On Tuesday (January 26), Chris Jericho will be in Cincinnati, Ohio for a taping of "WWE Smackdown," the weekly wrestling show he calls home. But he'll also be celebrating the release of Chasing the Grail, the fourth album from his band Fozzy. Chasing the Grail is a dynamic slab of modern metal, full of heavy riffs, prog progressions, ear-bleeding solos and shout-along melodies. At the center of it all is Jericho's dynamic voice, which combines the ethereal whine of Ozzy Osbourne with Phil Anselmo's rugged growl.
It's one thing to put out an album full of badass rock music, but it's another to have the fickle metal audience embrace you (especially when your frontman wears tights most of the time). But Jericho was in bands long before he was a wrestler, and he has figured out how to win people over.
"The first couple of records were more of just a fun thing — we did mostly covers," Jericho said. "And sure, we first got identified as 'The band with the wrestler as the singer,' but you can only take that gimmick so far. Kiss is the band with makeup, but if the tunes weren't there it wouldn't have worked. Nobody would have listened to a band called Audioslave, which is the dumbest name ever, but the fact that it was dudes from Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine made it interesting. So anybody who has been willing to check out the material knows that it's not just a gimmick."
Jericho is particularly proud of Chasing the Grail's expanded sound. "We did our first ballad on this record. We did a 14 minute Dream Theater kind of prog rock thing, and then we did the thrashers," Jericho explains. "It's the first time we put all of our influences together. It's all Fozzy, but it's very diverse. People will be surprised at — dare I say it — how mature it is."
He'll continue on the road to WrestleMania XXVI (live on March 28 in Glendale, Arizona) and hopes to squeeze in a handful of shows with Fozzy somewhere in between. As far as critical reception of Chasing the Grail goes, he only really listens to his favorite review of all time. "I met Ronnie James Dio, and he told me I had a great voice," he said. "That was a pretty huge deal."