JOHN BUSH OF ARMORED SAINT RETURNS
During this week’s episode of the Mars Attacks Podcast, John Bush of Armored Saint returns to the show.
Among the topics discussed include Armored Saint’s upcoming release Symbol Of Salvation Live. His involvement in the Anthrax 40 documentary and livestream. Reissues by Armored Saint and Bush-era Anthrax albums. Playing with Metal Allegiance. Making the video for “Lone Wolf”. Where the band is at with regards to following up Punching The Sky. Upcoming live shows, and the potential of doing an old-school several-month tour.
This episode of the Mars Attacks Podcast is the audio version of the September 22nd, 2021 episode of the Signals From Mars live stream. The interview segment with John Bush starts at the 10-minute mark.
You can find a transcribed version of the interview that you can read below. Note that the contents of the transcription have been edited for the sake of continuity. This means repeat words, ums, uhs, you know what I’m saying, etc. have been omitted just to make it an easier read. The context of what is said has not been modified, you can hear the conversation, worts, and all by listening to the podcast, or watching the video replay of the interview.
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You can listen to, watch or read the interview with John Bush of Armored Saint below
Victor M. Ruiz: Welcome one and all to a special edition of the signals from Mars livestream brought to you by the Mars Attacks Podcast and VMRIT web design. If you listen to my podcast at the beginning of every show, you’ll actually hear this clip, I should have had this queued up. And it’s this, is Mr.
John Bush many years ago during one of my interviews where or I got to interview you and you, we did, I think an ID. And you added that. And I think about three, four years ago, I interviewed Joey and he actually did I’m ready. He did I’m ready. So, I, at the beginning of every podcast, I have John Bush saying let’s do it.
And Joey Vera saying, I’m ready.
John Bush: Nice. Do we get paid royalties for that?
Victor M. Ruiz: oh boy, here we go.
John Bush: I know I’m joking. That’s why I used to, there was a phrase that I have for a while amongst a group of friends and it, and my wife also reiterated it and it was like, let’s do it. It was probably a drunken kind of battle cry. That I did before maybe having a shot or something.
So that sounds very familiar to me. It’s funny. I even sat a little bit, like I had a couple of drinks before I did that, but I don’t know what time of the day was all we did the interview. Hopefully not any good to be here, man.
Victor M. Ruiz: Awesome. It is great to.
John Bush: The beginning of the intro. I liked that and it was cool. That was a cool groove.
Victor M. Ruiz: That’s something that I actually wrote. That’s yeah. With all this stuff now, with royalties and whatnot, I had band saying, oh, you can use my music. You can do this. You can do that. And as Spotify started kicking shows off because they featured music and whatnot, even after like Metal Blade and whoever and say, yeah, sure, play a song.
No problem. But without written consent, all these platforms were kicking bands off or kicking podcast off. So, I said, screw it. I’ve got this music it’s been lying around for, I don’t know how long no one’s going to complain about they can complain that it’s shitty, but they’re not complaining.
John Bush: I like it, I was grooving to it, it was cool.
Victor M. Ruiz: So awesome. That’s a huge accomplishment. And I will say that was for a project that I wanted to put together because someone that I had dated many years ago was dying from Huntington’s disease. It’s similar to like ALS it’s a neurological disease that you lose all function and mom had it. She had it. Now her two brothers have as well.
John Bush: That’s terrible, I’m sorry to hear
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah. The reason that I bring this up is because you’re wearing a Hades t-shirt Alan Tecchio was the only person who I reached out to who I said, hey, I’m doing this, obviously these are demos, this isn’t that great.
But I intend on getting musicians together who can play this stuff. I’ll drum on it, but I’ll get a real guitar to play on a real bass player. So on, so forth, Alan, would you be interested? And he said, yeah, absolutely. And I said how much do I have to pay you? He’s I don’t care. Just whatever.
So, he was the only person out of anyone that I reached out to. That was actually cool enough to say whatever you need. I’ll do it.
John Bush: Wow. How random is that? I happen to be wearing this shirt, Alan and I used to be pen pals back in the day, like when people actually wrote letters to one another. So, I know I’ve known him for years. I haven’t seen him in a lot of time, but I’ve known for years
Victor M. Ruiz: He actually lives a town over from where I grew up in New Jersey. So
John Bush: Alright. how random.
