Most people know Chris Jericho as a WWE superstar, but his focus and true love has always been rock music and performing with his own act; Fozzy. Room Thirteen caught up with Chris before Fozzy's show in Southampton

R13: Second night of the tour, how are you feeling?
CJ:Good, so far so good. Last night was a great start in Reading, now we're in Southampton. This is actually the second time we've been here in just over a year. We were here last October, so we're looking forward to getting back out there.

R13: Did you get a good reception in Reading?
CJ:Yeah, it was great. For us, the first night of the tour always has little glitches; little gremlins to work out but last night went really well. The band was tight. We're just happy to be back in the UK, this is our fifth time in the UK on the 'Chasing The Grail' tour, so this is our final time here on this tour cycle. We wanted to end the tour cycle in the UK because we have such a great fanbase here. We take pride in the fact that when we tour, we don't just play London, Manchester, Birmingham - we go everywhere, big or small. That's one of the reasons we've always done well, because we'll play anywhere. We don't have problems playing the biggest of the big or playing small venues.

R13: You've skipped London on this tour cycle, was there any particular reason for that?
CJ:We just played London last tour. We're not going to any of the same cities we did last time, you can't keep coming back to the same places over and over again on the same record. As I said, this is the end of the run, so we wanted to hit places that we hadn't been to before, or hadn't been to in a while.

R13: What can we expect at your show?
CJ:Same as always; high energy, a great rock and roll band. We take great pride in giving a lot of energy to the crowd and expecting a lot of energy back. When you come and see us play it's almost, heaven forbid, fun - the word you're not supposed to use!
R13: I think you should have fun at a show.
CJ:You're right, you should have fun, we've always been very strict on that. We have a great time when we play, and that resinates to the crowd. It's a real co-existence where we exchange energy back and forth and everybody has a good time. Like I said, this is the last time we'll be playing some of these songs for a while; we've been playing them for two years now, so when the next record comes out we'll put new songs in, and retire some of the old ones out to the graveyard. It's a farewell to these songs too.
R13: Shed a tear...
CJ:Exactly! Every song you write is like your child; you can't say which ones you like best because you like them all. Some of them translate better live, some of them don't, but every song we've ever done I love. It is hard to figure out as each tour comes and each album comes out, which songs do you keep and which songs do you drop. I was just reading the set list from the first show on this tour two years ago, to see how the set list has changed from then to now. I literally sat there like "Wow, we were still doing that song back then!"

R13: Are there any songs you have become really sick of just because you have played them so much?
CJ:Not really, I mean, most of the songs that become a little bit more tedious are older ones. We just dropped a song called 'Crucify Yourself' which is from 'Happenstance', we've been playing that song since 2002, then, finally last tour I said "We can't play this song anymore, I'm sick of it, I'm done with it." We had so much other stuff we were doing too, it wasn't hard to make that break. Some of the songs when I look down at the set-list in front of my mic, I think 'I can't wait to play that one!' Some of them are harder to sing, so you're like 'Uh oh, this one's going to be a mother fucker!', I love all the songs on the set we play now.

R13: You played Sonisphere earlier this year, how did Fozzy go down with that crossover crowd?
CJ:It was great, we got a great response. There was a couple of websites that I read that gave great reviews, one of them, I can't remember what it was called.... NME or something...
R13: Just something tiny - NME...
CJ:Ha! Yeah, I know. It said the best bands of the weekend were Metallica, Weezer and Fozzy, and it's really cool when you get reviews like that. We had a great spot on one of the side stages, right before Slipknot, so it was later on in the day. We got a great response and I was happy to come back and play a festival in England because it had been a while since we played Download. It was good to get back on track and hopefully we'll do another festival in the UK this summer.
R13:Have there been any talks? Anything you want to share?
CJ:I mean, there are a couple that we're going for. I know you can't play Sonisphere two years in a row, unless you're Metallica, and then you can probably do what you want. There are other ones we're looking into and hopefully we'll get invited.

R13: I saw you a few years back and you had a really energetic show, do you find piling heaps of energy in your show helps with the reaction to your music from people who aren't necessarily Fozzy fans?
CJ:Yeah, and it's not conscious thing, we just get into it. When you have a big stage there's a lot more room to roam, but as a band we've been doing this for almost 13 years, we've played every size club, basement, stadium, arena that you could ever imagine, when you have that experience you don't get intimidated by a small stage or a big stage, we just do what we do. There are ways of expressing a lot of energy when you have a tiny stage, or a football field's worth of room, so you just have to adapt to whatever stage you're on. We very much believe in a high energy set, it's who we are as players and it's who we are as Fozzy. Our energy is part of the reason our fanbase continues to grow, and we have a huge hardcore fanbase, who will come and see use five or six times on the tour because they love being part of the vibe.

R13: When I last saw you, you seemed to have a fair few cover songs in your set, is that still the case?
CJ:No, we started as a cover band so we kept a fair few of those in our set, but now Van Halen and Metallica play more covers than we do. We have one cover song in our set right now, which is pretty much one of our songs at this point. I think most people that know 'Eat The Rich' associate it more with Fozzy than Krokus. That's it, we don't have any other covers, we have too much of our own material that people want to hear. There is a great vibe to that cover though, it can almost be a Buck Cherry or AC/DC song, I think we play it better than the original, and I love playing that song, and I like to keep it in the set whenever we can. Everyone has a favourite cover song, right?
R13: Right now, mine is Steel Panther's version of 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey, which I prefer to the original song.
CJ:Yeah, 'Am I Evil?' by Metallica or 'You Really Got Me' by Van Halen are better than the originals were.

