Chris Jericho is a man that certainly doesn’t need much of introduction, if he really needs one at all. Having spent the 90’s going through professional wrestling circuits, before things really started taking off when he landed in ECW in 1995, then WCW in 1996, and ultimately becoming a household name in 1999 when he joined WWE and spent nearly 20 years.
So for many people, Jericho was a formative part of their childhood — myself included. But outside of professional wrestling, he has stayed incredibly busy with his rock band Fozzy, and the highly-successful Talk Is Jericho podcast. Now currently signed and performing with the All Elite Wrestling brand, which continues to gain fans and perform well on television, Jericho doesn’t have any immediate plans to change anything.
While it seems like he might be overwhelmingly busy — he made an appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, and will star in the upcoming Kevin Smith-directed Killroy Was Here — when I ask if he’s had any issues balancing it all, Jericho tells me “No, I really haven’t.” He explains that he winds up having more free time than you might think, as Fozzy doesn’t necessarily tour for months at a time, and AEW just kicked off in October — but even with that, there’s a lot of downtime. “I’m busy but I’m doing stuff that matters to me, and sometimes I can get it done — like when you talk about [the] podcast, a lot of times when you do a rock show, you’re waiting around for most of the day. It gives me a chance to do something a little bit destructive, and that’s where I really do a lot of my writing for my book, or my podcast, while I’m waiting around to do other shows,” Jericho tells me.
What makes his Talk Is Jericho podcast such an intriguing and great listen, is that it’s a very diverse project. This is something that he is hyper-aware of and, truly, sets out to make it as diverse as possible. “That’s what’s exciting to me,” Jericho begins to explain, “If it was just a wrestling podcast, or just a music podcast, or just a paranormal podcast, I think it would get a little tedious and you might start running out of ideas and subjects. But after all of these years, it’s all of those things.”
What this does is it allows Jericho to keep things fresh, and there’s not necessarily a requirement for what he looks for in a guest. He prides himself on putting together a podcast that listeners go into every week not knowing what to expect, and even credits this for being a part of it’s success. “It’s kind of a cool form for me because it challenges me, too, because I’m always talking to people I don’t always get a chance to talk to, which is great. It’s sometimes a friend you catch up with, and sometimes it’s a complete stranger that you become friends with,” Jericho. Regarding the aforementioned lack of requirements, the only real thing that Jericho looks for is that he finds the guest interesting. He doesn’t have guests on just for fun, or because a manager or publicist is telling him to do so, and he’s even respectfully passed on opportunities that he didn’t think would be interesting for him or his fans.
The other side of that, Jericho isn’t afraid to walk the line of controversy a little bit. “I also don’t mind doing something that might cause a little bit of an issue,” he explains. “I had Donald Trump Jr. on a few weeks ago, because to me, whether you’re a Trump fan, not a Trump fan, or hate Trump, or whatever, it’s a great guest from a journalistic standpoint to have the son of the President of the United States on. I’m not a political guy, I knew the controversy behind it, I knew some people would be insulted I had him on, and that’s fine! If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it! Listen another week, there’s no issues if you’re not gonna like it. You get people that are like, ‘I’m never gonna listen to your show again,’ and I get the same thing when I have a flat earther on. ‘How can you give these people this forum?’ Well, I give them this forum because it’s interesting to me and I enjoy talking with interesting points of view.”
In addition to everything else going on, Chris Jericho also just released a new Christmas song: a cover of The Kinks‘ “Father Christmas.” For Jericho, the idea of doing a song for the holiday’s is one that he has wanted to do for a while. He explains that there’s a few reasons behind this: 1) guaranteed airplay at least once year, and 2) the lack of great rock songs for the holidays. His admiration for The Kinks and “Father Christmas” made it an easy choice to pick this song in specific. “If I hear ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ by Paul McCartney one more time, I’ll probably blow the fuck up,” Jericho says. “There’s only so many great ones, [but]t here are some great ones! I always listen to ‘Reason for the Season’ by Stryper and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ by Springsteen, he nails that one.”
