Jack Arckell for Midlands Rocks: Your recent UK shows have gone down very well, particularly this year’s Sonisphere Festival. How do Fozzy’s UK fans differ from those in America or Canada for instance?
CJ: Well the UK really is like our second home, and that’s not just a cliché, we really mean that. We seemed to click with the fans over there right from the beginning for whatever reason, they just like what we do and we love touring the UK. I remember the first show we ever did there was at Nottingham Rock City and I couldn’t believe the crowd. Everyone was going crazy, the response was great, and ever since we have enjoyed coming back.
JA: You’ve toured the UK three times over the last couple of years. Is this purely for the reasons you’ve stated, or is there pressure on you as a band to tour more regularly due to lost revenue from CD sales and the rise of illegal downloading?
CJ: We’re very honest about the fact that we make all of our money from touring. We have a great fan-base, I think we’ve been to the UK ten times, maybe twelve now, so that’s why we keep coming back. We tour regularly anyway because we just love playing live. There’s like a sub-society of fans who meet up every time Fozzy play, and that’s great. There’s the whole VIP experience too, where the fans can spend time with the band and see what its like to be around us rather than just watch us play. The fans can eat dinner with the band and enjoy a unique experience. As you mentioned it, at Sonisphere we had a group of people with us all day hanging out, so that’s a fun aspect of touring too.
JA: You’re a very hard working band. Many musicians complain about the touring cycle, but with your experience of the intense live schedule of World Wrestling Entertainment (professional wrestlers perform up to 250 nights per year), has this helped you to adapt to living out of a suitcase?
CJ: Without a doubt. I’m definitely a road-dog. I’ve been on the road since I was nineteen years old. Obviously there’s pros and cons of both, the hotels are nicer when I’m touring with the WWE, but with Fozzy sometimes its good to just get on the bus and sleep and not have to worry about going through airports first thing in the morning.
JA: You play good old fashioned metal music. Do you think there’s a lack of that in the music industry currently?
CJ: I’d say there are influences of old style metal, but at the same time we’re similar to bands like Avenged Sevenfold in what we do. There’s a lot of melody, a lot of slower stuff and some great singing. I’ve never been into the whole Cookie Monster thing (screamed vocals), a lot of bands do it, that’s their thing, but it doesn’t interest me.
JA: 2010’s ‘Chasing the Grail’ was an excellent record, and felt much more eclectic and diverse than previous studio effort ‘All That Remains’. Where do you see the band heading for the next album?
CJ: Pretty much the same. ‘Chasing the Grail’ was a much bigger-sounding album, and we want to continue that. The lyrics are all written, Rich Ward is one of the best songwriters I know. All the songs fit in with what we are and what we want to do.
JA: Can fans expect to hear any of the new material on the November tour?
CJ: We’ve never been a band to play just one new song, and it would be especially difficult with Paul Di Leo, our new bassist. It would be unfair to him to throw him a curveball when he’s already learning sixteen new songs. So no, we won’t be playing any new tracks yet. It’s difficult anyway to fit a new one onto the setlist. There’s something magical about choosing the right setlist that fans of the band may not realise.
JA: Do you have a favourite song to play live?
CJ: ‘Grail’ is always fun to play. And ‘Friday the 13th’. But its whatever the fans love, its their reaction that makes it for us, so we just play what they want to hear.
JA: And finally, you’ve chosen High Wycombe band Jettblack as the main support act for the tour. What can you tell us about those guys?
CJ: We really studied the scene, we wanted to choose someone with a lot of steam behind them. They play some heavy music but with good melody like ourselves, and they have a good fan-base in the UK. We didn’t want to choose someone who’d just ride on being our support act, Jettblack will be able to put on a great set in their own right.
Fozzy tour the UK in November, calling in at the Kasbah, Coventry on Nov 5th and Nottingham Rock City Nov 7th. For the full list of tour dates and information on ticket sales visit www.fozzyrock.com