Interview with John Bush
from Armored Saint / Anthrax

Interviewed by LordDarkPoet

First off maybe you can tell us how the band decided to reunite after being apart for some time?

Well quite frankly there was some little bit of down time that was happening with Anthrax, which obviously is the other group that I am part of, and  Charley and Scott did some Stuff with SOD, to do a new SOD record and tour.  So it just kinda to getting together with Joey and guys in Saint to do some stuff, maybe figure doing a record. We didn't realize it was going to happen as quickly as it did. We ended up writing a couple songs probably within a couple of weeks for Revelation and it all came together so well and so quickly that we said hey lets make a full-length record, that's why Revelation was made. Nod to the old school is just kinda a follow-up for that record, so the public knows that we didn't just put one album out and that was it: adios kinda thing.

 

Your new album, fittingly entitled "Nod to the old school" is a collection of some new songs, some rerecorded songs from the past and also original demo songs. Whose idea was it to release the old demo songs and to rerecord some of the older songs? Did the band enjoy digging back and working with the older material?

We always had a good time and that was the primary objective: to have fun. We didn't want to do this really for any other reason. Of course there was  a little tiny money to be made. Armored Saint was never some gigantic band, that we were going to be sitting around bathing in cash, so the main reason to do it was to get together with old friends, rock out and have a good time and probably have a little nostalgia. So that all happened and pretty much everything associated with this thing has been stress free: that's a key point because we don't want any negative feelings, anything negative relating to this. It always has to be optimistic and positive.

 

I understand, it seems like with this album, that it is really laid back.

Yeah its actually the most fun we have every had doing something. Even with the artwork it shows that armored saint does not take itself too seriously. Might have been something in the past that we were guilty of. Not that we ever really did, but perhaps the public perceived the band as that.

 

Your self-titled EP from 1983, as well as the last four albums have been on Metal Blade records. Is this a reflection of the bands satisfaction with Metal Blade records?

Well we really probably should have been with Metal Blade throughout. We took a little detour with Chrysalis; at that time signing with major labels was the thing that everybody thought was the thing to do. We signed with Chrysalis, and Chrysalis was the one to put out the first three Armored Saint records, starting with March of the Saint. Metal Blade and us is just a connection. Metal Blade put out the first EP that we did, which is re-released here on Nod to the Old School finally. And we are very close friends and it just makes logical sense to do everything with Metal Blade, cause we are very close with them. It gives us kind of all the control that we want; the creative elements are in our hands.

 

That's always good when the label allows the band to be creative and explore.

Yeah, it's just that there is a lot of common respect there.

Hades

Your official website, ArmoredSaint.com, lists tour information through March of 2001. I assume the band will be headed back on the road soon, once  the new album is released. Will Armored Saint tour US first and then head over to Europe?

Well, there are actually no plans of touring right now at the moment. We have to wait and see. We did this record and we didn't really know what was going to happen. I'm a little busy with Anthrax writing songs and preparing for a new record, and a tour for that. And Joey is busy with some of the things that he is involved with. But if we can make something happen, if we get a chance to go out on the road for a couple of weeks, we will do it. We did just tour the states two times for Revelation, once on our own and once with RJD, and we had a great time doing that. Its not like we haven't played. We have, we don't know when we will get back out there.

 

May I ask what was the crowd reaction like in the US touring?

With Dio or just on our own?

With Dio and on your own as well. Was the crowd really excited to see you?

Oh great. Armored Saint fans who were there were very fired up. And playing with Dio was a trip because I guess there is a similar background in the way the crowd looks at the music. It was still primarily Dio's crowd. We went out there with the attitude of winning them over and we normally did that.

 

What do you think of the metal scene at the moment? Are there any bands that you have been following and listening to? European scene has been prospering with many new bands coming out almost on a monthly basis, and the same can be said about the America. Do you think metal is making a comeback?

