Fozzy Shows Real Growth On Its Latest P

Courtesy:  Century Media

Courtesy: Century Media

Guitarist Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo) and pro wrestler Chris Jericho have been friends for many years.  The pair’s friendship goes back to the days of Jericho’s tenure on the now defunct WCW.  So it came as not too big of a surprise that the pair’s friendship would eventually lead to the creation of Fozzy in the late 90s.  What has come as a surprise is the success that the band has enjoyed since the release of its self-titled debut back in 2000.  That album was pure covers.  And the use of faux names for the band members made Fozzy appear as little more than a one-off Spinal Tap style project put together by the two friends.  Little would anybody know that almost fourteen years after the release of that album, Fozzy would go on to release four more albums each one separating the band even more from its semi-satirical cover band roots.  Now in 2014, the band has released its fifth full length studio album titled Do You Wanna Start A War.  And it is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band and then some.  Whereas the band’s previous albums were full on hard rock opuses, this album maintains more of a balance between that hard rock sound and a more mainstream feel.  It’s almost as if the members of Fozzy have finally found that “happy, familiar place” on this record.  The end result is a record that offers plenty for audiences in both the rock and hard rock realms of the music industry.  On the hard rock side, audiences have already been offered up a solid slab of hard rock in the form of the album’s lead single, ‘One Crazed Anarchist.’  This song is sure to impress fans of both Fozzy and Ward’s other primary project, Stuck Mojo.  On the more mainstream, radio ready side of things, the band offers a heavy yet uplifting piece in the form of ‘Unstoppable.’  And in the completely radio ready realm, the band offers up the up-tempo yet happy-go-lucky style ‘Tonight.’  These are just a few examples of why Fozzy remains a fan favorite nearly fourteen years after its debut record’s release.  Each of the album’s remaining nine songs plays its own role in the overall enjoyment of this record.  And together with the trio of songs noted here, all twelve tracks on this record collectively make it an album that is sure to impress Fozzy’s fans new and old alike.

Fozzy first built the hype over its new album early this spring with the release of ‘One Crazed Anarchist,’ the lead single from its new album.  There is quite a bit to note concerning this song that makes it work.  Musically speaking, audiences that are familiar with the work of Rich Ward and fellow Stuck Mojo band mate Frank Fontsere will instantly hear the influence of the pair’s work with that band in this song.  Front man Chris Jericho’s vocals are just as powerful as he sings about quite a disturbed individual, singing, “One crazed anarchist/He’s ready to blow/Grenade in his pocket and he’s ready to blow/Finger on the trigger/And he’s waiting to pull/It’s time to deliver and his docket is full.”  The song’s chorus seems to hint at how said individual became what he become as Jericho sings, “How did my love just fade away/Faith and hope/Have gone astray/I can’t run away from the beast/Rip the scab/And set it free/It’s the killer in me.”  Of course, he’s speaking metaphorically about “running from the beast.”  It almost hints at someone that has become an extremist of sorts as a result of having lost everything both physically and emotionally.  Keeping that in mind, it makes the song an even harder hitting piece coming at it from a lyrical angle.  Add in the songs steady crunching guitar line underneath Ward’s primary guitar part and an even deeper emotional impact is created.  One should take into account, too Jericho’s own vocal delivery.  He does quite the job of interpreting the subject’s seeming emotional and psychological state as he sings about the unnamed man.  This serves to make ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ one of the best examples of how much Fozzy has grown over the course of its life.  Audiences can check out the songs video now online via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9aKjbRIJ_k.  Just as much of an example of the band’s growth, is the still heavy yet uplifting song ‘Unstoppable.’

‘Unstoppable’ is another example of the growth on Do You Wanna Start A War because while it is a rather heavy song in its own right, it also presents a positive message.  That message is one of self-determination.  The band brought in guest singer Christie Cook for this song.  Her vocals are just as powerful as Jericho’s.  But there’s something that just makes it all perfectly fit here as she sings in the song’s chorus, “You’ll never break me/I’m unstoppable/You’ll never shake me/I’m unstoppable.”  Perhaps it is that certain grittiness in her voice that makes it work.  It’s almost a mix of Lita Ford and Joan Jett, if one can envision such a hybrid sound.  And just as ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ bears its own similarity to Stuck Mojo’s sound, so does this song bear a certain similarity to Stuck Mojo’s ‘Invincble.’  That song in question comes from Stuck Mojo’s most recent release, 2009’s The Great Revival.  One can almost see her on stage with the band, pumping her fist in time with the audience as she sings, “I do just what I want to/Because I know it’s right/Don’t tell me I can’t make it/Won’t down without a fight/Away from my past/Because in my eyes/I can do anything/Now watch me rise.”  This is such an anthemic song.  It is the kind of piece that could easily inspire people in so many situations.  That ability to so easily inspire audiences combined with such a heavy sound make this song one more of this album’s examples of how much Fozzy has grown throughout the years.

