We recently had a chance to catch up with Rich Ward from Fozzy, Stuck Mojo, Adrenaline Mob and Walking With Kings at a recent Fozzy show in Glasgow. We spoke about different crowds in different locations, why not to listen to Trivium when you’re writing an album and Rich’s goals for the end of 2012.
Rocksins: This is the 4th time you guys have been here since the album (Chasing The Grail) came out, what’s the difference between European crowds and North American crowds?
Rich Ward: The crowds are pretty much the same all over the world in general, but then you get places like Glasgow where the fans are amazing. There are pockets, we’ll play in Manchester and the crowds are hot, and when we play in Melbourne, Australia the crowds are hot. There’s certain places that are just up for it, I don’t know it there’s something in the water, but they are up for it on any given day. Also, playing in the states… The States is big! Playing in Las Vegas, playing in New York and playing in New Orleans is completely different. But I’m going to say, in general, working class towns tend to be a little more fun to play, because if you are playing L.A., New York or London… They get awesome gigs every night. If you open up a paper in New York, you could find three killer bands playing every night. It’s amazing, but… I’ll relate it to sex, if you could have a different beautiful lady every night, even that would get boring after a while. There’s a certain excitement when a band comes to a working class town where they don’t always get the best bands every night. It becomes a little bit special to them and they appreciate it more.
Rocksins: How do Fozzy gigs differ to Adrenaline Mob or Stuck Mojo Shows?
Rich Ward: Fozzy and Stuck Mojo shows are similar because the approach is the same, heavy riffs, heavy music, and the in between song banter has a little bit more of a party vibe. Adrenaline Mob is more serious. Fozzy and Stuck Mojo’s attitude has always been a backyard barbecue party for a few hundred or thousand of our favourite friends.
Rocksins: You’re in 3 bands right now, are there any more that we don’t know about?
Rich Ward: Actually, I have another project called Walking With Kings. My goal is, by the end of 2012 I wanna be in 100 bands. If you are reading this and you have a band and want me to play, contact me. I need to be in 100 bands by the end of next year.
Rocksins: Is it hard balancing your time between so many projects?
Rich Ward: It’s hard, it’s very hard. You always end up having to make a sacrifice. Fozzy is my number 1 band right now, I imagine it must be what a paligamist feels like.
Rocksins: You’re in bands with some huge stars, do you ever feel overshadowed by the likes of Chris Jericho and Mike Portnoy?
Rich Ward: Not at all. Do you follow wrestling? I am the best in the world at what I do! I know that these guys respect me, they wouldn’t have me in their bands if they didn’t think so. I was a little nervous about joining Adrenaline Mob, Mike is a really big star in the drumming world and I didn’t know what to expect. I’d met him a few times and he was a really nice guy, but I didn’t know what it would be like to be in a band with him, but he turned out to be a really cool guy, the same way Chris is. I had a lot of offers to lay in other bands, some really big bands, over the years and I turned them down because I knew the reputation of the guys in the band. I’m not sure how much of my happiness I’d be willing to sacrifice just to be in a big band. My goal is to bring one of my other bands up to that level. Because if you join a big band, especially if they’ve been big for a while, they’re always gonna treat you as the outsider.
Rockins: Like Jason Newstead in Metallica?
Rich Ward: Exactly. That doesn’t seem fun to me. What I like about Fozzy is that we aren’t really trying to be a huge band, we are happy where we are, we aren’t trying to jump on some bandwagon, we are who we are. That’s what I like about working with Chris, he’s up for trying anything. You’ve got bands like Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium who are doing their thing, and bands like Skindred who are doing their thing… We could try to sound like them and try to be more popular but they are who they are and we are who we are. It’s obvious if you are trying to be something you’re not, if you are just playing a role and that’s something that I don’t want to do.
Rocksins: Since it’s nearing the end of the year, what is your favourite album of 2011?
Rich Ward: I’m really enjoying the new record from In Flames (Sounds Of A Playground Fading). I’ve been listening to it a lot and I really like it. I like their style, the whole Swedish melodic metal thing. They still have aggressive vocals but now there’s more melody and they are using keyboards and stuff. I like a band that try pushing the boundaries. I’ve been listening to the new Devin Townsend records too, everything he does is amazing. Truth be told, I don’t listen to much new music, because if your writing music while listening to current music, things will sink into your subconscious. All of a sudden you’ll write this riff that’s really cool, but actually it’s someone else’s. It’s like all these bands that sound like AC/DC or Iron Maiden or Metallica. It’s because that’s all they listen to. It’s not that they are trying to rip them off, it’s just that they are their favourite band. it’s the same with clothes, you can tell what music someone likes by what they are dressed like. So, when I’m listening to music I try to listen to something from 20 or 30 years ago. If you’re gonna take ideas from Sabbath, the Stones or The Beatles, that’s okay. If you take something that came out a year ago, you’re an idiot, because you are gonna be a year behind the trend, but if you are listening to old Van Halen records and that seeps in, it came out in ’78 or ’79, who’s gonna know? So yeah, listen to Sabbath and not Trivium if you’re trying to write an album.