Armored Saint - 24/09/2018

Greetings John! Welcome here at the Dynamo Club in Eindhoven, The Netherlands! Tell me a bit about ‘Armored Saint’ and the comeback  of ‘John Bush’, since 2006! How does it feel to be back in good old Eindhoven, any special memories about this town?

John : Thank you, your magazine looks great! Did you have fun at the show? Our sound-man is from Holland and the sound was really good and we loved the show.

We definitely have some memories, we played at the Dynamo Open Air Festival back in 1989 and we did also a club show at the old Dynamo club, Eindhoven, somewhere else in town, the old venue! It was our very first time in Europe! We were very happy to finally be here in 1989. Coming back today is a great feeling, it was a good time tonight, great show, lots of fun, I think we rocked it up pretty well. The sound was very good by our Dutch sound man. It’s a great venue, it’s a cool area with a beautiful neighborhood. Armored Saint is like a family, we are good friends since we were little boys.

How’s it to be back on the road again? Any favourite places while touring around the world?

John : It’s always fun to be on the road, we are doing this “Symbol Of Salvation”-Thing now. We just did it in America and it’s good to play the whole record and we have a lot of fun, tomorrow we are playing at the “Alcatraz Festival” in Belgium. After that we go back to the States and we have three shows, incl. LA, Vegas and Orange County. LA will be great. It’s three years since “Win Hands Down” came out, we play Japan, South America, and Barcelona for the first time. It’s always exciting to go to places we have never been before.  

What bands influenced you and is there a certain message in your lyrics? Where do you get your inspiration for lyrics?

John : These days I am inspired by things in life. Life goes on and changes. The stuff I live, the things I see, the things I observe from the world, personal feelings. I really don’t feel like anything is out of limits to write about lyrically. I know with Heavy Metal we can write about everything!

We listen to so many kinds of music. I listen to everything from Motorhead to John Coltrane, to old Soul music, Classical music, to Heavy Metal bands that inspired us like AC/DC, Judas Priest, Queen Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Metallica. There are thousands of bands, thousands of artists. If they touch me, I really like it. I don’t care what kinda music it is. Even when we were younger, besides KISS, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and so on, we also listened to Stevie Wonder, The Sweet, Earth Wind & Fire, Seventies Pop Music and of course we had a period in high school, we said: WE ARE THE METALHEADS! But in the end we listened to all kinds of music! That made our band to have an own style! We are from LA, so we had some problems with identity, because we were compared to Hair bands like Motley, Ratt, Poison, Quiet Riot and so on, but we were much heavier, more Power/Thrash. But we said: “Fuck off, we don’t care and a good song is a good song”, and of course we liked bands such as Ratt and Dokken as well. Good music is good music!

Is there any ‘Armored Saint’ album that you’re really proud of or that you don’t like anymore today? And if so: why?

John : It’s more about songs, certain songs are better than others. But I am not gonna tell you which ones, haha.. Right now we are concentrating on the “Symbol Of Salvation” album. I think it’s a very special record for various reasons. The last album ”Win Hands Down” is great too and has some early nineties groove like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. I think we set the ball very high with this album and it will be hard to surpass it. We will try.

You are still around in the original line-up, unlike many other bands, through all the years since the beginning. Do you feel like a "Family" and do you meet  even aside from band activities?

John : We definitely feel like a family, I think our bond when we are onstage or in the studio is unbreakable. Except for Dave, who unfortunately passed away in 1990, we are still the same guys, each with his own personality. We know each other since we are 8 or 9 years old. NO-NO, of course we don’t hang out all the time together, that would be weird and if we would, we probably would hate each other haha, we need space. For example Jeff lives in Vegas and sometimes we don’t speak for months, but if we do, it’s good. I like spending time with my wife, but some people don’t haha.

Do you often recall Dave Prichard (original guitarist), who unfortunately died many years ago, and what stories with him do you remember?

