Chris Jericho is best known as a legendary WWE wrestler. But he's also the talented lead singer of rock band Fozzy, coming to Turner Hall Ballroom later this month.
Throughout his hall of fame-worthy career as a professional wrestler for companies like WWE and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Chris Jericho has often made the claim in kayfabe that he’s the best in the world at what he does. With a resume that includes winning numerous championships — including beating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the same night to become the first undisputed WWF champion — he has a valid argument. It’s also a phrase that applies to life outside the ring: he’s a New York Times best-selling author, host of the weekly “Talk is Jericho” podcast and frontman for hard rock band Fozzy, as well.
You’ve been through Milwaukee many times over the years. What are some of your favorite memories here?
The last time Fozzy played at the Rave was with All That Remains, kind of a co-headline show, and the place was packed. We played the Eagles Ballroom with Saxon. Biff [Byford] from Saxon and I went downstairs to the haunted basement. I was like, “that’s funny, it’s haunted with ghosts, whatever.” But then you have to go down to the basement which is very creepy. And you can feel some weird shit going down that you’re like, “You know what? Let’s just get out of here.”
Having Milwaukee on the tour itinerary, whether it be Fozzy or WWE, you know it’s going to be a good show. Milwaukee is a great rock and roll town. It’s a great Chris Jericho town.
It seems the band has found a new level of success with the latest album.
It’s really cool to see the opportunities we’re getting, all based on the single “Judas.” Now that the album is out and those songs are as good, if not better than “Judas,” Fozzy has been taken to a whole new level. It’s really exciting for us because we’re ready for it and will put our band toe to toe with any other band on the planet, including Metallica, the Rolling Stones or any entertaining rock and roll band that makes sure everyone has a good time.
What’s one of the most interesting things you’ve heard shouted from the crowd at the band’s shows?
The biggest thing is the non-stop Fozzy chants at every show that we play. I think it’s crazy. When you first say or hear the name you think “that’s a strange name.” But it’s by far the easiest name to chant. No matter who we’re playing with, people are chanting Fozzy in between every song. It’s very cool to hear.
Do you hear any of your wrestling phrases?
No not really. It’s not that type of vibe. It’s just a big party of people who came to rock.
Are a lot of fans wrestling fans too?
Yeah. There are wrestling fans who are checking us out for the first time. But it’s also Fozzy fans that like wrestling as well because they’re Chris Jericho fans. What’s cool is that when they leave, everyone’s a Fozzy fan.
What’s it like having the freedom, now that you don’t have a full-time WWE contract, to pick and choose what to do?
I don’t do things for money anymore. I do it because I like to do it. It’s a good place, man, to do whatever I want to do and to enjoy all these different projects and make sure that fans can continue to get a lot of excitement out of what I do. It’s very important for me to make sure people can never pin down what Jericho is going to do next.
Do you remember the moment where you realized you wanted to be a singer?
It’s something I’ve always done. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 13 years old and never stopped, and when I met Rich Ward of Fozzy at the end of the ‘90s, that’s when I knew I had met someone I could create a musical career with.
This fall you’re hosting a “Chris Jericho Rock N’ Wrestling Rager” cruise. What does it mean for you to see a new idea like that become reality?
Fozzy played the KISS Kruise a couple years ago, and the moment I got off the boat I knew I wanted to do my own rock and wrestling cruise. It took me two years to get it up and running, but it’s really exciting. It’s a big gamble and there’s a lot at stake. But we’re on a solid pace, and if all goes well we’ll get ready for number two next year. I want it to be an annual destination vacation for anyone that appreciates and enjoys what I enjoy, which is wrestling and podcasts, paranormal, comedy, great rock shows and everything in between.
Maybe you should do a Great Lakes cruise next.
[laughs] Yeah, we’ll go across the lake. I’ll have to work on that next. It’ll cost 25 bucks with a free beer.