***NEW ALBUM 'HAPPENSTANCE' OUT JULY 30TH ON SPV FROM SUPERSTAR 'ORIGINAL' ROCK BAND FRONTED BY EX - WRESTLING CHAMPION CHRIS JERICHO AS MONGOOSE MCQUEEN. ***
***DEBUT EUROPEAN GIG JUNE 28TH AT BANG YOUR HEAD FESTIVAL, BALINGEN, GERMANY (PRESS DAY JUNE 27TH)***
***HILARIOUS EPK FEATURES SPECIAL GUESTS ZAKK WYLDE, SEBASTIAN BACH, MIKE PORTNOY AND DEE SNIDER, WHO ALL TESTIFY TO THE LEGEND OF FOZZY***
ALL FOZZY:- Roland Hyams : 020 8677
8466 or 8769 6713.
"I auditioned for Fozzy, but I guess my metal wasn't up to snuff." - Zakk Wylde(BLS)
The Continuation of a Legend
A lot has happened since Fozzy's triumphant return to the USA after their 20 year enslavement in Japan by evil record mogul, "Sammy" Tomami. After all, Fozzy's inventions and contributions to the music world are substantial: heavy metal, the outrageous lifestyle, the spikes, grunge (actually invented by Fozzy in Japan, but they called it "overcast rock"), the groupies (aka the Fozzy Floozies); the list goes on and on of musical and non-musical inventions. Ever since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2000, (which has gone sextuple platinum), Fozzy have reinvigorated the heavy metal scene and are even credited with the genre, "nu-metal." And the underground movie documenting Fozzy's return, entitled Unleashed , is fast becoming a cult classic.
New rumours about the legendary band continue to circulate - everything from Hall of Fame inductions, to White House visits, to Fozzy starring in a new feature film. "I loved doing the short movie on our return to the States, and look forward to future movie endeavours," says charismatic singer Moongoose McQueen.
Those pesky rumours of Wrestling Superstar Chris Jericho kidnapping Moongoose and assuming his identity remain unfounded. "Chris Jericho is one of many stalkers of the band. Zakk Wylde (guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society) originally auditioned for us and ever since has become a known Fozzy stalker, plus many others," says guitarist Duke LaRue. And yet others remain convinced that the rest of Fozzy are actually members of Atlanta based band Stuck Mojo.
It's 2002, and Fozzy's worldwide vindication didn't happen without casualties as original bass player, Sports Popp and original guitar player Chuck Berry (no relation) quit the band. They were quickly forgotten and replaced with veteran Hudson Bay Area thrash mainstay, Claude "Watty" Watson (ex-Eradicator) and English guitar icon, Lord Edgar Bayden Powell (ex-Sir Galahad). Now, with all the weakest links replaced, Fozzy have created their masterpiece.
Produced by Shawn Grove (Matchbox 20, Collective Soul) in Atlanta, 'Happenstance' took over three months to complete due to the meticulous nature of the band and various criminal actions. "During the making of this record, we had to bring in extra security due to attempts by certain rock stars to, once again, steal our songs," says Duke. This extra time was also a result of the meticulous nature of the band. "Guitarist Duke LaRue has taken his playing to a new level, working many months in the studio refining the small details of his complex guitar work," comments Moongoose. He continues on the subject of the band's musical direction: "Take the song, 'To Kill A Stranger.' It is one of our most melodic, and 'Crucify Yourself' cleverly blends nu-age vocal stylings."
'Happenstance' represents a "moving on" of sorts, introducing many new songs, but also reclaiming some of their most famous tracks such as 'Freewheel Burning' and 'Balls To The Wall,' which were originally recorded at the Rising Son Of A Gun festival in Nagoya in 1982, and 'Mob Rules,' which was written by the Duke on a rickshaw in downtown Shinjuku in early 1981.
