What do Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne have in common?
They've all stolen heavily from a little-known metal outfit called Fozzy, at least according to Fozzy frontman Moongoose McQueen.
"Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Dio, Twisted Sister, Ozzy, Krokus, Accept… the list goes on," McQueen said, rattling off those who have dipped heavily into Fozzy's pool for inspiration. "Basically, every band that had any influence in the '80s, and even the early '90s, they basically ripped off their stuff from Fozzy."
Bold words, and McQueen intends to back them up this week when his band's self-titled U.S. debut hits stores.
McQueen's claims, however, are up for debate, as is just about everything else about Fozzy. McQueen's version of Fozzy's long, strange trip to U.S. record stores includes a 20-year layover in Japan. As McQueen tells it, the young headbangers inked a rather unfortunate record deal with a Japanese label, forcing the
band to spend "20 years in purgatory." In that time, McQueen claims that numerous metal acts marched through Japan while touring and marched out with would-be Fozzy hits such as ""Eat the Rich," "Live Wire" and "Stay Hungry," and rode them to stardom.
"The U.S. metal fans are going to get a taste of the true geniuses of heavy rock, the guys who started it all. The light show, the pyro, the look, the sound, the leather, the studs, the females in bondage… that's all our stuff, all our ideas," McQueen said.
Of course, there's another version of the Fozzy story -- one that contends McQueen is actually WWF superstar Chris Jericho, and the band is rounded out by members of Stuck Mojo (see "WWF's Jericho Leads Fozzy To Label Deal").
"I don't even want to glorify him or gratify him by giving him publicity," McQueen said of the Jericho rumors. "'Fan' is short for 'fanatic,' and that word sums up Chris Jericho. This
guy has been following us for years. He wrestled in Japan, and he discovered us in the early '90s. He followed us on our tours, and at first he was kind of cool, but now it's getting to the point of being embarrassing for him and embarrassing for us."
McQueen has yet to confront Jericho about what the singer calls "this 'Fatal Attraction' kind of thing," and he probably won't be hunting Jericho down when Fozzy plays MTV's "WWF Heat" on Sunday, October 29.
"If he keeps it up, I will put a restraining order on him," McQueen said. "I don't want him around. He creeps me out, to be honest with you."
However, Moongoose and the rest of Fozzy are less likely to keep their distance from the artists they feel have liberated their intellectual property.
"Believe me, there will be some confrontations coming up in the next few months," McQueen promised. "There's going to be some very embarrassed rock and roll stars. Now that they know that we're back in the country,
they're scared. They know they've been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They're like a kid who comes down on Christmas morning and unwraps his presents before his parents get up. They're very, very scared."
While McQueen is optimistic that Fozzy's return to the States will find the band gaining the audience it has been cheated out of for decades, the singer also hopes that life in the U.S. will bring some additional perks.
"People talk about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Now that I'm back in the States, I can't wait to have sex and take drugs," Moongoose said. "I never had enough money to take drugs before. I'm a huge rock star who's never had any drugs, and that's not right. That's unfair."
Filmmakers have also documented Fozzy's return to the U.S., and McQueen is optimistic that the resultant "textbook on the band" will touch a chord within viewers.
"They'll have a chance to see behind the iron curtain, so to speak, and get a sense of
the band and our personalities," McQueen said. "[They will] basically get a sense of what has happened to us in the last 20 years and feel sorry for us and feel sympathy for us and therefore buy more Fozzy product. That is basically the message that's in there. People will feel sorry for us, and it's going to translate into more money for us."