RadioactiveMike Z, host of the Riverside, California-based radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire", conducted an interview with ARMORED SAINT vocalist John Bush prior to the band's August 17 show at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California where it was performing its seminal 1991 album "Symbol Of Salvation" in full. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On performing "Symbol Of Salvation" in its entirety:
John: "It was funny. I think it was Tracy Vera, [bassist] Joey's wife's idea. We wanted to do a live DVD that's done proper. In in our history, the first one was called 'A Trip Thru Red Times', which was all bootleg videos. This was bootleg in the '80s, it wasn't iPhones, this was people's bootlegs. They're great videos and it was good to put it out. Then we did something parallel, we did something called 'Lessons Not Well Learned' and that was similar, a little different, but not professionally. So, we said, the one thing we've never really done is a proper several camera shoot, audio is amazing, high-def concert of our show, one show. Then that got the ball rolling. Tracy was, like, 'Why don't you do 'Symbol Of Salvation' in its entirety and that will be the DVD?' We're like, 'Okay, great.' It's a great excuse. The only thing that appeared to be a little daunting was playing and singing these songs that are 27 years old that are not easy to sing and challenging to play. There are songs that we've never played in the history of the band, so we had to learn them. We had to rehearse."
On paying tribute to founding guitarist Dave Pritchard, who passed away in 1990 due to leukemia:
John: "It's always a good time to celebrate Dave. We don't need 27 years or two years or three years. I always say Dave is always with us. I'm not the most religious guy in the world, but I have a sense of spirituality. I always feel like Dave is there when we're rehearsing or we're playing a live show or something in the studio or one of the things that Jeff [Duncan, guitar] and Phil [Sandoval, guitar] play, that maybe Joey has written. It's, like, 'Whoa, that reminds me of Dave.' It's really cool. If Dave was alive, he'd be here. The thing I always tout is a really cool aspect of ARMORED SAINT, it's the same guys, minus Dave. If Dave was here, it would be us and it would be all of the same guys, so I think that's a really cool aspect of the band. Everyone has a personal investment in the music and the songs. It's not like Joey Vera and three hired guns or John Bush and a guy who was in this band or that band. It's the same dudes."
On whether ARMORED SAINT would consider celebrating the 35th anniversary of their "March Of The Saint" debut by playing the album in full:
John: "I don't know. It's funny, officially, 35th was the [self-titled] EP because the EP was the first thing we ever really put out. The three-song EP and somebody just told us a week ago that was the anniversary of that. 'March Of The Saint' was the first full-length record and that was kind of the introduction of ARMORED SAINT on a much more grand scale because it was Chrysalis and a full-length record. 'Symbol' is always special, but 'March Of The Saint', we play most of the songs. The song I joke about is 'Envy' because it's the one I like the least. It never fails where someone will yell out 'Envy'!' I'm, like, 'Of course they did.' It's funny."
On whether ARMORED SAINT has started work on the follow-up to 2015's "Win Hands Down":
John: "We have written some songs. We don't want to wait too long before we put out a record, but on the same token, we thought 'Win Hands Down' is an amazing record and we're going to be hard-press to surpass it. ARMORED SAINT, it's kind of the way our career has gone. The way I see it, it's all about the quality, not the quantity and I say that because I have to say that. It's true. I'd rather have 25, 30 years when we're all dead and gone and people look back on us and go, 'That was a cool band and they made some really cool records.' It's not like 'They made 20 records and maybe five of them were good and there's 15 bombs.' I don't want people to feel that way about ARMORED SAINT. I say that because we kind of have to do that because it's what our career has turned into. It would be cool to get out a record in less than five years. We went from 'Revelations' in 2000, to 'La Raza' in 2010. Granted, I was in ANTHRAX during that time. 'Win Hands Down' we cut in half and put it out in five. I think it's possible we can get a record out next year. The tunes so far sound killer."
"Win Hands Down" was released in June 2015 via Metal Blade Records.
To further celebrate the legacy of "Symbol Of Salvation", Metal Blade Records reissued the album on CD and LP in May. The LP features a vinyl remastering from Patrick W. Engel as part of the "Metal Blade Originals" series. The CD includes four bonus tracks.
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral