35 years later, Armored Saint are still going with no signs of slowing down. It’s a testament to their music and resilience that they’re still touring and making music like there’s no tomorrow after all this time. Speaking to bassist Joey Vera, we talked about Win Hands Down, their new album, their history, their upcoming UK tour, future plans and meeting Alice Cooper.
Jack: Hey Joey, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Joey Vera (Bass): Fine thanks.
Jack: Two years ago you released your album Win Hands Down, are you happy with the response for the album?
Joey: Yes very much.
Jack: Considering there was a five year gap between this album and La Raza, was it hard writing again for the album?
Joey: No. I enjoy the writing process.
Jack: Joey as a producer, what was it like producing your own band? Did this make it easier or harder?
Joey: Neither. It just is. I enjoy the whole process so for me it’s all good. Hard work, yes. But enjoyable.
Jack: You’re releasing a live album called Carpe Noctum, why did you feel the need to release another live album?
Joey: This came about when we were getting ready for a tour we did with Queensryche last November. Our label thought it would be a good idea to put out a CD to help promote the tour. We had these live recordings sitting around so we put this together.
Jack: Did you feel the pressure to live up to Saints Will Conquer?
Joey: Only to try to out do it sonically. To have something that represented us as a live band.
Jack: What is behind the title Carpe Noctum?
Joey: I just thought it would be clever to have a title that conveyed a live concert experience.
Jack: You picked music from the Wacken and Aschaffenburg headline shows for the album. Did you know going into these shows they’d be used in a live recording? If so did this change the way you approached the show?
Joey: No. we had no idea that these would be used for a live record per se.
Jack: Why has your long term relationship with Metal Blade been successful?
Joey: Primarily because Brian Slagel (Metal Blade CEO) has always been an avid fan of our band. We are super fortunate to have a label that allows us to make the kind of records we want to. On our own terms too. Very lucky we are.
Jack: When you formed the band did you ever think you’d been this successful?
Joey: I did not think I’d be making records 35 years later no.
Jack: What’s been a career highlight?
Joey: There are many. The mere fact that we still have a great fanbase after 35 years is one.
Jack: Do you think John’s stints in Anthrax has helped or hindered the band’s career?
Joey: Of course it helped. Anthrax’s popularity is far greater than ours so through that we’ve reached some of that base.
Jack: On your UK tour in March you’re playing Hammerfest, do you approach festivals differently to club shows?
Joey: Festivals are less intimate for obvious reasons. So you have to play to a broader scope.
Jack: How did you find Bloodstock?
Joey: Loved it.
Jack: What keeps bringing you back to the UK?
Joey: The fans!
Jack: Aside from the US dates in May, what else do you have coming up?
Joey: Nothing at the moment.
Jack: Do you have fond memories of supporting Alice Cooper?
Joey: Alice invited us onto his bus once to meet us. He was one of the most down to earth people you’ll ever meet.
Jack: Finally what are your thoughts on Metallica’s new album?
Joey: I like what I’ve heard so far but have yet to spin the whole record. But so far it’s good.
Jack: Thanks for your time, have a good tour!
Joey: Thank you!
Armored Saint are:
Joey Vera – Bass
Gonzo Sandoval – Drums
Phil Sandoval – Guitars
John Bush – Vocals
Jeff Duncan – Guitars