Former ANTHRAX and current ARMORED SAINT vocalist John Bush was recently interviewed by Jimmy Kay of The Metal Voice. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On ARMORED SAINT's decision to perform the entire "Symbol Of Salvation" album during its upcoming tour:
John: "'Symbol Of Salvation' seems to be a record that a lot of people connect with on an emotional level if you're an ARMORED SAINT fan. It's the one record that almost didn't happen, and we then made it happen after regrouping the band after Dave Prichard passed away. We had all these great songs, and we knew we wanted to record them, but we had to figure out the proper way to do it. We kind of regrouped by getting Jeff [Duncan] and Phil [Sandoval] back in the band at that point. There [were] a lot of stars aligning on that album. There's just some great songs on it, and what we're trying to do, I'll be quite frank — sometimes it takes a long time for ARMORED SAINT to make records. It's not like we're lazy; we just kind of go at a slower pace. We love 'Win Hands Down' — we thought that was really a spectacular record for us — and that came out in 2015, so it's almost three years old now. We are writing songs for a new record and we want to put out a new record, and we're optimistic that we can get one [done] by next year, but the reality is, we wanted to do something to bridge those two records together. We already did a live record, and now the next job is to do a live DVD. That's something that ARMORED SAINT has never really done — like, a proper, recorded concert that goes into a live DVD. To do it, we wanted to do something special, so we came up with the idea of doing 'Symbol Of Salvation' — and hence, to do it, we need to play some shows to film it.”
On the direction of the band's new material, and when fans can expect a new album to be released:
John: "We have a couple of songs that me and Joey [Vera] already kind of worked on. We have a couple more that we've thought about working on. I know that Gonzo [Sandoval] and Phil [have] a couple of ideas that they wanted to send us. I think that realistically, we can get a record out maybe the middle of next year if we're optimistic. It'd be great to have all the writing done by the end of this year. What we could do is try to be a little quicker in the way we write songs, as long as we feel like there's quality control on it. I think we're going to just try to build off what we've been doing. We love 'Win Hands Down' — we thought it was a great record — and I think we want to kind of pick up where we left off with that. Certainly, we're always open-minded in terms of how we want to approach songwriting. I don't think we have a specific style that we want to continue working on. We just want to kind of let things happen in a natural, organic way. I think the way we created music with 'Win Hands Down' was a real positive thing, and I think continuing on with that style would be to ARMORED SAINT's benefit.”
On ARMORED SAINT's current approach to touring:
John: "The thing about ARMORED SAINT is that we certainly aren't in a position where we overplay by any means. My life is kind of busy, and Joey's life is busy, we try to do it where we play strategically good shows, and not just go out and play a ton of shows. That's just not where we're at in our lives at this point. I don't want to go out and tour for some long stretches of time. I love being around my family, and I love watching my kids grow up, and I think that being gone is difficult. I empathize with a lot of musicians who do that, and they have to make those choices, and I'm sure it's a struggle for them when they have to be gone for long periods of time. I hate it, because I love my family, and I don't want to be gone and miss anything. That being said, I also love playing. It's fun to perform, and it's something that I enjoy doing. But I don't want to be gone for too long, because then I'd be sad, quite frankly. It's about doing kind of the right shows, and I think that is something that bodes well for ARMORED SAINT. It creates a cool vibe where there's a yearning to see the band. It makes it kind of more of an event when we do play."
On whether he'd consider doing a solo tour in which he performs material from the four albums he recorded with ANTHRAX:
John: "I've already talked about possibly doing that, and it's something that I'm a little bit more open-minded to doing. It just has to be the right scenario. There has to be enough of an interest; it has to be the right band. I wouldn't want to go out and do two months of it. Probably, it would be sporadic shows, maybe some festivals. But I am more open-minded to doing it now than I was five years ago, ten years ago. It just has to feel right. It just has to be the right situation. We'll see."
On whether he's disappointed that ANTHRAX doesn't currently play any of those songs live with Joey Belladonna:
John: "I understand — there's plenty of old songs to play [from] Joey's tenure in the band. Why play my stuff? I get it. [But] I wish they would, honestly. I wish they would stick a song or two in there, because it would just be cool. I don't want those songs to slip into oblivion, or the abyss. It is what it is, and I understand."
Bush fronted ANTHRAX from 1992 to 2005, and then again from 2009 to 2010. He recorded four studio albums with the band — "Sound Of White Noise", "Stomp 442", "Volume 8: The Threat Is Real" and "We've Come For You All".
This July/August, ARMORED SAINT will embark on a North American tour commemorating the band's classic "Symbol Of Salvation" album. On this special run, the group will perform "Symbol Of Salvation" in its entirety, with select shows to be recorded for a live DVD. Metal Blade labelmates ACT OF DEFIANCE will join ARMORED SAINT on this trek.