NOTE: This article contains some foul language that some might find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
Canadian Chris Jericho is quite possibly the busiest man in show business. He launched one of the most successful wrestling careers of all time in the early ’90s and has worked with a number of different companies including the ECW, WCW, the WWE/WWF and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the organization he currently wrestles in.
Between marking names off the “List of Jericho,” he took time to pursue some of the other things he loves.
He juggles his podcast, Talk Is Jericho, acting for television and film and his occasional stand-up comedy routine. At age 48, he has crafted quite the résumé. Jericho became a New York Times best-selling author in 2007 with his first book, A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex. Since then he has written three more.
Jericho’s focus is now his hard-rock band, Fozzy. With hard-hitting music likely equal to his punches and an infectiously energetic live show, the band has been providing smiles for rockers and headbangers alike since 2000.
Fozzy is thriving now with the release of their latest effort, Judas (2017). The album catapulted the group to success and launched the boys on an extensive world tour, concluding with an exclusive Canadian run at the end of the month.
Following the conclusion of their tour through Oceania, Jericho sat down with Global News to talk all things Fozzy, why they’re thriving and what’s in store for the future. He also teased the next “Rock n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea,” possibly the most unique cruise of all time, hosted by the man himself.
Global News: So the Canadian tour with Fozzy kicks off next week.
Chris Jericho: It’s gonna be a blast man. It’s the last leg of the Judas Rising tour. It’s our first time playing a full tour in Canada since 2013. We’ve been touring for the last 18 months and there’s a lot of cool things that have happened since we started, there’s a hell of a lot of momentum. It’s exciting to end this off in my home country of Canada.
Does playing in Canada hold any special meaning to you?
Obviously the big gig for me is Winnipeg, because that’s the hometown show. It’ll be special just to go home. But anytime you can play a show is exciting in general and I think the fact that we’re playing Canada after so long, it’s extra special to us no matter the town. We’re hitting some amazing and beautiful cities. They’re all gonna be great.
It’s one of those things that came completely out of the blue. I woke up to an email asking if we’d be available next September for a show in L.A. and six hours later, here we are, booked for a show with Iron Maiden. [Laughs] When you get an email from those guys, you don’t even think, you just say “Yep, we’re available.”
Exactly. [Laughs] Once we found out the show was at L.A. Stadium, we thought ‘holy smokes,’ because that arena fits 25,000 people. It’s the biggest show of their tour and the only one with two opening acts. They obviously saw the value in Fozzy and they’re known not to ever do things randomly, so I’m assuming there was a little bit more to the decision than just that. We’re really hoping it leads to more shows with them, but at the very least it’s a gig where we get to support one of the greatest rock n’ roll bands of all time. I’m really stoked about it.
We wanted to do a record that was like Def Leppard’s Hysteria or Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite [for Destruction]. Just an album that you could put out six or seven singles if need be. We focused on the songwriting aspect more than ever, not worrying about if the song has a guitar solo or how long it was. We did what was best for each song and for the album as a collective piece. One of the best things that we did was hiring our producer, Johnny Andrews. To us, he was our Bob Rock or Mutt Lange.
He’s someone who knew the band, liked the band and felt that we didn’t like to harness the power of our records in our live show. Johnny was very involved and right away we decided that he makes all the decisions. Whatever he says, goes. That eliminated any kind of debates between the band during the recording. It was hard to give up that power at first. At first you think, “Who the hell does this guy think he is?” But then you realize he has a vision and it makes it really easy to fall in line. Johnny actually wrote the lyrics for the title track.
It’s not about Judas from the Bible, it’s about the Judas in your mind. [It’s] about betraying yourself. Like when you make the wrong decision and you know it’s wrong, but you do it anyway. Something we can all relate to whether it’s taking that last drink at the bar, eating one more doughnut or kissing someone that you shouldn’t kiss. I think that’s one of the reasons why the song went to No. 5 on rock radio and why it got more than 25 million views on YouTube, because people can empathize it and relate to the feeling of what it’s like to deal with it. I think it has become our signature song and that’s something that all bands hope for.
