John Bush: Vocals
Joey Vera: Bass
Jeff Duncan: Guitar
Phil Sandoval: Guitar
Gonzo Sandoval: Drums
What I did on my summer vacation: by Joey Vera
Please say it ain’t so.
Not another band bio!
If there was one absolute thing we could all do without, one single task that we could better spend our precious ticking time on, it would have to be the reading of another bio from some dumb ass band!
But if you’ve found yourself reading thus far, perhaps you have no problem with a burdensome waste of eye movement. Shall we continue?
Armored Saint was formed in 1982 in East Los Angeles by 5 punk ass neighborhood friends. In 6 months, we signed with Metal Blade and we were on Metal Massacre 2 then put out an EP. We rocked hard for like, 50 gigs and got a record deal on a major label called Chrysalis. We thought they were cool because they had some of our favorite bands on their roster like UFO, Robin Trower, Jethro Tull and the Michael Schenker Group.
We made 3 records with them. March of the Saint (1984), Delirous Nomad (1985) and Raising Fear (1987). We toured like bunny rabbits with the likes of Metallica, WASP, Helloween, Grim Reaper, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper (just to name drop a few).
By 1988, Chrysalis was mostly concerned with charts, graphs and the amount of eye liner that the singer from Spandau Ballet was wearing. They had lost interest in the continual grooming of a grass roots band so they pulled our plug and dropped us. In all fairness, by this time we were pretty fuckin lost in our own minds anyway. Oh, and we owed them loads of money. Uh, we still do actually.
In 1990 we lost our good friend, guitarist and songwriter Dave Prichard to Leukemia. It was pretty devastating but we decided to forge ahead and we made a record called Symbol of Salvation for Metal Blade records in 1991. After much fanfare in the press, the parade ended in 1992 whilst we fought about whose fault it was that we hadn’t “made it” yet. Our singer, John Bush, was asked to join Anthrax. Thankfully, he shot our lame horse right between the eyes.
In 1999 we reconvened to make the Revelation record. A hip little number with aural tones of polka and bippity bop. It’s metal. A year later we put out Nod to the Old School. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.
Since then, we’ve never really considered our band to be of the normal toilet going variety. The kind that makes a record, tours excessively, makes videos, comes home and does it all over again going further and further into debt. Instead, we make records and play dates when we feel like it. We consider ourselves to be the luckiest clan of nomads in that, no matter what silly time of day we rear our heads from out under our rock, we have some very loyal fans who still turn their heads to see what we’re cooking.
Fast forward really fast to 2008. John Bush and I decided to write some cool little ditties just for fun. Remember that? Fun? After a few months we decided to get down and dirty and make another Saint record. We wrote for a year and while we were doing it, we kept telling ourselves, “don’t be concerned with anything going on around you, just write good songs”. And just before the voices in our heads began to sound like good ‘ol Satan himself, we stopped writing and entered the studio.
In the fall of 2009 we went in to record our 6th record, La Raza. We were approached by engineer Bryan Carlstrom whom we had worked with on Symbol and we thought it would be a nostalgic idea to work together again. For economic reasons mostly, I decided to produce and co-mix the record. I had been so close to the written song that only I could steer the ship into and out of the storm.
Wrought with the desire to keep the music in its natural state, we chose to work in the analog domain only using Pro Tools as the “tape recorder”. We hit every signal with vintage analog gear before going into the computer. Then, during mixdown, the same. Out of the computer, into an analog mixing board and then to actual analog tape. During the process we chose to keep many of the tracks that were recorded during the demo sessions because we thought they were really good and because we could.
For us, this method was a celebration of how far we’ve come in technology and how much we refuse to abide by the new rules. We both embrace it and snub it. The most important thing is the spirit of the music, and with the tape hiss comes a reminder that we come from a time when the perfect performance or the perfect volume did not make the music any better.
Our music on this record is steeped in the basic form, relying on our past influences in both songwriting and soundscape. We are definitely not attempting to reinvent any wheels here. Instead we are attempting to exercise what strengths we think we’ve gained as songwriters and music producers.
So sit back, insert your tiny ear buds and let those tiny kilobytes stream through your deprived ear canals. Just keep in mind that we didn’t serve it up to you that way.