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Joey Vera (Armored Saint)

Interview with Joey Vera from Armored Saint
by Makis Kirkos at 01 January 2001, 3:00 AM

We had an appointment with Joey Vera, the bassist and establishing member of Armored Saint, by the chance of performing live at Greece. Here you can read what we told in our one-hour conversation. Enjoy!

At the year 1991 you re-united somehow and you released Symbol of Salvation a tribute album. In the meantime John had joined Anthrax and your return actually began in late 1998. What happened at this period from 1991 until 1998 for the other members of Armored Saint?

Well John left at 1992 and that’s basically when the band stop to exist, then we broke up and everyone went on different directions. Gonzo start drumming in a band, Jess hade another project he was doing, I released a solo record on Metal Blade at 1994. And then we did several things through the years, until we met again.

At March 7th, 2000 you released your latest record REVELATION. I know that many years have passed, but I would you tell us the similarities and the differences between Symbol of Salvation and Revelation.

Symbol of Salvation, well, it was a record that was made a kind of a comeback in a way, cause we had a lot of several years be together and we did at 1998. In the meantime we have written a lot of songs with Pritchard and then, as you know, he died from leukemia. A lot of changes became in the band during that time and Symbol it was a very emotional record for me. This record is a different kind of building up, we’ve been doing a different projects for almost 8 years and we just outcome in this one, with a different attitude. Our main attitude was that we want to have fun with it, have a good time no matter what and not get to concern about of political things, about how well our record is gone to sell or, you know, all this things that sometimes blowing your disposition of what you are doing. And so, we just get in without attitude and I think a lot of music came from just the feeling that want to just have a good time, write some killers songs and make a heavy record, we used a few songs from the old days but most of it is new stuff.

 What are the subjects of your songs? Do you still have the same believes that you had 10 years ago?

I think mostly the lyrics are pretty much the same, you know like I said, in the old days it was a lot of attention, I think over attention we put too much thought into our song writing a lot of times. This time was the complete opposite, we didn’t over think anything, the songs came very quickly and we just did it. And I think it was kind of a real natural or maybe the most natural record we ever made.

 In which studios did you record the album? Are you content with the result?

We did the drums at a friend of us studio and we did everything else at my house. We rent the equipment and some gear and I build a small studio in my house. We did everything there, all the guitars, bass, and all the vocals and then we went in a real studio for the mix. I was the producer and that was very easy for us to mix the record.

 What about the cover of you new album Revelation. Who's idea been it?

It’s just a picture that I saw, we were looking for a really strong image, some kind of a cool painting. And we look everywhere, we look in the Internet, we look in magazines but we didn’t find anything cause we want to find something that it was different, kind of cool but really strong. And we find a particular artist and he did for us.

 Is there any relation between the cover, the lyrics and the music?

You know, no not really cause that’s how we start, we didn’t want to over think, things too much. It was more like we knew that we want a strong image, and that was it. It was no direct relationship between what the image is and the lyrics or the title.

 How came up the title?

Revelation it was something that I kept seeing in the newspapers articles. It revelation, you know, like something becoming closer. Realising something and sort of our coming back.

 Did you have any kind of problems while you were recording?

Not at all, like a said it was a lot of fun cause we did it at my house so it was very comfortable atmosphere. We weren’t like, you know, in expensive studio and we didn’t have to say  Oh shit we have to finish cause it’s so expensive the studio . It was a lot better at my home.

 Describe me the feelings that overwhelming you while you were recording your new album together again after 10 years…

It was awesome and it’s still awesome, we missed it’s other a lot I think playing together, hanging around together, joking around and hang out like friends. So getting back together give us the opportunity to do a lot of that things and that made us work more easier cause the whole thing it was just for having a good time.

 Which was your best time during the record of Revelation?

Well I could say the process of our record being alive little by little at my house. We spend at my house almost 3 months, so we took our time we didn’t work 7 days a week, you know, we work several days and we had a day off, and I think that was the best working at my house.

