Chris Jericho: The 11 Records That Changed My Life

Fozzy (Chris Jericho, left)

Following on from barnstorming single Judas, Fozzy are releasing an album of the same name next month. Fronted by the Ayatollah Of Rock N Rolla that is Chris Jericho, the WWE legend is a genuine rockstar, bringing unashamed pomp and panache to the Fozzy machine.

But where does he get it from? To find out, we called up Y2J himself to chat about the ten records that changed his life. Of course, he said, “I can’t just do ten, because I’m Chris Jericho”, and who are we to argue? So here are the ELEVEN albums that changed the life of the Fozzy frontman.

Fozzy start their US tour this evening and arrive in The UK in late October (dates below). Judas is available to pre-order now.

The Beatles – The White Album

The Beatles were the first band I was ever really into. The White Album is the perfect Beatles record in terms of the variety and diversity, of the band. I discovered the Beatles when I was ten years old, I read all the books, I had all of the records, I was a fanatic and it’s what really got me into rock ‘n’ roll specifically. This was like the early ‘80s so it wasn’t cool to like The Beatles, so I was an outcast, and it trained me for what I was supposed to endure when it came to heavy metal three or four years after that. I made my own Beatles shirt using a picture from the newspaper.

People used to make fun of me because it wasn’t Journey or whoever was popular at the time in 1981-82. You had to make a commitment and make a stand if you were a Beatles fan back then, which is so weird to think about now because they’re universally acclaimed.

Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz

When I went to junior high school I noticed that all the pretty girls I was attracted to weren’t wearing Beatles shirts, but they were wearing Ozzy, Priest and Scorpions shirts. So I thought if I was ever going to get a chance to talk to these girls then I should find out what’s going on with these other bands. I went to a used comic book shop and bought Blizzard Of Ozz on cassette and that’s when I realised how cool Ozzy and heavy metal was.

I remember being blown away by Crazy Train but then hearing Goodbye To Romance it sounded like the Beatles anyway, and that’s when I realised how influential the Beatles were on everything. At that point in time I could talk to girls about Ozzy and not think about them laughing at me because of my press-on Beatles t-shirt.

Iron Maiden – Powerslave

I know people talk about Number Of The Beast or Piece Of Mind being the classic, quintessential album, but for me it’s Powerslave. It’s the first one I bought, the first tour that I saw and it’s still my favourite.

Every song on Powerslave is as good as the last. Then there’s the imagery, the cover, the way the band looked on the back, even something as simple as including the running time of the album. I couldn’t believe that they actually timed their songs and added them all together, so I started doing that with all my albums, finding out what the total runtime was because I saw it on the back of Powerslave.

Metallica – Ride The Lightning

I used to know this guy who was like a Yoda of heavy metal, and he was always the guy to go to for the new bands and the cool bands to listen to. One day he told me to check out this band called Metallica and I he showed me a copy of Ride The Lightning. I remember looking at the back cover like ‘Holy shit, these guys are pretty cool.’

Cliff Burton’s mouth on the back of Ride The Lightning is some kind of crazy soul-sucker, he’s so into it, so rockin’ that he’s got this screaming mouth agape pose. I took the bus down to the record store and found Ride The Lightning and I put it on my old stereo that was the size of a desk, and it starts with the harpsichord thing, and I thought ‘This isn’t heavy metal, this is stupid,’ and then of course it kicks in! It was insane, it blew my mind big time.

I was 14 years old and to me heavy was Powerslave, but this was on a whole different dimension. That’s when I started my Metallica obsession.

Trouble – Psalm 9

Trouble were a band on Metal Blade from 1984-85. The reason I mention them is because the first song I ever played on bass — the first song I ever played in a band — is one of their songs called Revelation (Life Or Death). It’s a weird first song because it’s so hard, there’s like eight parts in it, but for whatever reason that’s the song that the guys in the band wanted to do.

There are five different tempo changes and riffs in it, which isn’t your usual Smoke On The Water song to learn. Once I finally learned it, it kicked me off on being a fairly good bass player in high school. I still listen to this album, it’s very doom, almost a modern-day Sabbath. Very much ahead of their time.

Helloween – Walls Of Jericho

This is where I got my professional name that I’ve had for 27 years. I wanted to call myself Jack Action for my first wrestling match, and somebody told me it was a stupid name, and I happened to have Walls Of Jericho in the front seat of my car, so I said ‘I’ll be Chris Jericho.’

