Double life of rock star wrestler Chris Jericho

FOZZY frontman Chris Jericho doesn't care if music snobs look down on his band.

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Chris Jericho, centre, with his heavy metal band Fozzy
Chris Jericho, centre, with his heavy metal band Fozzy

When he's not singing, the Canadian is a grappler with World Wrestling Entertainment, a career which caused his heavy metal group to initially be dismissed as a joke.

But the quintet's hard work and five albums have won over many sceptics.

"Playing all these festivals and shows, that's all you can do," says Chris, who headlines The Cathouse this Friday night with Fozzy.

"There's always going to be people who look down on the band and sneer at us because of my past as a wrestler, but it's like 30 Seconds To Mars, as I'm sure there's people who didn't believe in that band either, because (frontman) Jared Leto's a very talented actor.

"For us, we're going to keep doing what we do until people get it, and if you don't get it then step aside and let other people get a better seat."

There's been a growing number of people seeking to get a seat, or entering the mosh pit, at Fozzy gigs recently.

The band's fifth album, Sin & Bones, was released last year to glowing reviews, while they've more than held their own on recent tours with heavyweight noise-makers like Soil and Anthrax.

It means Chris is getting to enjoy the best of both worlds, by achieving two childhood dreams at the same time - to be a rock star and a pro wrestler.

He wrestled for years before becoming a major star with the WWE in 1999, and still wrestles there.

Yet he'd always fancied a crack at rock music too, and teamed up with guitarist Rich Ward to start a band, originally focusing on doing covers. From Fozzy's third record onwards the group switched to original, hard-hitting songs.

But for Chris the band's tunes all go back to straightforward melodies.

"What we do best is very heavy but also very melodic," he says. "There's those grooves and punchy riffs, a lot of melody on the guitars, a lot of harmonies. I think if Metallica and Journey had a child it'd be Fozzy…

"Melody is what the song is all about. Strip away the guitars and drums and you should be able to hum a chorus and envision a 1950s doo-wop band standing in white suits singing it. If you can envision that then you've got a great song, and everything else is just window dressing.

"From the Rolling Stones to One Direction to Beyonce to Avenged Sevenfold, they've all got great choruses you can hum."

Although the group's song writing might focus on creating some melodies, live they're all about rocking as hard as they can. They've been regular visitors to Scotland for several years, and Chris appreciates the support he gets here.

WE started coming over to the UK in 2004 and one of our first shows was at the ABC, and we were just impressed by how amazing the fans were off the bat," he recalls.

"We'd never played anywhere in Scotland before, but it was one of those places that embraced Fozzy right from the start. We don't take that for granted, which is why we come back as much as we can, and the Scots rival anywhere in the world for rowdiness and just having fun at a gig."

The talkative singer is fresh off a recent run back in the WWE. However, Fozzy's regular touring commitments mean that any fans wanting to see Chris return to the WWE on a year-round basis are likely to be disappointed.

"My WWE schedule now is completely built around where Fozzy is," he says.

"I wouldn't wrestle if I didn't still enjoy it, and as long as I enjoy getting in the ring from time to time, I'll keep doing it.

"As far as being a full-time WWE performer, those days are gone though."

The 42-year-old is already writing material for the next Fozzy album, and hopes to have it completed by next summer. But he's been involved in other projects, too, from appearing as a contestant in Dancing With The Stars to writing two autobiographies.

Getting to appear with some of his rock heroes tops everything, though.

"We've played with Anthrax a few times over the past couple of years, and it's always a blast, as I remember waiting in line to get tickets to see them in 1988," he says.

"I remember the first time we toured with them I was taking pictures of the backstage passes we had and the T-shirts on the merch stand.

"Things like that help you gain perspective on things, and it's never not a thrill to play with a band you looked up to as teenagers."

l Fozzy, The Cathouse, Friday, £14, 7pm

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