Thorium a eu la chance de discuter avec Chris Jericho, chanteur du groupe Fozzy hier. Ils ouvriront la scène principale ce dimanche à Heavy Montréal, armés de leur plus récent album Do You Wanna Start A War et d’une volonté de fer pour vous prouver que le premier spectacle d’une journée est aussi important que le dernier. L’entrevue est présentée ici dans son format original (anglais) pour nous permettre de vous la transmettre plus vite avant le festival !

Thorium Mag : You will be in town opening the last day of Heavy Montreal on the main stage. How psyched are you?

Jericho: We played in every other major festival in the world. It’s an honor to finally play one of the biggest festivals in North America. We’re playing at a great time and I’m very excited to give people a taste of Fozzy!

TM : Any particular bands you’re psyched to share the stage with?

J: We’ve played with most of the bands in the past, I’m mostly very excited to be able to catch up with people like Randy Blythe, speak with him early in the day and maybe catch a bit of his show later on. Slipknot is playing also, so I’ll try to catch that. It’s kind of going on a summer vacation, when you’re walking around backstage, it’s like: “Oh, here’s that guy, here’s this guy!” it’s a good time to catch up with old friends , even if I don’t necessarily have the time to watch them play live.

TM : It will be the first time Fozzy will play the festival. How much did you know about Heavy Montreal before getting on the bill?

J: We heard quite a bit in the last 4-5 years. We’ve played all the big ones, like Download, Soundwave, Wacken, We know what festivals mean to each country, we played ’em all. Heavy Montreal was the last one, and when we got the invitation it was a big victory for us, because now we’re getting a shot. We’re gonna tear the doors open and start off the show. It’s one of the best spots of the day, you know the old saying: If you don’t go on last, you’re better off going on first! We’re perfect for the festival vibe because we’re a good festival band. We want everyone to have a good time, we have a good time on stage. A metal festival is special because everyone is out to have fun, have a beer, hang out, be engaged. We know how big Montreal is, we know how important it is. For us, it’s great to be a part of it and we’ll try to be one of the highlights of the festival.


TM : You released a new album last year, called Do You Wanna Start a War. What can you tell us about it?

J: It’s a very diverse record! It’s got twelve great songs, and we didn’t worry about making it too heavy, too rocky, too poppy or whatever and it paid off! It’s our highest selling record ever. We’ve been selling out shows on all tours since, we got to play Download, Wacken, Heavy Montreal, touring with Slash, Theory of a Dead Man, Down, we’re going out with Kiss in October. It’s been a pretty cool last year since War came out.

TM : You have a lot coming up: Tour dates in autumn, and the Kiss Kruise in October.

J: Yeah, the Kiss Kruise is huge! Any time you have a chance to get invited to tour with Kiss, on a cruise, you just go “Holy shit, YES! And this is a job in what way?” and then we’re going out to Europe to continue touring on the new record.

TM : Speaking about cruises: What do you think of the cruise shows like Motörhead’s Motörboat and 70,000 Tons of Metal?

J: Hey, why not! I think in this day and age, anything you can do to get people’s interest and draw people to the show is good. People buy less and less records, it’s hard to get them to go to rock shows because they’re so many choices and bands trying to make a living out of it, it’s hard to get people to pay money for a show. If going on a cruise is one way to do it, great! You’re still going to see your favorite bands, maybe two or three times in a short period of time, plus you get some of their favorite bands on there too. You can even catch them on deck, I don’t really know  how it works, I’ve never been on one of theses cruises before. It’s a very exciting opportunity for us.

TM : The big mix of bands is sometimes a blessing or a curse. Is the vast offer of bands beneficial?

J: I think there’s always been a lot of bands. People always get into bands, and if you take a hundred bands, maybe ten of them are good. Out of those ten, maybe five make money out of it. Out of those five, two make a living and only one gets rich. Now, the margins to survive are getting smaller and smaller. I’m not gonna cry about it, but something new’s gotta be invented to give a revenue stream to the bands themselves. Holograms, teleportation? Sure, whatever! But the old way of doing things, records, DVD’s, TV, it’s done! I mean, I buy albums maybe once a week, but I can’t remember the last time I bought an actual CD. Not even that, most of the time you don’t even have to buy it. You just go out and stream it! That is on big revenue stream that’s gone. Now we have live shows and merchandise. That’s good, but we’re still in need of something else to compensate for the loss of the sales of the recording industry. At some point we’re gonna have to do something, but right now we’re stuck between the past and the future.

TM : With four albums of original material and a bunch of covers, how hard is it to build the perfect Fozzy setlist?

