I recently caught up with Rich Ward, guitarist for the Atlanta-based hard rock/metal group Fozzy, to chat about the band’s new record, Sin and Bones plus their incredibly busy touring schedule. Here’s how the conversation went.
Now that your new record Sin and Bones is complete, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Rich: Yeah I really am satisfied with it. Fozzy started off as a part-time kind of fun band with Chris Jericho and the guys from Stuck Mojo and we had a great time jamming and making records. We kind of treated it like we were in high school; we had pure motives and we were just making music and having fun. Because it was a bit part-time with Chris’s wrestling career and us doing Stuck Mojo it took a longer time to get the working chemistry together in making records. So every album we made we just got better and honed it in. I also produced the record so working with Chris and who he is as a singer has been really important in trying to get the best out of him and I think on this record we achieved that.
What is your writing process like? Do you guys all write together or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Rich: Chris and I split the duties. When it is time to make a new record Chris will email me something like fifteen different sets of lyrics and I will go through them and identify the ones I like and then I start writing songs to them coming up with structures and melodies. When I get a blueprint I record a demo version of the song with me singing it and then I send it to Chris and we bounce ideas back and forth until we are happy with it. Then we get together with the guys and that is when it becomes a song because obviously this is not a solo project. So once everyone puts in their parts and records them, then it really starts to become a Fozzy song.
Check out the song: “Sandpaper”
When you write, do you consider the live setting at all or are you just writing the song for the song’s sake?
Rich: Really I am writing what I think is best for the song, which sometimes I think becomes a bad idea because sometimes I have like five guitar parts going and I have a piano part going and we don’t have a keyboard player. I am such a fan of Queen and Led Zeppelin and bands that just wrote songs for the sake of the song and they needed to figure it out live. We are a five piece band with two guitar players and we do what a lot of bands do by playing to a click track and putting stuff on tape. If we feel like the song can live and breathe without the keyboard stuff then we will leave it out, but if it is needed we will use it.
Are there any tracks on Sin and Bones that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Rich: I love the title track “Sin and Bones”, it is the perfect formula; it has great riffs, great melody and great guitar solo. It has all of the ingredients that make a good song.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year? Do you have trouble working around Chris’ wrestling schedule?
Rich: No Chris is making time for all of this. He is really good at prioritizing especially when we have a new album out. We are going over to Europe and doing a three week co-headlining tour with a band named SOiL in mid-November. Then we have a big tour planned for Australia, we are doing The Soundwave Festival in February and then we are doing a big tour of Europe with a couple of big bands that I am not allowed to mention yet because it has not been confirmed. So we are doing this back to back touring and for the first time in our career.
You have been at this for quite a long time. Did you eve imagine you would still be doing it today?
Rich: I really don’t ever look too much ahead. I had always hoped I would have a continuing career in music, but I never knew if it would be producing bands, being a writer or working with my own bands and touring. I plan to do whatever it takes to keep doing this because I love it! This business is filled with lots of really talented people, but the people that are able to sustain themselves in the business are the guys that are willing to work harder than the next guy. I have a good work ethic and I love the business so I am going to stay in it.
Any closing words at all Rich?
Rich: We are so honored and thankful that Fozzy, a band that started off as a cover band in the late ’90s playing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest covers, somehow ended up 13 years later making records. It is awesome, I am excited and I feel like an 18 year old kid standing in front of a mirror before my first gig thinking it was the most awesome thing in the world. I still have that same giddy feeling making records and playing music and it is really awesome!
Check out the ‘Sin and Bones’ track sampler