Fozzy’s new record shows so much growth from the band. That’s already been evidenced in both the album’s lead single ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ and the driving, uplifting ‘Unstoppable.’ There is at least one more example on this record of just how much Fozzy has come since its earliest days. That example is a song that is perhaps the album’s most mainstream song of all—‘Tonight.’ If ever there was a song that could be used as a radio single it is this song. Jericho and his band mates sing in this arena anthem, “This is our last chance/To show the world/Jus what we’re made of/We’ll bring this town to its knees/And then/We’ll take our chance to shine/Take our chance to fly(and stage our battlecry)/Take our chance to shine/Take our chance to fly (it’s time).” That positive vibe runs throughout the course of the song. It offers that same sort of inspiration as ‘Unstoppable’ that is sure to uplift audiences and entertain them at the same time. It is one more example, as audiences will hear, of how much this band has grown from little more than a novelty cover band to a serious musical group. And as audiences will hear from the album’s other songs, those songs along with the pieces noted here exhibit that growth even more.

Do You Wanna Start A War is available now in stores. Audiences can currently pick it up at Best Buy and get a free Fozzy bandana with purchase. Fans can also pick up the album at any of the band’s live shows. The band is currently touring alongside Theory of a Deadman in support of its new album and will be in Syracuse, NY next Friday, August 2nd at the Chevrolet Court. The band also has a performance scheduled at the famed Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 24th. The band’s current tour schedule and all of the latest news and updates from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock and http://www.fozzyrock.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Pro Wrestling Gets New Respect Thanks To The Booker

Courtesy:  Indiepix Films

Courtesy: Indiepix Films

Professional wrestling is one of the biggest businesses in the world today. From America to Mexico and all the way to Japan, professional wrestling brings in millions of fans and dollars every year. This is despite the reputation that it still bears even now in the twenty-first century. Most of that business is brought in by the powerhouse that is World Wrestling Entertainment. However, WWE is not the only wrestling brand out there. Any number of tiny indie brands exists throughout the world. In the brand new documentary The Booker: Saving The Art of Pro Wrestling One Match at a Time, audiences will see the fight of just one brand to try and make a name for itself in the huge market that is pro wrestling. It has already been noted that there is still a stigma attached to pro wrestling and its legions of fans. So why watch this documentary? The first reason that anyone should take the time to watch this documentary is that in watching it, they will see that it isn’t just a documentary about wrestling. It’s a documentary about a business. Secondly, audiences will see just how hard hopeful wrestlers work especially at the indie ranks. Lastly, audiences will see just how hard hopeful promoters (one in particular in this case) work to get their brands off the ground. All of this taken into consideration, audiences that give The Booker a chance will see what makes both this documentary and pro wrestling as an art so important.

The Booker: Saving The Art of Pro Wrestling One Match at a Time is a surprisingly interesting documentary for what it is. On the surface, it’s a documentary about an indie wrestling brand trying to make a name for itself in the multi-million dollar world of pro-wrestling.  On a much deeper level though, audiences get a much more in-depth story in the course of the documentary’s run time.  It clocks in at just above the ninety-minute mark.  That in itself is another positive to the overall presentation on a side note.   Getting back on topic, audiences get a story here about a business trying to get off the ground; a traveling theater group even as one interviewee reveals he has come to learn. It could be argued that it is just one of so many models of a small business just trying to get its foot in the door. Viewers see the struggles and hurdles that have to be overcome by the business’s head in order to try and get the business above water. If audiences can take in the documentary from this angle, they will see that pro-wrestling is more than just pro-wrestling.  It is a business and a way of life for so many.  Speaking of a way of life, audiences will take away a new appreciation not just for pro wrestling in watching this documentary, but also for those that make it their life.

