Fozzy Seek the Holy Grail In York - Frank Fontsere speaks out.
Fozzy recently returned to the shores of the UK on their current tour in support to the band's last album 'Chasing The Grail' released in 2010. With the band having grown over the years it was time to catch up with Fozzy in York when they toured the UK. It was good to see and meet them once again, been an old friend of Frank and Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo days). I managed to have a chat with drummer Frank on the tour bus and ask him why Stuck Mojo broke up and would they ever do a reunion tour if it was meant to be? Also to find out about the last album, the tour and what the future holds for the band. If you haven't heard Fozzy yet then I suggest you do so, the band was put together by Chris Jericho A former U.S.A. wrestler along with Rich Ward. Here is what Frank had to say about the band.
Well Frank's it's great to meet you again, it must be something like 15yrs since we last met. So when Fozzy formed you became the drummer for short time and then left the band ;, why was what?
"Yeah it has been too long Jason since we last met. Well I was in the band for a long time and then I left the band and came back later on. We have been touring a lot for the last album 'Chasing The Grail', and I think there was too much of a gap between 'All That Remains' and 'Chasing The Grail' so for the next one after we have finished this tour we will hit the studio and start work on the next record. We don't want to wait that long again for the next record as we feel the timing for the next record is about due. The next album will be out early next spring or summer of 2012."
So why was there a bit gap between the last 2 albums?
"Well I think there was a period were each band member was pursuing another interest and I think Fozzy just got put on the backbone and I did 'All That Remains' and I was out of the band for some time and then came back to record 'Chasing The Grail' CD. So right now our major concern is to get the next record out and keep focused on Fozzy in the future without drifting away from the band like we had in the past. We are planning on writing the best record we can and it might be a full time job touring."
Moving away from Fozzy for a moment, let's talk about your previous band 'Stuck Mojo', what recollections do you have from those days, your favourite albums etc...?
"Well I loved everything we did with that band, I do think that the album 'Declaration Of A Headhuner' was the best album I had anything to do with because with the song writing and everything else because it was the pinnacle of everything we had been trying to do up until that point. As far as touring was concerned we supported Pantera and for me it was an honor supporting them as I grew up with their music. That was the highlight of my life hanging out with a band I grew up with."
Back in the day's of Stuck Mojo we knew each other well hanging out in the UK and at Dynamo festival, what recollections do you have of the Dynamo festival?
"It was just amazing, when we played the 1st time it just rained in 96 and it rained like crazy and I remember laying in the bunker of the bus and hearing the rain following. It of course had stopped by the time we went on but it was so muddy (Ed: I remember that it was a right mess). Yeah it was Jason but still we had fun and so did the crowd and we had a third of the audience watching us and at that time Dynamo was at it's biggest with about 120.000 people showing up. It was the best festival we had played in 96 & 98 in our careers."
So why did the band break up?
"Well I will try to answer that for you, Rich is the best one to ask but I'll try my best. I think it got to the point were Rich could not work with Bonz anymore and what ever problems they had in the past and they always have and when it came to getting on stage everybody was good and did what they had to do. Off stage was a different matter we had issues and it got to point were Bonz off stage habits were effecting him on stage and when we were trying to make a comeback you have to be as good of if not better then you were before. I guess Rich left they weren't been that way and he just decided that they couldn't work together anymore. I would love to play with that line-up again, Rich, Bonz and Corey and myself but I don't think it will happen. It will only happen if the 4 of us can be as good or if not better than we were 13yrs ago and we will not go on stage if we knew we were not as good as we were in the past, it just would not work."
So I am right in saying you were the original drummer in Fozzy?
"Yes I was, and I left because of personal stuff and thing happen for a reason, and it is like a relationship and I had to move on at that time and then you realize that you had more in common than you thought. Guys leave or get fired from bands and then end up coming back for what ever reason. When we were apart we knew that things had to get back together and work things out so we did that and here I am back in the band. We now know if there is a problem within the band we have to talk about it and get it out in the open so we can carry on as a solid unit."
So how did Rich get involved with Chris, was it anything to do with the Stuck Mojo video 'Rising'? I know it had wrestlers in the video, could that be part of the reason why Fozzy was formed with Rich & Chris?
"Well Stuck Mojo had that repetition of the band that promoted Wrestling with the video and Chris was recommend to us by a friend who said he should check out this band called 'Stuck Mojo'. We were playing a show in Orlando where Chris use to live and we were touring with Testament and he is a fan of their music, so he check us out and he loved the show and he met Rich and they just bonded. When the idea's for the band 'Fozzy Osborne' came about (that was the original name) which we were doing just for fun and Chris wanted to be a part of it which just grew and grew.."
Didn't the debut album have cover songs by Judas Priest, Accept, The Scorpions, Ozzy & more...?
"Yes it did have all cover songs on it except for 2 original songs and the next album album had more originals and then we just started evolving into our own style of music. With the 3rd album we decided to be who we are today, in writing our own music."
Is the music within the band wrote as a team effort or is it just Rich who writes the music and Chris does the lyrics?
"Well mostly Rich writes the music and Chris writes the lyrics. In the studio when you are recording you will always do thing in your own way so just be default you will ad you own personality to things. The next album will be more of a collaboration of the 4 of us, Rich will write most of it again but we will all have a piece of the album to be a part of. I like it that way because it takes the pressure off because you know that somebody is at the wheel and somebody you can trust."
Out of all the albums you have recorded with Fozzy, which is your favourite & why?
"Well I would have to say 'Chasing The Grail' by far because I think it is the best thing we have done musically which is leaps and bounds over anything we have done in the past. I also feel that the next album is going to blow the last album away!!"
How do you compare the last album to those that you did in the past with the band?
"Well the 1st album is 'Chasing The Grail' even though the last album 'All That Remains' had original cover I still feel that some of those songs on that album were leftovers from our side project we had called '6 Beat' during Stuck Mojo. The last album was written from the ground up with tons of fresh ideas and no leftovers from previous stuff we had done. Most band record more songs that are unreleased than they do that are actually released."
Tell me about the band '6 Beat', who was in this band?
"Well it was a band that Rich and myself had during Stuck Mojo and with a bass player called Dan Dryden who was also in Stuck Mojo, he played on the last album. In the end Rich was fronting the band been the singer and guitarist with Billy who is our guitarist now in Fozzy also in that band. We also had another bass player back then called Keith."
What were the highlights of recording 'Chasing The Grail' for you?
"For me the hardest part was just coming back into the band and and I didn't have a lot of time to rehearse that album & Rich had written all the drums and I had to play what he had written. It was hard because when somebody writes drums for you there maybe parts which might not be comfortable for you to play and it was a struggle to make that album happen and it was a tough album to record. It took about 3 days to record the drums for that album."
So will the band be recording a promo video or live DVD soon?
"Well we did a promo video for the song 'Enemy' & we really don't do many videos at all. We feel that they won't get played, only on 'You Tube' and we don't get tour support and everything we do we do it on our own. We may do a live DVD in the near future, we will have to wait and see."
Well Frank, thanks for doing the interview, it was great finally meeting you after such a long time. Do you have anything to say?
"Well yes I'd like to thank our fans for their support, we promise we will do a great record for the next one. Pleasure meeting you again Jason."
Thanks to Mr T for the interview and Frank for doing it.