Victor M. Ruiz: yeah, it’s actually, I’ve said to many times, I go next time I’m back in the states. We need to actually hook up for, even if it’s five minutes to just say hello. So
John Bush: so, where are you if you’re not in the states?
Victor M. Ruiz: I’m in Spain actually.
John Bush: Oh, maybe. Is that where you are Spanish from descent or,
Victor M. Ruiz: my folks are from over here, I was born in the states and in the about late 2003, I moved over here to Spain. Outside of a city called Santander the closest, like big city that’s that would have shows is Bilbao, which is about 40 minutes away.
John Bush: Bilbao I played there back in the day. Yeah,
Victor M. Ruiz: yeah. Yeah.
John Bush: It’s a great country. It’s a lot of fun, man.
Victor M. Ruiz: absolutely. I always remember Joey telling me that the only thing that he couldn’t get used to was the time at which people ate over here.
John Bush: Yeah. It’s a crazy world over there. Yeah. Let’s go to dinner. It’s midnight. Let’s do it. Cool. The clubs are opening. It’s 3:00 AM. Let’s go.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah.
John Bush: It wouldn’t gel with my life now because my life now is waking a 7:00 AM. It’s taking my kids to school. I’d be hard pressed to work under the Spanish party hours.
But I always love it when I’m there. There’s really no, there’s no better place in the world than Spain, really. As far as I’m concerned, it’s as far as the vivid love for life and people in south America inherited that too. So especially see Argentina and Chile, but Spain, just, they just, they liked to rock, man.
You’d better be ready.
Victor M. Ruiz: yeah. Last thing to add regarding that one of the first festivals I ever saw over here, it was actually Dio’s last tour before he passed away. It was a solo tour Kiss came on after them or after Dio. And then after that was Saxon and Biff, Byford says only in Spain. Can we go on at quarter to three in the morning.
John Bush: Wow. That’s what they went on.
Victor M. Ruiz: That’s when they went on and they played for an hour.
John Bush: That’s insane and probably was packed.
Victor M. Ruiz: It absolutely was.
John Bush: That’s great.
Victor M. Ruiz: Anyway, it’s interesting that I also see you where you are now, because if I recall correctly during these Anthrax 40 the documentary where you were featured, some of the footage was shot, right where you are now, correct?
John Bush: It’s an office that, my wife is the casting director and she’s had a casting studio for, wow. This place we’ve been here 13 years, sadly enough. We’re actually having to leave next month, which is a daunting circumstance that I probably in a bit of denial about. And so, she, but nevertheless, we I’ve been packing as we go, and we’ve been here for 13 years.
It’s a pretty big place. There’s a big effort here involved. But yeah, it’s where I am. I’m sorry. Sometimes. The window’s cool, the window’s cool. And then this is just stuff I don’t know, but it’s just, it’s where I sit, it’s my office and yes, I did do a lot of the Anthrax documentary stuff from here.
So I’m comfortable here. I come in the morning, like my kids go to school down the street, so I’ll take them to school. And then I’ll come, and I’ll sing, before we began the day of work and like I’ve been preparing for, we’re doing a Metal Allegiance show this Saturday, actually, in New York, I’m leaving tomorrow.
And it will be my first live gig. And since I don’t remember actually, but I think when we did some shows that UFO or the MegaCruise, that it was the last show I did for human beings. But I’ll be fine. And I’ve been like coming every and preparing is playing a bunch of songs and I had to learn some things and cause we play lots of different stuff.
So, I’ve been working tirelessly here preparing for that.
Victor M. Ruiz: Awesome. The reason that I usually start with the Armored Saint and then do the Anthrax stuff last, but I figured I’d flip this, switch the script a little here. I just have two Anthrax related questions because to me, I saw that series and I was bummed to the extent that I felt that there was kind of revisionist history done when it came to your history in the band, because there wasn’t really an acknowledgement of you doing any of the Big 4 shows. There was also no acknowledgement of the possibility of you being involved in the album that Joey ended up singing on Worship Music.
