Since one of the loyal CTT readers occasionally reminds me to review more harder rock, today’s post comes as a request—one that has me a bit puzzled whether or not it’s a legit band or a side project. I’ll explain…
In 1999, Rich Ward started a band called Fozzy Osbourne, a play on the name of legendary singer Ozzy Osbourne. He would play with whatever musicians he could find in a given week, until he met Chris Jericho in San Antonio, Texas after Jericho wrestled as part of the WWE. To not mix the two worlds up, Jericho initially declined a full-time spot as lead singer, but once convinced, took the mic and the moniker of Moongoose McQueen.
Anytime Jericho was with the band, he never broke character and refused to acknowledge the wrestler and the singer were one in the same. He would even go as far as to feign ignorance as to who Jericho was, confusing some of the more gullible fans. Some of the data started to add up when Chris Jericho was interviewed and proclaimed he was a “huge fan” of Fozzy Osbourne and Moongoose. When it appeared the band had real potential, they shortened their name to just Fozzy and adopted a satirical back-story. They said they signed with a record company to move to Japan and be huge rock stars—until that company went out of business, leaving them stranded for twenty years while their demos were stolen and recorded by other bands.
Fozzy got a deal with Megaforce records and put their debut out in October of 2000. It was mostly covers of iconic bands like Dio, Twisted Sister, and Iron Maiden. Their second album was much of the same and hit shelves in 2002. Around that time, the band dropped the back-story and Jericho gave up his McQueen persona. In 2005, Fozzy put out their first album consisting of entirely their own material—but despite the radical changes, it still wasn’t drawing in the fans as they’d hoped. Over the next twelve years, they steadily released four more albums, culminating their most recent record Judas that came out in October of 2017.
The lead single—the album’s title track—saw some reasonable success. It peaked at No. 5 on the Mainstream Rock charts and hit No. 1 on the Sirius Octane chart. The track took off enough that WWE used it for a pay-per-view event and Jericho began using it as his entrance music wrestling with New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling promotions. With the latter, it’s common to hear the crowd belt out the chorus along with the entrance music, back when live crowds existed for such events.
From an outsider perspective, Fozzy isn’t the household name of the other artists noted above, and don’t have a Metallica-type following. But given this was my first go-around with the band today, I have to say they’ve got some chops. Jericho’s vocal is surprisingly solid and will be recognizable going forward. The group has also wisely used wrestling to their advantage enough to get noticed by Sony Music and they intend on releasing their eighth studio album sometime in 2021. They haven’t sold millions of albums, but they’ve shown some charting ability and, given how loyal wrestling fans are, there is always the potential of a breakout hit. Judas plays a bit lighter overall on the hard rock scale, but some of the riffs are worthy of any popular metal band.
As discussed, I was a bit skeptical if this was something Jericho did while taking time off from the ring, but it didn’t feel like that at all. Maybe at first when recording covers, but it’s clear these guys take their craft seriously. For that, it’s certainly worth giving Judas and Fozzy a shot today. Maybe there is something left to save after all, in the wreckage of this blog. Happy Tuesday!
Top 3 Tracks: