FOZZY Frontman On Illegal Music Downloading: 'Stealing Is Stealing, Man'

Brendan Crabb (a.k.a. Spiritech) of recently conducted an interview with FOZZY vocalist and WWE wrestling superstar Chris Jericho. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. There is a rather wide cross-section of influences on [the new FOZZY] album ["Chasing The Grail"] — everything from MAIDEN and PRIEST to JOURNEY and STYX. Was that the aim, to try and include the wide-ranging tastes that the band members collectively have?

Chris Jericho: There really wasn't any aim, it was just what we were going to do is what we were writing and where we were coming from. I wrote 14 sets of lyrics, gave them to Rich [Ward, guitar] and he just started interpreting those lyrics and writing riffs that he was inspired to write by my words. As a result, it's like, you know, we have obviously the PRIEST and MAIDEN influences and JOURNEY and STYX. There's also METALLICA, PANTERA, THE BEATLES, PINK FLOYD, QUEEN and everything in between. So we definitely take pride in the fact that we do something a little different than most bands out there today. We play very heavy music, but it's very melodic, with a lot of vocal and guitar harmonies, that it kind of has carved out a real niche for ourselves in what we're doing that a lot of people, that a lot of bands aren't playing right now. And I think that's a result of our influences, but you also have to have your own style as well and that's something that really comes through on the last record for sure, more than ever. Now, you were quite vocal on Twitter recently with regard to fans asking you about illegal downloading and fans saying they had no problem stealing from seemingly greedy label executives. Your response was, "I am the record label exec." (Jericho co-funded the record.) What's your view on where that aspect of the industry is headed?

Chris Jericho: It's unfortunate, but it's just the way that the way it is now and I think there's a real sense of entitlement where people just think, "Man, I'm just going to steal this music because everyone else does and why should I pay money to buy music?" It's sad, because it's making it harder and harder for musicians to earn a living. That's why you just have to really focus on live shows and we've done so many in-store signings for "Chasing The Grail" because people get a chance to say hi and get an autograph. And hey, if that's what it takes to get people to buy the record, then I'm willing to do it because that's the world we live in now. Whether it's ringtones or whether it's people buying merch or whatever, it's like whatever revenue streams bands can do now, they've got to explore it because the old version of selling 500,000 records or a million records, I mean, unless you're at the top of the top it just doesn't work that way anymore. It's sad, because it's going to kill bands from developing, because they just won't be able to afford it. It kind of eats our young with this one, so it's interesting to see how the business is going to recover, because I don't know if it can at this moment. Did you take it personally when you had fans directly telling you online that they'd stolen your music and they think it's some creepy major label guy who's the one they're stealing from, when it was the band, especially yourself?

Chris Jericho: Yeah, you take it personally, that's because of the record exec, but also because of being a musician in the band. I mean, you don't get into music to make the money, but if there's money to be made, then you want to make it. And I just don't see... Stealing is stealing, man. Whether I grow bananas on a tree then put them for sale and people come and steal my bananas and eat them because they're entitled to have free bananas... it doesn't make any sense. It's the same thing for a musician creating art, you know? If I draw a picture and put it on the wall of the galley and charge you 15 bucks and you just steal it and walk out the door, it's exactly the (same) concept that's going on online. I've never stolen a song in my life. When I was a kid I would record songs off the radio, but if I liked it I would go buy it. I understand that that's just the way it is, but for me personally I'll buy every song that I ever want to listen to because it's only fair. If I want to go buy gas I've gotta pay for it, if I want to go buy music I've gotta pay for it. What do you think of the long-time comparison between the current illegal downloading and the tape-trading that was so popular in the '80s?

Chris Jericho: There are a lot of similarities, but tape-trading was different because you would record... it was different then because you'd buy an album to get the album cover, to get the lyrics and all that sort of thing. There was a real sense of, it was a collection, you had your collection. I think every IRON MAIDEN album that ever came out I bought it because I wanted to look at the cover and see the stuff that was on there and read the lyrics. You could just record it off your friend, but then you'd be stuck with an empty cassette. I just never liked that; having all these cassettes with like handwritten song names on it and stuff. You know, maybe there was a band that you might not like so (much), you might just listen to the band if you'd recorded it. And I guess maybe if it's a marginal band, stealing it online is maybe acceptable, but I'm talking (about) bands that you love, like METALLICA. I wouldn't dream of stealing a song from METALLICA because they're my favourite band and I wouldn't dream of sneaking into a Tampa Bay Bucks game because they're your favourite team or whatever it is. Now, it's not just bands that you kind of marginally like, it's every band that's out there and that to me is where the real problems are starting to arise.

Read the entire interview from


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