Geez. I had my notes screwed up here. Yeah. So there was no acknowledgement about you being part of either one of those things. So it bummed me out that it felt to me as a fan, that there was some revisionist history done because to me, that’s a crucial point in the band’s history, where there was a tug of war going on between whether you are going to be involved, whether Joey, whether Cory Taylor, whether Dan Nelson, there’s a whole lot of stuff there. That they just skipped over. So again, I just found it weird.
John Bush: How do I respond to that? Are we talking about the documentary that they just,
Victor M. Ruiz: Yes.
John Bush: And they did a live stream 40th anniversary livestream too,
Victor M. Ruiz: I saw parts of that. And that was another thing that I was going to say, they’re setting up, they show you, they show Paul Crook they show Neil show Lilker and here and I’m thinking, oh, this is going to kick so much ass. All these guys are going to come back. We’re finally going to get four or five songs from the Bush era, to cap everything off.
And let’s be honest, these live streams are not live, they’re recorded beforehand. So, it’s not as if they couldn’t have, schedule each person that come in and done it over a series of a few days, I don’t know how logistically that, how much that would’ve cost and whether that would have made sense or not, but it seemed like they were setting us up for that.
And all of a sudden, when, the livestream went off at 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM. So, I was like, all right, I’ll watch it the next day. And of course, it’s all over the internet okay. They essentially said that Chuck D was the only guy that really was the only real special guest.
I was like they set us up for this whole big thing. And it just never happened. I don’t know. I don’t know how you feel about.
John Bush: Let me just say that the documentary was really cool. And that was a great thing. I think that they did. And obviously I was involved in that, and I thought it was really unique how they did every record. It really went through every single album and that was really cool, and all the people involved in it.
And I was pleased and happy that I was part of that, the live stream thing. I, whatever, that’s what they decided to do. And it’s neither here nor there in terms of my participation. I’m not too concerned about it. And I’m not hurt either. So, it’s just is what it is.
It’s not a big deal. So, the documentary was important because obviously that it was touching on the history of those songs and those records. And like I said, I was happy to be part of that and I had a lot of fun doing it. Live streams, whatever. Live streams to me anyway, I’m over it.
I know it sounds terrible. We did one with Saint it was fun. I enjoyed it. I was glad we did it, especially right after Punching The Sky came out because, we couldn’t play, so we had to do something, but I, and granted we’re trying to get fans and people’s something obviously and kudos to that, but I don’t necessarily need to do another live stream personally.
Yeah. It was cool. Did it. I’m ready to play in front of people like a normal rock band. Who knows? We’ll see, but I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried about that really.
Victor M. Ruiz: All right. Cool. Yeah. I think the documentary overall was awesome. And it was funny because I think the episode before it was either, it was one of your era albums. It took longer to come out and I was thinking, fuck, I hope they continue with this because I’ve talked to this at length with you
in the past, we’ve done a storyteller’s episode on Anthrax, and we’ve talked about your era in the band, that stuff, hit me at a certain point in time where there’s a very emotional connection to that. So, it was important to me that your era get represented and get talked about.
And I do think that outside of that one thing, and maybe that’s just me being an ass and wanting more within the documentary. But I do think that it was great that nonetheless, all of those albums were touched upon.
John Bush: Yeah. And Megaforce has reissued. Some of those records, including Volume 8, which I’m super happy about it. I said, I’ve received some royalty checks lately so I’ve been pretty stoked. And that’s all I would really wanted, in my association with Anthrax, my whole thing is just let it be available.
Who’s better what era is better or this and that. Nothing will really compare to the eighties Anthrax in terms of the of being so fresh and new and unique. And when they came out and the nineties was the nineties and it changed and everything, we went through it and they brought in a singer and it was a cool transition, in retrospect.
And I was part of it and always excited about those years and and my contributions and I love those records, but there was a period of time where they just were not available. Like I would go to Amoeba here, record store and here in LA and the big one, which is one of the few at this point, and I would look, browse as I’m looking for records.
And of course, I looked through my own stuff because I want to make sure it’s there. And it was never there. It was just like, wow, man God, this sucks. I just want it to be available in case somebody wants to buy it. And There was just some weird, like when we left Elektra, we left the masters and then we licensed those first two albums.
And. And then they went through and then you have to, relicense some sorts of cool thing to have those, the masters or whatever it is called at this point, but then you always have to license it if you don’t and you sell them through, it will be done express same thing with Saint with the first three Chrysalis records, which are actually reissuing too Metal Blade is reissuing those now, because we worked out at Chrysalis, which is awesome.