Metallica weren’t so much Maiden influenced but they were heavy, but with Helloween they were very Maiden in their guitar solos, there was lots of harmony. Whatever power metal is today, Helloween are the first to do it and they’re the best. If you listen to Stratovarius or bands like that, to me it’s all watered-down Helloween.

Kiss – Alive

It’s a classic. I didn’t hear it in 1975 though, I heard it in 1985, and to me that was the perfect record. Kiss are one of my favourite bands to this day. Alive is the best example of what Kiss is and they still play most of those songs live. Kiss are very much showmen; the production, the pomp, the paint and all that stuff, but with Kiss Alive that’s just the front cover. You’ve got to listen to the music and it’s the music that I love. I can still listen to that album all the way through.

The Police – Synchronicity

The first concert I ever saw was The Police on the Synchronicity tour. I was a big fan of The Police all through elementary school in 80-81, but when Synchronicity came out I got into The Police as musicians and started to realise how unique they were and that it wasn’t just Sting’s band.

I had to beg my parents to let me go see The Police because it wasn’t just to see a band, it was to see my favourite band. I still remember the colours, it was very much based around red, blue and yellow which are the colours that are splashed on the cover of Synchronicity. That’s when I got so hooked on live music and live rock‘n’roll.

Mother Love Bone – Apple

In the ‘90s I was such a metalhead I didn’t like grunge – I resisted it because it was killing off all my favourite bands. But then I found Apple and Mother Love Bone. Andrew Wood was just a rocker, and that to me was really cool. It’s still a tremendous record to this day. There are no stinkers on that album and it’s one of those What Ifs; I wish Andrew Wood didn’t die just to see what might have happened and what he could have done with that band.

AC/DC – High Voltage

It was only over the past five or six years that I really began to understand the genius of AC/DC and realise that they are the greatest rock‘n’roll band of all time. I think Bon Scott is the best. His lyrics, you believe them, he lived them.

When he sings all of those songs like Little Lover – ‘The wet patch on your seat, was it Coca Cola?’ – no, she’s so wet from seeing Bon Scott onstage and he knows it! When he sings it it so lascivious and creepy but it’s real. I don’t think there’s a bad Bon Scott song by AC/DC.

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

I’ve always been a Stones fan but it’s only in the past five years that I’ve really started honing in on the genius of the Stones. There’s not a bad song on Sticky Fingers, it’s a classic.

They’ve got some hits on it, but there’s a lot of great lesser-known songs like Can’t Hear Me Knockin’ or You’ve Gotta Move. They’re so heavy. It’s a heavy fuckin’ album, it’s blues to the nth degree. Wild Horses, Dead Flowers, it’s hit after hit, but not like Start Me Up and Satisfaction that everyone knows. Great record, great band.

Tour Dates

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 6:00PMThe WarehouseClarksville, United States
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 7:30PMPiere's Entertainment CenterFort Wayne, United States
Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 6:00PMA and R Music BarColumbus, United States
Friday, September 29, 2017 at 7:00PMDTE Energy Music TheatreClarkston, United States
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 7:00PMThe Rapids TheatreNiagara Falls, United States
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 7:00PMF. M. Kirby CenterWilkes-Barre, United States
Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:00PMPalladium UpstairsWorcester, United States
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 7:00PMThe QueenWilmington, United States
Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 8:00PMThe TarheelJacksonville, United States
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 5:30PMO2 Academy BirminghamBirmingham, United Kingdom
Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 5:45PMTivoli TheatreDublin, Ireland
Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 6:00PMThe Limelight 2Belfast, Ireland
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 7:00PMTHE LIVE ROOMSChester, United Kingdom
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:00PMClub AcademyManchester, United Kingdom
Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 6:00PMO2 Academy IslingtonLondon, United Kingdom
Friday, November 3, 2017 at 7:00PMCorporationSheffield, United Kingdom
Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 5:30PMGlasgow GarageGlasgow, United Kingdom
Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 7:30PMRiversideNewcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 6:30PMPoppodium Q-FactoryAmsterdam, Netherlands
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:00PMColos-SaalAschaffenburg, Germany
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 6:30PMZ7 KonzertfabrikPratteln, Switzerland

The 11 best Helloween songs, by Chris Jericho

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.