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Chris Jericho: Jimmy Page on one side and Brian May on the other and I was like 'Oh, f**k'

Chris Jericho peering over the top of his sunglasses while wearing a leather jacket
(Image credit: Adrienne Beacco)

Chris Jericho is a rock’n’roll renaissance man: he’s a superstar wrestler, successful author and podcaster, and he’s fronted the band Fozzy since 1999. 

Eighth album Boombox is the follow-up to 2017’s Judas, and sees the band doubling down on the stadium anthems that have led to them playing with Metallica, Kiss and Iron Maiden. Classic Rock got in the ring with Jericho for a few rounds of verbal exchanges.

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There are some big tunes on Boombox: Purifier is an eighties-style chugger, Army Of One a self-empowerment anthem… 

Yeah, Purifier has a maybe a Priest-type vibe to it, whereas Army Of One’s more a Five Finger Death Punch-style song. I don’t think we ever sit down and go: “Okay, this one’s gonna have this sort of a feel.” You just write the songs and see where they take you. We were calling this album Chinese Fozz-ocracy for a while because it took us so long – we started it in May 2019 and released it in May 2022. Three years is a long time. 

Music has always been a big thing for you, hasn’t it? 

I just love rock’n’roll, man. The Stones, The Beatles, The Police, and obviously Maiden, Scorpions, Ozzy and Metallica, Helloween. Avenged Sevenfold’s a band I really can relate to. This week I’ve seen Elton John, The Cult, Journey and Toto. I love all aspects and elements of rock’n’roll. 

Lately on your podcast, Talk Is Jericho, you’ve had guests such as Bob Mould and Chad Smith, and you’ve discussed the merits of eighties metallers Nitro. It’s a broad remit. 

I started it in 2013 when podcasts were uncharted waters, so I was able to create a niche for myself early on. I wanted it to be diverse, to deal with any topic I found interesting – music, wrestling, paranormal activity, conspiracies, strippers, comedians, pro surfers, whatever. 

I couldn’t name one Hüsker Dü song, but Bob [Mould] wasn’t on to talk about that, he was talking about his career as a wrestling writer, behind the scenes in WCW [World Championship Wrestling]. I had a copyright lawyer on – who cares about copyright? But this guy was really interesting. My hope is if I find something interesting then other people will as well.

What did you learn playing with Maiden, Metallica and Kiss? 

One thing you learn from Metallica, Kiss and guys who run their ships very tightly is if you’re respectful of them and of their guys, you’ll get a lot further ahead with them. We’re always very, very respectful to the crew, because the crew can really help you – or fuck you if they want. [Fozzy guitarist/writer] Rich Ward has been in the music business since 1994, I’ve been in the entertainment business since 1990 – we don’t take anything for granted. 

You’ve met many of your heroes. Who is on your bucket list? 

Mick Jagger’s still an inspiration – even at almost eighty years old the guy’s an amazing performer. I’d love to do some shows with AC/DC, to see how those guys work up close and personal. I was fairly tight with Lemmy. We’d have fun conversations about Fawlty Towers, the Cavern Club, Chuck Berry and more obscure rock’n’roll guys… 

Fawlty Towers? So you’re a bit of an Anglophile? 

Canada’s part of the Commonwealth, and we had the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation], and there was a lot of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, The Goodies. I find a lot more kindred spirits with English people than I do Americans, because our sense of humour in the Commonwealth is very similar, in that it’s borderline absurd. 

You use Fozzy’s Judas as your entrance song into the wrestling ring. Is music a topic of conversation in the locker room among wrestlers? 

There’s a real connection between music and wrestling. Heavy metal, hard rock, rap – anything aggressive and high-energy with a lot of fan interaction. A great frontman is like a great wrestler: if you can connect with the audience they’ll always be excited and interested in what you’re doing. After I started using Judas, people started singing on their own – every Wednesday on national TV. I think I’m the only guy to come into the ring to my own song.

When you began singing, did you struggle to get accepted as both an artist and an athlete? 

Yeah. We’ve had to work twice as hard to get people’s respect in a lot of ways. I’m sure Jared Leto did the same with 30 Seconds To Mars, or Taylor Momsen with The Pretty Reckless. Bruce Dickinson’s an airline pilot and singer, but when he’s on stage I don’t care that he knows how to fly. Conversely, when Bruce is flying a plane I don’t care if he can sing or not – just land the plane! It’s the same with us. Chris Jericho’s a wrestler? That lasts as long as one song, then it’s either good music or it’s not. 

You’ve got real energy and drive. Where does that come from? 

I had these two seemingly impossible goals when I was a kid, of being a wrestler and being in a rock band. People were like: “How? You’ll never do that!” Then I started getting success, achieved what I did in wrestling and in music, then you’re unstoppable. It’s momentum and confidence. 

My fourth book was called No Is A FourLetter Word [How I Failed At Spelling But Succeeded In Life], which is about the lessons I learned throughout my years. I never took no for an answer, I always look for the reasons how you can make it a yes. I’ll find the one way that it is going to work, focus on that and make it happen. And once you kind of have that mind-set, it makes everything a lot easier and a lot more attainable. 

You hosted the Classic Rock Awards in 2015. Any memories? 

I had Jimmy Page on one side and Brian May on the other, and I was like: “Oh, fuck, I’d better go introduce myself so they know who the hell I am!” Jimmy was cordial, and Brian – what a great guy. It was hard going up and telling some jokes, but we had a lot of fun.

Boombox is out now via Mascot Records.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.