Audiences will have a new appreciation not just for pro wrestling in watching The Booker.  They will also gain a new respect for those that make pro wrestling their life.  Audiences will see that for those trying to make a name for themselves in the business, life isn’t easy.  Many, if not all, upstart wrestling hopefuls have to balance being on the road doing shows with their regular workaday lives.  And many of those workaday lives are quite mundane to say the least.  The juxtaposition of the two lives is itself intriguing.  To top it off, many of these people also have families.  That’s one more factor that many hopefuls have to consider.  As is shown here, all of these considerations have led to some casualties.  Some of those hopefuls admit in interviews that they simply couldn’t try to balance it all and chose a normal life.  In an odd way, it’s heartbreaking to see those struggles and casualties.  It makes the entire feature all the more worth the watch.

The struggles of those trying to balance their everyday lives with their in-ring lives is just one part of the human drama that makes The Booker such a surprisingly interesting story.  Just as interesting to behold are the emotional struggles of PCW’s head Paul Scarborough/Paul Platinum.  Scarborough is so dedicated to getting his brand off the ground.  And it shows both when he is working with his wrestling hopefuls and when he is by himself.  It presents a man who is not just a wrestling head or promoter but a struggling businessman trying to make his business work.  At times, viewers will feel for Scarborough.  At others, they might yell at him.  One of those points comes when Scarborough tells his wrestlers that their success or failure at a particular show means whether or not he and his wife would have to take out a second mortgage on their home.  That was rather harsh.  And he could have taken another route to motivate them.  But one can really see his desperation to get the best out of his team.  Taking that into consideration, it will have viewers feeling for Scarborough even more.  It shows again how dedicated he is to what he’s doing.  That dedication ties in with the dedication of PCW’s wrestlers and the very premise of this documentary to make The Booker a piece that both those inside and outside the world of pro wrestling will appreciate after having watched it.  Outsiders will hopefully gain a new respect for the business and those trying to make it in the business, too. Insiders will hopefully smile at the very real portrayal of the lives of those in the business.  It shows in the long run that pro wrestling isn’t just a hobby.  And it deserves far more respect than it gets today from outsiders.  The documentary is available now on DVD.  More information on The Booker is available online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Booker/301962783176574.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Information For Friday Night Fights Season Premiere

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona is returning for its seventeenth season.  The Worldwide Leader in Sports has announced that FNF will begin its new season on Friday, January 3rd live at 9pm ET on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+.  The show’s seventeenth season will kick off with a bang, too.  Season Seventeen will open with a twelve-round IBF title bout between Junior Lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez ( 21 – 2 – 1,  11 KOs) and undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19 – 0, 12 KOs).  Also slated for the season premiere of Friday Night Fights presented by Corona will be a ten-round co-feature featuring up-and-coming Middleweight contender Caleb Truax (23 – 1, 4 KOs).  As an additional note, ESPN Deportes will re-brand its broadcasts with the new name, Noche de Combates.  The newly re-branded broadcast was previously branded as Viernes de Combates.

The season opening bout, the first of the 2014 season’s twenty-six total fights, will be broadcast live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.  It is co-promoted by former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson and his promotional company, Iron Mike Productions.  Tyson also promoted the final bout of FNF’s 2013 season, which featured Argenis Mendez in the world title main event.

Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions, expressed expectations for the 2014 season in a recent statement.  He also  noted changes being made for the upcoming season of FNF.  “We are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season of Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates,” he said.  “We start the season just as we finished last season with a world title fight co-promoted by Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions. The biggest change for 2014 is that we are assigning dates to promoters with as much advance notice as possible to allow for even better fights and bigger crowds.  We’ve partnered with a group of promoters who have always delivered in the past and are committed to upping the ante even further for 2014. Having a world title fight and names like Kendall Holt, Zsolt Erdei and Arash Usmanee early this season show that the strategy is already paying dividends.”

Long time FNF broadcast team Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be back again for all of the ringside action each week.  Tessitore will call the matches and Atlas will have in-match analysis for every match broadcast on ESPN2.  Both men have been awarded the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in  Broadcast Journalism.  Teddy Atlas won the award in 2001 and Tessitore in 2010.  Studio host Todd Grisham will be back for his second full season on FNF.  He will fill in for Tessitore in ESPN2’s season opener and will have all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Also back again will be Bernardo Osuna.  Osuna will contribute to broadcasts both on FNF and Noche de Combates. 

Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  The will be joined live by studios hosts Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos.  As a new addition to the studio show for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+, Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez will join Gonzalez and Trejos in studio throughout the season.  Osuna will contribute reports and interviews each week.  The latest slate of fights is available below.