They actually forgave our debt, which was a very large sum of money, and they forgave it, which was pretty awesome and pretty cool. So, we’re excited about that. So, for me, royalties are just like its principle. I made the joke earlier as we started, but as principal, I don’t care if it’s 10 bucks, I don’t care if it’s 10 grand.
I don’t care. I just want to get royalties is what we, this is what we, the whole purpose of what we did. Like you want to see a check that shows that. That you’re getting paid for this thing that you did. And it’s, like I said, it’s principle. It really never matters what amount it is. Of course, it does. When I get one, I’m just happy because it feels like it’s, it justifies what you did.
So, when those records weren’t available, it was disappointing to me. Oh, I think We’ve Come For You All was always about, because Nuclear Blast had that in Europe, but in the states, it was like Sanctuary, which I also think went under I don’t know but Megaforce has done a great job, reissuing the stuff with cool vinyl and I’m, I’m in debt to Missy Collazo.
Who’s, the queen of the label and it’s been great. So that’s all I ever want. It’s just those things to be available.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah, I actually have We’ve Come For You All, which was reissued. It’s a double vinyl had I’ve been ready; I would have had this to show it off. But they reissued that in The Greater Of Two Evils or yeah. They reissued those at the same time. I think it was like three, four years ago. And then, yeah, and then I have something that’s really weird, which when you mentioned licensing the light bulb went off. I have Sound Of White Noise on yellow vinyl, which was re-issued in the early two thousands, only in Spain and it’s licensed by Elektra or something to that extent on it. And then of course being the music nerd that I am, I uploaded my catalog to Discogs and it had this whole write-up saying that, yeah, this was only available in Spain and this and that.
And then I found it out at a skateboard shop that our friend owns, who also sells vinyl for whatever reason.
John Bush: Wow.
Victor M. Ruiz: I picked it up like.
John Bush: Yeah, that’s cool, I’ve never seen that. There was a period of time. In the early 2000s were Beyond Records, which was a label that I think Alan Kovacs would match Motley Crue and Motley Crue were with them, ironically, because they were on Elektra when Anthrax was what I think Motley was on the whole time.
But and so they reissued Sound Of White Noise and Stomp 442 and that was great, and again, usually people make a certain amount of records and then they sell through and then, it’s up to the company to reissue it. That’s what happened with Chrysalis and Metal Blade did the first three Saint records while back now.
And then they sold through. And then, and at that point again, this was probably man, like maybe 15 years ago now where they said, okay, you want to do it again? Now you have to make double the amount. And it was like, we went from it was like 10 to 15,000 to 30. And we’re like, wait a minute. See the size of the band here, let’s being honest with us. People went through, and the diehards like got this. Now you’re asking for double the sales, like those fans already went and did it, who probably wanted it, that was quite greedy I thought at the time, like we, they said no, which I understood. Anyways, it’s a long story, but like I said, the cool thing is like the Chrysalis records, we worked out a deal and what’s happening after 35 years is that people are getting their masters back.
And I guess that’s one good thing about being old is that now we’re so old that we could actually get our masters back and a lot of labels want to work it out where they don’t lose catalog because catalog is giant. Let’s face it for everybody. Whether it’s Armored Saint or Tom Petty, it doesn’t matter.
You don’t want to lose those records that you made. So, they’re working out the arrangements and deals and the artists have some leverage actually, which is great. I’m telling too much information on the business. And some of it, I don’t even probably know cause Joey does a lot of it, but it, anyways, it, in a nutshell that’s what happened and it’s actually going to be favorable and some of the royalties through streaming and stuff had been pretty artists favorable.
Because come on, man, you want to make money. You don’t want to try to everybody wants to make a living. I don’t give a shit. If you’re the most punk rock band or hardcore metal band, or it, everybody wants to see something for the work they done. It just, it’s just, like I said, it’s principle.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah, that’s funny. There was a discussion a few weeks ago. I think it was on Twitter where Dino from Fear Factory responded to the whole thing about Kardashians wearing like t-shirts from metal bands. And he said, please wear my t-shirts. He says, I’d love to have a bump in sales. And there was somebody that started giving him shit about it.
