After the amazing Fozzy concert and VIP experience, I was taken backstage for my interview with the guitarist for Fozzy, Billy Grey. He has played live on and off with Fozzy since 2002 and became an official full-time band member in 2010. His first full-time tour with the band was in support of Fozzy’s 2010 album, Chasing the Grail. Grey played guitar on Fozzy’s latest relase from 2012, Sin and Bones.
Alex Obert: It’s my understanding that you knew Rich Ward in high school. How did you two meet and how was your bond back then?
Billy Grey: Back then, we knew of each other, but we didn’t really hang out or anything. We just knew about each other. We went to different schools. Then, Rich moved to Atlanta and I did my thing. And when Stuck Mojo, his band, came out, I had a band called Method 51, I used to open up for them. That’s how me and him met up again. And it just went from there. I got a chance to try out for Rich’s band, Sick Speed, and at the same time, for Fozzy. And I did it, and I’ve been there pretty much ever since.
AO: Do you remember your first Fozzy gig?
BG: Yes, it was at The World. It was here in New York City.
AO: And how did the fans take to Chris Jericho, separating the wrestler from the singer at that time?
BG: They were pretty crazy back then, too. So it’s been a lot of fun playing.
AO: I know he’s trying to distance the wrestler and the singer now.
AO: Back then, they had the costumes. Moongoose McQueen and all that.
BG: Yes, yes, yes, yes. It was more of a fun thing back then, it’s still fun, but now we’re trying to really launch the band and let the world know that we are a band and we’re gonna be playing and we’re gonna be in their face until we’re dead. (laughs)
AO: So what is it that you enjoy about playing in New York City?
BG: Man, the crowd’s always killer! All the folks here love rock n’ roll and it’s such a pretty city. It really is, it’s clean. We play a lot of places and big cities, but as far as New York, it’s really clean out here, folks are nice, and it’s awesome.
AO: Did you play on the BB King’s show three years ago and at last year’s show at the Gramercy Theater? (Both in New York City)
BG: I did. Yes, I did. That’s when I first came back. That was probably the second show that I played when I came back.
AO: And that was a star-studded night, if I recall. There were a bunch of big names.
BG: Yeah. Mike Portnoy, Vinnie Paul, lots of ’em, yeah. Avenged Sevenfold was in the house.
AO: Back to Fozzy as a live band, first of all, what are your thoughts on Chris Jericho as a frontman?
BG: He’s a freakin awesome frontman. He is the new David Lee Roth who meets freakin James Hetfield. He’s awesome.
AO: I noticed he evolved in three years. When I last came to BB King’s, he was more laid back, now he’s just all over the place. And I notice the live band has evolved with their stage presence, stage diving into the crowd tonight. It was a whole different show this time.
BG: Yeah, yeah. We try to make it dangerous. That’s what I’ll say, it’s fun, it’s gonna be dangerous too. Jumping in crowds, smackin each other with headstocks while we’re moving, I mean, it’s dangerous.
AO: How do you feel Fozzy evolved as a live band from the 2010 show, or even the 2002 show?
BG: I feel that we’ve evolved a lot. We’ve got Paulie in the band now, who’s the best bass player on the planet. He’s awesome. He’s played with Billy Joel, he’s played with freakin Paul Simon, these are non-metal players, but they’re the biggest musicians in the world. And we’ve really evolved since he’s been in the band and since we’ve done Sin and Bones, did all the touring, it’s really worked out good.
AO: Speaking of Sin and Bones and Chasing the Grail, what are your thoughts on the 10 minute plus songs that you’ve started to do?
BG: Oh, they’re killer. I actually helped write Storm the Beaches and Wormwood’s a great song too.
AO: Back to Sin and Bones, how did the relationship develop with M. Shadows to be on Sandpaper?
BG: Jericho’s been friends with him for a while. We did Uproar Tour 2011 and they were the headliners, so those two have been friends for a while and they just kind of came about like that.
AO: What was it like playing Uproar 2012?
BG: That was the best tour of my life. It was awesome.
AO: What’s a typical day for the Uproar Festival?
BG: Typical day was wake up at 9:00, freakin get the hair spiked up, go eat, we played at 4:20 every day. So when it’s 4:00 and we had a prime spot right before P.O.D., like I said, it was the best tour ever.
AO: Did you hang out with the other musicians while traveling?
BG: Yeah, we hung out with everybody. Got to be good friends with the Shinedown guys, got to be good friends with all the side bands like In This Moment, got to be good friends with those guys, Candlelight Red, that was killer.
AO: Might you see a future in the Mayhem Festival, the lead tour?
BG: I really hope so. I hope to be on either Uproar again next year or the Mayhem Fest, whichever one will take us, we’ll do it.
AO: What are some of the highlight concerts you’ve been to as a fan?
BG: As a fan? Oh man, highlight concerts. I love Avenged Sevenfold. Them, Bullet For My Valentine, Paramore. We were on tour with them in Australia, so I got to watch them a few times, they’re killer. A non-metal concert that I went to recently was Bruno Mars, and he kicked my ass. Awesome.
