ARMORED SAINT frontman John Bush was recently interviewed by PureGrainAudio.com. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On whether the group considered disbanding after the death of guitarist Dave Prichard:
John: “We really weren’t sure what we were going to do. We had to get another guitar player in the band — a gentleman that, no disrespect to him, I don’t think we believed that he was going to be the main guitarist to take us along without Dave. We had to really regroup. Even at some point during that time, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was feeling quite distraught about what was happening. I went through a breakup right around the same time that Dave was dying. It was not a good time for me, my personal self, as well as where we were with the band. It was more [drummer] Gonzo and [bassist] Joey [Vera], actually, that were saying, ‘We have to record these songs, at least. We have to do that if nothing else.’ So we agreed on that. When we had a serious pow-wow after Dave passed — a little bit of time after Dave died, because we had to deal with the grieving aspect of him being gone — we realized that ARMORED SAINT has always kind of been a family. I think that’s the thing I can’t ever understate, even more now than ever. Gonzo, [guitarist] Phil [Sandoval], Joey and I grew up in a quarter-mile radius of one another. We’ve known each other since we were 8 or 9 years old, and that friendship goes back a long, long way. I know Gonzo always wanted Phil back in the band. He was probably never happy that Phil left when he did, after ‘Delirious Nomad’. [Guitarist] Jeff Duncan was somebody who kind of was in and out of the band from, like, 1988 to when we began recording ‘Symbol Of Salvation’, so it was a logical choice to get everybody back together and say, ‘This is how we’re going to proceed.’ The thing about ARMORED SAINT, the beauty of it, is that it’s the same guys. If Dave was alive, he’d be here, and then we’d be like THE OUTLAWS or IRON MAIDEN and have three guitar players. Other than Dave, it’s really the same guys who have always been in the band, even if it was at different times. That’s the beauty of the band — when you go see ARMORED SAINT play, it’s not Joey Vera and a bunch of hired musicians, or John Bush and other dudes. It’s the same guys, and everyone has an emotional connection to the band and to the songs.”
On the group’s decision to stop wearing armor in concert:
John: “We started tapering it off around ‘Raising Fear’, although we had elements of it. It became an albatross around our neck a little bit. Don’t get me wrong — in the early days of SAINT, we dug it; we thought it was cool; we felt like it created a little separation from us and a lot of other bands, in particular L.A. bands. I don’t look back on it and I’m not embarrassed or anything. The funny thing about ARMORED SAINT is we started in Gonzo and Phil‘s garage and Dave‘s garage playing, and to this day, I kind of still think we’re like a glorified garage band. That’s what we are — that’s kind of like our style. I think we look back on those days and we certainly smile. We’re not embarrassed by it.”
On when to expect new ARMORED SAINT music:
John: “We don’t want to have an urgency with writing a new record, because I certainly don’t want to sacrifice any quality. At the same time, it would be nice to get a record out within a four- or five-year period from the last one, because we don’t move that fast.”
On whether he finds it harder to connect with audiences who film shows with cell phones:
John: “I certainly don’t like the idea of somebody holding their phone and filming something for the entire show. I think that’s just absurd. I feel that same way if I’m at a show and some moron in front of me has got his phone for the whole show. It’s, like, ‘Dude, put it down. I get it. Film a solo or something.’ I find it to be extremely annoying, and something I don’t really particularly care for as a performer. But it is what it is. Two minutes after your show is over, somebody’s posting it. It can be somewhat frustrating if you haven’t had the best gig, and there it is for everyone to see, but you know what? It’s just life. You can’t worry about it. It’s just the modern way. I do feel like people should be in the moment, certainly, and not looking through a telephone at a concert. I think that’s kind of lame, and you want to be in the moment and experience it yourself and not through this small little screen.”
ARMORED SAINT will perform “Symbol Of Salvation” in its entirety for the first time this Sunday (May 20) at the Rock Hard Festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
This July/August, ARMORED SAINT will embark on a North American tour commemorating the album, with select shows to be recorded for a live DVD. Metal Blade labelmates ACT OF DEFIANCE will join the band on this trek.