It’s been more than two decades since Chris Jericho founded Fozzy with lead guitarist Rich Ward and former drummer Frank Fontsere. After countless hours on the road and an arsenal of music under their collective belt, Fozzy — currently rounded out by rhythm guitarist Billy Grey, bassist P. J. Farley, and drummer Grant Brooks — is releasing their eighth studio album Boombox, which Jericho jokes “is our third-best record ever.” Recently, PopCulture.com sat down for an exclusive interview with the wrestling icon and grilled him on the new record, songwriting, and his uncanny Ozzy Osbourne-esque vocals.
While Boombox is dropping worldwide on May 6, Jericho clarified that the album has actually been ready for some time. “We’ve been calling this album Chinese FozOcracy because we started recording it in May of 2019,” he quipped, referring to the infamously delayed Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy, which was held up for more than eight years. “We finally got it done and mixed and mastered and ready to go in May of last year, but we didn’t want to release it still kind of at the tail end of the pandemic,” Jericho added. After making the decision to release a few singles over the past several months, and throw half of the songs into the setlist for their Save the World tour, Fozzy is now able to relax in knowing that the masses are finally going to hear their long-gestating labor of love.
“We think it’s our best record,” Jericho said, then joking, “Although I’ve been saying, I think it’s our third-best record ever because I always wanted a band to say that. And that’s how I tell if people are listening to me when I’m doing interviews or not because if they don’t respond, I know they’re not paying attention. This is our third-best record ever.”
Jokes aside, Boombox is easily the third best Fozzy album, and the second, and the first. It’s packed with riffs and anthemic lyrics from start to finish, and will undoubtedly have fans everywhere singing along to each song. Jericho gives a lot of the credit to Boombox’s elevation to producer Johnny Andrews, who also produced the band’s 2017 album, Judas, including its hit single of the same name. “Hooking up with Johnny Andrews was kind of our Lars (Ulrich) and James (Hetfield) hooking up with Bob Rock moment in that we decided let’s bring him in and let’s make him the captain of the ship,” he said, referring to Metallica and the uber-producer who helped them renovate their sound. “This is no longer a debate between Rich and Chris as to where the songs go or what we do.”
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Fozzy Official (@fozzyrock)
Jericho went on to share just how incorporated Andrews has become in Fozzy, revealing, “I don’t write a lot of lyrics anymore because Johnny’s just a better lyric writer than I am. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. All that matters is the song and what’s best for the song.” He then confessed that “it was hard at first” for Fozzy to let have Andrews have so much control, saying, “We weren’t happy with giving him the reigns.” However, after reminding themselves that he was responsible for major hits from bands like Halestorm and Three Days Grace, he, and the rest of the band, were able to “put my ego in the back seat.”
The music and lyrics of Boombox are inarguably phenomenal. Both elements certainly help usher Fozzy into a new echelon of heavy metal. But there is more very crucial dynamic that completes the trifecta, and this is Jericho’s vocals, which sound eerily like the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, on Boombox. “Well, I’ve always had that in me and it’s not trying to sound like Ozzy, that’s my vocal range,” Jericho says when asked about the similarities. “That really high-end. So there’s always been elements of it.”
He continued, “As a matter of fact, on the Sin and Bones record, I said, ‘Let’s just f—ing record a Sabbath song. Let me try and sound like Ozzy,’ and we did ‘Fairies Wear Boots.’ And if you listen to it, it’s like, ‘Okay, now that’s Ozzy.’ So we’ve always had some of those elements.” Jericho also pointed out that “there’s a couple of songs” where he can hear the comparisons himself, such as “Nowhere to Run,” which is off the new album and currently part of the band’s live show. “When I’m singing it, I feel like, ‘Oh, this is the Ozzy part.’ And I think one of the reasons for that is when Rich Ward writes the melody line or Johnny Andrews, our producer, who co-writes all the songs with us, they know what my wheelhouse is. And they know that there’s that high-end, I guess you could say Ozzy-esque style to it.”
Jericho added, “Some people sound like Steve Perry (from Journey), some people sound like Bruce Dickinson (from Iron Maiden), some people sound like (Paul) McCartney. I sound like Ozzy. So that’s kind of my wheelhouse and you’re not trying to write songs that sound like Ozzy, but there are definitely parts that have that vibe to it. And even I can feel it. And I know it, which is cool. It’s fun to know that if you’re going to be compared to somebody, listen, people forget, Ozzy’s one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time. So I’ll take that comparison any day of the week, man.”Fozzy fans can here the whole Boombox is out Friday, May 6, worldwide. Click here to find streaming options, as well as physical copies.