Former FOZZY Drummer FRANK FONTSERE: ‘I Was Really Unhappy’ On Band’s Last Tour
Former FOZZY drummer Frank Fontsere has opened up about his decision to leave the band, saying he “was really unhappy” on the group’s most recent tour. The 54-year-old musician’s exit from FOZZY was officially announced on January 3. The band simultaneously named his replacement, former THROUGH FIRE drummer Grant Brooks. Frank discussed his departure from FOZZY in a new interview with the “Cheap Heat Productions” podcast. Speaking about the band’s recent run of U.K. shows, which concluded with a December 12 performance in London, he said: “I was really unhappy on this last tour. I’d been doing this for so long. 20 years, basically, being the drummer in FOZZY and just trying to pursue making a living as a working drummer for so long, it just seemed like I was on a hamster wheel, that nothing was ever gonna really change. I was gonna have some significant experiences and do things that other people only dreamed of, but there was a ceiling — I was starting to feel like I was bumping up against a ceiling. Because I didn’t really have any creative input in the band, and that was… I mean, I’m not a songwriter.” Referencing his pre-FOZZY band STUCK MOJO, which also featured FOZZY guitarist Rich Ward, Frank said: “A long time ago, with STUCK MOJO, there was a lot more… We all rehearsed in a rehearsal room together every day, and even though Rich was the principal songwriter, the way he wrote the songs was much more… With a little drum machine, one of those very old drum machines, we had to tap everything out, so he could only come up with the most basic kind of drum beats and he mostly wrote the riffs and so a lot of the drumming was more what I would come up with. And these days, with all the programming capability there is, the songs, when they’re demoed, the drums are pretty much written. And we have to do everything so fast that I just didn’t really have any input.” He continued: “That’s not laying any blame on anybody; it’s just the way it is. But I, more and more, just started to feel like I don’t have any creative input; I’m just doing a job. And it’s a great job — don’t get me wrong — but it’s a job that takes me away from home. And it’s so sporadic, I was having to kind of shift from being one kind of person to being another kind of person — being just a regular guy who has a home life to the guy who’s the touring drummer. And it just got harder and harder to do that. I started to think I just wanna be me; I just wanna be at home. I just felt like I’ve gotta step away from this, at least for a while. If I don’t leave this part of my life behind, and leave the door open for doing other things drumming-wise, I just have to get out and creatively pursue other things — and even not pursue other things. Because whenever I was trying to generate income, like everybody has to, just to keep the lights on and keep food on the table, I always had to think, ‘Well, I have to leave room for FOZZY. I have to make sure it’s got the flexibility to be able to tour’ whenever they were touring. And that just started to wear me down. “I’ve really been enjoying life lately just thinking whatever I make plans for, I’m planning for me and I’m not having to leave a gap in there in order to do something else,” he explained. “And I just feel more in control. And I feel the creative juices flowing. And the path forward is whatever I wanna make it, and I really love that feeling.” Fontsere was a founding member of FOZZY, having formed the group in 1999 with singer Chris Jericho and Ward. When FOZZY announced Fontsere‘s departure, the band said that he was “stepping down to focus on his family and other projects.” In a separate statement on his personal Facebook page, Brooks said that he was “super excited” about his new gig. He wrote: “So thankful for this amazing opportunity! Huge shoutout to Rich Ward, aka The Duke and Chris Jericho for reaching out to me and offering me the gig. “My first shows will be on the Jericho Cruise setting sail from Miami, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas on March 14-18!” FOZZY will release its new album, “Boombox”, on April 15. The LP, which includes the top 10 singles “Nowhere To Run” and “Sane”, was once again produced by Johnny Andrews. FOZZY‘s “Save The World” 2022 U.S. tour, featuring special guests GFM, KRASHKARMA and THE NOCTURNAL AFFAIR, starts on March 31 in Detroit, Michigan and wraps on May 16 in Sauget, Illinois. Additionally, to celebrate the arrival of “Boombox”, FOZZY will play an album-release party on April 11 at Irving Plaza in New York City, where fans will be able to purchase and listen to the full album exclusively in advance of the release. FOZZY debuted a brand new song, “Purifier”, during its September 2021 concert in Flint, Michigan and has been performing it live ever since. Back in July, FOZZY played another new song, “The Vulture Club”, during its concert in Iowa City, Iowa. The band also performed its latest single, “Sane”, live for the first time. In May, FOZZY dropped a video for its first new song in two years, the aforementioned “Sane”, which hit one million views in its first two weeks. This first-of-its-kind video was filmed on the longest wooden roller coaster on the planet today. In the summer of 2020, Chris revealed that FOZZY‘s next LP would contain 12 songs, including one cover. Ward and Andrews once again did “the lion’s share” of the songwriting for the new LP, which was recorded primarily in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to producing “Judas”, Andrews previously co-wrote FOZZY‘s “Lights Go Out” track back in 2014. He has also written songs with the likes of ALL THAT REMAINS, THREE DAYS GRACE and HALESTORM. In November 2020, FOZZY appeared in its first global live streaming event from Madison Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. FOZZY is Chris Jericho (vocals), Rich Ward (guitars, vocals), Grant Brooks (drums), Billy Grey (guitars) and P.J. Farley (bass).