As a touring musician in two metal bands -- Fozzy and Stuck Mojo -- guitarist Rich Ward has been exposed to many cultures, people, places and things. Ward, who hails from Atlanta, extolled some of the virtues of being American by birth and Southern by the grace o' God, telling Noisecreep, "The best thing about being Southern is all of the baggage that comes with it that you get to dispel. Like the idea that you must be in the [Ku Klux Klan]; that you probably dated your cousin; that you went to the tractor pulls and monster truck shows; that you live in a trailer park."

Ward laughed off the stereotypes, saying, "It's an interesting opportunity to meet people all over the world and have them equate you with 'Hee Haw' and Jerry Springer. I didn't go to college, but my goal was to be like Randy Rhoads."

The guitarist has been living the dream, something he still relishes, saying, "I'm 41 and I have never been drunk, and I've always been the guy who was staring at my turntable, listening to 'Number of the Beast,' thinking, 'I would do anything to be that, whatever that is!' I loved [Iron Maiden], because they never got caught in the trappings of the business."

He also views his relationship with Fozzy vocalist and wrestler Chris Jericho as a yin-yang balance. "I'm the nerd, and he's hip and cool," Ward said. "He's the one who will say, at [4 AM], 'We need to stay out till 7.' And I am like, 'Can we go? We should go back. Between the hours of 4 and 7, nothing good can happen!'"

The star power of Jericho and the music cred afforded by Ward are the twin engines that operate the Fozzy machine. The band's latest, 'Chasing the Grail,' is out now.

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