Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian talks wrestling, friendship and music

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian has continued to showcase his skills both in and out of the ring. A former Ring of Honor tag team champion, Kazarian has seen his share of success. However, he has increased his involvement in the music industry and has garnered a great deal of success. He recently took some time out of his busy schedule to participate in an interview with me. Kazarian’s career began nearly twenty years ago. But he is just as dedicated to his craft as he was when he began. A former trainee of Killer Kowalski, Kazarian has been focused on reinvention and storyline development throughout his career.

His passion for the sport is equaled only by his passion for music. In his career, he has unquestionably made a name for himself both as a singles wrestler and as part of a tag team. He has competed for various promotions but is proud to call Ring of Honor home. In the interview, Kazarian shares his thoughts about music, wrestling, friendship, and the night his closest friend captured the Ring of Honor world championship and how it was a special moment in his career as well.

Fans can communicate with him on various social media, such as Twitter, where he can be reached @FrankieKazarian, and his band can be reached @VexTemper.

Could Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian take us back if you could the night Christopher Daniels won the Ring of Honor world championship? It appeared to be just as important a win for you as it was for him. How did it all come about and the process all came about?

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian: First and foremost, I was very, very proud of the entire angle, and how we were able to hook everybody and pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, which is hard to do these days in the professional wrestling landscape. That was great and everyone played their part so well. The Young Bucks, and Adam Cole. Everyone played their part so well. The night Chris won the title I was right there with him and it was as though I had won the title myself. How much he has given this business, if people only knew they would be astonished, and I know it was something he wanted for so long and worked so very hard for.

It was like imaging two guys who were actors that came up together, and one gets nominated for an Academy Award, you are going to be happy for them, it’s the pinnacle. For him to be the Ring of Honor world champion meant so much to him because of his pedigree there. It was just a great night, one of the better nights of my career. I am very happy for him and so very happy the angle came off the way that it did. Everyone enjoyed the match, and everyone enjoyed the way the angle came off. It was just a really, really good night for me and my career.

In a recent edition of WWE’s Table of 3, AJ Styles was with Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels. Michaels stated something to the effect that ‘you don’t put restrictions on your friendship whether they are working with you or not’. How have Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian maintained a friendship with the likes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe? Has it made you all closer?

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian: We just make it work. You would be hard-pressed to find four guys that were closer than AJ, Joe, Daniels, and I; we have been through a lot together. From our time in TNA and being there from day one, and just all the ebbs and flows and ups and downs that each guy has gone through, great times and hard times, and being there for each other and having each other’s backs, and then wars in the ring whether it be on the same side or against each other. It creates a unique bond. I can’t really put it into words.

We have such a strong bond, and no matter how much time passes, when you see each other and when you talk on the phone you are right back to where you started. I could go months without seeing Joe and AJ, but when we do get together it’s like it was five minutes. I am blessed and fortunate to have a bond with three guys that I have known many years. They are the best friends I could ask for. For me, it was real easy, and I have a lot of really good friends, but those are the guys that I will communicate with until they throw dirt on me. It is pretty simple because that bond is so strong.

When we last spoke, you told fans that weren’t aware of your band VexTemper. How have you found it, trying to balance making music and traveling the world competing in the ring?

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian: It’s worked out great. I try to occupy my time when I am away from wrestling with music stuff and bookings, and we are constantly writing new stuff. I just focus on that when I am at home and have time to do that. It is something that I am as passionate about as I am about pro wrestling. We really enjoy every aspect of it, playing, and just doing everything VexTemper related. I just enjoy it and have the freedom and the opportunity to do it.

‘Get Addicted’ is a great song and really worked for both you (Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian) and Christopher Daniels. Do you see VexTemper making (unless you already have or in the midst of working on) music for other wrestlers in ROH?

I can’t really say. For ‘Get Addicted,’ the company graciously allowed me to write and record something because I had a band and I wanted to do it. Other than that, I keep music and wrestling separate, I’d be happy to write a theme for a pay per view if asked, or if one of our songs fits the theme of a pay per view or an event. I’d be happy to lend that because it would be something that could benefit all involved.

Does VexTemper has a tour scheduled? Discuss if you could the new album that has been released?

