Headed to town as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, I spoke over the phone on Thursday with Fozzy frontman and then WWE Superstar Chris Jericho. In part 1 of this 2 part interview, Chris and I chat about Uproar Fest and what's it's like for him performing in Chicago as both a musician and professional wrestler. On Thursday, part 2 of this interview will focus on last week's release of the new Fozzy album Sin and Bones and much more...
Q. So Uproar Fest is underway and it’s certainly your biggest U.S. tour to date… How have the shows been so far?
Chris Jericho: Amazing. We've done so much touring over the last eight years overseas and we've done a lot of shows in the States but never a full-fledged tour, especially being a part of an event like this with bands as big as Shinedown, Papa Roach and Godsmack. So there's a lot of people that have heard of Fozzy but have never seen us and have never actually heard the music that are getting a chance to experience what it is that we do. And it's also great for our fans that have been with us for years and years and years to see us on such a big stage in a big venue. We've got a great time slot, great energy, a brand new album [Sin and Bones] with songs that are just killing it live so it's a very exciting time for us and after all these years of all this hard work it's very much deserved!
Q. In ’99-’00 when you hooked up with your Fozzy bandmates, did you ever imagine you’d be playing outdoor amphitheatres with them a decade later?
Jericho: Well... That's not a weird question because people ask me that too... Like, "When you first started wrestling, did you think you'd be at Wrestlemania?" And my answer is, yes. And I'm saying that with the ultimate in [respect]. My point is that if you don't get into these things with the biggest goals in mind then why bother? I don't think anybody got into it saying "I wouldn't mind being the 112th best hockey player in history." Or, "I wouldn't mind being the 75th greatest guitar player in history." It's like, "I want to be the best ever!" I wanted that for pro wrestling, even though I had no idea how to do it, and I wanted that when we started the band even though I had no idea how to do it.
But the fact that we're actually here... it's such a dream come true and it's such an honor because of the hard work we've put into it. After the last tour, after Chasing the Grail came out, you could just feel this momentum building. And once that was such a success, it led to all these great things: Signing with Century Media, which is the biggest record label we've ever been on. Going on the Uproar Tour. Playing with Metallica at Download this year and at Soundwave next year. Just all of these cool things that are happening that we're ready for. We weren't ready for this five, six, seven years ago but now we are so we're taking full advantage of it.
Q. The most packed rock concert that I've seen all summer, the most packed concert period, not just rock, was the Rockstar Mayhem Fest here in July. There were nearly 30,000 people there and it was almost all kids which amazed me. It was not the older end of the rock demographic. In the U.S., hard rock and metal get virtually no radio airplay. Do you think the internet is a tool kids are using to find this type of music these days?
Jericho: Absolutely. I think the internet is important. It's the same way as when I was a kid, you used to listen to the radio and hope that you'd hear your favorite song. And if you were lucky enough to hear it, you'd run over to your tape recorder and press record. I had a tape recorder on my radio that was at standby at all times so I could tape my favorite songs. It sounded like s--t. You'd hear the DJ talking. You'd only get half of it on there. If I had the resources that kids have today with iTunes and stuff, I would've been happy as all hell! I mean, ninety-nine cents is not a lot of money. People say kids just steal the music or whatever... I don't actually think they steal it but they see it as stealing. It's just the way it is. The bottom line is the music is getting out there and people are hearing it and getting into it.
Sin and Bones, the weekend before it came out, last Friday, we put it up for a live stream where you could listen to it for free. It was weird getting all these comments and quotes about the record and yet, it wasn't even out yet. Hopefully people that listen to it will buy it [now that it's out]. And the thing is, when a record is good, you have no problems doing something like that. And if people buy it, great! But the thing is, even if they don't, they weren't going to buy it anyways... but at least they're listening to it. And maybe that will change their minds to come see a show when we come to town or buy a t-shirt when we come to town. So all of this adds up. It's just the way that it is now. You either have to sit and watch things pass you by or embrace it and make it relevant and make it into a positive rather than a negative.
Q. Are you guys planning a headlining tour once Uproar is done?
Jericho: Yeah, we've got a lot of touring booked already now to the point where we're booked fairly steady all the way up until next March with all the different stuff we have in other countries and stuff like that. We'd like to do more stuff in the states following Uproar so I think we might do a short run at the end of October and then wait for something else to come up at the beginning of January and go from there. Because we want to play in front of the most people we can and the best way to do that is to hook up with a sort of headlining band and kind of have them take us out. So we'll see. Like I say, the possibilities are endless. Uproar is huge for us. It's gonna increase our name exponentially. So all of the stuff that's happening now that we're getting started, I think we're going to see a lot of doors opening up.
Q. Well, as a wrestler and musician, you've performed in Chicago many times. Anything that sticks out about Chicago for you?
Well, anytime you see Chicago on the booking sheet, and that goes for wrestling and music, you always know it's going to be one of the best crowds. And it's not even a cliche. Ask anybody in the locker room who the best crowd is, they'll always say Chicago. There's just something there. I don't know if it's something in the beer that you guys have or if you're all on crystal meth or what but it's always a very loud, crazy crowd which is cool to perform in front of. We love playing there, man. We love playing there.
And we've got some great things with Fozzy there. We haven't played there in a long time but we played at the Metro back in '05 and it was a great gig. Chicago has always been very good to Fozzy so we're excited to come back and play.
Q. Well, you'll be back here on Wednesday with Uproar Fest so what can fans expect?
Jericho: Well, we're out to steal the show. We want to be the best band on the bill, we want to be the most exciting band on the bill, we want to be the heaviest band on the bill and most importantly we want to be the most entertaining band on the bill. So, we're definitely a road tested band that has been doing it for a long time and now we're ready to really make our mark and show what it is that we do and show who we are. I think Chicago's gonna have a great time and we're really excited to get up there and tear it up.
(Click HERE for part 2 of the Chris Jericho interview - A Sin and Bones album preview)
*** This interview was conducted by Jim Ryan.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
19100 S. Ridgeland Ave.
Tinley Park, IL 60477
Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind, Papa Roach, Adelitas Way, P.O.D., Fozzy, In This Moment, Mindset Evolution, Deuce, Redlight King, Candlelight Red
Gates open at 1PM
Tickets: $26.00 - $106.45
Meet and greet and VIP packages also available
Click HERE to purchase tickets