It has been quite a whirlwind for hard rockers Fozzy, led by frontman Chris Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward as the band’s latest album release, Judas, which is the seventh in their catalog, has soared its’ way to the top of the rock charts boasting the incredible singles “Judas” and “Burn Me Out.” The band recently signed to Sony Music and unveiled their latest single “Nowhere To Run” which has been conquering radio across the globe, the song comes from their forthcoming new album. Fozzy is surely showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon!
Your new single “Nowhere To Run” is absolutely fantastic, as it has such an anthem feel to it. What led to your decision to go with that as the lead single for new music?
We had so much momentum from the “Judas” album with the “Judas” song and the other two top ten singles that we had from that album and we had a great tour, then we kind of picked up and signed with Sony and they wanted us to keep the momentum going and they wanted us to get something out rather than just wait for album, tour, album tour which is the modern way to do things. When you have the influence of a major machine like Sony behind you, which this is our first experience with that, so we thought if they want a single let’s give them one.
We went through some of our material for the next record and that one stood out the most, so we put some time into it and then submitted it to them and they loved it so that’s basically it. It’s taking the style and the momentum of what we did on the “Judas” and continuing that, like you said, very melodic and anthemic with a lot of hooks. It’s very catchy with that kind of sports and stadium type of vibe. It’s great to hear that people feel the same way about it as we do.
How far along in the recording process are you for new music?
We focused on getting “Nowhere To Run” done and the video for that which has debuted and getting it out to radio, so we have probably around another ten to twelve songs that we’re working on, but “Nowhere To Run” was the one that was like, finish up and get it done now and then continue with the songwriting as we get that finished. It’s something we never had before, usually the way we did things was like most bands, you do the ten or twelve songs and you record them all at once and you get your record ready then you choose which single you might want, so with the recording company it’s a whole different vibe. The album is still a long ways away from being done, but the song is now out to keep that momentum going for the next three or four months then by the time “Nowhere To Run” is finished we’ll be ready for the record to come out or at least have another song which could be the game plan for Sony. Whatever they want to do I’m up for it and we’re excited about it because that’s a whole new world for us now.
I love that you guys are taking your time with it! Some bands really rush to just throw out the next thing too quickly.
Exactly, and for us, we are in a really enviable position because as you know it’s hard to really get some momentum or real steam in rock n’ roll and we have that. Once “Judas” became the proverbial hit single it opened up a lot of doors for us and everything we do right now has to be great and has to be just as good as “Judas” was if not better so, you can’t rush that. Having said that, however, you don’t want to take eight years like Metallica or fourteen years like Guns n’ Roses, we don’t have that kind of name value where we can do that, so you want to keep the momentum rolling … you just don’t want it to go too long, but also like you said, you can’t rush it and put out the first thing that comes to mind because that might end your momentum before it even gets started.
What do your touring plans look like for the rest of the year? I know you have an upcoming date opening up for Iron Maiden.
That is so exciting. We just did a couple shows with Nickelback last week and here we are getting ready to do a show with Iron Maiden this week, so we decided to put a tour together around that and also to support “Nowhere To Run”, as well, and keep those things all tied together. We are going out for twenty-two shows, about three and half to four weeks going through Southern California with L.A. being the main gig and then continue to end up in Atlanta on September 28th; it’s the “Nowhere To Run” tour if you want to call it that. It’s a short one, but when you put a song out you have to pound the pavement, so this will give us a chance to hit all the radio stations in the towns that we’re in and get those spins for the song. More spins equals a better show and a better show equals more spins.
You’re right. I feel like everyone’s attention span is a lot shorter now and Fozzy puts on one of the most amazing live shows. You guys are so full of energy on stage. Can you talk about that?
