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Chair Shots: Chris Jericho talks WWE, Fozzy

Chris Jericho recently completed his third run with the WWE, an eight-month stint that lasted from his cryptic return in January until his final match against Dolph Ziggler on the Aug. 20 edition of Monday Night Raw. Now, Jericho is performing with his band Fozzy on the Uproar Festival tour, which will make a stop in Bristol, Va., on Sunday at Jiffy Lube Live.

Jericho spoke with the Times in a phone interview from a tour stop in Scranton, Pa., Tuesday week about his most recent run with in WWE, Fozzy's new album "Sin and Bones," how the internet has changed the professional wrestling business and what the future holds for him.

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Note from the author: The first few-and-a-half questions of the interview were left out because the author is an idiot and hit the wrong button on his recorder. Fortunately, he took enough notes he was able to paraphrase for the article that appeared in Thursday's Encore section of the Times. However, rather than subject you to that shorthand, I left out the first few questions and we pick up the interview mid-answer. Most of the meatier stuff about pro wrestling is in this part anyway.

Obviously, I think most people know you first-and-foremost as a professional wrestler, but you've sort of begun to transcend the entertainment industry, doing Dancing with the Stars and now Fozzy is finding some mainstream success. Are there some things you can take as a performer in the world of wrestling and apply when you are up on stage performing your music?

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"It's kind of a reverse of that. I've been playing music since I was 12. ... [That was the last of my shorthand. This is when I realized my recorder wasn't on. I stopped taking notes to fix it, so the rest is Jericho's responses, word-for-word.] When I became the official front man for Fozzy, that's when I took the qualities from WWE that I had taken from Paul Stanley. So it's like Paul Stanley begat Y2J, which then begat Chris Jericho on stage. It all comes from the some place, just being an entertainer, being a showman and that's what I love to do. I've never just been a wrestler, I've always considered myself an entertainer. And that's there are so many different faces to what I do. That's always the way I've looked at things and think that's one of the reasons I've been able to get to this point in so many different areas.

Can you describe the bands latest album, Sin and Bones?

Well, we wanted to make this our black album. And what I mean my that is, if you listen to Metallica's black album, it takes you on a journey from track 1 to track 12. All the songs have a certain theme and a tone. There's a lot of diversity, different styles of music, different styles of songs, but they all have a certain feel to it. And what's what we wanted with Sin and Bones, we wanted to take people on a journey. In this day in age, a lot people buy one song off a CD or listen to it on shuffle, but we still think it's important that we put a lot of time and effort into the sequencing of the record and making sure those songs fit. So we really do take people on a journey throughout this record, and like I said, it's a very heavy, very melodic journey. When we write our songs, if we can't envision a doo-whoop group standing around singing the choruses of our songs, then the choruses aren't strong enough. You can add the heavy guitars and the fast drums afterward, it has to boil down to the hook and the chords and that people can remember it and sing along to it.

So that's sort of our M.O. for every song we put on this record. And that's why I think it's done so well. Our first single "Sandpaper" has M. Shadows from Avenge Sevenfold a guest on it. he's a great friend of mind, I wanted to do a call and response thing on that song, so I called him up, and he went above and beyond, not just recording the vocal that I asked, but arranging for it, just really putting a lot of time and effort into making it a better song. So having that as the lead single and having this certain tone, vibe and feel to it has taken it to a different level.

Let's talk about your wrestling career for a little bit. Since you just wrapped up your most recent WWE run a few days ago, how would you sort of define this run? Was it what you envisioned when you went back in January?

I thought it was a great run. Actually, the last two runs have been the best of my career. It was shorter than the last two year run, but the work was just as good, I think my work was better than its ever been. I loved the transition of going back to good guy Y2J at the end of it. The CM Punk thing was great, I enjoyed the Dolph Ziggler thing. All the other work I did with guys like Miz and Kofi, and Sheamus -- I had some great matches with him -- so it was a lot of fun. I always had only planned to stay for six or eight months until Sin and Bones came out, because at this point in my career ... when we started Fozzy, it was kind of WWE first and Fozzy second, and now its kind of morphed into Fozzy taking precedent and everything else kind of has to fit around Fozzy's schedule. We've had so much great stuff happening, and I want to take this as far as we can go. But having said that, the run was amazing, and it's almost sad to leave, but it's also very exciting at the same time, knowing the reason why I left.

You came back specifically to work with CM Punk -- are you pretty happy with how that program went?

Absolutely. I pitched the idea to Vince McMahon last August to come back and do the "best in the world" thing with CM Punk. I thought our WrestleMania match was great, I thought our Extreme Rules match in Chicago was great. It could've even gone another month. But, yeah, he was a lot of fun to work with and I really enjoyed it.

What do you think about Punk seemingly turning heel now, do you think that's going to hurt him?

I don't think anything can hurt anybody as long as you do it properly. The thing with WWE is John Cena is the man and he's going to be the man for the foreseeable future. So, it's good being a strong No. 2, but if Punk can be the top heel in the company and be No. 1, he'd probably always go for that. Turning heel or babyface never hurts, as long as the performer is comfortable to play both.

How much has the internet changed professional wrestling? Has it pulled back the curtain a little too much in your opinion?