Part of the release for “Father Christmas” by Chris Jericho is that it’s not a single that was done to line his pockets and cash in on something new. Instead, he was elected to donate all of the proceeds to Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, which is something that is near and dear to his heart. “I wanted to keep the Christmas giving concept going to where, yeah, it’s a Christmas tune, but if you actually buy the tune on iTunes — which is rare — even if you stream it, you still get revenue, people would be kind of giving something back knowing that it’s going to a good cause if you buy the song. Now, are we gonna make millions of dollars off a cover of a Christmas song? No, but I just wanted to keep the vibe of this is a Christmas song and you can give back by checking it out, and that appealed to me, I thought that was a good way to go about things,” he shares with me.
The holiday single was separate from Fozzy, but for the band, they’ve got a lot of big plans coming up for the next year. Their latest album, Judas, came out in 2017 and proceeded the band with three top 20 singles. While Fozzy has been around for many years, this kind of radio success is something that is new and shows their exciting growth over the years. Even moving forward, they’re looking to continue their successful run with Sony Music, who just recently bought Century Media Records (where the band had been signed for a few years prior). “Basically one of the bands didn’t last that they had brought over, but they kept us because they had some steam with Judas and suddenly three top ten songs later, we were becoming a profitable band so we made money for them,” Jericho tells me on the move to Sony.
“It was really cool because now they want us to continue the momentum, which is why we put out the ‘Nowhere to Run’ single a few months ago, which just hit the top 15, which is our third top 15 single, our fifth consecutive top 30, so now we’re kind of in a different world,” Jericho says. The plan for Fozzy is to continue working on their new record, and he’s excited to be a part of Sony knowing they’ve got a plan for the band. “I love the fact that Sony has a vision for us, and as long as they have a vision and a plan for us, I’m all for it. It’s a whole different world for us after the last record. It’s just been great to see how far we can get now.”
When I ask when exactly new music might be coming, Jericho explains that they’re still writing and recording music for the next record. In fact, he’ll be heading down to Atlanta soon to record a couple of songs, with a plan to release the next single either in February or March. As for when the record might be released, he tells me that the record is titled 2020, putting some sort of deadline on them. “We have a time limit, we have to get it out while it makes sense,” he explains regarding the album title. “We don’t have to rush, we have a lot of great songs, we’re writing every day, and when the album is ready, it’ll be ready, and when the next single is ready, it’ll be ready, and we’ll go from there.
Of course I wanted to touch on the transition to AEW for Chris Jericho, on that from a fan standpoint, has seemingly been smooth and well-received from fans and critics. Regardless, I wanted to just see from his side, how it’s been adjusting to a new company, even though it’s in the same industry that he’s been a big part of for the majority of his life. As he tell me, he’s having a lot of fun doing something that gives him more creativity and is a bit different for the industry. “For me, I knew what the system — I knew what it was, but I wanted to try something a little bit different, which is what AEW [is] doing. That to me was the real factor behind it, and it’s really going well.”
It may not have been the easiest task, joining a company at it’s beginning stages and building it up from the ground up. However, the early returns have been huge, and even their debut weekly show in Washington, D.C. brought in 40,000 fans to catch the show live. “We’re getting a chance to basically change the industry, and that might sound grandiose, but from a fact standpoint, it’s plenty of truth so I’m really excited to be a part of it, and it’s been a real adventure in a positive way,” Jericho says. “You need the TV, you need the talent, you need the money, you need all three of those things [to be successful], so I hope we continue to expand the company.”
The future for Chris Jericho is one that promises to be busy, albeit in a good way. He’s doing things that he throughly enjoys with AEW, Fozzy, Talk is Jericho, and everything else that may come up along the way. In terms of how he plans to balance it out, he’ll keep doing what he’s always been doing. Fozzy will be hitting the road in April for a headlining tour, and by then hopefully we’ve got more info on their next album. Until then, you can be on the lookout for Jericho every Wednesday on AEW, keep up with Talk Is Jericho, and ride the wave.