AO: I know that Fozzy played mainly covers on the first two albums. But on the last tour and as of late, but not tonight, I notice that Eat The Rich is the only cover played. Why do you think that is?
BG: Because since Sin and Bones came out, we’ve got so many original songs that we enjoy playing, the covers are on the backburner. We’ll do it for fun.
AO: What made you decide on Eat The Rich?
BG: You know, it just rocks the crowd out. Every time we play it, no matter where we are, it makes the crowd rock and we rock on it too. It rocks us too, so it seems to be the best cover.
AO: What are some of your other favorite covers off of the first two albums?
BG: I like Freewheel Burning by Judas Priest and Stand Up And Shout by Dio. Those are two of my favorites.
AO: What are some of your favorite Fozzy originals?
BG: Oh man, I love a lot of them. Let’s see, my very favorite one, I gotta say Blood Happens. My absolute favorite is Spider In My Mouth. I love coming out and playing that. And I love Sandpaper. I love the titles track to Sin and Bones. So yeah, there’s quite a few of them.
AO: Back to beginnings, what was it like when you first met Chris Jericho? How did you meet Chris?
BG: Mine and Rich’s band was opening for Fozzy in Georgia and I met him that night. Always been nice to me, always been a very good friend. When mine and Rich’s other band, Sick Speed, opened up for Fozzy, doing double duty, and yeah, that’s how we met.
AO: Have you been to a match of his live?
BG: I never have. I’ve never been to a wrestling match. I’m not into it.
AO: What do you think of him multitasking?
BG: Hey, you know what? Dude, he’s a hustler and I don’t mind it at all. People do what they do.
AO: When he came back last year, and he would be gone Mondays, Tuesdays, and the occasional Sunday, what did you do during that time?
BG: I had another band called Dangerous New Machine and was playing with them. I had another band, but now that’s on the backburner. Things didn’t work out with it. We’re doing this full time now.
AO: In the future, who do you hope to tour with?
BG: Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, I’d love to tour with Slash. God, there’s so many of them. Those are three of the top right there. Alter Bridge, I’d love to tour with them. So yeah, those are some of the top ones right there.
AO: So you’re a fan of Myles Kennedy?
BG: Yes, definitely.
AO: How’d you discover them?
BG: Just word of mouth. Palladia and stuff like that. I had seen them on that.
AO: Where are some of your favorite places to play with Fozzy?
BG: Anywhere in the U.S. (laughs) I love playing the U.S. I mean I love playing Europe too. As far as the U.S., anywhere. Over in Europe, Glasgow seems to be a great town for Fozzy. Glasgow, Scotland. And pretty much anywhere in the U.K. is always killer for Fozzy. Germany’s great in Europe for us. And we’re just trying to build it around the world.
AO: Just coming off tonight’s show, how would you sum it up?
BG: Kickass. Crowd was awesome. Second show of the tour and moving right along.
AO: What’s it like touring with Saxon?
BG: It’s nice. They’re good guys. It’s all good.
AO: What other bands has Fozzy toured with?
BG: God, we toured with a bunch of them. Stone Sour. We did an Australian tour with a bunch of bands. Stone Sour was on there, Metallica, Linkin Park. So many of them we’ve toured with. They’re all people that I look up to. It’s been awesome.
AO: Have you had bands come up to you saying they want to tour with Fozzy?
BG: Actually, yeah, man. Quite a few of those bands that we were on Uproar with, a lot of the main stage bands talked about doing a future tour, so we’ll see what happens.
AO: Just before we wrap up, I just wanted to do a speed round with you. Ask you a couple quick questions, just answer the first thing that comes to mind.
BG: Okay. Gotcha.
AO: Best live band.
BG: Avenged Sevenfold.
AO: Coolest musician.
BG: Rich Ward. (laughs)
AO: Cover you wish Fozzy did on their first two albums.
BG: You know, I’ve always wanted to do some crazy cover of Take On Me by A-ha or something like that. Just really fuck it up, something like that. You never know where it might go with that.
AO: Musician you want to meet.
BG: Eddie Van Halen.
AO: Favorite frontman.
BG: Chris Jericho. (laughs)
AO: If you could be apart of any other band in history, which would it be?
BG: In history? Dude, that’s a hard one. Linkin Park, A7X, Van Halen. There’s quite a few of them, there’s a lot of them. Those are the three.
AO: In closing, what can you tell us about the road ahead for Fozzy within the coming year?
BG: The road ahead will be us finishing this tour, going to maybe Australia again for another tour, and a new record out by hopefully May or June 2014.
AO: Do you have any hopes for the new album?
BG: Actually, we’ve been writing some really cool stuff. We’re experimenting with some stuff, so I hope we keep on doing that. We’ve got one song totally completed and I really love it. It’s gonna be killer.
AO: So, any last words for the readers?
BG: Keep on rockin and come check out Fozzy whenever you can.
AO: How can fans keep up with you on the internet?
BG: I got a fan site on Facebook, I have a musician page on Facebook, and I’m soon to have a dot com site, and all the Fozzy sites.