In the squared circle, he’s simply known as Y2J. He has catch phrases that include “C’mon, baby,” “Never … eveeeeer” and “Would you please shut the hell up.” But outside the ring, Chris Jericho’s other nickname, the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla, is on full display at venues throughout the world.
His next stop is The Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St., Lancaster, as part of the Metal Allegiance Tour on Wednesday, April 6.
Due to scheduling conflicts – such as Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas on April 3 – Jericho could only play the last few shows of the tour, despite being asked to participate for the entirety.
“I’m super excited to get the chance to play with them. Because of prior commitments, I can only do the last few days of the tour,” Jericho said during a phone interview from Brooklyn, N.Y. “Lancaster is a great rock and roll city. I’ve played with Fozzy in Lancaster a lot in the past.”
Jericho, born Chris Irvine, son of former NHL player Ted Irvine, is the frontman of the band Fozzy, but during his stops on the Metal Allegiance Tour, he will be taking the stage with different musicians – some new and some familiar faces.
“The whole idea is to get a group of musicians playing songs that we have played in the past. I’ve done some touring with them in the past,” Jericho said.
But just what is Metal Allegiance?
Well, technically, it’s a group formed by some of the legendary metal names in the industry, including founder Mark Menghi (music exec), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs) and Alex Skonick (Testament).
But it’s more than just a few names – it’s its own fraternity, in a way.
“The thing with Metal Allegiance, it’s a heavy metal club. You just have to rock out and be cool. We’ve played on each other’s shows and albums. I will work with them as much as they ask me too,” Jericho said. “I’ll be playing six or so songs with them, including some songs by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen; all of the songs I played with my bands in high school.
“It’s great to perform with people you don’t get a chance to perform with all the time. That’s one of the best parts of being a musician. We have one common denominator – the love of music and rock and roll. Even though we are all in successful bands, we are still all fans, and I’ll work with them as much they ask me to.”
After Fozzy’s tour wrapped up in Dec. 2015, Jericho returned to the WWE, where the six-time world champion is wrapping up a feud with WWE newcomer, but wrestling veteran, AJ Styles. While on the road with the WWE, though, Jericho and Fozzy are working on their new album.
“I’m not sure when it will come out, but probably not this year,” Jericho said. “If it is, it won’t be until the end of the year, but next year is more realistic.”
But will Jericho, who has been with Fozzy since 1999, feel weird taking the stage without his bandmates?
“No not at all. I’ve done a lot without them. The last time I sang on stage was at Lemmy (Kilmister)’s birthday party before he passed away,” Jericho said. “When you get a bunch of dudes, it really doesn’t matter. It’s great being on stage with Fozzy, but it’s great being on stage with other guys.
“It makes you a better singer, musician and frontman. People in Lancaster won’t know that I sing the way I do. It’s the same thing that happened when I went to Lemmy’s party. That’s how you expand the people that listen to you. It’s going to be good for me and a good learning experience, as well.”
Not only does Jericho perform in the wrestling ring and on the stage, but he’s also a multiple time best-selling author and has the No. 3 sports podcast according to Podcastchart.com with “Talk is Jericho.”
How does he manage it all?
“I’m not really balancing, because I don’t do them at the same time. Like with wrestling and Fozzy, I can’t. It’s one or the other,” Jericho said. “When one calms down, the other picks up. Podcasting is twice a week, but I do it wherever I am. I’m going to be writing another book after the craziness of Mania is done. I’m busy, but it’s not as bad as you think. It’s a matter of balancing it and putting things in the right places.”
Jericho will be transitioning from performing in front of 100,000 people at Wrestlemania in Dallas, Tx., to a club with a capacity of 750. In wrestling terms, the rock ‘n’ roll show could be looked at as a non-televised house show.
“I love playing shows. I don’t care if they are big or small. At WWE, you can have 20 percent capacity arena or 100,000 people at Mania. It’s the same for music,” Jericho explained. “Every show is as important as the last. The people that show up are excited to be there. You have to have that attitude that every show you place is Madison Square Garden.
“At the same time, you have to pretend every show is the Chameleon Club, too. You have to put in the same amount of effort to everything you play. You have to be a pro and just perform. If you continue to have that attitude, you’ll continue to build your fan base. It’s your mission to treat every show like it’s your last. If you do that, there will always be more shows to play.”
Stone Cold Steve Austin said that if he could bottle up the feeling that he got every time he walked through the curtain in a packed arena and sell the bottle, he would be the richest man alive. For Jericho, he doesn’t just get that feeling when performing in the ring, but any time he’s performing in general.
“It’s performing in general. It happened when I was on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ when I was doing stand up or spoken word shows. The magic is when you get that instant gratification or instant reaction. It’s a great feeling,” Jericho said. “I think people miss that when they leave. It is an addictive drug, you could say. That’s why a guy like The Rock comes back to the WWE. You can have as many million-dollar movies that you want, but you won’t have that feeling of instant gratification.”
And the feeling of instant gratification will take place on the Chameleon Club stage, too, for Jericho, as he’s going to rock the stage at 7 p.m.
“It’s such a great rock and roll town and a fun town. It’s going to be a great time. If you love rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal, you’ll love this show. It’s some of the greatest musicians that are coming together. What’s not to like?” he asked. “It’s my Metal Allegiance debut, and I’ll be singing some songs that I’ve sung before and others that I haven’t. It’s going to be a (expletive) blast.”