Armored Saint: Return of the Metal Battalion

One of the earliest and most respected bands in the Los Angeles metal community, Armored Saint has been on a bit of a hiatus for about a decade.  With singer John Bush being involved with Anthrax and Joey Vera doing countless other projects, Armored Saint had pretty much been the stuff that metal legends of the past are made of.  And now in 2010, the battalion is roaring back with a vengeance  with a mighty new collection of tunes entitled La Raza.  We spoke with bassist Joey Vera to catch up with the happenings of the mighty Saint.  And before we begin, if you live in the LA area, be sure to catch Armored Saint’s only show booked this year on May 28th at the House Of Blue on the Sunset Strip.  And now, on to our interview with Mr. Vera…

How did it feel to bring Armored Saint back together after a nearly 10 year hiatus and who’s idea was it initially? Did you think a return of Armored Saint would ever happen?
– Well this all started when John and I began writing for fun more than anything. This was around early Summer of 2008 and by the Fall we decided to make this writing project into a Saint record. We figure that at some point we’d work together again, we just didn’t know when.

Is there any story or concept behind the La Raza album?
– No not really. As it turns out the record is lyrically personal to John and there’s a thread of city life that runs through it, but it was not intentional.

La Raza definitely has a Los Angeles feel to it. How close do you all feel to the local Los Angeles metal scene and what do you think about it?
– We are not that involved in the local scene. We were here when the Metal scene first started in 1982 so we’ve seen this place go through some transformations. It’s been exciting, funny, embarrassing and horrible and cool.

Do you think it will be another 10 years before we hear another Armored Saint album?
– Who knows. It could be. I hope not though.

What are your thoughts on the previous Revelations album?
– Revelation is a great record albeit a little less focused. It has some great songs on it and great performances. The production and power of it rivals Symbol to me. Actually at times it’s more aggressive.

What did you think of John Bush’s work in Anthrax and then what was it like when you worked with the band?
– I love John’s work with Anthrax. I think he took the band to places they could not have gone to with someone else. I had a great time playing in the band from 2004 – 2005. I got to play places I’d never been to, met lots of cool people and played some of the most insane shows ever.

Does Armored Saint have any touring plans at the moment?
– No, not at the moment. We are only playing a show in our hometown in LA. May 28 at House of Blues on Sunset.

When you look back on your work on March Of The Saint and Delirious Nomad, what do you think of those recordings now?
– March is very juvenile to me, the songwriting. And the production, I always hated. Delirious is still one of my favorites although I wished the production didn’t suck the life out of some of the songs.

Do you think Fates Warning will ever get back together and do more shows and would you want to be involved? It’s definitely been a few years since Fates Warning last CD…
– Yes, there’s plans to record a new record in the nest few months and I’ll be on it.

Tell me about A Chinese Firedrill and how it compares to your work in other bands. What could one expect from this solo outing?
– This was a record I’d been wanting to make for a long time. I really wanted to stretch out and write some music that was out of my usual range. I’m a big fan of Art Rock and Classic Prog so I wanted to experiment, and that’s what this is. I play most of the instruments and I sing everything. It was a pretty fun record to make and I have plans for another really soon.

When producing bands, what is it you look when you agree to work with a band?
– I have to like the music and they have to be able to play their instruments well. It helps if they have something about them that they have not yet tapped into, which I would help them find.

Tell me about your work with Brian Posehn and how different is it to be in a band for a comedian?
– I did 2 songs with Brian on his first CD and he’s got a brand new one coming out in 2 weeks which again I play 2 more on. It’s a really fun thing to be involved in. He’s a huge Metal fan and we just get together to make these tunes that He and Scott Ian write. It’s all for fun and a good laugh.

What is your favorite bass guitarist and why?
– Only one? It has to be Jaco Pastorious because he showed a lot of us that the bass guitar could be used in new ways. I first heard him in 1979 and it changed the way I approached the bass.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects at the moment?
– I just finished a record with a band called Mother Superior and also a band called The Cheatin Kind.

Any messages for Armored Saint fans here in Los Angeles?
– The LA fans are the OG die hards and we wouldn’t be anywhere without them!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Armored Saint on Myspace

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