CHRIS Jericho had a glittering wrestling career - he defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock (now Hollywood megastar Dwayne Johnson) on the same night, becoming the first Undisputed WWF Champion - then left it to front powerhouse rock band Fozzy.

And, he says, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll.

Fozzy is the heady brew of Chris’s superstar showmanship tag-teamed with guitar maestro Rich Ward and the “killer combination” of drummer Grant Brooks, bassist PF Farley and Billy Grey’s guitar-shredding solos. Having shared the stage with rock icons such as Metallica, KISS and Iron Maiden, the band released seventh album, Judas, took into them mainstream. The title track has been streamed more than 65 million times on Spotify and was sung by 81,000 fans when Fozzy performed at AEW’s sell-out Wembley show last summer.

New album Boombox sees them “doubling down on the stadium anthems”. Fans can expect “groovy, sweaty, hook-laden rock’n’roll” when Fozzy hit Bradford this month, on their 10-date UK tour.

Chris has fronted the band for more than 20 years, having held 35 wrestling championships, including eight World titles, with WWE, WCW and AEW.

“There were basically three stages to the band,” he says. “From 2000-2004 we did covers. From 2005-2010 we did some original stuff but in 2010 we said, ‘Why don’t we really give this a go?’ In 2016 we started getting played on Rock Radio in the States, which is a huge deal. That took us to a completely different level to where we’re now; a mainstream rock ‘n’ roll band with seven Top 20 hits in a row. Twenty-three years on, we’re bigger than we’ve ever been. And I don’t think a lot of bands can say that.

“The UK has always been a second home for Fozzy. We’re very cognisant of playing as many places as possible. Not just London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. It’s important to go everywhere we can because we’ve got so many fans around the entire territory.”

Do British fans differ from US fans? “Every city has a vibe, that’s anywhere in the world. The most important thing as a live performer is connecting with the audience, hooking them, and ensuring they have a great time. When you set that tone from the beginning, people know what they’re getting into. At a Fozzy show, we expect a lot and give a lot too. People know they’re coming for a ride, and it will be a good one.”

You had a huge career in wrestling; joining the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), now WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in 1999, and bagging your first World Title just 18 months later. “I might have actually been quicker than that. I think I had the title for about 20 minutes, six months in,” laughs Chris.

In that short time, he went from debut match to a world championship match. “It probably took me nine years to get to that point. I toured the world, got so much experience. Wrestling isn’t up to you. It’s up to the promoters and the people in charge and what they want you to do. I knew how to connect with the audience, that’s the most important thing with wrestling. It’s not about anything more than having a character people can get behind. It’s a rockstar persona in wrestling, and a wrestling persona in rock’ n’ roll.

“When I first started wrestling, I wasn’t the biggest guy but I realised I could have the biggest personality. I looked at Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, David Lee Roth, these great frontmen with the crowd in their palm. That’s basically what wrestling is: whether you’re a good guy or a bad guy, you want people to react to what you’re doing at the highest level.”

He signed for AEW (All Elite Wrestling) a couple of years ago. Was there any hesitation in taking on the big boys at WWE? “I’ve always believed in myself. There was no hesitation to start Fozzy or get into pro wrestling at 19- years-old. When you believe in yourself, you can count on your instincts. I felt that AEW had a real shot to do something big. Here we are, less than four years in, putting 80,000 people in Wembley Stadium. We’re returning in August. The bottom line is we took a chance.”

* Fozzy are at Bradford Nightrain on February 17. Visit