 

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Jan 3 9 p.m. Argenis Méndez (21-2-1, 11 KOs)  vs. Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) —12-rounds, IBF Junior Lightweight Title Target Center, Minneapolis, Minn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 10 9 p.m. Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Rodríguez (25-4, 23 KOs) — Junior Lightweights Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, Tacoma Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 24 9 p.m. Javier Molina (14-1, 6 KOs) vs. Kendall Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) —10-rounds, Junior Welterweights Little Creek Casino, Shelton Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 31 9 p.m. Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) vs. Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) —10-rounds, Light Heavyweights Codey Arena, West Orange, N.J. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

 

More information on the latest from FNF and Noche de Combates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo, and http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

G.I. Joe Sequel Another Of 2013’s Worst Movies

Courtesy:  Paramount Studios

Courtesy: Paramount Studios

2013 has been a rough year for the movie industry.  It has been either feast or famine for the big studios.  That is thanks in large part to the glut of sequels churned out by the industry’s major studios.  From the upper echelons all the way down to the general movie-goer, those same studios have been lambasted for their increasing reliance on sequels.  The latest movie in the G.I. Joe franchise justifies those darts even more.  Sure it has lots of flash-bang-boom action sequences and its share of special effects, and an easy to understand storyline, it doesn’t have much else.  Some might consider this a good thing for an action movie.  But the reality is because of this, it turns out to be one more movie that won’t take long to end up in the discount bins at retail outlets now that it is officially out on DVD and Blu-ray.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation isn’t the worst of the year’s movies.  It isn’t the worst of the record thirty-seven sequels that will have hit theaters by the year’s end.  But it isn’t one of the year’s best movies, either.  The question remains then, what is it about this movie that has left it in movie limbo so to speak?  To answer that isn’t easy.  But it isn’t impossible, either.  The best place to begin with the movie is its writing.  The story’s writing is for the most part, relatively simplistic.  It is also very predictable.  Right from the story’s opening minutes, audiences learn that at the end of the franchise’s first flick, Cobra Commander and Destro had both been captured and placed in special suspended animation tanks of sorts.  It is pretty obvious from this point where the story would progress.  It doesn’t get much better.  From here, audiences are introduced to the story’s secondary plot, the evil twin plot headed by the evil Zartan.  Simple math, right?  Yes.  Two plus two equals four.  Yet another world domination plot on the part of Cobra, which at least goes along with the old cartoon series from the 80s and early 90s.

The predictability of the story in G.I. Joe: Retaliation is just one microscopic part of the problem with its writing.  Just when one thinks the writing couldn’t get any worse, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick make the story even more convoluted by adding in a third storyline involving Snake Eyes’ (one of the few remaining Joes after Cobra’s attack on the Joes) hunt for his arch nemesis, Stormshadow.  Snake Eyes has to nab Stormshadow and bring him back to answer for the murder of his sensei, of which he was accused of committing as a child.  This additional storyline really wasn’t necessary to the overall outcome of the movie.  Wernick and Reese must have known this as they tried to justify it by making sure that only Stormshadow would know the full extent of Cobra’s evil plans this time out.  They could have still had him be a key player without the extra drama.  Had all of this extra fluff been cut, it would have saved a lot of time and maybe even made all of the movie’s over-the-top fight scenes and explosions justified.  But no, they couldn’t leave well enough alone.  Instead, they left it in.  And to make matters even worse, they made the story drag on even more by adding in unnecessary elements of melodrama both on the part of Stormshadow and the remaining Joes.  There is the whole aspect of Stormshadow having to come to terms with Zartan being the real killer and tricking him when he was a child.  And then there is Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) coming to terms with taking over the Joes after Duke’s (Channing Tatum) death early on.  Let us also not forget Lady Jaye’s own drama involving her father issues, too.  It’s all extra fat that could have been trimmed from the whole thing to make it at least more bearable.

Had the unnecessary elements noted above been removed from the movie’s final script, that removal would have made G.I. Joe: Retaliation more bearable.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  Even the choice of the movie’s title is problematic.  The very inclusion of the word “retaliation” in the title hurts the movie even more.  It’s an ambiguous subtitle.  That’s because in reality, both Cobra and the remaining Joes are retaliating against one another for everything that had happened in the course of the franchise’s first film.  More than likely, the intent was for the subtitle to be aimed more at the retaliation of G.I. Joe against Cobra for its actions against its forces.  But again, the ambiguity is there; too much of it in fact to make such a subtitle work.  And along with the already poor writing, it reduces the movie’s credibility even more.