Right now we are just in the early process of writing some more music, and we are also in the process of recruiting a new drummer. Our drummer has an amazing opportunity with his company, and he had to focus all of his energy on that. But, we have some really good prospects. We are in the early stages of recording some new stuff. We have about five or six songs already in the early stages of recording, so we are just giving up to that right now.

Just like with any band or any musician, there is never a shortage of ideas. Often times its just ideas flowing separately or together, with a nice riff or bass riff or thinking of lyrics, and literally, pages and pages of lyrics written down that are what the guys do so there is never a shortage of that. When we get together, we don’t release and record. Our first album, ‘Doom Engine,’ was recorded we began to focus on new material. So guys bring in songs, and like I said we have about five or six songs that we have been sitting for a year or two years, and some are 20% done and some of them are 70% done.

We get together and we collaborate and see what works and what doesn’t.

For example, the first song ‘The Dead Roses,” that song came together in about 20 minutes. That doesn’t happen often, but that’s the cool part of music and cool part of creativity and collaboration. Sometimes the stars align and sometimes things like that just happen. It’s just great. You hear these stories of iconic songs, and you talk to musicians, and that song came together in five minutes, it’s almost baffling to think about, but it happens. Sometimes other ones, they take a year or two years to craft.

All that is just what I love about music. The creativity and the brotherhood, and collaborating with your friends to create music. It’s really incredible. It’s a rush like no other.

‘I, Desert’ appears to be a track that is near and dear to you. What is it about the track that has made it as meaningful to you as it has been?

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian: It’s a great comparison to make, between the longer wrestling match and the longer track. People are constantly being fed three and four-minute songs, and back in the day, there were 6,7,8 9 minute songs that would happen, on records and eight tracks. The song ‘I, Desert,’ the lyrics I had been sitting on were about the desert, and where I was from here in Tampa. Once again, the guys being from up here, they continued to add to the lyrics and were part of the music for that. It was just one of those things where the reason it took so long was that we wrote a piece of music.

When we were jamming we wrote another piece of music, and then we wrote another piece of music and that was the bridge, and then our lead guitarist Jake was sitting on some old lyrics and we just kept piling on stuff and it just continued to stick.

We all felt that it was quality stuff. So we all continued to add to it, which is why it became long, and the theatrics in that song. Much like the thunder and lightning, it was cool because it was actual thunder and lightning, it was in the desert in the 1970s and our guitarist’s dad had recorded it. It was just really cool and had a really cool vibe about it. It’s not a radio friendly song, it’s nine minutes and it’s past the attention span, and I get it. I was raised with an appreciation for music of the 70s and 80s and 90s. Where you could get an eight-minute or 9-minute song and enjoy it? It’s a different climate now, but I can still enjoy it. I very much appreciate that.

Not to make to much of a specific comparison, but Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the Star-Spangled banner managed to capture people’s attention for how he was able to do what he did.

Yeah, that was a pretty controversial rendition too. People felt that he was disrespecting it, which was completely absurd. It was a classic anthem for America, and it was Jimi Hendrix’s take on it. What is more American than that? Taking something and making it your own. It’s freedom of expression. Is that not in our First Amendment? I love that version, it was incredible.

As we approach the midway point of 2017, what can you foresee for the balance of the year for yourself, and VexTemper?

Ring of Honors Frankie Kazarian: With VexTemper right now, we are basically auditioning drummers. That is time-consuming and challenging, but also very exciting. The writing process again. There is nothing gets me more charged up as a musician than the development of music and focusing on that. I also, in the meantime, have an announcement myself. I am going to be filling in on bass guitar for a local band called GutterCandy. A lot of people don’t know that, but I am on social media so I’m on the scene.

Their bass guitarist is going to be gone for now. I have written a bunch of songs and they have done a lot of cover songs and a lot of neat originals. I am going to be filling in on bass guitar for them. We are going to be booking dates this summer. So that’s GutterCandy. As far as wrestling, just having the time of my life in Ring of Honor. I have been happy to be a part of that, such an incredible roster, and having great matches. I just enjoy what I do. Ring of Honor has some dates coming up soon. Here (Florida), and internationally, like in Scotland and elsewhere in the world. We are just trying to get out there to fans all over the world.