Chris Jericho makes achieving childhood dreams look like a powerslam.
He had two ambitions as a kid: become a professional wrestler and be in a rock band.
Done and done.
His rock metal band Fozzy will bring its new “Unleashed in the West” tour to Sunshine Studios Live on Friday.
After 30 years in show business, it’s probably safe to say Jericho enjoys the limelight. He doesn’t deny it.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. It’s just what I do.”
If you run in World Wrestling Entertainment circles, you know who he is and what he’s done in the ring over the decades, including his much-talked- about takedowns of iconic wrestlers The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, leading him to become the first WWE undisputed champ. In 2009, he was ranked No. 2 in a list of 500 wrestlers by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
“I wanted to be the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll frontman in the ring,” said Jericho. “Like Freddie Mercury and David Lee Roth. Once I incorporated that into the character, when I started Fozzy, I continued those things. It’s just connecting with the audience, and once you can find a way to do that, you’ll always be good. Great wrestling characters were always someone you can relate to.”
Almost a decade ago, the now 48-year-old reduced his ring time and went all in with his band. He left WWE in 2017, though he stayed current by wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and he surprised fans this year by announcing he’d signed on for three years with the new All Elite Wrestling promotion.
But ring antics aside, it’s all about Fozzy.
“I can’t do both worlds at the same time,” he said. “I’ve accomplished everything I could with wrestling. I can’t wrestle at 60, nor do I want to.”
When he saw his band gaining ground in the music world, the decision was easy. Since he co-founded Fozzy in 1999, the group has released seven albums, the last of which was 2017’s “Judas.” It spawned the popular title track of the same name, which hit No. 5 on Billboard’s mainstream rock charts and became Jericho’s ring entrance music.
“’Judas’ became our elusive hit single. It threw doors open for us,” Jericho said. “We had our ‘Enter Sandman’ or ‘Sweet Child of Mine.’ When you have a song that breaks open barriers, it changes everything.”
Among his other accomplishments, Jericho also hosts the popular podcast “Talk is Jericho,” and is a New York Times best-selling author, with four autobiographies to his name.
“I never take no for an answer,” he said. “If I wanted to do something, I just go do it. I never listened to people who had a negative attitude about what I wanted to do.”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM