Armored Saint – Still Delivering

Friday, 29th March 2013 How hard was it to resist some of those temptations to go in either of those directions?

Vera: It was pretty hard because we were never about either one of those things. We were about a band brought up on Thin Lizzy, UFO, Led Zeppelin…bands that have more diversity and that was something we wanted to do. We wanted to be a band that had diversity. Even with our early style, we’d always have a thrash song and then we’d have a bluesy song. It probably ended up causing us more confusion in the end, but whatever…we just wanted to write good music. Like when Chrysalis wanted you do the Lynryd Skynryd cover [“Mr Saturday Night Special”].

Vera: It’s funny because that was our choice, but they wanted us to do a cover song. They wanted us to do “Wishing Well” by Free. We tried and it didn’t sound like us. A couple of us were big Skynyrd fans and wanted to do a cover it, but we’ll make it metal! [laughs] It was probably something wished we hadn’t done because I don’t think it came out that good. I love Lynryd Skynyrd, but we probably should haven’t of done it [laughs]. What are you going to do? And I’m sure being an LA-based band didn’t help with the hair metal connotations. Was that another one of the uphill battles you mentioned?

Vera: It was and if you look at the career of the band, our hair gets a little bigger as we go along, just look at Raising Fear [laughs]. Even when we put out Symbol, the “Last Train Home” video was light. “Reign of Fire” was more about what we were and was a better representation of who we were, but “Last Train Home” was leaning more toward the other way. Like I said, we always had our foot on one side and the other side of the fence. We wanted to be everything. We wanted to be a thrash band, we wanted to be a commercial band, we wanted to be an artistic band. That was probably a part of our downfall: we weren’t very focused. Switching gears, did the success of Revelation give you confidence going into La Raza?

Vera: It did, actually. After not making a record for so long, after Symbol, we didn’t know what was going on and the band, for all intents and purposes was done. We broke up and we didn’t know we were going to get back together and the reason we did it was because while John was on tour with Anthrax and I was on tour with Fates Warning, we’d meet a lot of fans that were still into us. That’s one of the reasons we did Revelation. And when it came out, you don’t know how it was going to do. It ended up exceeding everyone’s expectations, so that was a shot in the arm. We have a lot of loyal fans, which is pretty special. We can feel confident that we can put something out and that our diehard fans will at least check it out. You’ve built a strong resume producing bands. That must have helped when recording Armored Saint since you were notoriously never captured properly in the 80’s.

Vera: That was one of the most frustrating things in the beginning of our career. We never felt the records we put out represented us when you see us play live. We’re a bit of loose cannon when we play live. We’re not very tight [laughs], not solid, but have this energy that’s just really big. And we never felt like that came across on record. Symbol of Salvation up until that point was closest we came to that, but it didn’t really do it, but it was pretty close.

When we made Revelation, we wanted it to be like listening to Iron Maiden’sKillers. It was an early record that was very raw, so when we made La Raza, we did the same thing. We just wanted it to represent the band live. Describe the working dynamic between you and John.

Vera: It’s really, really easy. One of the great things about it is that for the most part, we see eye-to-eye on most things when it comes to taste in music, artistic direction…that kind of thing. It’s very much…we don’t have to tell each other what to do, it just shows up and is perfect. It’s just easy for us to communicate.

I’m really proud of what he did on La Raza. He went into it without any strings or parameters. He was just able to sing the way he has always sung. A lot of the stuff he’s singing on this record is very blues-based. Some of the stuff with Anthrax fits his voice, but I always felt like he was conforming to them. Here, it’s more laid out for him. How are you going to approach promoting La Raza? Can you see yourself doing a long tour or are you going to stick to festivals?

Vera: I think we’re going to wait to see if we can do the festival thing. It will be more economical for us. It would be very hard for us to go out and do a club tour and lose money. We all have families and we just can’t do it anymore [laughs]. I think it would be beneficial to play for a large amount of people at once. It’s going to be hard this summer because John is doing shows with Anthrax, so he’s going to be busy.

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