Interview With Fozzy - 14th May 2010
Photo Of Rich Ward From Fozzy © Copyright FozzyLauren caught up with Rich Ward from Fozzy back stage at Nottingham Rock City to talk about the latest Fozzy album, their current small UK tour and much more.

Hello and thank you for taking time out to do this interview!

First of all can you give us a brief history of the band such as how you came together as a band and came up with the name Fozzy?
We started the band in I guess it was probably ’99. It was basically an Atlanta jam band with like local guys who were into like Sevendust. We would get together and play 80s metal covers and we called it Fozzy Osbourne. That’s the connection. It was supposed to be like fun-time, guys, off tour, Friday night playing their favourite Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs. I met Chris [Jericho] backstage at a WCW wrestling event when he was in WCW. We got chatting and I told him about Fozzy Osbourne and he said ‘wow that sounds cool’ and I said ‘why don’t you come out and be like the guest singer one night’ ‘cos he’s told me he’d sung in bands and played bass and he said ‘yeah man that’d be great’ and so we set up the gig ad it said Fozzy Osbourne featuring members of Stuck Mojo and Chris Jericho and then we played the gig and said ‘that was the most fun we’d had in years’ because the music industry is a meat grinder and this was the first time where we’d said we’re not worried about record deals, we’re not worried about touring, we’re not worried about management and labels, we’re just worried about playing songs and having fun and we were a covers band at that point and 4 gigs later we started getting record company offers to make albums and we were like we’re a covers band that doesn’t make sense but who are we to say no to somebody? So that was the genesis of it.

Ever since Fozzy were born you have gone through line up change after line up change, do you feel that the line up is as strong as ever now?
Yeah I would say so. You know, when a band is a side project because that’s what Fozzy’s always been, it’s the side project of Stuck Mojo and Chris Jericho’s ‘pet band’. So when it’s a side project and it’s not everyone’s main band a lot of times people become busy in other things and then there’s this tour and it’s hard to keep continuity with members and eventually we came up with this line up. It’s all of the members of Stuck Mojo except for Billy Gray, Billy Gray used to play in my band Sick Speed and he also did some shows for Fozzy back in 2003 so he’s been a part of the organisation, he was also in one of our music videos, played guitar and did some touring. Yeah this touring line up has never come to the UK but this touring line up has played in the states before so it is a bit of a revolving line up but it’s always been Chris and I since the very beginning. I write and produce the songs and Chris writes the lyrics and is the ringleader of the group.

Obviously because Chris is on the road wrestling again, how do you work the band around your commitments because obviously you said you produce and Chris writes the lyrics?
Chris lives in Tampa. So what we end up doing is, I live in Atlanta and Tampa is about an 8 hour drive or a 2 hour flight so what we end up doing is writing over the phone back on forth, ideas, you know give me your lyrics and I start working on melodies and songs around his lyrics and I just go down to Tampa and we get a studio down there and we record. Then I come back to Atlanta and a week later or when he has three days off from the road I go back to Tampa and we record vocals.

Okay so it’s not like the band’s on hold?
No it’s a commute! That’s what we do, we commute.

[There is a pause whilst the ownership of pizzas is determined by the Fozzy boys!]

You have just released your forth studio album ‘Chasing The Grail’ are you happy with the response the album has had from both the fans and the press?
Yeah I am actually. It’s tough with the band because 9 times out of 10 people are going to slag you because your singer’s a wrestler. So you always go in with that, people saying that it’s some sports star, his little project. But this is now our 4th studio record and we’ve got a live record and we’ve been together over 10 years and people are starting to take it more seriously now they know it’s not a little whim of his [Chris] I mean he’s been with it for a while now.

I do know a couple of people that didn’t know he was a wrestler; I was like “yessss”…
Yeah, note the big arms!

