We caught up with US hard rockers Fozzy’s guitarist Rich Ward following their set at Download to talk the festival, being a clown and a Ronnie James Dio/M. Shadows collaboration!
You’re at Download! Are you excited to be here?
Yes! It’s the Mecca of metal! It’s great! As a young American kid who loves hard rock and metal music, Donington was the biggest! It would be like saying “hey, how would you like to go to the moon?” Like I never even thought I would come to Donington to see a show, all of my favourite bands were here like Iron Maiden, Van Halen and AC/DC and Kiss! All the biggest bands always played here and then in 2005 we got our first chance to come here and play in the tents stage and now here we are twelve years later and we’re playing main stage. It’s unbelievable! It’s a dream come true!
I bet! How did you think your set went? It was a great set from my perspective!
Thanks! It was fun! It was really good! We were up for it, we got a good night’s sleep, we had a good breakfast. Sometimes it just comes down to being in a good place in your mind you know? Music is a physical activity, I mean some bands just stand there and look at their feet but for us we’re there to put on a big show, bring some energy and sometimes it just comes down to a good looking crowd, a great sounding sound system, a good meal and a good feel between all of the band members and a good vibe. It is a team sport and the chemistry is a big part of it, when everyone’s up for it together it makes a big difference!
You could see that you guys were loving it on the stage and you definitely are a great main stage band!
Awh thank you so much!
If you could put together your own Download main stage line-up, who would you pick?
Oh wow… I’m a fan of the classics, right now I can hear In Flames (who are playing main stage just in front of us) and I would put them on there! I love them. Of the newer school bands, I love Devin Townsend he’s my favourite artist on the planet so I’d love to see Devin. I’d definitely put In Flames on there, I love those guys. But I’m an old school guy so I’d love to see Maiden, we could get Axl (Rose) out here with AC/DC, I saw them in Atlanta it was great! Again, I was lucky enough that I grew up in the 80s so I was in that great era of Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and AC/DC and then in the early 90s was Pantera and now in the 2000s there’s so many great bands. Music’s my life!
That’s cool. Have you managed to catch anybody yet?
No. I’m not gonna be able to.
You are here for a while aren’t you? But you ca hear main stage quite well from here!
Yeah, I’ll sing a long from here!
You recently released a new single Judas, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?
The song is about betrayal and a lot of rock and metal songs are about betrayal but they’re from the perspective of feeling like someone has betrayed me, this song is about the feeling of acknowledging that I’ve betrayed those people in my life that I love and I care about. We felt like it was a vulnerable place because people don’t generally like to talk about things they’ve messed up, they generally like to export responsibilities for failed relationships. We don’t like to look in the mirror and acknowledge it was us so we felt like that was a theme that a lot of people deal with, we thought that it may be kinda therapeutic to talk about it like “hey it’s easy to always look and point the finger at somebody else but we all have those relationships that we wish we could have taken back what we said or what we did” and so that’s what the song is about.
That’s awesome. You recently announced a UK tour, you’re coming back over in November. Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah! Of course, we love it here! I think we have 12 or 13 shows something like that. It’s going to be great! We’re playing with Hardcore Superstar and we love those guys!
Nice! You’re currently working on your seventh album, is there any update on how it’s going?
It’s going great! Everything’s tracked except for a few last guitar bits, I’ll have that done as soon as I get back and finish those up and then we’ll finish mixing the record. We’ve got four songs mixed now. Normally we record the whole album and send it to get mixed but this time we’re doing little bits at a time and part of that is because we’ve been touring as well so we didn’t just go into the studio and record the album, we went and recorded a bunch of stuff then we went on tour, we came back and then we recorded some more, we’re going back out on tour. It’s been nice because it gives us a chance to look back and reflect on what we did, make some changes if we feel like it or if we feel like it’s right leave it alone.
Yeah, you get the time to think and look with a fresh mind set.
Yeah! It’s like writing a book, sometimes it’s nice to have a first draft and a second draft to have a chance to go back over your work and see how things feel after a little time. I think the release date for the record will be the end of September.
I look forward to it! There’s a new Punk Goes Pop record coming out soon. If Fozzy were going to cover a pop song, what would it be?
I love P!nk’s So What, that would be great right? Or Roar by Katy Perry would be a really heavy song, you could really do that song! Or you could do Hello by Adele and do a dirty kinda slow type O negative kinda thing! It’d be fun!
They would all be cool! If we flip the switch and you could have any artist, dead or alive, to cover one Fozzy track, who would it be and what would they cover?
Oh wow that would be cool… I’d have to go with one of the classics. How cool would it be to have Dio sing one of your songs? Dio was one of my heroes growing up so to hear Ronnie James Dio’s band play and sing our songs would be amazing!
That would be cool! What song would you have them do?
He would probably be great for Sandpaper! He’d probably kill it! Even though we did have M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) on that. He killed it too! How about Dio and M. Shadows together? Old school, new school combo. That would rule!
That would be mind blowing! We always end our interviews with some random questions; what was the first record you remember buying?
The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack Bee Gees. Amazing! Staying Alive, Night Fever, More Than A Woman, Jive Talking…. Amazing record! I still listen to it! I still have the vinyl!
Yeah? You’re asked to join the circus, what would your act be?
I would have to be a clown for sure. The clown’s got a good gig cause you don’t have to get shot out of a cannon or possibly fall to your death from a trapeze. Those are bad gigs! And you could have a good time! Clowns seem to have a rad time right?! Just like mess with people in the audience and stuff. It seems fun! It’s a low risk of being killed!
That’s fair! What was the last lie you told?
Wow um….. There was a guy I met earlier today and he told me that he wanted me to listen to his CD and I told him I would (laughs). I’m terrible about that. I may but I probably won’t.
Yeah I’m the same, by the time you get chance, you always forget about it.
Yeah I know and I always feel bad about that! When I said yes my intentions were not to explain to him that I probably wouldn’t or I probably wouldn’t have time or I’d probably forget so it’s just better to go “yeah man” cause you know yeah! Oh the clouds man! What the hell? (starts to get very cloudy overhead).
We might have a bit of rain!
Oh hell no! It just was sun shining.
English weather for you!
Finally, is there anything else you want to say to our readers?
Just thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me today. Donington! Come on! DOWNLOAD! How can you beat that? Thank you!
Thank you for speaking to us today!