Sure, that is something that we have built our reputation on as being a great live band. You can have a lot of fun when you come to a Fozzy show and that’s the way we want it. We’re Van Halen in 1979 where there’s no giant spiders or explosions … we are the show and as a result I think we have a really great fan base. I mean, how did we get two random shows with Nickelback? How did we get a random stadium show with Iron Maiden? I think the word is getting around about who Fozzy is and what it is that we do and people want to be a part of that and they want to experience the show. There has been an scene change over the last decade with your Joyous Wolf and Greta Van Fleets and Rival Sons where you have the old rock n’ roll elements coming back in where the idea is to have a great time and what a concept! Have a great time at a rock n’ roll show and I think because we were one of the pioneers of, not to saying bringing it back because it’s always been there, but kind of wearing that on our sleeves saying we want you to have fun, we want you to drink beer and chant Fozzy and show your boobs whether you are a girl or a guy, we don’t care, just come and have a good time. We encourage that and if you’ve seen Fozzy before you know what you’re going to get and if you haven’t seen us before you leave going ‘Holy sh*t! That was a lot of fun. I want to see those guys again … I want to check out their music, I want to buy a t-shirt!’ That’s what it’s all about and that’s how you build the name of your band and that’s how we’ve been doing it for the last ten to fifteen years and we continue to grow with every record and song we put out. That’s the mindset and that’s what we have been doing!
How has Fozzy adapted to the ever-changing musical landscape?
I don’t think we’ve really adapted to anything. We just do what we do, I mean, if anything I think we the last several records we started working with our producer Johnny Andrews, we really started understanding how to write a radio song and that’s not a bad thing to sometimes second guess yourselves. There was a time a few records ago, on the “Sin And Bones” record we had those thirteen and fourteen minute epic tunes, which we’ve always loved that style of rock n’ roll such as Iron Maiden and Rush, but we got that out of our system. You will never see another thirteen or fourteen minute from a Fozzy record again because we did that and I think once you get that out of your system and you start realizing that rock radio is so relevant to this day … people say rock radio is dead, but it’s not …it really makes a difference, at least it did for us. When we started getting played on rock radio, that’s when the focus on us started rising and I think there is a way that you can write your music to be appealing to radio and to a wider audience.
If you are writing songs about D-Day and the second World War and the end of the world like Revelations, that’s great stuff, but if you are writing songs about relationships and emotions, betraying yourself and all that sort of stuff I think a lot of people can really relate to it and they feel it and they can become more connected to you through that, so I think that’s the biggest way our music has changed over the years.
Absolutely! I remember being thrilled when they started spinning Fozzy at 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia.
WMMR was huge for us and that is when started to know that we were “making” it! WMMR doesn’t just play anything. To get on that station, they are what’s called a difference-maker, if WMMR is playing it fifteen other stations will play it specifically because Philly’s doing that, so they’ve been great to us. We’ve done the MMR BBQ this year which was a lot of fun and you start realizing there is a great relationship between radio and Fozzy. For you to be in Philly and hear us on that station, suddenly now if you’re a fan you’re like, ‘Wow, it kind of legitimizes us’ and if you are not a fan you are curious about this new band you are hearing. All of that leads to getting more prominence and more eyes and ears on your music.
I am sure you are very busy man with AEW and all that is going on in that world, how are you keeping it all together?
The thing with me is that Fozzy has always been the priority and with wrestling, it’s not a full time gig, but it’s a lot of fun and something I put a lot of focus into, but still not forgetting all the hard work we put in with the band in the last five years as well so, it’s a little bit of a juggling act, but not as bad as it has been in the past and we will do as much as we can with Fozzy and I can’t help thinking that getting to open up for the acts we have and the gig with Iron Maiden is an audition for more, so when we get those full tours we’ll take them and work everything else around it like we have always done in the past.
Nice. Do you think you will continue to use “Judas” as your ring anthem?
Yeah, I just like it! It really fits. It’s a good vibe and it fits kind of my attitude and what I’m going for when I go to the rings. I think it’s a really cool ring song and people really enjoy it as well!