There is so much that went wrong with G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  However, it would be unfair to ignore the only shining rays of hope that this largely forgettable Summer action flick does have.  Those rays of hope lie in the movie’s really cool gadgets and its action sequences.  Again, had the gadgets and action sequences been left with the predictable writing, the movie would not have been half as bad as it turned out to be.  But because that didn’t happen, the action sequences come across as little more than an excuse to try and distract viewers from the poor writing.  This is most clearly evident in the ironic fact that the most exciting of the action sequences was one that itself might not have even been necessary.  It involves Snake Eyes and his protégé, Jinx, facing a horde of ninjas along a sheer cliff face after having recovered Stormshadow in the aforementioned equally unnecessary extra story line.  As impressive as this sequence was, the only way that it (and its companion story line) could be justified is the fact that so many of the cast members from the previous film didn’t return this time out for whatever given reason.  So something was needed (in the minds of the writers) to advance the storyline.  Thus this sequence and its associated story line were inserted.  Had both elements been removed in the end, G.I. Joe: Retaliation still could have survived.  Sure it probably would have still ended up being forgotten in the grand scheme of things.  But it still would have survived and even taken more seriously.  As enchanted as studio heads continue to be with franchises, it would be no surprise if audiences eventually see another sequel or even a franchise reboot already.  When either of these scenarios plays out, one can only hope that whoever writes its script will learn from all of this and will make a movie that will return honor to the name and legacy that is G.I. Joe.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Todd Grisham Debuts At Ringside Tonight On FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Todd Grisham will join ringside host Teddy Atlas tonight on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.  Grisham will be temporarily filling in for Joe Tessitore, who is off this week.  Grisham got his first big break with the WWE as a backstage reporter, interviewing many of today’s big name WWE Superstars.  He also was a play-by-play commentator and in-ring announcer at times.  He started working on FNF this past January.  Matt Sandulli, FNF’s Senior Coordinating Producer, explained the choice to finally bring Grisham to ringside in a recent interview.  “Todd has established good chemistry with Teddy from the studio, so it made sense to provide him the opportunity to sit next to Teddy and call the fights,” he said.  “Also, Todd’s experience includes calling WWE action, which is probably one of broadcasting’s most challenging jobs, so we think boxing will be a little easier compared to that bedlam, and I say that with the utmost respect for the WWE production.”

While he has been working on Friday Night Fights since January, Grisham seemed excited but nervous about his ringside debut tonight in Jacksonville, Florida.  “I called professional wrestling for eight years, but I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do when guys are punching each other in the face for real,” he said.  “In preparation, I spoke to the fighters yesterday, watched video of their fights, and our research department does a great job compiling information that I’ve been combing. I feel like I’m studying for an exam, but instead of one person grading it, a million people will be watching around the world.”

Grisham may be nervous about his ringside debut.  But that sentiment isn’t shared by the man who will share blow-by-blow commentary tonight.  Teddy Atlas, Tessitore’s co-host, was more excited about the first-time pairing. “I have been trying to get Todd within jabbing range all year,” he said.  “Seriously, I can hardly contain my joy that he will be leaving the studio for one night to join me ringside.”  Grisham’s respect for Atlas was much the same.  “Teddy is such a unique boxing phenomenon,” he said.  Not only does he know boxing history, he is a big part of boxing history.”

To keep up with all of the latest on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights fans can go online to the official FNF Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf and “Like” it.  While there, fans can get the ESPN Live Friday Night Fights voting app and actually score the fights themselves round-by-round.  Fans can also follow all the latest from Friday Night Fights via Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Fozzy, Saxon Announce Fall Tour

Century Media Banner

Saxon Fozzy Tour PosterFozzy and Saxon are set to hit the road this Fall.  The bands will hit the road beginning Thursday, September 12th on the “Sacrifice and Sin Tour.”  The first performance of the tour will be at The Emporium in Patchogue, New York.  The twenty-one date tour will take the bands almost into mid-October and will wind down in Vancouver, Canada.  VIP Meet & Greet packages are available online at http://www.fozzyrock.com

Fozzy front man and WWE Superstar Chris Jericho noted in a recent interview, his excitement of not only touring again, but also of touring with the legendary British metal outfit.  “After our highly successful US tour last summer on UPROAR, we’ve been chomping at the bit for the right opportunity to return to North America…and now it has arrived!” he said.  “To tour with the legendary Saxon is a metal dream come true and the perfect way to satisfy all of our amazing fans in the US and Canada and to make tons of new ones in the process. Get ready for Sacrifice and Sin…we’re gonna tear your heads off and leave u screaming FOZZY, FOZZY, FOZZY!!”