John : Many stories! He was a crazy guy with crazy long red hair, a great comedian with a great sense of humor, a great artist, an incredible guitar player, I think underrated. I kind of feel Dave is with us. Onstage I feel his aura and his presence. I am not a very religious guy, but I am kinda spiritual and I feel he is always there and is making jokes.

How do you see the scene today in the US, especially your hometown Pasadena and L.A., and all around the world? Do you have younger fans in the audience also discovering your music?

John : We are actually coming from a little town called El Sereno…. It’s right near Pasadena. And yes we do have young fans, because we have older fans who bring their kids. Which is cool. It’s a weird time for Rock ‘N’ Roll now, because there are many younger people who listen to old bands. Ten year old kids or so, listening to The Rolling Stones . It’s part of the family tree. So when all these big bands like: The Stones, Zeppelin, Tom Petty, The Who, Motorhead, Priest and all these great bands are gone, who is gonna fill the void? For the new generation it will be hard to fill the void of all those incredible artists.

Do you follow the actual music scene? Any new bands or artists you especially like? Do you buy albums (Downloads, CD's, tapes or vinyl)?

John : I like to buy cd’s, I like to purchase cd’s, because I need something tangible, because if I download it, I don’t feel connected. I would rather listen to vinyl, and I do buy vinyl. What sounds better than vinyl?  I really need something to touch, to look at, a record! And I always try to discover new artists, I do my best and same goes for the other guys. Unfortunately we don’t have many record stores anymore in the States but there is a good one in LA, who sells also 2nd hand vinyl. I try to go there as often as I can and I look around and just contribute to the business that I am in. Sometimes I find a record of my band and give it to someone.

Especially Joey Vera (Bass) is involved in many other projects also (e.g. Fates Warning). How does it fit your schedule?

John : Well there is three Joey’s. One in this band, one in that band and one to raise his kid. He is busy, it’s hard actually, he got his hands in many projects. He is a great dad, one of the best dads I know and a great husband too, he is a great musician and he is basically our manager. Sometimes he is a bit grumpy, but I understand why. The last Fates Warning album is amazing by the way!

Any plans for the future? When can we expect a new album and what will it sound like?

John : We are writing new songs, we have already 5 or so, who sound killer. Our goal is to put out a live DVD, we never did a proper live DVD of a show, filmed professionally and that is our goal to do that, we just had bootleg video’s so far. Symbol Of Salvation, the whole record played in its entirety, that’s what we wanna do. So we filmed a bunch of shows in Boston, NY, Los Angeles and we want to put out a DVD of that. That will come out realistically next year, and then maybe at the end of next year, the new record comes out. But we need time, we go for quality over quantity. It will take a long time, but it will be great, we have to beat ”Win Hands Down”, which will not be easy. So we will work it out. 

Please name your 10 All-time favourite records or artists.

John : Iced Earth, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Priest, AC/DC, Mastodon, Alice In  Chains, Faith No More, Soundgarden, Thin Lizzy and UFO. From our label “Metal Blade” we like many bands like Slayer or Lizzy Borden and of course Fates Warning. Ah, there are so many bands we like.

Any special message out to the fans?

John : We love Europe and we really are inspired by European bands and so we love to play in countries like Belgium, Germany and Holland! Thanks for your support! See you back in November!

Thank you guys so much for the time and enjoy the tour!

John : Thank You!

Maurice Schreiber and Patchman Marco for Headbangers Zine & Metal-Experince.com

Current Line-up:

John Bush - Vocals
Jeff Duncan - Guitars
Phil Sandoval - Guitars
Joey Vera - Bass
Gonzo Sandoval - Drums

Albums:

1984 - March of the Saint
1985 - Delirious Nomad
1987 - Raising Fear
1988 - Saints Will Conquer (Live)
1991 - Symbol of Salvation
2000 - Revelation
2001 - Nod to the Old School
2010 - La Raza
2015 - Win Hands Down
2016 - Carpe Noctum (Live)