These highly crafted songs have their genesis in Fozzy's live performances, which have become legendary, often featuring theatrics that were influenced by Kabuki Theater in Japan. It takes many months to plan a show. Between the massive sound system, the life-threatening pyro, the capes, and the outrageous robes, there are literally hundreds of people involved, and after each show the band is often hospitalised due to their over-the-top performances. "It's one big party. We have the most intense fans (aka Fozzy Fanatics), who seem to follow us wherever we go," says Moongoose. "Our return to the USA has been nothing but the best. We are treated like the huge rock stars that we are."
Considering the huge resurgence of heavy music over the last few years, Moongoose pontificates on this fact: "When we returned to the USA a few years ago, we made an effort after the groupies, the cars, money, and the airplanes to reinstate metal to its rightful position in this country. Yes, I guess we are credited for this sudden popularity of the genre, and we continue to reclaim our stolen classic songs, but we are now creating new material to insure our place in the future. YES! Metal is still very, very important."
The Original Legend of Fozzy
Around 1980 the American music scene looked bleak, as disco and new wave were all destined to be the "next big thing." It was then, that five teenagers from Delaware were experimenting with new sounds and a new attitude. Taking the name "Fozzy" from a famed East Belgium battleship from the Korean War era, the band was intrigued by the "heavyness" of the ship and felt it would match this new sound they were creating. The band recorded a few demos, which somehow ended up in the hands of Masami "Sammy" Tomami, President of Big Happy Rock Mountain Records, one of Japan's biggest record companies at the time.
Sammy flew the band to the Orient and offered them an exclusive, Japan-only twenty year contract. He claimed the deal was, "great for a band with minimal exposure, minimal experience and minimal talent it was like a twenty year vacation." Four days later, due to Sammy's many tawdry investments, Big Happy Rock Mountain Records went out of business and Sammy went into hiding. The band was now stuck in Japan on a contract that forbade them to leave the country. Sammy also sent his ninja-like messengers to threaten the band and their loved ones should they attempt to leave the country before their contract expired.
The naïve young rockers had happily and dreamily signed away the next 20 or so years of their lives. (Moongoose blamed Duke and vice-versa, but the truth was that The Kidd actually handled the negotiations and well, you know HE DOES NOT SPEAK!)
In order to eat and keep a roof over their heads, Fozzy were forced into the various worlds of menial labor. Moongoose McQueen (the flamboyant lead singer) worked at Makudonaldo playing the character of Donaldo Makudonaldo (aka Ronald McDonald). Duke LaRue was a chef at a sushi restaurant and the unstable drummer, KK Laflame, fed his dairy fetish as a "sampler" in a cheese shop. Shawn "Sports" Popp (original bassist but now gone over a dispute with Moongoose about some Broadway musical) wiped escalator rails at a downtown Tokyo department store by day and was a towel boy at a local bathhouse by night (where the band soon took up residence, which explains their stunningly youthful looks). No one has been able to find out exactly what happened to The Kidd (non-speaking guitarist) to quiet his demeanour. While their unflattering jobs and overwhelming depression all too often got the best of them, it eventually made them stronger. Fozzy didn't let the evil "Sammy" get them down, and they got through the worst of times by having the best of times doing what they do best making music!
Even though they could afford only the worst studio in Tokyo (Sounds Castle Magic), they made the music that would re-define a musical era. Around 1981, they heard rumours that their music had leaked back to the United States and was in the midst of becoming hugely popular.
At first they were excited and looked forward to their long awaited return along with the hordes of screaming women that were sure to greet them upon arrival. Sadly, that never came to be, as rumour turned to fact when a sampler included in a Japanese music magazine, Riot Patch, came their way. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Twisted Sister, etc. were performing and becoming mega-stars with the now-legendary songs that Fozzy had written.
Fuelled by this heart-wrenching news, Fozzy worked even harder to make the money needed to return to the USA and reclaim the glory that was rightfully theirs. After too many years at minimum wage salaries, they've returned to the USA and are ready to reclaim their heavy metal crown.
McQueen (Chris Jericho) as the egotistical,
flamboyant, irrepressible, but lovable rock
and also the lead singer.