How would you say ‘Chasing The Grail’ compares to your previous albums?
It’s the first time that I had ever taken complete time out from Stuck Mojo and made Fozzy my priority so by proxy it was the first time it became the focus of everybody involved, whereas in the past it had been a bit of a side project so that when we went in and wrote songs and were recording we were still a bit focussed on other projects at the same time. So it was like a to do list like ‘today I’ve got to work on these songs for Fozzy and I’ve got a Stuck Mojo show next week so I’ve got rehearsals’ so it was a balancing act. Whereas, there was no balancing or no shuffling of schedules it was Fozzy 100% and obviously Chris couldn’t do that because he was wrestling but he didn’t have to. He wrote the lyrics before we started writing the record so his job was done before we even went in so then all he needed to do was once I started sending him demo recordings of me, ‘cos what I do is I take him lyrics, I write the songs and I sing his lyrics and kind of come up with melodies to it then I send him recordings and I say what do you think? And he either says I love it or he hates it. The stuff he’s not crazy about we do some changes and work together until we find that balance where it becomes a Fozzy song, not a Rich Ward song with Chris’ lyrics.

If you had to choose your favourite Fozzy song of all time what would it be and why?
Oh, man I really…A lot of them are off the new album. I really like ‘Let the Madness Begin’ I think it’s a great song, I also really like the song ‘Happenstance’ off the Happenstance record is one of our best songs and if I had to pick one off the All that Remains record I would go with ‘It’s a Lie’ the one that Bone Crusher the rapper from Atlanta that did a guest vocal on, I love that song.

You are currently on a short tour across the UK how has it been going so far?
Yeah a very short tour! 4 shows in 3 days. It’s going awesome, sold out last night going to be sell out tonight. Anytime you pull in and there’s a big queue of folks waiting outside to see you, it makes you feel good.

You have different bands supporting throughout the tour, were these handpicked by yourself?
Yeah we have. Almost all of the bands are friends of ours which is great. One’s some friends from Atlanta that we bought over from the states. Then our buddies Forever Never who have toured with us before then the Jokers from Liverpool, friends of ours, so it’s awesome to have your pals with you on tour!

So what’re you doing after your UK tour?
We go back to Atlanta for 3 days. Then we fly out to Detroit, we’re looking forward to Detroit. It’s like a crappy city ‘cos it’s like an industrial town, all the factories are shut down but the folks there are awesome. It’s like Sheffield it’s an awesome rock town.

Can we expect to see Fozzy tour any of the major festivals over the summer?
Yeah, erm, we’re playing Bloodstock and Stuck Mojo’s doing a bunch of festivals in Germany like With Full Force and some other ones there. Chris is really busy, in the fall we’ve got some openings so we’ll be back to do a full headline tour then.

MySpace seems to be a big tool in the music industry these days with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a MySpace site, what are your opinions on MySpace as a tool in the music industry?
I like it. We have street team leaders that head up our MySpace pages because you wanna stay in touch and be abel to communicate and obviously it’s such an amazing tool but it requires a tremendous amount of time. You could literally spend all day, every day on it communicating with fans and talking with friends and so I started to wean my time on the internet back because I realised I became obsessed with making sure I was communicating with everyone but no songs were being done, I never played guitar, you know what I mean, there’s no rehearsing, I turned really pale, I started getting this like fluorescent glow from the light. So yeah.

Where would you like to see yourself this time next year?
Right here with you, sitting in this room! You know, we just take it a day in the time. It’s best to not have any expectations of like ‘oh we’d like to be selling this many records or playing this venue’ it’s always best to just focus on the moment you know, focus on the gig tonight at Rescue Rooms and have a great time.

One last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a Zebra and a Giraffe which one would you be and why?
Yeah I’d have to go with the zebra because the giraffe just seems like it’s an awkward creature. Real tall, you know, like tall people life’s just rough. Short people like us we’re compact we get in and out of spaces easy, it’s perfect and with a zebra I would find like good speed, can run from predators faster. They do look pretty cool too, yeah, stripes are in.

Thanks for your time, do you have a message for your fans reading this?
Just I love the UK. It’s my home away from home; I have such a great time here, so thank you.

Interview by Lauren Dauny
 Band Members

Chris Jericho
Rich Ward
Frank Fontsere
Sean B. Delson
Mike Martin
 Latest Releases
Fozzy - Chasing The Grail
Release Date - 26th january 2010
1. Under Blackened Skies (Ward, Jericho, Sanders)
2. Martyr No More
3. Grail
4. Broken Soul
5. Let the Madness Begin
6. Pray for Blood
7. New Day's Dawn
8. God Pounds His Nails
9. Watch Me Shine
10. Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday the 13)
11. Revival" (Ward)
12. Wormwood" (Jericho, Martin)
 Band Related Links
Fozzy Myspace