Both bands will be touring in support of new releases.  Fozzy will be touring in support of its most recent release, 2012’s Sin and Bones.  Saxon will be touring in support of its latest release, Sacrifice, which was released March 26th of this year.  Saxon’s Biff Byford shared Jericho’s sentiments of the bands touring together this Fall in a recent interview.  “So far, the Sacrifice World Tour has taken us from the Bahamas to South America and back to Europe for the festival season,” Byford said.  “Now it is time for us to return to North America for a series of dates with the one and only FOZZY. We have been friends with Chris Jericho for years so there has never been a better time to hook up with FOZZY for a tour that will take us from the east coast to the west coast and finally winding up in the Great White North.” 

A full listing of the bands’ tour dates is available below.

SAXON / FOZZY tour dates

Sept 12- Patchogue, NY @ The Emporium

Sept 13- New York, NY @ BB King

Sept 14- Montreal, QUE @ Corona Theater

Sept 15- Toronto, ONT @ The Phoenix

Sept 17- Reading, PA @ Reverb

Sept 18- Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s

Sept 19- Dayton, OH @ McGuffy’s

Sept 20- Flint, MI @ Machine Shop

Sept 21- Joliet, IL @ Mojoes

Sept 22- Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave

Sept 26- Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues

Sept 27- San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live

Sept 28- Houston, TX @ House Of Blues

Oct 01- Tempe, AZ @ Club Red

Oct 02- Long Beach, CA @ Gaslamp

Oct 03- Ramona, CA @ Ramona Mainstage

Oct 04- Los Angeles, CA @ House Of Blues

Oct 05- Corona, CA @ M15

Oct 06- San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge

Oct 08- Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven

Oct 09- Portland, OR @ Mt Tabor

Oct 10- Vancouver, BC @ The Venue

More information on Fozzy, its tour schedule and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock and http://www.fozzyrock.com.  Fans of Saxon can follow the band online at http://www.facebook.com/saxon and http://www.saxon747.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Title Fight Headlines April 19th Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This week’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is headlined by a title fight between Interim Featherweight Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (21 – 0, 1 NC 15 KOs, The Ring No. 10) and challenger Miguel “Michael” Zamudio (24 – 1 – 1, 13 KOs) in a twelve round main event live from the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.  The match will air live at 10:30pm on ESPN2 HD and ESPN Deportes.  It will also be available online and through mobile media via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  This is a slight change from the usual broadcast time of 9pm.  The re-broadcast will air this Saturday, April 20th at 2:30am on ESPNNEWS. 

Fortuna won the WBA Interim Featherweight title in December 2012 in a twelve round unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Patrick Hyland.  ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael wrote of Fortuna after the bout with Hyland, “Fortuna has looked sensational in some of his fights and has scored some tremendous knockouts, including in his previous two fights – a first-round blowout of fellow prospect Yuandale Evans and a second-round stoppage of former Featherweight titlist Cristobal Cruz. Fortuna burst to a big lead over the first half of this fight, but Hyland hung in there and tried to make it a brawl. Hyland, who had never faced a quality opponent, showed toughness and a good chin but little else as Fortuna boxed circles around him.”

Zamudio makes his U.S. debut in Friday’s fight.  His most recent fight resulted in an eight-round split decision win over Gilberto Bolanos.  He discussed this week’s fight in an interview, noting his respect for Fortuna but his desire to make a big impact in his U.S. debut.  “I like the way Fortuna fights,” Zamudio said.  “I respect him, but in the ring it will be totally different. This will be the first time that I’ve been to the United States. My dream is to be champion of the world, and I want to make my dream come true. I’m going to win this fight.”

Friday’s main event will be accompanied by a pair of pre-fight warm-up matches.  The first of the night’s events will pit a pair of undefeated Welterweights against each other.  Emmanuel Lartey (15 – 0, 8 KOs) will face Jhonathan Batista (13 – 0, 6 KOs) in a six-round fight.