I think it has, in my opinion. If anything, I think it's given people a real sense of entitlement where they feel that they deserve to know everything all at once. And that's not fun. When I go to see a movie, I don't want to know what the end of it is before I even see it. I want to see it unfold the way that the storytellers are envisioning it to unfold. I think people think they can just go online and find out everything and when they don't, it makes them mad. And that's why I'm always very close to the vest with everything I do. People don't need to know until they need to know. That's one thing I don't like about it. I appreciate the benefits of social media and I'm all for it, but sometimes I think people feel they have the right to know everything a little bit too early. I like to remind people that I'm in charge, not them. (Laughs.)

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Obviously, this last program you just did with Dolph Ziggler was about you not having won at PPVs since you returned. How important is winning and losing professional wrestling at the end of the day? I know there are some fans who put a lot of stock in that.

And those are fans who don't understand the concept of what wrestling is. I mean, especially as a heel, you get to win one out of every 10 big matches. I wasn't even the one who noticed the pay-per-view won-loss record, I judge it on whether the match was good or not. And every pay-per-view match I had when I came back was one of the best one the show, and I was happy with all of them. So it looks like you're losing, who cares? If I'm an actor and I die at the end of every movie, does that make me a bad actor? Who cares, right? But I was getting so much response from it that I thought, well, this will be a good storyline to use with Ziggler and then turn the tables, 'Oh, Jericho is going to lose again, he's gonna lose again.' So this time I win. So there you go. Fooled you again guys.

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But I mean, if you look at the pay-per-view matches, I think the Royal Rumble with me and Sheamus was great. I think the Elimination Chamber thing worked really well. Mania was great, Extreme Rules was great, the four-way we had with Sheamus, Del Rio and Orton I thought was outstanding. The Money in the Bank was amazing and then the last match with Ziggler; so they're all good matches and that's the most important thing.

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I'm far beyond worrying about winning and losing at this point. If I won every match and all those matches were [crap], I wouldn't be very happy. But if I lose every match and they're all great matches, well, that's my job.

I've read in a couple interviews that you do plan to come back to WWE again. Who are some guys that you didn't get to work with this time around that you'd like to get in the ring with?

Who knows? I don't know if that's going to be a month from now, a year from now or two years from now, so we'll have to see who steps up to the plate. I'll work with anybody. I don't care. I don't care if I'm working with Triple H. I don't care if I'm working with Drew McIntyre. It doesn't matter to me. My goal is to work with whoever the company wants me to work with and do my best to make them look as good as possible. Even this last pay-per-view, was supposed to originally be Daniel Bryan - actually, it was supposed to originally be Sheamus, then it was supposed to be Daniel Bryan, and then it switched to Dolph Ziggler like, the day of. So, you know, whatever man. I'll work with all and every body and I think there are a lot of guys coming up the system. But you know fans what everything now. 'Dolph Ziggler should be the champion.' No, he shouldn't. He's on his way, he's going to be, but he's still learning. Everyone there is still learning because the experience level is different from the way it used to be. So those guys will to continue to grow as best they can and learn as best they can. And when I come back, I'll work with whoever they want me to to help them figure out what their strengths are and how to hide their weaknesses. That's a wishy-washy answer but it's the truth. I'll work with anybody, anywhere ,anytime.

If last Monday really was it for your wrestling career -- would you be good with that? Is there anything else you wish you could've accomplished in pro wrestling?

Yes! I would've been good with it after the last run when I came back and the thing I did with Shawn Michaels, I thought it was the best program that not only I had had, but I mean it's one the best programs WWE has ever had. I'm completely happy. Living my dream, traveling the world, what's not to be happy about? I accomplished every goal I ever wanted to. The good thing about WWE for me is I can go back on my terms when I have the time, the desire, the passion, but I've also never been bitter or been burned out except for in 2005 when I left, but ever since then, I'll come back to the WWE for as long as I can wrestle. And this last run, I was doing the same things [physical] I was doing when I was 31, which is the same things I was doing when I was 21. So I have no complaints and no problems, so when the time is right I'm sure I'll go back and be happy.

Had you ever given any thought to returning in a backstage role as an agent or being a color commentary guy or something like that when the time comes?

No. My ego is too big. I would like to be in front of the camera. That's one good thing too, when you step into the WWE is you realize how many opportunities are out there. 'Dancing with the Stars' opened a lot of doors, some of the stuff going on with Fozzy too. So we'll see, but for right now, that's not something I'm planning on.

How about in the world of entertainment? What's the next challenge for Chris Jericho?

Just continue doing what I'm doing. Like I said, I've been an entertainer for 22 years, I'm going to continue to do so. I want to take Fozzy to the next level. I want us to be the best band in the world, you know? We want Metallica's job. I'd love to host another game show, I'm going to write another book, do some more acting, see what's out there and continue to do what I do best - be a showman and entertain.

I have to ask -- whose idea was the light-up jacket and is that something you're taking on tour when you're performing with Fozzy?

No, no. That's a WWE thing. I created that idea with a costume designer who I just I found by happenstance. Turns out he does all of David Lee Roth's stuff and all of Justin Bieber's stuff as well, so it's kind of a cool, interesting little twist. I came up with the design, he came up with the light idea and that's kind of how it went.

Any parting words for fans coming out to the Uproar tour this weekend in DC?

We're just excited to tear your heads off and make sure you have a great time. That's out job.

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