And I said, look, there’s no musician that says, hey, I’d rather be flipping burgers all week. And playing at a club on the weekends, everyone who dreams about being a musician wants to make money off of this. And if you realistically, if you’re not trying to be hey man. I’m cooler than you. I’m so metal that I don’t give a fuck about selling anything.
Like you just said, you know what you alluded to everyone wants to make something off of their craft.
John Bush: If you don’t make any money, the logic is you probably won’t be able to continue to do it because it still costs money to fund it, to fund, the project, I was, how are you going to get into studio and recording? You need the ability to do that, and it costs money.
It’s as simple as that really, quite frankly, yeah. Everybody shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed for wanting to make a living because that’s how you can prolong your career. Otherwise, you’re done. And then what? Dino is correct in that what he’s yearning for, and that is to have his band continue on because sales are helping promote it.
And it’s a point of this, otherwise make an album, don’t give it to anyone, like what, what? Like there is nobody doing that. There’s nobody doing that. You know what I mean? So as long as you do it with dignity, that’s the key, I think that’s the key, as long as it’s dignified whatever that may be.
Then I think it’s all good.
Victor M. Ruiz: Awesome. The first time I interviewed you and I think this is going to be like seven or eight interviews ago with you was when you were promoting La Raza. At the time we talked about Symbol Of Salvation which is obviously the live album that you guys are about to release. At the time it was interesting because when we talked about the album, it seemed like there were still a bit of, like pain when it came to discussing the album, obviously because of the loss of Dave and stuff like that. In other interviews that we’ve done over the years where we’ve talked about Symbol Of Salvation and especially the last time when we talked for Punching The Sky, you had talked about playing the album in its entirety, and it seemed like there was more of a joy when it came to discussing the album.
Is that a fair assessment? And if so, what has changed, during this time, in the 10 years since we initially talked about it.
John Bush: I don’t, remember too, is that obviously Symbol was made a phoenix rising theory behind it. And then also I left afterwards and joined Anthrax and the band disbanded for a while. So that was another element to add to, potentially what is perceived as some pain associated with it.
I think everybody though internally always looks at Symbol as its incredible accomplishment because really it almost didn’t happen as simple as that. And I was the guy at the time after Dave died and it was fresh, and we were like a month after his passing and just kinda I don’t know what to do here.
I don’t know how to continue with this. It was Gonzo and Joey, I’ll give them credit, but actually they rallied the troops of ourselves and said, we have to put these songs out. We made them; we wrote them. Dave would be disappointed if we didn’t. Then we, we had a powow, we figured out how to do it, and that’s what it bringing in Jeff and Phil was a logical decision.
But yeah, I just always think it’s a special record. I don’t necessarily by doing the, when we did the tour, it became even clearer out a special record it was actually. Because you play the songs every night, you played them in the set of the sequence of the record. And it was cool.
Just shows how versatile the record is there’s a lot of different vibes on it throughout. Every song is different from one another, and it encompasses the whole gamut with rockers, ballads and, kind of unusual songs like “Tainted Past”. And the bluesy “Truth Always Hurts” and the title track.
It’s just a real diverse album and it became real clear every night playing it. And how well the songs are. And there were songs that we hadn’t played ever like “Hanging Judge” and “Burning Question”, or if we didn’t play them once, maybe twice, but it was cool. To bring those songs back. We played “Reign Of Fire” a million times and “Last Train Home”, but it was cool to really play those other tunes.
Cause they were super fresh and exciting every night. Not that “Reign” isn’t it? Cause it is a classic song from the record. But just to play those songs we hadn’t played was it was really fun because they were just fresh still. So it’s a special record the Dave Jerden connection Brian Calstrom engineered it.
He passed away a few years ago and that was really sad. And he was part of it. Obviously, Dave is on with the lead on “Tainted Past”, he wrote a lot of those songs. Metal Blade coming back to Metal Blade for that record after leaving and being able to Chrysalis doing the tour now the live record, it’s just everything about it.
It’s pretty special.
Victor M. Ruiz: Cool. And I have a listener who his name is Mike Jones for the last, I guess the show at the Gramercy was recorded in 2018. Since 2018, he keeps asking me, what do you know about the Saint live album? I was there. When’s it coming out? What do you know about it? Let me know when you find out about it.
