Foxy Shazam caught fans off-guard last month with the out-of-nowhere release of their fourth full-length, Gonzo. In a deeply revealing and surprise-filled interview, PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman spoke with vocalist Eric Nally about the band’s newfound freedom, the process of making Gonzo, and the painful family secret behind the band’s most personal album to date.
POZ: So first of all, congrats on the release of the new album!
EN: Thank you, thank you very much.
POZ: It seemed to drop from the sky out of nowhere and into our laps.
EN: Yeah, it’s been really awesome. We were a little nervous about how it would all go down because it was the first time we’d ever done anything like that. But it’s gone over very well, and I’m very, very happy.
POZ: Sure, I imagine this past week’s been pretty crazy for you guys.
EN: Yeah, definitely. As you know, we released the record for free. It was definitely a huge step forward for us, in every way. We’re very excited.
POZ: I want to get into the new record, but before I do, I want to take a step backwards first, and talk a little bit about Church Of Rock And Roll. Is that cool?
EN: Yes, absolutely!
POZ: Personally, I loved the  self-titled album you did. It’s one of my all time favorite albums, I’m a huge fan of it. And I know it was one that really grew your fanbase, it was when a lot of people took notice of you guys. And so when you followed it up [in 2012] with Church, which kind of pushed that bombastic, operatic sound to the next level… I guess I’m wondering a) how you felt about the reception to that album, and b) looking back now, if you’re happy with how it came out.
EN: The way I’ve always thought of Foxy — and this kind of pertains to the way we sound from album to album — is we’re just kind of this creative entity that floats along, and we make records with certain producers, and those producers contribute to the records. So I feel very, very, very, very proud of every record we’ve made so far in our career. I feel like every record we make defines the records before it. As opposed to the records we made before defining the records we make next, it’s more like the ones we make kind of explain the previous ones better. You know what I mean? I feel like the self-titled record was… It was the first time we worked with the big producer, big label, all of that, and it’s one of my favorite records that we’ve done. I remember a lot about that record being… I really do like that record, and I’m very proud of it. All of our records, I am. I definitely feel like all of them are a major piece of the puzzle leading up to whatever we do next.
POZ: With Church, did you set out trying to see just how far you could take that sound?
EN: Church was interesting because it was me, Alex [Nauth, horns] and Sky [White, keyboards]. We went to England, we were working on the record in England, and then Loren [Turner, guitar], Daisy [Caplan, bass] and Aaron [McVeigh, drums] were in New York, so we did the record kind of separated from each other. It was something that made for a unique sound. Obviously, Justin [Hawkins, vocalist for The Darkness and producer of Church] was contributing too. I felt like it was natural. We didn’t really think about it, we just kind of went for it, and that was the natural progression out of the self-titled.
POZ: That album came out on IRS Records, which was a legendary label that had gone away for a while. This was supposed to be their big relaunch. And to be honest, I haven’t heard much from IRS since your album came out with them.
EN: Yeah, we shut ‘em down man! [Laughs] We really did. We put out that record, and it went awesome, everything went great, but we worked ourselves to the bone, and I think by the time… The whole record industry is all just thin ice, and you never know where to step. With the self-titled we were on Warner, and then they fell apart, and we just kind of jumped over to EMI, which IRS was a subsidiary of, and then EMI kind of fell apart. We were able to make these records and escape just before the whole ship sank, and now, this one, we just did it ourselves.
POZ: The other thing I wanted to talk a little about with Church was some of the tours you ended up on. The Darkness, I guess, was an obvious pairing after having Justin produce the album, but then you actually opened for Slash [of Guns ‘n Roses and Velvet Revolver fame] for a while. I caught your show in New York when you were opening for him and that was definitely one of the weirder audiences I’ve been in when seeing one of your shows. How did you feel about those tours you ended up on? Do you feel like it worked? Was it a fun challenge to be out of your element?
EN: I’ve always felt like, no matter who you put us in front of, it just doesn’t matter. We will do our thing no matter what, no matter who’s out there in the crowd. It just doesn’t matter. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that we can do what we do, that’s it, we do what we do, and whoever you want to put us in front of, it will work, because we just do that. It was definitely a group of people we had never been in front of before, but at the same time I love challenging the band. I felt like it was a great thing for the band, and I feel like being in the presence of the guys who have been in the game a lot longer, like Slash, it’s fun to be around them, you know? Just be in the same room and see someone who’s been through it all before.
POZ: It was definitely a weird crowd for a Foxy show, but one of the coolest things about it was seeing people slowly get won over as your set went on. A lot of old metalheads started kind of getting into it — you could tell, the headbanging started a little bit, the devil horns went up.
EN: It’s kind of the story of my life, winning people over. They’re not really sure at first with us.
POZ: Did you get to hang out with Slash at all backstage, or does he keep to himself?
EN: We definitely interacted a little bit, you know, we appreciated each other. He chose us to come out on tour, so we were very honored to have him do that. We would exchange a little bit, but, you know, only on a quick, passing-by type thing. But he had lost his voice on some of the tour, so it was kind of hard to communicate.
POZ: He was on vocal rest backstage?
EN: [Laughs] Yeah.