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
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
John : Thank You!
Maurice Schreiber and Patchman Marco for Headbangers
Zine & Metal-Experince.com
John Bush - Vocals
Jeff Duncan - Guitars
Phil Sandoval - Guitars
Joey Vera - Bass
Gonzo Sandoval - Drums
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)