Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Frankie Kazarian
Your Host: James Walsh
Frankie Kazarian last joined us in 2003 after taking a sick bump from AJ Styles Now, in 2017, a lot has changed. The Bullet Club member
tells us about his new band Vex Temper, his messy ending with TNA Impact Wrestling, and his current status with Ring of Honor. He also
tells us some kind words about his wife, former TNA Knockout Traci Brooks. This is a fun one. Enjoy!
Download the MP3 here:
On how he got involved in heavy metal music:
"I too obviously have a love and passion for heavy metal music as much if not more than my love for professional wrestling. I've been playing bass guitar for, Jeez, 20 plus years... Right out of high school. Taught myself to play. Taught myself playing Metallica songs, Motorhead songs, Black Sabbath songs... With professional wrestling, I got very busy quickly. I always did play music but I never really had the time or the focus to join a band. It wasn't until my wife and I moved back out to California in 201. I had some buddies, I started to get together with those guys to just jam. We did some covers. Started to do some originals that I just learned. Started to take it serious, had a line-up change, started to take it even more serious, started gigging. Then, we had about 7 songs we thought were quite good. We decided to get them recorded, get them mastered, and get them out there. Here I am today trying to plug this album we've got coming out April 7th! I'm having the time of my life doing it."
On his band, Vex Temper's, influences:
"It is really all across the board. We all have a deep love and respect for all types of music. The one common thread is hard rock and heavy metal. I myself being a huge Metallica fan. Guns N Roses, Sabbath, Priest, Maiden... We all share a deep love for all those bands. My guitarist Jake is a big Foo Fighters and Sound Garden fan. As for covers, we've done all kinds of stuff. We've done some Motorhead, some Foo Fighters, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. We did The Trooper, we still throw that in there every now and then. Just stuff that is recognizable because that is important to doing a cover. You take all of our styles and put them together... You get this music we've created. We call it Desert Metal. The chugging, galloping guitars harkens back to bands like Prong and Crowbar and stuff like that. That is certainly fair. Our singer has a raspy voice. He sings like a drunken sailor which is the exact vibe we're going for. We get compared a lot. That's a product of sprinkling in all kinds of different acts that influenced us put into a melting pot and that is Vex Temper!"
On the Addiction's ROH Theme Song:
"We certainly did. When Christopher Daniels and myself turned heel and changed our attitudes, the company sent us a link to a site with stock music that they have the rights to use. I asked boldly, "I have a band. If I could get something written and recorded. This is me, I know what kind of swagger we should walk to the ring with." That night, I got my guitar which I don't do often because I am a bass player and I came up with the riff. I came back, told the guys and they were excited about having our music being heard by a lot of people. I wrote "Get Addicted." The funny thing is, that song, style wise, is quite different our usual style. It has a little more swing to it, it has a greasy little riff. It is definitely more accessible than the rest of our music you'll hear on the album. We've got a 9 and a 10 minute song in there. You can't really consider us radio friendly! (laughs)"
On why so many wrestlers identify with heavy metal music:
"Maybe it has something to do with the whole wrestling boom of the 80's being the Rock and Wrestling Connection. With cable television and MTV, it was all rock and wrestling! Me, growing up in the late 80's and early 90's and loving heavy metal music,, there are a lot of similarities. The long hair, the spandex, and larger than life characters. I mean, you look at the guys in KISS. They're larger than life characters! You look at a Def Leppard video, you've got guys with long hair and ripped jeans and people are worshipping them. You turn on wrestling, there's the Ultimate Warrior with his long hair who looks like he should be playing lead guitar for some heavy metal band from another planet!"
On being in Fortune:
"Anytime you're paired off with Ric Flair, it is a dream scenario if you're a young wrestler as we were and are, to a certain extent. I was floundering as an X Division wrestler without any real direction or purpose. That's when Ric came up and I was thrilled because it gave us some direction and purpose. Just being in the ring with a guy like that, you're going to get a rub. We were never trying to compare ourselves to the Four Horsemen... You could never recapture that lightning in a bottle. But, we were associating with Ric Flair and there were 4 of us. We had some ideas, some vignettes and stories that we could have done that would have really put us over the top as a group and individually if we would have put the time and effort into it. That never really came to pass. I can't speak for the other guys. We had a blast while doing it. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to meet Ric and to call him a peer."