The evening’s second fight on the card features Jr. Middleweight “Sir” Cerresso Fort (16 – 0 – 1, 11 KOs) facing off against 2008 Olympian John “The Rock” Jackson (15 – 1, 14 KOs) in an eight-round co-feature.  Both fighters come into Friday’s match looking to extend their respective winning streaks.  Cerresso comes into this week’s fight on the heels of an eight-round unanimous decision win over Dennis Sharpe.  Jackson’s most recent fight resulted in a first-round TKO win over Ramon Pena.

Joe Tessitore is off this week.  Bernardo Osuna will fill in for him, calling the action alongside Teddy Atlas.  The pair will be live, calling all the action for ESPN2 HD.  Todd Grisham, will be in studio with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will be back once again to call all the action live for ESPN Deportes along with all the latest boxing news and highlights from studio hosts Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega. 

Friday’s card is presented by Corona Extra and promoted by Sampson Boxing.

To keep up with the latest news from ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, fans can follow the show on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf and through the official ESPN website at http://www.espn.com/boxing.  All the latest boxing news is also available on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPNboxing.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

3rd Rock At Its Best In Its Fifth Season

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment/NBCUniversal

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment/NBCUniversal

NBC’s hit sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun was one of the greatest sitcoms of the 90s.  Now nearly twenty years after it first debuted, it still stands as one of the funniest sitcoms to have ever been created, despite what some critics might want audiences to believe.  And thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, fans can now own all six seasons of this laugh riot comedy.  Audiences who remember the series in its original airings will each have their own favorite season(s) and episode(s).  But there’s no denying that of the series’ six seasons, its fifth season marks one of the series major high points.  From the general writing to the guest spots, 3rd Rock From The Sun Season Five is an example of everything that used to make sitcoms great in television’s modern era.

3rd Rock’s fifth season is an exemplar of great comedic writing and timing right from the get-go.  The triple-disc set’s first disc offers what are two of the series’ best episodes in “Dial M For Dick” and “Sex and the Sally.”  In the first of the pair of episodes Dick and the others attend a mystery dinner theater.  Obviously being aliens from another world, they have no idea that the murders in question are just an act.  That is, they don’t know until something quite unexpected happens.  Audiences will have to find out what exactly that is for themselves.  Along the way, Dick thinks himself a sleuth and tries to pin the blame for the murders on one of his own group.  This alone will leave audiences laughing no less with each watch.  Speaking of laughing, audiences might find themselves laughing so hard that they’re crying in “Sex and the Sally.”  Sally discovers the dangers of sex and ways to keep from getting pregnant.  Along the way, the side effects of her using birth control will undoubtedly leave audiences laughing uncontrollably.

The set’s first disc offers more than its share of laughs, as is already noted.  But the laughs don’t end there.  The second and third discs are also front-loaded with more than enough comedy for audiences to enjoy over and over.  The return of guest star William Shatner as The Big Giant Head in “The Big Giant Head Returns” leads to a love triangle as Harry admits to Mamie that he loves her.  At the same time, Tommy tries to hypnotize Sally in order to get her to stop buying shoes.  It doesn’t work.  But it does work on Harry, resulting in some hilarious physical comedy on his part. 

If the solid writing and the physical comedy aren’t enough to keep audiences engaged, then maybe the bevy of guest stars will.  William Shatner returns not once, but twice this season.  Also Star Trek TNG star Jonathan Frakes makes an appearance along with then WWF/WWE wrestler Chyna, Larisa Oleynick (The Secret World of Alex Mack), “The Hoff” himself, David Hasselhoff (Baywatch, America’s Got Talent, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Pirana 3DD), and many others.  The continued revolving door of guest stars proves just how popular the show was.  Though, Shatner shined brighter than any others with both appearances this season.  Audiences will love seeing Shatner poke fun at himself when he brings Dick (John Lithgow) to a club and The Big Giant Head decides to do some “singing.”  This is just one of so many moments that will stick with both long-time audiences and newer audiences.

Whether for this moment or the loads of others peppered throughout all three discs of Season Five, 3rd Rock From The Sun has proven once more that it is still one of the greatest sitcoms in modern television history.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Mill Creek Entertainment’s online store at https://www.millcreekdirect.com/3rd-rock-from-the-sun-season-5.html

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Releases Card For Feb. 22nd Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is back again tomorrow night, February 22nd with another new edition.  Tomorrow night’s new edition is anchored by a 12-round IBF title fight between Junior Welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson (30 -1 – 1, 15 KOs) and former Junior Welterweight titlist Kendall “Rated R” Holt (28 – 5, 16 KOs).  It will air live from the nation’s capitol at 9pm EST on ESPN2 HD and will also be available online through WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app on smart phones and tablets.  For Hispanic fans, it will also air live on ESPN Deportes+, the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes.  It will run tape delayed on ESPN Deportes at 10:30pm EST.  The fight is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.