 Tell me a little bit about your touring plans…

We already completed a huge touring. We played in US in May, we played in Vienna with Slayer, we played in Sweden Rock Festival the day after and we just finished playing Wacken Festival in Germany, and we are here now just starting, this is the first date of our European tour ever and we glad to be in Greece cause it’s an amazing place and we never being here before, we never play here. We are doing this for 2 / half weeks and we are going back to Germany to do some performing there, then we go to Italy, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium.

 Let me ask you some general questions now… Which is your biggest ambition now that you are back?

you know what, it’s funny because we really don’t have too much expectations cause if you do, it’s been our experience anyway, that a lot of time your expectations are not met and that really begins to ruling why you did it in the first place. You just have to enjoy your career and that’s better.

 Tell me an entertaining or funny story concerning the band…

(p.s. in a lot of laughs) Well we was at Vienna with Slayer and the next day we get in a plane to go at Sweden for the Rock Festival, but we have to stop in Amsterdam to change planes and go to Sweden. We went to Sweden and none of our luggage was there, nothing from clothes, no guitars.. Absolutely nothing. And so it was a nightmare, it wasn’t funny at there time but it’s funny now. We had to go in the Venue and return at 18:00 o’clock that afternoon. And the airport told us we can get you, your equipment it’s coming with another plane in 3 hours and we will delivered to you. But the Venue it was like 2 hours from the airport and they said  we will get it there by 18:00 o’clock but at 18:00 o’clock we were going to be on stage. And we didn’t have much time cause, you know, we had to do a sound check, to clean up our guitars and our stuffs and we didn’t have anything at that time. So we said fuck it, we went to the Venue and the people there was really helpful. They helped us, they call all Venues music stores and peoples and fans are coming from all over the city and bringing us their guitars and their equipment. And before we knew we had about 10 guitars and all kind of strangely machines and it was really, really cool actually. So we went on stage and we sound check with all those the stuffs that bring us, but we wasn’t used to them, and we was just about to get ready to go on stage when a taxi driver came up with all of our equipment and luggage. And we said to all of our fans you have to wait cause our equipment is here and you have to sound check again  .It was pretty chaotic. It wasn’t so funny at that time, but looking back now it’s like all those things you are always read about, and you say its never gone to happened to me, but this time it happens to us. It was really funny I guess.

 How you describe your self as bassist and as personality?

I think I am probably the typical bass player, and as personality I am a little bit quiet and shy sometimes. I also think that I am responsible cause with our re-united I had to solve many situations. And it was the first time for me that I a lot of responsibilities was handle by me and I wasn’t very comfortable with that.

 What other bands do you like, as musicians?

Ohhh there are so many, all kinds of bands, all the way from motorhead to U2 so many. I really admire a lot of bands, I can’t even name a couple. However my inspiration when I was very young it was Kiss. Or Kiss & Black Sabbath.

 What can we expect in the future from Armored Saint?

Well we just got together, we want to have fun and not to be hard-pushed about if we gone to make another record… and that new record have to be better from our last record. We are not gone have any of that. So, I mean we do plan of making another record we don’t know when, it could be next year or in next 5 years. John still have Anthrax, I still have Fates Warning, our record released on July, I’m going on tour with them soon as I get back from this tour. So we all are busy with others things, but the band had a conversation of doing another record hopefully next year. In meantime it’s gone to be released some b-sides, some un-released material, some demos, some live tracks, some cover songs, that kind of things.

 Well Joey I don’t want to tire you anymore so as my final question, what has been the best experience for the band so far in it's career?

There are a lot of things, I would say a lot of exciting times when you were in the 80’s and we were very younger and we played with big bands, I mean we open for Judas Priest, for Aerosmith, our tour with Metallica that was a great time. A lot of different experiences that was very cool. And of course getting all back together is a great time, it’s amazing.

 Is there any message that you want to send to the metal fans?

One of our reason that we get back together it was, cause we got a lot of support and people asking questions about us if we are gone to get back together someday and we like that a lot. John was touring with Anthrax and I with Fates Warning and all was asking us when you are gone to be together again. That was something for me and I thought that we have to get back together again. If we didn’t have that, maybe we didn’t be here today, maybe we didn’t release a new album and touring. So the band always wants to thank the fans for their support, even that you know that for 10 years we weren’t together. Thank you very much I hope to see you all in our tour.


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