Without question. My major project for the last 10 years has been Fozzy. I base other things around the Fozzy schedule. Once we decided to put everything behind the band and go full force, that’s when you continue to really grow as a band. The last 18 months have been amazing and once we finish up in Calgary, we’ll be writing again with the idea that we’d like to be back in the studio as soon as we can. We’re in this for the long run, just as long if it’s as good, if not better, than the Judas album. We now have to top that. [Laughs]
Can you tell us what the Rock n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea is all about?
Well we played the KISS Kruise back in 2015 and it was such a great experience. Not just as a musician and a performer but as a fan and a vacationer as well. So I automatically started thinking to myself, “I can do this.” What is Chris Jericho known for? Wrestling and rock n’ roll. So I thought “Why don’t we just do it?” The idea was to have live matches on the ship, great rock n’ roll bands, comedians and even do a few Talk Is Jericho podcasts. That’s what we worked on, essentially. We had a team of engineers come on board the ship and we made sure that the ring was secure on deck in the best possible way, because it’d never been done before and no one had experienced this. It took three years to get it going and we sold out the very first one. We’re already working on announcing a date for the second one since it was such a success.
Were there any troubles or crazy stories on the cruise?
Because it was rock n’ roll fans and wrestling fans, it was very loud. When we pulled into the port in the Bahamas and there were other cruise ships around, we got out crews to chant and sing, things like “Your cruise sucks, your cruise sucks, ours is better, ours is better!” Or the old school, “F**k your cruise, f**k your cruise!” and they’re doing this to 65-year-old people going to the Bahamas from New Orleans or somewhere, who were probably thinking, “What the hell is wrong with these people?” But it was a complete blast for everybody that was on board.
I think I’ve had 20 Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, A-list actors and everything in between, but if you really want to know who the dream guest is, it would be Paul McCartney for sure. He has done a podcast before, so maybe there’s a chance, that’d be huge. But to me, it’s always just anybody that’s interesting. I’d love to have Ozzy [Osbourne] on for a while too. I know all these guys are used to formal interviews and they get sick of them, but I don’t do it like that, I like to have conversations and I think they’d appreciate that too. I’ve had so many people who have done hundreds of thousands of interviews and after Talk Is Jericho, they go “That was one of the best interviews I’ve ever done,” and they always wanna come back and do it again.
What can Canadians expect for the upcoming Fozzy tour, Chris?
Just rock and roll with a smile, man. High energy, electricity and just having a great time; that’s what we do. Van Halen from 1981, where everybody onstage is having a great time and it’s infectious to the audience. The best testament we can have is that people have fun. We take pride in that.
The Canadian Fozzy run starts in Moncton on Nov. 21, it will end in Calgary on Dec. 4 and conclude the Judas Rising tour.
This is the last chance to see them promoting their hottest and latest offering. Tickets are available on the official Fozzy website.
Fozzy Canadian tour dates
** Shows supporting Three Days Grace are bolded **
Nov. 21 – Moncton, N.B. – Casino New Brunswick *
Nov. 23 – Halifax, N.S. – Cunard Centre *
Nov. 24 – Quebec City, Que. – Centre Videotron *
Nov. 25 – Montreal, Que. – MTELUS *
Nov. 26 – Arnprior, Ont. – The John St. Pub
Nov. 27 – London, Ont. – London Music Hall
Nov. 28 – Toronto, Ont. – Rockpile
Nov. 30 – Thunder Bay, Ont. – Crocks
Dec. 1 – Winnipeg, Man. – Burton Cummings Theater
Dec. 2 – Regina, Sask. – The Exchange
Dec. 3 – Edmonton, Alta. – Starlight Room
Dec. 4 – Calgary, Alta. – The Gateway