On how he ended up paired in a team with Christopher Daniels:
"We've been friends and travel buddies for many years. We have been friends since 1998. We were singles wrestlers, Fortune had just broken up, Bobby had just turned on James. AJ and Daniels had just finished their feud. They weren't doing anything with Chris after that. They certainly weren't doing anything with me. I was just the last guy in Fortune running around. The tag division was, in a word, weak at the time. The Machine Guns, Alex Shelley was hurt. Beer Money had just broken up. We said, "You know what? We could be a formidable team." We knew we could be an exciting tag team in terms of our in ring wrestling not to mention us feeding off each other in terms of our personalities. We pitched it, they gave it a shot. The Bad Infuance thing wasn't supposed to last. It was only supposed to last only a couple of weeks. We fought for it. I have no trouble saying it. We were the most entertaining thing on the show! We were white hot. Again, kind of had our legs cut out from under us at the end of the run considering what we could have been."
On dropping the belts to Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in Phoenix at Bound for Glory 2012:
"The plan was that being a heavy Latin market, they wanted to pop the home crowd. I don't know if that was the case. What we were doing was really entertaining. You had AJ Styles and Kurt Angle, two of the best wrestlers that ever lived as the other team. That was a fight and a struggle. But, that's a story for another day. I don't know if that was the writing on the wall but it happened soon thereafter."
On if there was any heat for wearing Kazamania or other non-sold shirts on TNA:
"Absolutely. Kazamania came because everybody else on the roster had a shirt and I didn't. I had been there, for the most part, since 2003! I felt a little disrespected especially since I came up with ideas. So, i said, "You know what? Screw it." There was a black Hulkamania shirt, I took it and I scraped off the Hulk and wrote Kaz and started wearing that. Everyone originally thought "That's brilliant. That's funny." I remember Dixie coming to me and saying, "We're thinking of going with a DixieMania slogan. I don't know if you should be wearing that." I was like, "Ok. That's lame. I'm still going to wear it." After, this was when Pro Wrestling Tees was fairly new, we had like 3 shirts made - Kaz and Daniels shirt. We said, "We're wearing these to the ring." We got back and Al Snow pulled us aside and told us we couldn't wear them because they were not TNA shirts. We said, "They're us. We're selling ourselves." He said, "It's not a TNA shirt. You can't wear it." Being the rebellious nature that we have, we had our ring jackets on and took those off and again had the shirts on. Of course, we got pulled to the principals office. We said, "Who is getting hurt here?" They didn't want to call us Bad Influence. But, when they did, they copywrote the name, sold shirts, and the shirts sold... Shock, shock!"
On if they did the Gangham Style to piss announcer Taz off:
"(laughs) No, We did it because it was absurd, and silly, and stupid. it was a huge YouTube phenomenon. We were trying to get the cross-over. Taz was a huge supporter of what we were doing. I don't know if it pissed Taz off or not. But, even better if it did."
On what it is like now working for ROH:
"Ring of Honor is awesome, man. I'm not just saying that because I am on the roster. What we do, especially in the ring, is just unmatched. Since we got here in 2014, I've never seen a company with such positive up-swing. We're just riding that wave! I've had some of the most fun and exciting matches of my career here. A lot of guys that were once Impact Wrestling wrestlers are now gone and have come to Ring of Honor or gone to WWE. It is a shape that you look at the roster and see that the company had all these guys. But, it is great that they are all now spreading their wings and showing the world what they're all about!"
On the harder work style in ROH:
"It is about working smart instead of working hard. Some of the things, short of pulling out a firearm and shooting someone, it is hard to imagine something more spectacular. You just learn to work within it, work around it, and work smart!"
On being in the Bullet Club:
"Hey, man. It is a difficult thing to get over as huge as those guys have. I'm definitely happy to be a part of the squad. It is a new chapter in my career. We're going to see where it goes!"
On his wife Traci Brooks:
"Like any strong relationship, you begin as friends. As much as I could curse professional wrestling for what it has done to me physically, mentally, and emotionally... The scars it has left on my body... I can get down on my knees and thank God that it brought me my wife. She's brought me our child. It is also cool to have somebody who gets and understands the business inside and out. She knows my pain when I'm bitching and my joy when I'm psyched. I couldn't ask for anyone more supportive."