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Interviews : “There’s always a couple of critics who are holier than thou” – An Interview With Chris Jericho (Fozzy)

By on November 6, 2017

Chris Jericho – Fozzy

With his seventh album firmly off its tether and unleashed into the hard rock netherverse, Chris Jericho has a little time to reflect on the work and the journey of Fozzy’s latest release, Judas. “We worked on this record for the better part of two years and haven’t had a rest for three years,” Jericho says, “You always wanna make sure you do it for yourself first and foremost because you satisfy yourself as an artist and push yourself, but once it comes out and everyone else is listening to it, you really hope everyone else likes it too,” he finishes with a chuckle.

The best release from Fozzy to date in all areas, amid the whirlwind of interviews, radio appearances and excitedly tracking the album’s success in the charts, Jericho can’t quite switch off from the release just yet. Jericho is proud of this achievement, and rightly so, but even someone as well versed in business endeavours as he, knows that haters gonna hate. “It’s been great review after great review, it’s been really exciting, across the board from fans and critics.

“There’s always a couple of critics who are holier than thou, [who] have to give their two cents and I wonder if they’ve even listened to the record. The best critic you can have is the reception to the song – ‘Judas’ just hit top 10 on US rock radio, number 1 on Spotify and iTunes, the record is number one in ten countries including Australia, so it’s just a really cool experience to see people enjoy the experience after all the hard work we’ve put in.”

The enigmatic former WWE wrestler turned rock ‘n’ roll frontman talks the talk and walks the walk – fronting Fozzy is where he’s meant to be. Though a lot of weight has been placed on the album’s lead single of the same name, it’s ‘Wordsworth Way’ that is Jericho’s most cherished song. “I wrote it about my childhood and the passing of my mother,” he says, “So from a lyrical standpoint, that’s all Chris Jericho. But ‘Judas’ is not my song, that was written by [guitarist] Rich Ward.”

Having someone else write your songs wasn’t without its challenges, but Jericho took it in his stride and approached everything with an open and creative mind. “That’s kind of an interesting dichotomy,” he begins, “Because ‘Wordsworth [Way]’ is my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my vocals – ‘Judas’ is somebody else’s thoughts and emotions but I have to make it my vocals.

“It’s interesting when you hear lyrics for a song like that, you have to internalise what it means – I’m the one singing it, I’m the one selling it. When I heard the demo for ‘Judas’, I knew it was A) Going to be the first song on the record and B) I wanted it to be the title track. I wanted it to be the first song live. It’s not fast, usually we have an up-tempo one, this is much deeper and dark and heavy and just very memorable – little did I know how huge it would become once it got out there onto rock radio.

“All across the board, it’s one of those songs, every big band has that one big song whether it be ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, ‘Stairway To Heaven’, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, whatever it may be, we have that song. It’s the one song that synonymous with Fozzy and Fozzy is synonymous with ‘Judas’.”

The album is certainly on a different level to anything Fozzy have done before, so if Fozzy has reached the point where they have the song, perhaps it’s because they had to go through everything they have as a band for the album to become what it is. “Every album that comes out is where you were at that time, the best you could do at that time,” says Jericho. “We wanted this band to be the biggest band in the world, and take all the time necessary to make that happen – if you look at the development and growth of the band, you can see a real change, a stylistic difference from album to album, but it’s leading to the critical mass that is Judas.

“I’m proud of every record – do I love every song on every album? No, absolutely not, but there are still songs on those early records we play live that people love.”

All 11 tracks on Judas are available as singles, which means that every song on the album can, and will, see radio play – it’s a Fozzy takeover of epic proportions. “A lot more people are listening to us and you can feel the momentum,” Jericho says excitedly. “Now, I know what this feels like, I know when you’re on the verge of something big and it’s still a little scary and you want it to continue and you never know where it’s going to go.

“All these indications, it’s been everything we’ve worked towards all these years so, to get this attention from these heavy hitters that is what I love and I do crave that and I think we damn well deserve it – and it’s cool because other people feel the same way.”

The new album, ‘Judas’ out now via Century Media Records. Head to the official Fozzy Facebook page for more details, plus future tour dates.