This weekend the last of the big touring festivals rolls into town in the form of the Uproar Festival. The 2012 edition of the tour brings some of the bigger names in hard rock's past (Godsmack, Staind) and present (Shinedown, Adelita's Way) to The Woodlands.
Listed among the bands playing on the second stage is name familiar to those of love loud music and professional wrestling: Fozzy. Fronted by former WWE World Champion Chris Jericho, Uproar is Fozzy's first extensive U.S. tour.
Fozzy isn't a vanity project or side gig for Jericho. While he may have made his name in the squared circle, music is just another part of what makes him who he is.
"It's what I've been since I was 19 -- I play music and I wrestle," Jericho says, talking to Rocks Off from the road. "There's a duality in me. It was never that I liked one better than the other, it's just the two things that I do."
Founded in 1999, Fozzy started off with Jericho joining forces with Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward to cover some of their favorite tracks from the likes of Dio and Iron Maiden. Things were good, but once they started writing and recording their own material they decided it was time to take the band to another level.
"Over the last four years we've really decided that we're going to make this the biggest priority in our lives," Jericho said. "I want to take Fozzy as big as we can get it. There's no backup plan, there's no secondary plan. My entire career is built around Fozzy's schedule now."
Fozzy may be his primary focus but that doesn't stop the questions concerning his pro wrestling career. The band holds a signing every day at Uproar and Jericho says that without fail someone asks him when he's returning to the WWE. When asked if fans would see him in the ring next year he gave us a straight forward response.
"I haven't really thought about it," he says. "When a hole in the schedule comes up I'll see where I'm at."
Wrestling fans may have to wait a while, as 2012 may end up being Fozzy's breakout year.
Although the group had pushed units in the past, they just missed hitting the Billboard 200 with 2010's Chasing the Grail. When they released Sin and Bones a month ago, expectations were high and the results were even better than expected: No. 143 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Jericho couldn't be happier.
"Somebody found a copy of the Billboard magazine and gave it to us. That's when it really hits you like, 'Holy shit we're No. 1!'" he says. "That will go up in frame on my wall. It's one of the things I'm most proud of in my entire career."
With the album out and a No. 1 Billboard spot to their name the band is looking to build on that success. The first step is to make the most of their spot on the Uproar festival. Jericho says the band is making new fans at every stop.
"We don't have pyro. We don't have a big stage set. We are the show," Jericho says. "It's really gratifying to go out there every day and play in front of huge crowds. Some of them know us and some of them don't but at the end they're all cheering 'Fozzy!'"
No matter what happens with Fozzy you won't find Jericho resting on his laurels. Although he's been on the road since he was 19, the man who turns 42 in November doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
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"That's one thing I love about music: there's no age limit on it. People tell Ozzy to retire. What the fuck is he gonna do? Go work in a warehouse? Go gardening?" Jericho said with a laugh. "This is what I do."