So as soon as I saw that there were something officially posted online about it. I sent it to him. I go, finally, your day has come. Maybe if you see a bald head in the crowd, you can say, Hey, that’s me.
John Bush: Mike Jones because I know a Mike Jones. I don’t know if it’s the same, Mike Jones we’re talking about. He was from Boston. Is that who you’re talking about? Or.
Victor M. Ruiz: He’s in he’s from all over the world actually is actually was born in Spain at a military base, lived in Colorado. He lived all over the world cause he was, an army brat and
John Bush: So, it’s a different Mike that I know, but I’ve probably met maybe this Mike Jones through the years, but cool. I’m glad he’s excited. And the DVD is great. It really is cool. It’s there’s some cool banter in between songs. I’m patting myself on the back, storytelling type of stuff, talking about the origins of some of the songs, I’m always trying to add my, my, my sense of humor, it’s my subliminal way of trying to improve my potential standup career, which will never happen.
But of course, you had to keep it just feeling authentic and telling the stories and trying to give it a different vibe every night. And I think that’s the key to seeing performances of bands is the change. You’re playing a record is tired. So obviously that’s the same, but I do like changing sets up.
I do like changing up the banter. There was a time in my career when I would write, what I was going to say down, and I don’t do that anymore. I just speak off the cuff, and I want it to be different every night. I want every show to feel different, so I’m, that’s real important to me.
Victor M. Ruiz: Cool. And I’ve been lucky enough to see the screener and it looks really cool. Just, aesthetically, it looks cool. Sounds cool. And for me, so many live albums that come out now just don’t have that special feeling that old live albums had. And to me watching this, I was getting goosebumps the entire time remembering of what it was like to listen to Symbol
for the first time and remembering what it was like, to listen to certain songs over the years. Cause obviously there are certain songs that stick out and like you said, there are others that you forgot about cause you haven’t listened to them as much “Hanging Judge” happens to be one of the songs that I’ve listened to the most over the years.
But to me it was cool, it was like holy shit. Yeah. This song was on there. This is great. So, it was almost like being reintroduced to the whole album over again. How much did you guys work on, the input with what it was gonna look like and what the shots that, ended up being in, in the Blu-ray or DVD ended up being what was, where are you guys allowed to work on that side of things?
Or are there other people at the label handling.
John Bush: The people that are did a lot of the camera stuff were Vince from the label, Vince Edwards. And then Stephanie Cabral is a friend of ours as well, who does photography. And we’ve known for years, and we have a long relationship with, and they both were involved in the filming. Or at least from the Grammercy part, we filmed a few shows, but the Grammercy is the primary source of it.
And there’s a couple slip in, so other things I’m not going to lie about it cause I don’t lie for better or worse. And really most of the audio was on was from the direct show from New York. We had; we fixed a couple little things. I’m not gonna lie with any like a whole overall redo, like certain live albums or even in the seventies.
None I will mention. However, they’re still great records, hey it’s it was pretty authentic. It was pretty real, there was a couple of mistakes. Like Joey would say, are you okay with that? I’m like, my voice flubs a little bit there. But it sounds fine, so let’s just keep it.
We were involved in it, Joey mixed it. And I do think it sounds great. As a matter of fact, “The Truth Always Hurts” actually debuted today on YouTube. So that was really cool. And again, that was cool that was the first song because it’s a little different and then a lot of the other tunes, and we always liked that song.
That’s another one. We didn’t play too much lives, hard to sing some pretty high parts in that for me. But it came out great. I just watched it because we were supposed to do a, it debuted like at eight this morning. And it was a live chat just for the period of that song of the song. And I forgot about it.
And I was like darn. And so, then I went back and looked at it. Then there was some nice comments about it from the fans and we’re grateful.
Victor M. Ruiz: Cool. So, we have a Brad in the chat asking what song off of the album that you hadn’t played before was one of your favorites.
John Bush: I’ve talked about “Hanging Judge” and “The Truth Always Hurts” . Those were all great. I love “Burning Question” because when we first started playing that one, it actually was like, I like, I, it’s funny, it’s the original demo, of “Burning Question” I think it’s still the best, which if you have the Metal Blade record, the Symbol record that came out a few years back when we reissued it with all the demos and in Brian’s interview, I don’t know if you know that one.
