FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Wails of Jericho

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD ON MONDAY, AUG. 9, 2004, all rights reserved.Chris Jericho Some people grow up aspiring to be a rock star. Others grow up aspiring to be a professional wrestler. Winnipeg’s Chris Jericho did both.
Jericho is the front man for the heavy metal band Fozzy and one of the superstars for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Not too shabby.
It begs the question: How does one balance the life of musician with the life of a major player with the largest sports entertainment empire in the world?
“It’s a lot fun,” Jericho told No Holds Barred in an interview.
“It’s another challenge to play with a band and to see it grow just as my career in wrestling has.
“What we’ve been doing lately is we’ve been playing shows after our wrestling shows. We’ll wrestle, do a Raw or a live event and then when that’s done, an hour or two hours later, we’ll do a Fozzy show at a nearby venue.”
Jericho, whose real name is Chris Irvine, and his bandmates will pull off a similar feat this week at Ontario Place in Toronto, only this time they’ll perform one night before Jerichowrestles at SummerSlam.
“It should be fun, man,” he said. “We’ve been doing quite a few shows lately and we actually always enjoy coming up to play in Canada.
“We just did [a show] in Winnipeg and did Calgary and Edmonton as well this year but this is the first time we’ve ever played in Toronto. It’s going to be a great time, especially tying in with SummerSlam like that. It’s going to be a good weekend for Chris Jericho fans.”
Those fans, affectionately know as Jerichoholics, will no doubt come in droves to see Fozzy, but are Jericho’s bandmates Jerichoholics?
“Probably not. Probably not,” Jericho said with a snicker. “It’s different being in a band. It’s a whole different world you know. They’re hardcore Fozzy fans.”
One of the things that transforms the average Joe into a Jerichoholic is Jericho’s abilities with a microphone. In wrestling, as you know, you’re only as good as your last promo.
“It’s part of what makes Chris Jericho Chris Jericho,” he said. “There’s only a select few people who can connect with the crowd on a microphone the same way that I can. It’s becoming almost a lost art. Hopefully someone will be able to connect that way because we need somebody in our company to be able to do that.
“I think John Cena is doing a pretty good job. To me, one of the most important things about wrestling – it always has been – is your personality and your charisma and how the fans can relate to you and how you relate to the fans.
“[It’s] kind [of like] pulling the curtain back so people can empathize, sympathize with you if you’re a good guy, and hate you and want to see you get your butt kicked if you’re not. It’s a rare art form to be able to do that.”
Jericho was asked if he comes up with his own material.
“Most of the time,” he said. “I mean we have writers on the show but I was doing this long before we had writers. I don’t put [my] fate in the hands of anybody else because I’m the one who’s out there saying the stuff, I’m the one who’s out there dealing with the crowd or feeling the crowd. Nobody knows what Chris Jericho would say and do more than ChrisJericho.”
Jericho’s known as much for being the first undisputed champion in WWE history as he is for his clever mike skills. But he’s the first to admit that championships are nice, but they’re not the be all and end all.
“It’s one of the biggest moments of my career, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “[It’s] like winning an Oscar or winning a Grammy.
“It was a great honour and it was a good time but whether I’m the undisputed champion or not, it’s all about entertaining the fans and making sure you get your money’s worth when you come to see Chris Jericho. I can do that with the title, I can do it without the title.”
Speaking of titles, Jericho will face fellow Canadian Edge and Evolution member Batista in a Triple Threat match at SummerSlam this weekend for the Intercontinental title.
But championship belts aren’t the only honours bestowed upon the self-proclaimed King of Bling-Bling. He also was recently recognized by his home province for his wrestling achievements and his charity work with underprivileged children.
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer inducted Jericho into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, one of the highest honours the province can bestow on individuals.
“It was a huge honour because that’s one of those things [where] you think, ‘OK, the Order of Buffalo, what is
that?’ ” Jericho said. “But I mean, Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and the Pope have all received this award. And then you throw me in there. It’s kind of like ‘One of these guys doesn’t belong’ … It’s obviously the Pope.
“Just to be part of such an unbelievably influential and great type of people … is a really big honour.”
His father, Ted Irvine, a longtime National Hockey League player, was on hand for the ceremony.
Jericho was asked what it was like growing up the son of a professional hockey player and how it shaped him into the man he would become.
“When I was a kid I always wanted to be a hockey player and I always wanted to be in a band and I always wanted to be a wrestler and Dad taught me a lot of things about kinda living your goal, living your dreams and doing what you want to do,” Jericho said. “That kind of attitude always stuck with me and I still kind of have it to this day.”