R13: Not long before this tour you parted ways with long-term bass player, Sean; was it sad to see him go?
CJ:It was hard, it's always hard to make a line-up change and Sean had been with us for about seven years. There were certain things we weren't getting from him, and then Rich met Paul Di Leo when they were doing the Adrenaline Mob, and he's amazing. You never realise what you had missing until you get somebody different. It's like having a girlfriend who you're not clicking with but you hold onto because you don't want to let go, and then you meet somebody new and it's like "Holy shit, what was I waiting for?". This reminds me of when Adrian Smith joined Iron Maiden or when Phil Collen joined Def Leppard, it's an integral piece of the puzzle that you didn't know was missing until you got it. We're really excited to have Paul in the band from an image stand point, a playing stand point, an attitude stand point, he's a great guy and a great player. It makes the band better just having him with us.

R13: Have the fans been reacting well to Paul?
CJ:Yeah, we've only played two shows with him. We played Las Vegas and we played in Reading last night, so this is our first real tour with Paulie. We're all in amazement at what he brings to the band. Everybody else is playing better, I'm singing better because he's so good that we all want to join together with what he's doing. It's amazing. The funny thing was, when he joined the band he had a broken ankle, so the first four or five shows we did without Sean, weren't even with Paul, it was with another guy called Simon. We had all these Uproar shows booked, so Simon filled in for Paulie while Paulie getting healed up. They were massive shows with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine, we couldn't not play them, and so we had to get somebody else. So, we've had three bass players in a month!
R13: Hopefully this one is here to stay!

R13: You've also just launched the video for 'Enemy' can you tell us a bit about that?
CJ:Well, 'Enemy' is an older song; it's from 2005. It's our biggest hit, when the end of the show comes around people are chanting for it, they love it, it's one of our biggest songs that everybody loves and knows. So, we figured we should do another video for it with live footage, because live it's one of our most popular tunes. I wanted to give it a new lease of life; a little shot in the arm. We were launching our new website, so we thought it would be the perfect time to launch the new 'Enemy' video. It's made of clips from our tour here last October, just showing the energy and the vibe of a great song that people like to sing along with, it seemed like the perfect time to re-release it, so to speak.

R13: How involved were you in the launch of the new site?
CJ:I just approved things and gave ideas, I can't do any of the programming side of things. I went through it step by step on a dummy link. I had a lot to do with content in terms of pictures and organisation. We're really proud of it, it looks amazing and it's the best website we've ever had. It really is professional. It just great, I'm really proud of it -
R13: Nice plug! Is the launch of a new website something you would normally get excited about?
CJ:Not really, but the reason was I never really paid attention to it. Our websites were ok, but when you click onto it now, it looks like a big time website which is what we need. I don't stay up a night saying "Oh my gosh, our new website, our new website!" but when you see it, it looks really cool. Perception is reality in this business, or in any type of show business, so when you see a top notch looking site like that with all the information and all the things you can access, it just makes us look like a more professional band.

R13: As you mentioned 'Chasing The Grail' has been out for a couple of years now, are there plans to release a new album any time soon?
CJ:Yeah, we're working on it now. All the lyrics are written and Rich is working on the music. One of the things on this tour is he's sequestering himself and writing, we're hoping to have it out for summer, at which point we'll come back, play some festivals and do some more shows over here with the new record.

R13: Is it in the same vein as 'Grail' or does it go in a different direction?
CJ:I haven't heard any songs, but I know my lyrics are. The thing about 'Grail' that took it to the next level was that it was very eclectic. It was still very Fozzy, but there was a ballad, there was a 14 minute song, there was a Lacuna Coil-type weird song. Whatever Rich comes up with, is what it will sound like, but it's always going to be Fozzy. I encourage bands like Pink Floyd and The Beatles who take chances, and we want to do that. This needs to be the best record of our career because we're at the point where 'Grail' got so much momentum for us, and we got so much wind under our wings from all these different things that we've been doing, that if we can deliver the best record of our career we can expand upon that.

R13: For the past couple of years you've hosted the Golden Gods, how did that come about and is that something you'd like to do more of?
CJ:They asked me to an award presenter, I was like "Yeah, but I'd rather host the whole thing". So, I hosted the first year with Andrew WK and then the next year they asked me to do it by myself. They said that I'm that I am the Bob Hope or the Billy Crystal of the Golden Gods and that as long as I want the gig it's mine. It was fun, last year Fozzy played, and it's always cool to have Geezer Butler and Alice Cooper telling you that your band sounded awesome. I'll do it for as long as they keep asking me to.

R13: Music, writing, hosting, wrestling, what is your primary career focus and what do you hope to build on?
CJ:I've always been into a lot of different things. I've been playing in bands since I was 12 years old, I didn't just wake up one day and decide I want to be a singer, I was doing this years before I ever started wrestling. So now that the band has taken off to where it has, I want to take this as far as we can go, and make this my priority and that's what we've been doing for the past year and a half. I'll always do other things, that's part of who I am, but I really want Fozzy to continue to grow and it's great when your dreams come true. I've had two dreams come true, from being at the top of the heap in wrestling and now watching the band grow and getting more accolades. Right now the overall buzz for the band is the biggest it has ever been and that's the way I like it. I want to continue to grow with this band for as long as we can do it.

R13: What does 2012 have in store for yourself, and for Fozzy?
CJ:We'll record our new record from December to February and then release it in June, hopefully do all the festivals, do Uproar in the States. There's stuff going on for me in Hollywood, so I'll just continue to do what I do - be entertaining and entertain people, and be in showbiz!

R13: Thank you for your time, I hope tonight's show goes well and all the best with the rest of the tour.