Bassist JOEY VERA: 'I Knew My Time With ANTHRAX Was Temporary'

Dave's On Tour recently conducted an in-depth interview with bassist extraordinaire Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT, FATES WARNING, ANTHRAX). Several excerpts fron the interview follow:

Dave's On Tour: Your temporary stay in ANTHRAX has ended, and the band is going back to its [classic] lineup. Describe your mixed emotions as a musician departing that great band. What are your expectations as a music fan from the newly reformed ANTHRAX?

Joey: "Well, I've stated that I had a great time while I was playing with ANTHRAX, and it was a bit sad when it ended. But I knew my time was temporary. I really had a great time working with them. I expect the band will have a blast with the [classic] lineup, some good old reminiscing and some good laughs. I'm sure the show will be great."

Dave's On Tour: The year you spent playing in ANTHRAX must have been filled with highlights. I'd guess Vinnie Paul [PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN] sitting in on drums for a song at the Dimebag Darrell Foundation concert in Chicago was one of them. Tell us more about that night, and how'd ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante do on guitar for that song?

Joey: "That was a pretty special night. There was such a good vibe in the house with all of the bands, and the crowd was showing so much love and appreciation. It was a pretty cool feeling. When Vinnie came out the place just erupted. He plays with such power anyway, but that night he was intense. I myself was in awe. It was a privilege to have jammed with Vinnie Paul on stage. Oh, and Charlie was rockin' on the guitar. At one point he was up front and had his leg up on the floor monitor rockin' out. His secret dream."

Dave's On Tour: FATES WARNING just returned from a one-off gig headlining the Headway Festival in The Netherlands. Tell us more about FATES WARNING's appearance at that show, including the performance of your rhythm section partner, drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER).

Joey: "It was in Amsterdam, and it was really cool. We had an eight-hour rehearsal the day before, and we did the gig the next day. For all of us it was a crazy thing just showing up for one show. We didn't have any time to get comfortable you know? By now we've done most of the songs so much that it's like riding a bike. For Mike it was harder as he had to learn a 90-minute set basically in a day. But it's Mike Portnoy, he's just a monster. We all had to learn an OSI (OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE) song which took some work on my part! I had such a great time playing with Mike. He made the set really heavy. I never really realized how much power he added to our band until we hit the stage that night. Then he turned it up. A complete privilege for me as a bass player. He's one of those guys that makes you play better. He's also great guy to hang out with, we had a blast."

Dave's On Tour: You played bass on one of ex-DREAM THEATER keyboard player Kevin Moore's CHROMA KEY CDs. Kevin has also played on a few FATES WARNING CDs. I once read a quote from you about your dislike of keyboard players in rock bands. To paraphrase, you stated that a band should sample, and let its guitar player hit a button on the floor to trigger keyboard noises. Please elaborate on your thoughts about musical collaboration with keyboard players.

Joey: "Wow, you really dug up some dirt! I think I was referring to keyboard players in metal bands. And I must have meant bands of the '80s because some keyboardists are classic. Jon Lord, Don Airey, Darren Wharton to name a few. The thing is that I feel like the keyboard should be a supporting instrument in heavy rock music. It's different for progressive rock where it's an important part of the whole picture. I like keyboards and samples in small doses in heavy metal music. Having played with several keyboardists in FATES WARNING, I think it's essential for progressive music to have a player right there playing it live. The keyboard is gonna give you colors that no other instrument will and I'm all for more colors! There!"

Read the entire interview at this location.


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