Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with ARMORED SAINT bassist Joey Vera. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On how new album "Win Hands Down" came to fruition:
"It usually comes out of the blue. I had written a couple of things, and had sent them over to John [Bush, vocals]. It wasn't necessarily that I said 'Hey, let's start making a record now for ARMORED SAINT.' It was more like we had just happened to speak in passing. He asked me if I had been writing anything lately, and I said 'As a matter of fact, I've just recorded a couple of little things.' He said 'I'd love to hear it,' so I sent it over to him. He got excited by it, so I went back and kind of fine-tuned the couple of songs. Then he said 'I wanna write some lyrics for this,' so then he basically did that. He came over to the house, and put down some vocals. We had one song written, and said 'Well, this is cool. This is fun. Let's keep going.' Even at that point, we didn't really say 'Okay, let's write a new ARMORED SAINT record.' It was more about just writing music together. So, we wrote a couple more, and that actually went really quickly. We had written three or four songs in the first maybe a month and a half, which for us is super-fast. It was at that point where we said… We had three to four songs kind of written and completed, and so we said 'This is great stuff. This could be for a new ARMORED SAINT record. What do you think about that?' We talked about it, and decided to move forward with that in mind. At that point, we began writing more seriously with the intention of it being an ARMORED SAINT record.
"The process is always the same. Lately, it's been the same. I'd say in the last ten years, it's been like this, where the music comes through me. Me being the sort of musical director for the band, for lack of a better term. What happens is I'll make a demo tape. Not a tape… We don't use tape anymore, but I usually make a demo of the tunes. [Laughs] I make pretty elaborate demos; they are complete with human-sounding drum tracks, and overdubs. Some of them have 32 tracks and upwards, so some of my demos are super elaborate. They sound like finished records, basically, when they're done. When those songs are done demoing, I send them to John. Then he takes the songs, and basically drives around in his car after taking his kids to school or what not. He comes up with the melodies and the lyrics while he's driving — he's jotting down notes, or whatever. When he's ready, he comes back to my house. I have a small studio here where we make all of the music. He lays down the vocals; we spend three hours or something putting down all of the vocal tracks, and at that point the song is usually done. We sometimes make adjustments after that — we change arrangements, or add things, or take things away, or whatever — but that's basically how the process works."
On where late ARMORED SAINT guitarist Dave Prichard would have musically ventured, if he was still alive:
"People wonder that about Randy Rhoads [late OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist], and a lot of people — where would they have gone. It's really hard to say, but I'd venture to say that in Dave's case in particular, he was always someone that was always very creative. He was also an artist and he liked to draw let's say, for instance. He was always this kind of person who was making things with his hands. I think his creativity was innate and it was very restless, because he was always ready to do something else. I think that having that in his personality would've taken him… He would've just blossomed more and more, and become an even better player than he was. Maybe he would've even studied theory, because he never really studied theory. None of us did — I didn't study any theory until I was in my early 30s. He may have gotten into that, and that would've opened up more doors for him. I would think that he would've blossomed into some guy that was always being very creative and moving forward. I couldn't have seen him going down the route of getting tattoos and piercings, and becoming that guy. [Laughs] I don't know. Maybe I could be wrong."
On "Win Hands Down"'s running time:
"There was one song that didn't make the record; we have a demo of it, but it didn't make it to recording. It was a song that just didn't quite fit with the rest of the nine. It's in the same ballpark, but it was too much. It's a long song; it was another seven-minute song. [Laughs] Part of the reason why we wanted nine songs on the record was because of the total running time, more than anything. It's 51 minutes in terms of running time, and for me that's plenty long — it's bordering on too long. It's not too long, but it's not too short either. I think it was a good running length, so that's why we decided to not put the tenth song on there. It would've made the record too long and I personally don't like the long records, so that was the reason why we wanted to keep it down to nine. It's got a lot of music on it for nine songs, and so I thought that it was a good decision."
Read the entire interview at www.metalforcesmagazine.com.
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral