Interview with Joey Vera - Armored Saint, March 2010

Even though it feels like Armored Saint has been around forever, this is only their 6th album and they have after all, in some kind of form, been around since 1982. The three albums from the mid-eighties still stand out as some the best composed pure metal and even disaster couldn't stop them and "Symbol of Revelation" from 1991 was equally strong. Nine more years passed before Armored Saint delivered another fine piece of metal, "Revelation" and now ten more years have passed and it is time for "La Raza".

First off I just want to congratulate you on an album well done! Do you see this one as another comeback album, or just as album number six?

Joey Vera – Thank you. I just see this as record #6.

Ten years has passed between your two latest albums and it is an awful long time, what kind of expectations do you have for ‘La Raza’?

Joey Vera – I really am trying to have none. The problem with expectations is that in the past, we always had higher expectations than what was revealed and so in turn, we were left feeling disappointed. These days, I have none and so whatever comes of this will be a success.

Where do you see the main difference between this album and your latest album “Revelation” from 2000’?

Joey Vera – The sole main difference is that all the attention was paid to making sure we wrote good songs, and for ourselves first.

Is the material on “La Raza” completely new stuff, or do you still dig into the tape pool of old stuff from earlier days?

Joey Vera – As far as Saint is concerned it’s all new material. Although a couple of ideas are from my scratch pad from as long ago as the mid 90’s.

How did you come up with the title for the album?

Joey Vera – The title track, was a working title and it just stuck. The title is a Spanish term meaning “the race”. It comes from a national pride call from the Hispanic community which is where we grew up here in Los Angeles. It’s not meant to be taken as a, we are better than thou thing but more of a pride thought. John wrote the words to mean “the human race” and the song is about all of us on this planet. It’s a strong issue and we felt like it summed up this collection of songs.

The production is very old school and analogue. Why did you use this technique?

Joey Vera – We were offered the use of a great analog studio and we felt like the music was going to benefit from using this technique. It’s much in the way we used to work in the early days. This music is influenced from the stuff I grew up listening to, hard rock from the 70’s. And with that, the use of this studio was only going to help get the message across.

Tell us a bit about artwork…

Joey Vera – We wanted to get a connection with where we come from, Los Angeles. And so we wanted to put a place on this record to make that connection be realized. We shot many photos right in the city and used some things to convey a sense of where we came from and where we’re going.

You have been signed to Metal Blade Records like forever almost like a marriage. Did you feel any kind of pressure to deliver an outstanding album to pay back on the support you’ve received throughout the years?

Joey Vera – Ha! No. The truth is that we are very lucky to not only have support for so long but also an amazing amount of freedom to make the music we want to. In the past, there was much more riding on the success of our records but these days there are no notions that we are trying to sustain our career. It is what it is. We make records when we feel honestly inspired and with that does not come any schedule or expectations that we need to meet.

All of you are involved in other projects, and I could imagine it’s not easy to fit Armored Saint into your schedules as well. But how important is it for you to keep the band alive?

Joey Vera – It’s strange, because this band is something we are all very proud of but at the same time, (most) of us feel like we don’t need it. We do this because we love to make this music. If it were really important for us to maintain our career, I doubt we would take 10 years to make records.

What tasks lay immediately ahead of Armored Saint – any touring plans, single shows or…?

Joey Vera – We are working on shooting a video for Left Hook from Right Field. We may play a show here in Los Angeles in May but other than that, no tour plans as of right now.

Joey, you have been involved in various progressive projects as well as Armored Saint, so where does your heart lie? In classic metal or progressive?

Joey Vera – It lies wherever there is a thick groove.

It has been very silent in the Fates Warning camp for some time, when can we expect new things from you?

Joey Vera – We have plans to record before Summer and hopefully get a record out before the years end.

Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?

Joey Vera – I want to say that in addition to us being lucky to having a label that supports us, we are very lucky to have a fan base that also supports us and is willing to wait 10 years for us to put new music out! We thank you for your patience!



Interviewed by Kenn Jensen

Armored Saint - La Raza

Album available on Metal Blade Records.

Armored Saint @ MySpace