Heavy metal band, Fozzy, are doing what they always dreamed about as children: making music. Chris Jericho (Vocals), Rich Ward (Guitar/Vocals), Frank Fontsere (Drums), Jeff Rouse (Bass), and Billy Grey (Guitar) believe that playing their original songs in front of a live audience is the best part of being a musician.
With limited options in high school for music education, Jericho found little direction for a student that wanted to play rock music. He took guitar lessons, but stopped to learn trombone, an instrument that is commonly featured in high school band classes. Frustrated at the repetition of formal guitar lessons and not thrilled with his stint as a trombone player, Jericho picked up a bass and found a friend who played guitar. Real music education for him came from getting together with other aspiring artists to form a band that played the rock music he loved. Lyrics from “Stay Hungry” on their self-titled album, Fozzy, capture the struggle to follow your heart, “Are you feeling the fire/Are you ready to explode/Are your dreams and desires/Riding down an open road”. Reaching for the stars is not easy, but the desire to achieve your goals can keep you moving forward.
Good music gets better with age. Starting out by playing covers, Fozzy has made the transition to all original songs through hard work and touring. Jericho describes touring as an opportunity to learn and says, “The more that you do something, the better you get at it. I think most bands, or all bands, are much better at the end of a tour than at the beginning of a tour”. Performing before a live audience every night allows the artists to perfect each song, as well as hone their musical skills. Jericho stated that the recording process is almost backward in that a song is recorded and released first, then performed live. Playing a song repeatedly on tour improves the composition and many songs that start as “good” become the “best” as time passes, because it changes with each rendition. Each live show is different and Grey explains, “You change things all the time”. Slight changes in a melody line or extending a guitar solo can give the song new energy, while keeping true to the original recording.
You can’t have it all. Music is all about moving forward and growing as you go. The members of Fozzy, like most musicians, have heard many reasons why music is a poor career choice. Jericho admits that with all the great bands playing right now, being in the top two percent means there is still much distance to cover. Grey keeps pushing forward, knowing that a pause or step back is not a reason to quit, but the motivation to work harder. The song, “Unstoppable” from their new release Do You Wanna Start A War? could be an anthem for any person who has a dream. The words say, “Spark the fire of my desire and make my dreams explode/I do just what I want to because I know it’s right/Don’t tell me I can’t make it/Won’t die without a fight”. In a nutshell, if you want something and are willing to work for it, you can have it all.
Fozzy played to a sold out show at the House of Blues in Cleveland during their recent tour. They will join the Cinderblock Party Tour with the Texas Hippie Coalition which starts in November. You can read Heather Allen’s review of the new album here.