Heavy metal legends, Fozzy have today (Oct 13) released their highly anticipated seventh studio album Judas via Century Media.
We had a chat with lead guitarist Rich Ward about the new album, lead single Judas being Fozzy’s best song ever and the Fozzy cruise ship tour that is set to combine wrestling and a live music show in the middle of the ocean.
Upside: Last time I saw you guys you were touring with Steel Panther and before that at Soundwave Festival, this was as part of the Sin And Bones album tour. How do you think that album went in the end? Personally, it’s my favourite and it seems to have moved you guys to a new level.
Rich: Yeah, when we make records the whole idea is to put your best foot forward and top what you did last time. We don’t worry about the pressures of success and album sales or any of those kinds of benchmarks. We set our own benchmarks, can we top the riffs, melodies and lyrics from previous records because at the core we’re fans. We’re not old jaded musicians who are out here touring just to make a living. We still buy tonnes of records every year and we go to see live shows of other bands. We’re still really passionate about being the best band we can be. This manifests itself in the band and we aim to up the bar.
Upside: Speaking of upping the bar, ‘Judas’ is a massive single and it’s completely blown up online with the video and on the radio, it seems to be your biggest single to date right? How does that feel?
Rich: It’s pretty cool because you never know right? You work so hard and you spend months and months making an album. Then it’s up to all these factors that aren’t in your control. There’s the record company, the press, the marketing department manager, booking agents, there are so many people. Being in a band is a team sport, it’s not just the five guys when we’re done with the album we pass the ball on. It takes a whole new team to make sure the album becomes successful. We’ve been really blessed that things have gone really well.
Upside: How was the recording process for that video, it features so many moving parts but it looks like it is all one take, right?
Rich: It was, it was all one take. We set off with the basic concept of playing with the speed of the film with no edits. It all came down to the performance, the idea was it was going to be a bit of a dance where some characters were going to enter in at different times. It took a few practice runs through but I believe once we started filming it was take number three, so we got it pretty early on. It was actually the quickest video we’ve ever made. We were laughing at each other that we created something so unique and fun and it took us an afternoon.
Upside: Judas seems like it’s going to that next level as well, I’ve listened to the album in full and I’m really enjoying it, what changed this time around in the Fozzy camp and when was this recorded because I felt like Chris was at WWE when the album was announced right?
Rich: Chirs’ schedule in the WWE is four days on and four days off. He’s travelling and not actually working every day. So we had days to work together when he wasn’t actually out on the road. There were other times where he would be backstage at RAW and he and I would be emailing or skyping and working through bits and pieces. Chris is the terminator, he doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t eat, all he does is rule the world at everything he does. That just comes down to his work ethic, he’s the hardest working guy I’ve ever met.
Upside: With the band lineup, it looks like the same members from the recording and touring of Sin and Bones right? You guys seem to have found a great team with this current lineup and the Sin and Bones sound seems to have carried on to Judas as well, would you agree with that?
Rich: Absolutely. Something that was new for this record that I think really was a big a benefit to the whole process was bringing in an outside producer. I have self-produced over a decade of all of our records. It was really nice to have a coach, a guy who would oversee the process from the first note written to the last song mixed. I think part of it was, for me it was the challenge of trying something new. You get into patterns of how you do things, and we felt like to make some improvements it would be a great idea to bring in somebody from the outside who could act as our Yoda. Someone who could act as our outside guru who could not only participate in the actual sonics of the album but help creatively as well.
Upside: I know it’s probably changing every day, but at this current moment what’s your favourite song from the album?
Rich: The songs that speak to me the most are ‘Three Days In Jail’ or ‘Capsized’ and part of the reason is they are such big headbanging brood songs. That’s where my heart lies in just big head bobbers. Now if you asked me what was the best song on the album I would say no argue about it ‘Judas’ is far the best song. In every way, it is a well put together melody, lyrics, the riffs. Everything about it, it is the best thing we’ve done musically. I’m very fortunate that I’m in a band where we have never released a song on an album that we don’t like. I talk to so many guys that are friends and they say ‘yeah, I love our new album but there are a few songs I just don’t care for’. How did you put out an album that you don’t like!?
Upside: I heard about the cruise that you guys will be hosting and it has wrestling and music on the same boat. That sounds awesome but how the hell does wrestling work on that ship?
Rich: It’s a very strange thing. If you told me three or four years ago Fozzy was going to be on a cruise I would have told you that you’re crazy. What happened was we got asked to be on the KISS cruise in 2015. It was such an amazing event, as soon as we got off the boat Chris started planning how he could do his own cruise. KISS is the greatest rock band of all time, how could we do it better?