|The history of Los Angeles' Armored Saint reads like an episode of behind the music. Friends since the third grade, from the tough streets of East Los Angeles, bassist Joey Vera, vocalist John Bush and drummer Gonzo formed a musical bond early on.
The bands fate was sealed early on when their first attempt in high school, Royal Decree, won the battle of the bands. But this did not mean there would be success without adversity.
"Growing up we were ashamed of the place. We couldn't wait to get out", comments Joey, "we never really fit in". It was John and Gonzo who were given the first opportunity to leave the urban jungle for more suburban surroundings. It would be in this new environment that they would meet future guitarist Dave Prichard.
"We met Dave at a party. Gonzo and Phil (Gonzo's brother) jammed with Dave and asked John to join," remembers Joey.
Dave wanted me to jam but I thought he was a bit of geek', reminisces Bush, "I was pretty pompous, They only kept me for the PA but the night I joined we wrote "Stricken By Fate", "You're Never Alone" and "No Reason to Live." With the lineup secured, they started to make the move.
Fine-tuning their chops on the bourgeoning LA metal scene, the band gigged with the likes of WASP and Metallica, quickly gaining a reputation as one of LA's premier live acts. A track on the second installment of the now famous Metal Massacre compilation series led to an EP on Metal Blade Records.
It was all the excitement generated from the EP that landed them the much-coveted major label deal with Chrysalis.
While on Chrysalis the band released what would later become legendary slabs of pure molten Metal and a blueprint for metal bands to come. Tours with Aerosmith, Judas Priest and Metallica soon followed. The legend was growing but superstar status was very elusive, and after three releases, the band parted ways with Chrysalis. The band's spirit never diminished. They quickly began writing and rehearsing new songs knowing that another deal would soon be within reach. They continued working until the unthinkable was learned. Dave had fallen ill with leukemia.
At first we didn't know what it was. The more we learned about it the grimmer it became. "Dave always had a headache", said Joey, "so we didn't think twice". Several months later, Davelost his struggle with the disease. Broken and distraught, they disbanded.
It was in 1991, with much trepidation they began to slowly finish what they had started with their late friend.
Armed with an album's worth of songs, mostly co-written by Pritchard, they enlisted touring guitarist Jeff Duncan and reunited with founding member Phil Sandoval, and released "Symbol OfSalvation", a fitting tribute to Pritchard.
The band was in prime form. "Reign Of Fire" and "Last Train Home" became instant MTV favorites.
Extensive touring followed including stints with Suicidal Tendencies and Megadeth. "We came off tour and began to write", remembers Bush, "that's when I got the call to join Anthrax". After much soul searching, John called the guys to tell them the news. Joey: "John and I had a heart to heart and on his way out the door he said we'll do this again, I know we'll make another record someday'".
The latest CD, REVELATION, was released worldwide on March 7th, 2000. Produced by Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera, REVELATION is a true masterpiece of pure Armored Saint heavy metal.
Official Armored Saint biography: [http://www.armoredsaint.com]