CHRIS JERICHO of FOZZY Reflects on Recent “Boombox” Studio Album: ‘This Record Shows the Strength Of Our Songwriting’

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Fozzy released their new album, “Boombox”, last May 6th, 2021. The album features two Top 10 singles, “Nowhere to Run” and “Sane.”

“Boombox” sees Fozzy returning with a diverse, attitude-drenched collection of songs. It’s everything the band’s faithful followers have come to expect from the band while pushing their signature sound forward. Songs like “I Still Burn” and “Ugly on the Inside” explode with the crunchy, rousing guitar and fiery vocals. The album doesn’t let up until the ruthless closing riff of “The Vulture Club.”

“Boombox” Album Artwork

The album is possessed with a sense of urgency and vigor that can only be the work of Chris Jericho [vocals], Rich Ward [guitars, vocals], Grant Brooks [drums], Billy Grey [guitars]and P.J. Farley [bass].

Correspondent Robert Cavuoto had an in-depth conversation with Chris about Fozzy‘s new releases, the aggressive power ballad “Army of One” that speaks of strength and resilience, if he will consider changing his wrestling theme song, and how he has never had a White Castle hamburger. Join in on the fun and check out the transcript of their conversation below.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:

I can’t tell you how much I love “Boombox;” there is no filler or throw-away songs.

It’s been a while since we started working on the record; we are calling it “Chinese Fozzocracy” [laughing]since it has taken three years from when we stepped into the studio, possibly longer when you are talking about writing it. We recorded “Nowhere to Run” in May 2019, and here we are releasing it in May 2022. Not that we were tinkering. It’s a great record, and we didn’t want to release it when nobody was going out touring. There were not a lot of options for bands or radio stations to play new music. We wanted to wait until the time was right. We didn’t want the record to come out and have it float away. Now is the right time!

How many songs did you have to write to get to the twelve?

We don’t write like Gene Simmons nor have a box set of 200 unreleased songs. We’ve never done that. Once in a while, there may be an extra song or two that isn’t strong enough to go on the record. If we are working on something we know is not good, we just stop. The 12 songs on this record are the ones we finished and recorded. It shows the strength of the songwriting to make sure that every song works and is worthy of being on the record. If not, we let it go.

I know you have a hit single on your hand with “I Still Burn,” but the song that should be your next single and my prediction will explode is “Army of One.” It’s a tremendous song!

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

Thank you! In my mind’s eye, it should be the third single. That’s what I’m counting on. We have done ballads in the past, but nothing like this. It has a very sweeping and epic style of a ballad. I think it is perfect for “Boombox”. Sometimes when you write a song, you think this one could be and should be a big hit. I definitely agree with you on that. It will be a single at some point in time. It also should be a really great song to play live. We’re playing six songs from “Boombox” but haven’t added that one in yet. That’s a special song for sure.

It’s a tremendous song about; power, defiance, strength, and resilience. Tell me about the inspiration for that song as it is so perfectly tuned into society today.

There are a lot of songs about things we have all gone through, but we didn’t write them in that way. If you look at “Sane,” you may think we wrote it during the lockdown, but we didn’t. All the songs were written before the lockdown! One of the things that we were really focusing on for this record was believing in yourself. The lyrics. “I’m an army of one fighting war after war,” it’s what we all are. When it comes down to the wire, the only person you can trust is yourself. I think that is what is great about this record; people can relate to it in a very positive way. The song “Judas” was a huge hit for us, and it just went gold and was on Top 5 radio stations and sports arenas around the world. The lyrics are dark. “Everyone I have ever loved, I pushed away,” so people can empathize with it on a dark level, whereas “Army of One,” or “I Still Burn,” everyone can relate to it on a positive level to believe in yourself and making your goals and dreams come true. I think both of those songs have huge potential because people relate to it, and it makes you feel good.

You did a great job of sequencing this CD and putting “Army of One” in the right spot. How important is sequencing to you?

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

It’s funny you mention that because the sequencing of a record is almost forgotten about nowadays because you release a song, then another, and then an EP. I grew up with albums with side one and side two. I believe a record should be an experience that takes you from beginning to end with peaks and valleys like a rollercoaster. I spent a lot of time on how this should be sequenced, what works best, and how I would like to hear it as a fan of Fozzy. Like you said, the first four songs are perfectly placed. I knew the first time I heard “Sane,” it would be the opener, “I Still Burn” is next and a radio hit single, then “Purifier” is more of a rocker. “Army of One” is number four, takes you down a little as it’s epic and inspirational, then kicks into “Ugly on the Inside.” There is a musical journey to this record that I still appreciate. If I’m the only one who appreciates it, it’s great, but now there are two of us! It’s important to me!

“Ugly on the Inside” is another killer song. Is that a personal statement about someone you know or a reflection of celebrities and social media?

A lot of song lyrics are written by Johnny Andrews, who co-writes with us and is our producer. He comes up with a lot of interesting concepts and ideas. I don’t know if he wrote it about anyone in particular, but it’s my job to take those lyrics and conceptualize them into something I can feel. “Ugly on the Inside” is one of those superficial things with people, and we all know them. It’s superficial on the outside with all the filters and selfies. It’s the ugliness on the inside that you can smell very quickly. We all know people like that. The best lyrics aren’t what matters to me; it’s what they mean to everyone who listens to them. How you can insert your own theme into what they mean to you.

I was surprised by “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood being on the record. What was the decision to “metalized” it?

Rich Ward started an 80s cover band during the pandemic, but not a rock version covering Poison, Whitesnake, or Motley Crue. He was covering Billy Ocean, Duran Duran, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. We played “Relax” on the Jericho Cruise right before the lockdown. We did covers set one of the nights, and Rich suggested we play it because it was such a great song. It went over so well with Rich on guitar and me singing. It was so heavy. Everyone knew all the words, and it was an energetic tune. We decided to record it to see how it sounded, which turned out really well. It almost has an industrial vibe. We have been playing it live ever since, and it goes over well night after night that it’s one of the set’s highlights.

You need to sell t-shirts that say “Chris Says Relax” at your shows.

It’s “Fozzy Say Relax” because that is what it really is. We did a covers record and played ABBA “S.O.S.” It just worked because it was heavy and cool. “Relax” fall into that category.

Will you update your wrestling theme song from “Judas” to something off the new record?

I think “Judas” is evergreen at this point. Whether or not being a good guy or a bad guy is related to Chris Jericho. We could change it, but why? People like it, sing it and want it to be part of the whole experience. People pay money to hear and sing it at AEW shows, so it would be counterproductive to change it.

Have you spoken to Jon Cena to add one of your songs to the Peacemaker soundtrack for Season 2?

I’m guessing he doesn’t pick the songs, but if the producers call us, we will work something out.

You should give him a CD so he can pass it to the right people as some songs on this would work nicely.

I’m sure nobody ever does that [laughing].

You are in fantastic shape; how do you stay healthy when on the road touring and avoid the White Castle, Denny’s, and Mcdonald’s?

Just don’t eat it. I have never been that type of guy. Maybe once in a while as a treat. I don’t think I have ever had a White Castle in my life. I have been in the business for over 30 years, and you have to have a certain look, so it’s important to stay away from those things. Eating that stuff doesn’t give you energy; it just makes you sluggish and tired.

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