Fozzy’s Rich Ward Admits Kinship With Chris Jericho Began With Stryper
The origin of the friendship between Fozzy vocalist Chris Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward, also of rap-rock godfathers Stuck Mojo, has the dubious distinction of being born over a shared love of Bible-tossing, black-and-yellow-costume-sporting Christian metal band Stryper.
"Stuck Mojo did a music video with some of the WCW guys in 1998, and I met Chris when he was doing WCW stuff. And we became friends because we both admitted we liked Stryper," Ward told Noisecreep. "Not too many metal guys will admit in public that they like Stryper. It was like, 'Cool, we're in the same club.'"
And so Fozzy were born. Ward continued, "We loved the same bands, and Fozzy actually started out as a pool of Atlanta musicians playing covers under the name 'Fozzy Osbourne.' It was Butch Walker, the Sevendust guys. I told Chris, 'Let's do a gig where you sing. It'll be Fozzy Osbourne featuring Chris Jericho.' He [did such a] great job of spoofing Paul Stanley and Bruce Dickinson that we realized he should be a band."
Ward says that Jericho's infectious passion and enthusiasm is "grade school-like" and helps Ward stay fresh and unjaded by the pitfalls of the business aspect of the music industry. "I'm a professional guitar player 20 years later," he said. "I don't have to have a job to subsidize, and Chris' passion for music makes it fun and helps me since I tour for a living. I have had bad experiences on the business side, which can taint the joy that comes with creating music. But his enthusiasm brushes that stuff off."
Ward is still playing in Stuck Mojo, albeit mostly in Europe. "We go to Europe a couple times a year," Ward said. "It's my first love and my first band, so it's one of those things I tried abandoning years ago, like most dudes do with their first bands, thinking that you've gotta evolve. But we were one of the first rap rock bands in the early 1990s. When the trend died, we didn't die with it!"