy metal songs.
“Things have changed for the band over the last few years. After 11 years of doing this, the last two records especially people started to understand where we were as a band,” the singer says. “We started off doing some covers and having fun with it, and that was great at the time, but the band has just evolved and morphed to 100 times bigger, 100 times a monster as we were. And that’s the great thing about Chasing the Grail. People don’t really care about our past at this time anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that this is a kick ass band with cool songs. It’s the same with the whole wrestling element: people don’t really care that Jericho’s a wrestler when they see Fozzy. It doesn’t matter. We’ve never promoted ourselves as a wrestling band, we’ve never sung about it or given each other bodyslams on stage. It’s never been about that. It’s just been about going out on stage and being a great rock n roll band, and people know that now and that’s why we’ve been able to get to the next level.”
The last time I talked to Chris Jericho, we spoke a lot about the influential figures that helped to shape his music. Since then, sadly, one of the biggest was taken by cancer.
“I was a huge Dio fan obviously, and we covered two Dio songs. “Stand Up and Shout” on our first record and we did “Mob Rules” on our second record, so yeah… Ronnie was always a cool guy. He was always cool to me and very much a gentleman and such a champion of heavy metal. It’s always sad when you lose somebody like that. But his voice lives on forever. He was one of the best until the day he died, that’s for sure.”
As we speak, the US mid-term elections had just swung in the Republicans’ favour, no doubt to the horror of Ward who was, at the time, touring in Europe with Stuck Mojo. Rich Ward is a pretty politically-driven individual, so to what extent does that rub off onto Chris and a fun-time band like Fozzy?
“Oh, I couldn’t really care less about that,” Jericho says when I ask about the election, and I can virtually hear him sneering. “I’m not really political. I don’t give a shit. It doesn’t affect anything I do in Fozzy at anytime, and he (Ward) knows that too. He knows not to talk politics with me because I’ll tell him I don’t care. That’s why he still has Stuck Mojo. He can be as political as he likes in that band. But in our band, we’re not into that sort of thing [laughing]. The last thing I want to do when I go to a rock n roll show is listen to somebody talk about politics.”
Politics will most likely the last thing on anyone’s mind when they’re standing in the audience at any of Fozzy’s three Aussie shows next month. Chasing the Grail has the best songs they’ve ever done and the set will include a fair whack of them.
“We do five songs from Chasing the Grail now and those songs are so awesome live… they really lend themselves to being ass-kicking rock n roll songs!” Jericho says. “The band is tighter than ever. The playing is great, the songs are great, the energy is great! The time has come for us to return: Fozzy in Aussie 2010!”
And they kick off with “Under Blackened Skies”, of course!
“That’s how we open the set! It’s a great song, the perfect set opener. Wejust can’t wait to get there and blast it out.”