Chris Jericho is a realist. He understands that he will always be predominantly known as a professional wrestler, despite not having been a full-time wrestler in nearly a decade.
Jericho is okay with this notion for a couple of reasons. One, he’s universally regarded as one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time, and as such, is at peace with his in-ring legacy. Two, Fozzy – his former side project and current full-time gig – has created quite a legacy in its own right.
“Fozzy has been the focus and top priority since 2010,” Jericho said by phone recently. “When we release a record and the tour cycle is over, as long as people still want to see you, then I’ll sometimes go back to WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Sometimes I’m gone for six months, sometimes for 18 months. It all depends, really.”
At this point, Fozzy – a throwback to an era where rock and roll had backbone – is Jericho’s sole focus. He has no plans to return to WWE at the moment, which makes sense, considering Fozzy is now on a tour that includes a gig at Scout Bar on Thursday night.
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Chris Jericho the wrestler is accomplished, but Chris Jericho the musician is quite decorated as well. Inside the ring, Jericho has pretty much held every major title of note and was a key figure in the late '90s “Attitude” era that featured the rise of superstars like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Triple H. Outside the ring, Jericho is the frontman for a band that has charted albums and singles aplenty and played festivals around the globe.
Jericho knew Fozzy was beginning to make some waves when he met fans of the band who had no idea whatsoever as to his prominence within the squared circle.
“It doesn’t really matter who I am outside the band; you’re either a good band that makes good music, or you’re not,” Jericho said. “It’s the same thing when I first saw KISS; yeah, they wear makeup, but are they good or not? Slipknot wears masks. It’s either good or it’s bad, but it did take some time for people to understand that we were the real deal.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be in a rock band and I wanted to be a wrestler,” he said. “Even now, here I am doing both of them. Some people think you have to choose one, but I don’t have to choose. I’m focused and I never took no for an answer. I didn’t listen to people who didn’t agree with me. ‘No’ is a four-letter word; I really believe that.”
That chip on his shoulder has served Jericho well. Once upon a time, languishing in the former World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and frustrated with his spot in the pecking order, he jumped ship to WWE and instantly skyrocketed to the top of the card, a man who once took out The Rock and Stone Cold on the same night.
Fozzy is no different. Jericho understands that his band was once viewed as a pet project for a guy looking to blow off a little steam from his day job. Seven albums and numerous singles later, Fozzy has become its own successful entity.
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“It was a whole new world in 2010 when we decided it was time to reignite,” Jericho said. “We found who we are as a band, changed our approach, found our style and the right chemistry. I’d seen things happen before when I started making inroads in wrestling; the boulder picks up speed as it goes down the mountain. It was the same thing with Fozzy.”
Rumors often swirl of a Jericho return to WWE. In fact the band is scheduled to wrap up its current tour the night of WrestleMania. Might a return to the ring be in the near future? Nope, turns out the scheduling coincidence was just that.
Not that Jericho has turned his back on wrestling. He recently engaged in a major match with Kenny Omega in Japan and still has a great relationship with Vince McMahon and WWE. If anything, his performance skills as a sports entertainer have served him well with Fozzy.
“When I was full-time in WWE, you have to come up with your own stuff, and you would sink or swim with that,” Jericho said. “But you can’t be afraid to take a chance, and you can’t be afraid to piss people off. You have to connect with the crowd. That’s what wrestling is all about, and that’s what show business is all about.”