Peterson is the hometown favorite for tomorrow night’s fight.  He won the IBF Junior Welterweight title from Amir Khan in the pair’s previous 12-round matchup in a split-decision.  Along with Khan, Peterson also comes into Friday’s fight with wins under his belt against Victor Ortiz, and Timothy Bradley, Jr.  Peterson explained his strategy when asked about the upcoming match.  “The game plan against Holt is to stay busy,” he said.  “He really doesn’t try to fight the whole three minutes of each round.  He kind of picks and chooses when he fights, so we just plan to keep him working and wear him down.”

On the other side of the matchup is Holt.  Holt comes into Friday’s matchup fresh off the heels of a second-round TKO over Tim Coleman.  Holt had a different view of how to handle Friday’s matchup, opting to let the pressure on Peterson to play to his aid.  “Lamont’s a good fighter,” he said.  “One big difference in this fight is that none of the pressure is on me – I’m not fighting at home, it’s not my championship title.  All the pressure’s on him and that pressure builds up in a person’s mind.  He may come out there and try to impress the crowd and if he gets a little overanxious or overzealous, it could be an early night for him.”

Before the main event, the show kicks off with an eight-round co-feature that pits Junior Featherweights Roman Morales (14 – 0, 7 KOs) and Jesus Hernandez (10 – 0 – 3, 2 KOs) against one another.  Morales comes into tomorrow night’s fight on the heels of a fifth-round KO win over Jose Iniguez while Hernandez is looking to redeem himself after his most recent match in which he faced Edwin Solis ended in a drawn 

Friday’s show will be anchored on site by Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas.  The pair will be on hand ringside to call all of the action for ESPN2 HD.  Studio host Todd Grisham will also be on site with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  ESPN .com boxing writer Dan Rafael will also be on hand to provide analysis for the fights.  Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the match for ESPN Deportes with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in studio.  Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will have live interviews and reports for both ESPN2 HD and ESPN Deportes.  The whole show is presented by Corona Extra.

To get all the latest news on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, fans can go follow the show on Twitter at @ESPNFNF and @ESPNBoxeo or like its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf.  Fans can score the fights themselves at home round-by-round with the Facebook Voting App on the Friday Night Fights Facebook page. 

To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can get all the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Friday Night Fights Features Junior Middleweights In Tomorrow’s Main Matchup

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights returns tomorrow night.  Tomorrow’s edition is anchored by a battle of Junior Middleweights.  To be more exact, it features undefeated Junior Middleweight George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooanippah (31-0-1, 23 KOs) facing off against former Junior Middleweight and Welterweight title challenger Delvin Rodriguez (26-6-3, 14 KOs) in the evening’s 10-round main event.  The show will broadcast live from Uncasville, Connecticut tomorrow night at 9pm EST on ESPN2 HD.  It will also be available on WatchESPN and on tablets and smart phones via ESPN’s WatchESPN app.  It will run tape delayed on ESPN Deportes at 10:30pm.

Friday’s main event will be preceded by a 10-round co-feature pitting Lightweights Chris “Hurricane” Howard (14-2-1) and “The Mongolian Mongoose” Bayan Jargal (17-3-3, 10 KOs) against one another.  Jargal comes into Friday’s match off of a first-round TKO win against former featherweight titlist Erik Aiken.  On the other side, Howard is looking for redemption after losing in a 10-round split decision to Marc Salser. 

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will call the matches live from ringside at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Studio host Todd Grisham will be on hand with all of the latest boxing news.  He will also have an interview with Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KOs).  Grisham will be discussing the upcoming match against Junior Welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) with Holt.  That match takes place next Friday, February22nd on the next edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.  Alex Pombo and Bernardo Osuna will also be on hand for ESPN Deportes.  They will be joined by Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in studio.  Osuna will also provide live interviews and reports for both ESPN and ESPN Deportes. 

ESPN offers many ways to keep up with all of the latest from Friday Night Fights.  Fans can follow it on Twitter at @ESPNFNF and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf.  Hispanic fans can follow Friday Night Fights on Twitter at @ESPNBoxeo.  Fans can even score the fight themselves round-by-round online via the Friday Night Fights Facebook voting app on the Friday Night Fights Facebook page. 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.