Well I think it depends on what you think that metal is. There are bands here in the states like Static-X and Fear Factory, bands like that that are huge, and they are considered "nu-metal" (ed. note: there is no such this. It's is not "new" nor is it metal it's MALLCORE!). So they are different from the bands that are popular in Europe, bands like Cradle of Filth and Hammerfall. Those bands are considered hip and trendy in Europe. And they really have not crossed over to make a big impact here in the states. There is always going to be new and upcoming bands that are going to be paving the way. They have to. As much as I love Armored Saint and Anthrax, and bands like Megadeth and Slayer, I still think that it is the new bands that are always going to be the ones that will be paving the way. Hopefully they will tell everybody about their influences which I am sure have a lot to do with the bands I just mentioned. And it all kinda helps one another out.

 

Would you be willing to give a playlist of what you have been listening to yourself?

I'll just say that I really dig the last Filter record, I was really into the Queens of the Stone Age record, I liked the At the Drive In record. I love Radiohead. For me it's not just about metal, I like all kinds of music, it depends on the state of mind I am in.

 

I know you sing for Anthrax as well, is it hard to balance the singing style between two bands? Cause you do sing with different styles for two bands.

I think its just gravitating to the people I am performing with and playing with. For me its really important to just vibe out to who I am playing with, and playing with different people usually brings out a different side of my personality, and that's what I am relying on. I have written new Anthrax songs, and I can tell you...that they sound like Anthrax.

 

I know Joey Vera is a member of Fates Warning as well. He is actually working with them and working Armored Saint as well, right?

Well he is actually getting ready to record a solo record for Jeff Duncan, who plays guitar for Armored Saint. He has his own band, called DC4, and they are getting ready to make their debut record, and he is going to produce it, and Jeff will do the vocals on it. It's all a little incestuous, but they all help each other out ("Just a big musical family it seems"). Somewhat like that, it's like a big Italian family.

 

Is there a possibility of releasing a new studio album sometime soon? Are there plans to continue the working with Armored Saint and keeping the tradition going?

Well, it would be fun to do things. Right now I don't know, I could not give you a time. But who knows, we'll see what happens. You know we just put out this record, its funny cause people, I'm not saying anything bad but, we just put out this record and everyone's like "what are you going to do next." I don't know what the future holds on this one.

 

Ok so we will be waiting for the Anthrax record and DC4.

There you go. That I can guarantee.

 

I know this is a weird question, but there have been some rumors about Joey Vera going to Metallica. Are these simply rumors or is there any credibility to them?

Well its kinda funny because Jason actually did an interview where he mentioned a couple people that he thought would be a good replacement. And Joey's name was mentioned. That's were I think all the rumors are being fueled. I mean if that was to happen, it would be beautiful. I would be ecstatic for Joey to have that, but I don't know anything about that, and I don't even think Metallica is thinking about that. I mean I've heard rumors that Pepper from COC has been jamming with them, so I don't know. It's all talk.

 

The liner notes for the "Nod to the Old School" say that Joy Vera produced and mixed the new songs, and the same is true for the Revelation album. I have to say the mix and sound is great on both albums. Has the band ever contemplated enlisting a producer for a studio album, or are you completely satisfied with the results so far?

No I think we want Joey to do everything. He is awesome. I mean he's super-talented. He probably should be producing a lot of bands. He's a very talented guy in the studio. He has a great ear and I think he's done an incredible job, especially what he had to work with because it was not like we were spending that much money on it. He's done an awesome job and he's super-talented.

 

Can I ask about the songwriting process, what's the general way it goes around? Do you guys work with the riffs and melodies first or do you write up the lyrics first?

Joey has been the catalyst in songwriting for Saint. He just comes sup with ideas. Usually it is pretty pieced together. He uses a drum-machine to get his ideas across. He makes those demos sound incredible. Then he hands them to me and I am usually the guy who writes all the lyrics and comes up with the melody lines. I just try to get inspired by something (colors) that makes me feel. I can't say exactly what it is, but whatever the feeling of the song influences me then I try to come up with lyrics relating to that. But its usually music first.

 

It's definitely great talking to you. I appreciate the opportunity. And I hope I see you on the road sometime.

Keep playing that record man...


Mighty Hails to John Bush for this great interview and for being so open and easy to talk to over the phone. Mighty Hails to Jen Graham at Metal Blade for making this happen.


2001 Metal Rules!!

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