FOZZY GUITARIST RICH WARD DISCUSSES THE PROPER WAY TO TREAT FANS AND HIS OWN NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES, MEETING MUSICIANS
During a new appearance on Knotfest‘s Squared Circle Pit, Fozzy and Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward reflected on Fozzy’s September 2019 concert as the opening band for Iron Maiden at Banc Of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California. He said (as transcribed by blabbermouth.net): “That was another one of those things. As a 13-year-old kid, Iron Maiden was my favorite band. And I’m opening for Iron Maiden — main support. I’m standing on the floor that’s got all of the — you know how everything there is all branded and they’ve got stage props and everything’s behind me. But then I’m trying not to get in the moment too much, because I don’t wanna go, ‘Selfie. Look where I’m at.’ I don’t wanna be that guy because I wanna keep it in check.”
Ward continued, “Let’s think about all of the crazy people in the music industry that let that get to them. I’ve had lots of bad interactions with famous musicians over the years that I was a fan of, and I tried to meet them because I’m a fan. At my core, I’m still that 13-year-old kid standing in front of a mirror playing guitar. I’m still a fanboy. And I’ve had some bad interactions. And those are always because somebody forgot that they didn’t cure cancer. They forgot that this is a privileged life that entertainers, people in our business have. It could all go away, and it has. You look at bands like Quiet Riot who were the biggest band in the world, and two years later they were playing clubs again. It doesn’t last forever. None of this stuff is guaranteed. And those bad experiences with people have taught me, when somebody comes up to me, as much as I may be embarrassed by the moment of someone’s really wants to meet me and I wanna tell them, ‘It’s okay. just play guitar.’ But I wanna honor that moment by listening to them and stopping what I’m doing to give them that moment, because for them it is important, because I made a song or I was part of something that they enjoyed. And I don’t ever wanna take that away from them. And probably, over the 25 or 30 years, 32 years that I’ve been doing this, I’m sure that I’ve had a bad interaction. But I make it a point, when people try to talk to me, that I never blow it off as insignificant or make it trivial.”
Back in 2016, Ward told the Behind The Barricade podcast that the first time he met Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, “he was a total dick to me. And the second time I met Scott Ian, he was a total dick to me. It was rough, ’cause I’m a big Anthrax and Scott Ian fan, so that was really tough,” he said. “Because as a fanboy, even though I was making records and I already had success of my own, I was still a little kid in his presence, ’cause Among The Living was a big record for me.”
He added, “I just remember: don’t be a dick to people, Rich. ‘Cause you remember how it felt when he was to you. Now, I don’t know what he was going through. Maybe he was having a rough day, or maybe he just hated my face — I don’t know — but I’m just gonna try not to do that, ’cause I remember it just sucked the way it made me feel afterwards. And I walked away going, ‘Damn, man. That was rough.'”
Ward also stated, “Do I think Scott Ian is a dick? I don’t even know, and it’s none of my business to say. I just know that, lesson learned: don’t treat people shitty when they come up to you and say, ‘Hey, I love [Stuck Mojo’s] Pigwalk. That was a cool record.’ Make sure to shake their hand and say, ‘Thank you.’ Because if you’re a dick to them, not only does that show little class, and a lack of appreciation for a real fan, but, also, it just shows you have no class at all and it means you’re just a sh-tty human. And so all of those kind of bad situations, I just turn them back around on myself as a lesson: don’t do that. It looks sh-tty.”
Fozzy‘s latest album, Boombox, came out in May 2022 and featured the song I Still Burn (see video here), which recently eclipsed two and a half million views, on YouTube. It also included the Top 10 singles Nowhere To Run and Sane (see clip here).
This past spring, the band spent time on the road with Ugly Kid Joe as part of the latter band’s first tour of the United States in 27 years.