J: There’s two answers to this. A, it’s hard, B, we got it down. We toured with so much different bands and we did so many shows… Let’s say you start with fifteen songs for a good set as a headliner. That’s about an hour. We’re gonna play in Hamilton before coming to Montreal, about 45 minutes so that’s ten songs. In Montreal, we got 30 minutes so I’m not gonna talk as much on stage, we’re gonna have time for six and maybe squeeze a seventh song in there. You have to start strong, play your sing-alongs and play your biggest songs at the end. Hopefully by then you’ve killed the crowd! Thing is, we started with 15 songs to play but we only had time to play six of ’em. It really does hurt sometimes. It’s like editing a book or editing a movie, you don’t want to cut a song out, but what else are you gonna do? Tell yourself, “For this crowd, if only I had 45 minutes!  I can’t cut that song!” and you keep adding them up and you end up at 60 minutes anyways. You really have to pick your four or five best ones and switch one or two in there. That’s really the only way to do it, and there’s always people who’re gonna ask, why didn’t you play Enemy, or Spider in my Mouth, or Eat The Rich? I’m always like, sorry! We just don’t have time to play all of our songs!


TM : Of all Fozzy songs, what would you say is your favorite one to sing?

J – To sing, I’d have to say Sin and Bones, the title track from our last record. It’s fast, thrashy, and the lines in it are really catchy. It’s one of our songs that the crowd likes best, along with SOS when we go into Lights Go Out. These songs are one of the craziest parts of the set. Those two songs really go hand in hand to tear the house down and are really fun to sing as well.

TM : Fozzy kind of has the rep of “that band with a wrestler as a frontman”. How do you think it plays out in terms of the attention the band gets?

J: It’s not the rep we try to keep, it’s like saying The Pretty Reckless are the band which is fronted by the girl from How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Thirty Seconds To Mars is the band of the guy who won an oscar for the movie Dallas Buyers’ Club. The way I see it is like this: Of course I wrestle. But it’s not like Fozzy is in the middle of a ring, and I’m singing about body slams and hitting people with chairs. It’s what I do! Kiss wear makeup, Slipknot wear masksm but in the end either you’re a good rock n’ roll band or you’re not, and that’s what I focus on. I know when a band kicks ass, when they can write a good song and give a great show. Yeah, I wrestle, if that’s not your hting and you don’t like that, there’s nothing I can do. I think in the last several years we’ve proved that people don’t give a shit that Jericho‘s a wrestler, because when you see Fozzy get on stage, we kick ass. If you don’t like it, move over and let the people who do get a better seat. That’s never gonna change! We never bring it out because it’s not relevant.

TM : You let the music do the talking, right?

J: Exactly! That’s the same with Kiss, Paul Stanley, Corey Taylor or whoever you want to talk about. If you’re too hung up on the fact that Slipknot wear masks, then you’re not gonna like them no matter what! They wear masks, they’ll always gonna do. They’ll even make more! Let’s just get that stuff out of the way and, as you said, let the music, let the show do the talking.


TM : Was music a big part of your life before Fozzy?

J: I’ve been singing in bands since I was 12 years old. When I was a kid, I had two goals in my life. I wanted to play in a rock n’ roll band and I wanted to be a wrestler. I was just oblivious to the fact that people thought I couldn’t actually do it. It was my choice, I wanted to do both and I went for it. That’s why I do both these things, it’s just who I am. They’re not that far apart, it’s just show business, it’s putting on a performance and I love it.

TM : You have had tremendous success in both wrestling and music.  Is there anything that is too much of a challenge for Chris Jericho?

J: I’m m not sure if anything is too much of a challenge but I’m definitely not scared by a challenge. You just have to follow your guts, follow your dreams. Every time somebody told me that I couldn’t be in a band, or that I couldn’t be a wrestler… When I started wrestling, people told me: “Are you crazy? You’ll never make it!” and you know what? I learned very quickly that the people who told you that you can’t do something are the ones that have failed. You need to get rid of all the negativity that’s around you and just try. Just go for it! I read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography and he says in there that when he was a kid in Austria, he wanted to be the world’s most famous bodybuilder and the world’s most famous actor. For a punk kid from Austria, do you know how crazy that sounds? He threw himself at it and it worked out. That’s how I did it, thinking “What can I do to make it work?” and you can see how it turned out for me.

TM : Last of all, what can you say to the metalheads that aren’t sure to come out early sunday afternoon for Heavy Montreal? 

J: You don’t wan’t to miss the best band of the day. You don’t want to miss the best entertaining band of the day. You don’t want to be that guy that, when people ask you “Did you see Fozzy?” you go “No…” because all you’re gonna hear is people telling you that you missed out, and that it was the best show of the day! Fozzy is entertaining, fun, energetic and we’re gonna go on stage and own it! A show like Heavy Montreal, you can be sure we’re gonna go up there and kill it. That’s how we do it!


Auteur: Phil Mandeville

Archives Photo : Mihaela Petrescu (Thorium Mag)

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