Chris Jericho talks about wrestling on Valentine's Day, taking Fozzy to Europe and more
Saturday nights are for fighting — even when that Saturday is Valentine’s Day — if the WWE has anything to say about it.
Chris Jericho will be among several wrestlers coming to town this weekend to give the crowd at Amalie Arena a show to remember, and a one-of-a-kind fan experience, on an evening when they should be having romantic dinners. This will also be a trip home for the wrestler who resides in Tampa with his wife and three children.
Jericho’s been touring with WWE Live: Road to Wrestlemania shows on weekends, recording his weekly podcast Talk Is Jericho and promoting his band Fozzy’s 2014 album Do You Want to Start a War? across the country. In March, he’ll skip across the pond to the United Kingdom to begin the band’s three-week tour of the United Kingdom. Saying that the Canadian wrestler/author/singer/host has a lot going on would be an understatement.
Jericho called tbt* before coming back to Tampa to talk Fozzy’s future, love and the joys of live wrestling.
I read that your band is heading to the U.K. next month. How are you preparing for that?
We’ve had a great fan base in the U.K. that has really embraced us. It’s like a second home, and ticket sales have been great, through the roof. The biggest thing to prepare for was, food-wise it’s a real different world. That’s something you have to get used to in Europe. You’ll wake up in the morning and it’s going to be great but there’ll be nothing to eat. So we’re well prepared for that. We love this Vitamix — it’s like a super-crazy high-powered blender. You can blend anything in it. Because just eating fruit sometimes can be boring, so blending everything from cherries to everything is good. It’s pretty bulky, though, so we have to ship the Vitamix. You’re thinking of things to ship for a tour, and you ship lights and amps and equipment and we’re shipping this big Vitamix. It’s like having a portable Smoothie King.
When can Tampa fans expect to see Fozzy again?
We had show down at the State Theatre in December; it was great. We’ve played around the area quite a bit. The biggest show I think we’ve had was at the Amphitheatre. I don’t know, I think it was the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphiteatre at that time. Now, I don’t even know. But Tampa is a great rock town. I’m sure we’ll get back there in the next six months or so.
What’s the most romantic song in the Fozzy catalog?
We’ve got a couple of ballads. Died With You, you can see people weeping and clinging to each other, kissing, that sort of thing when we play that one at shows. When you do a record, you don’t think, “I need five fast songs, two slow and a midtempo.” Certain lyrics that I write will be more introspective, and that’ll end up being heavier songs, and others will tend to be ballads. I’ll write the lyrics and (guitarist) Rich Ward will write the music based on the lyrics’ influence and that’s how the song turns out. Died With You was always a ballad. The lyrics are talking about, The best part of me died with you... You want to have dynamics in your journey. You have the highs and lows. A good ballad can change the direction of the record. I know people buy songs. But to this date, the art form of what an album is, the sequencing you actually make, can take the listener on an actual audio journey.
You’ve been doing fan signings to at FYE stores across the country. What’s the weirdest thing someone has asked you to sign?
It’s always interesting when people come to signings, and there will be someone at the front of the line and they’ll ask me to sign their arm. Then I swear, 20 to 30 minutes later, that same guy is back in line with my signature tattooed on them, asking me to take a picture with them and the new tattoo. Those things ... it’s an honor. That’s a true fan. They’ll get tattoos of Fozzy lyrics, the Fozzy F or our “anarchist” logo. That stuff puts a lot of pressure on you, because if you ever make a wrong decision, you know you’ll have let that person down.
How often do you get back home to Tampa?
I’m home more than people think. A lot things can be done from home, but when I’m at home, I like to be at home with my kids. I may do something while they are at school. I’m home a lot more than people think I am. I was living in Canada, then I moved to Orlando and didn’t dig it. Tampa was a little closer to the beach, and I’d met my wife, who is from there, at that point. I moved to Tampa and loved it. It’s got big-city bells and whistles without the problems like crazy traffic. It’s a great city. My wife’s family lives there too. It’s a pretty great place to live.
What’s the most romantic Valentine’s Day you’ve planned for your wife?
I don’t think it was Valentine’s Day, but one year there was a concert in Miami, so I bought tickets. I told my wife to get in the car and I drove her to the airport. I had chartered a plane to Miami. And we were on the plane and Istill didn’t tell her where we were going, and then we got to Miami and the show and she was all surprised. Then we went right back to the airport after the show and flew home. Any time you can charter a plane for your wife, you get some good brownie points. (Laughs.)
You’ll be in Tampa on Valentine’s Day. Have any big plans?
There are two non-televised events. It’s Tampa on Saturday and Fort Myers on Sunday. I’m going to take my kids with me so they get to see what it’s like to be on the road for a mini tour. After the Tampa show, we’ll get in the car and drive to Fort Myers. It’s a short drive, but to them it may seem long. We’ll go to hotel and stay overnight, do whatever it is in Fort Myers and then go home. I think it’ll be kind of cool for them to see life on the road for the first time ever. It just happened to fall on Valentine’s. When you’re on the road like me, my wife and I will do Valentine’s a couple days before or a couple days after. The important thing is the trip with the kids. Every day is Valentine’s Day if you have a good wife. (Laughs.)
Do you ever see yourself returning to wrestling full time?
No. I have so much other stuff going on that it would almost be a step backwards, performing-wise. The weekend shows are amazing, and I am always glad to be a part of it. But I couldn’t do it as a full-time thing a gain. My career as a full-time wrestler is long gone, for about the past four or five years now, really. I’ve been really fortunate, from the band to the podcast, and I’m out in Hollywood working, too, so the dream has kind of taken off.
What is it that you like about doing the WWE Live Events?
It’s improv. It’s a little more fan interactive. With the TV shows, everything is meticulously timed. There is five minutes for this and 12 minutes for that. At the live show, you work until you’re done. You’re allowed to finish the match. The differences in TV and the live events are massive in some ways and small in others. True wrestling fans know there are pros and cons to both. There is more wrestling and less talking sometimes at the live events.
Is there any chance you’ll participate in any of the upcoming televised events?
I really don’t think so. The live events are always so stress-free. You can do whatever you want. They don’t have specific storylines you are beholden to. There’s a lot of TV that has to be perfectly timed to be watched by 5 million people. In the live event, it’s just for the people in the crowd. We stress the fun.
Is there anything special planned for the women who will be dragged to WWE Live on Valentine’s night?
I’m not sure, but if anything, I think it may be the other way around. Women come to see well-built, half-naked men, slathered in oils and rolling around in the middle of a ring, right?
WWE Live: Road to Wrestlemania begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa. Wrestlers scheduled to appear include Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Kane, Big Show, The Miz and more. Tickets start at $20. For details, click here.
-- Robbyn Mitchell, tbt*