I actually thought the demo is still the better version of that song for some reason. Because just sometimes it works like that. When we started playing and I was like, okay. Yeah. And then for some reason I had this thing in my mind, and I started talking about it saying this song sounds like an old arena rock song from the eighties and nineties.
And so, I made a joke about that, like alive a few times, like I know where to club, let’s pretend we’re at, there’s a 15,000-seat arena, cause this is an arena rock song. And then once I said that and we had that kind of vibe, it really just took off. So, it was one of those songs that we didn’t play a lot if ever, and then was perceived it as that.
It felt different and it was it was great to play live. So, I’ll say that one.
Victor M. Ruiz: Cool. You guys flip-flopped between studio album, live album, studio, album, live album. Could you envision doing that going forward or does it just have to feel right to put out more live content in the future.
John Bush: Since you mentioned that, I probably would say, let’s stay away from doing that. This DVD and live album is going to be really special. So, I think that should carry on for a while in people’s minds and memory. I, eventually we would like to make a new record. I’m not quite there mentally yet to do that, to be honest, mainly because, we really haven’t usually what, the band does to make a record.
You go to where you play some of the songs live, you’re excited. And then you burnt out of playing live and then you go, okay, let’s make it. That’s the standard formula for most bands, of course, but we haven’t done that. We haven’t played Punching The Sky. So, we haven’t played any of those songs.
We’re doing some shows at the end of the year, only five for now, but we’re playing with Black Label Society here on the west coast of America. And we’re really excited and looking forward to that and we get to play those songs that we haven’t played yet. Once we go through that phase of playing them, then maybe we’ll be in the mindset of working.
I like to say I was, it was creative as Paul McCartney and John Lennon, just a writing machine, but I’m really not, but who is?
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah, I’ve heard varying opinions from different bands. Some that, like you said, want to make sure that, they put out a great album, so they wanna make sure that those songs get exposure while there are others that do that are lucky enough to continuously write stuff who just want to, just put out whatever comes to mind, whether it’s an EP, whether it’s a single.
So on and so forth, but I get exactly what you’re saying. I think Punching The Sky for at least a lot of people that follow my show when we did end of year favorites Punching The Sky was number one, I would have to say on the majority of people that, that chimed in. So, I get it. You guys made an important album and want to make sure that those songs are heard.
John Bush: Oh, that’s very nice. So, everybody who did that and we thought it was a great record too, are really excited about it and we could have held off on releasing it. But it, to me, it made no sense to do that. Obviously, cause it was during the time of people clamped down. To me, I was an important time to release music because you needed to escape, the reality is what’s happening.
So, music was pivotal. Plus, we’re just, quite frankly, we’re just not big enough of a band to go well, we’re going to hold off to coordinate it with our arena tour. And it’s we’re not doing playing arenas. There’s just no reason to do that. I understand if the Foo Fighters are doing it, it makes sense.
But for Saint it just, it didn’t matter. It’ll, we’re going to play some shows. We’re going to do some rehearsing. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even like rehearsals songs yet because I still don’t want to burn out on them yet. I’m going to start preparing in the next couple of weeks, but I just, I figured I’d, I postpone it as long as possible because I just don’t want to like two months in of practicing.
And I’m going, oh God I’m already bored of these songs, which I don’t think I would be, but I really want to avoid that.
Victor M. Ruiz: Right years ago, you told me that to get ready for tours at that time you were singing along to a, I think it was the first Rainbow album perhaps, or,
John Bush: Could be, or at least I sing along to Rising.
Victor M. Ruiz: ah, there you go. If you were to start today to prepare for that tour, what would you be singing along to.
John Bush: I would start singing the Saint songs. That’s what I would do. Like I haven’t been doing that as a matter of fact, I’m doing a show in Metal Allegiance is a Saturday in Long Island. It’s going to be the first show I actually performed live since the MegaCruise, I think is when Saint’s last show was. Other than the live stream.
But so, I’ll be the first time I’ll get on stage in front of human beings. I’m looking forward to it. I’m leaving to New York tomorrow and I was all playing with those guys, super talented and they’re just amazing legends. So, it will be cool to always play with them and it’ll be fun.
But I’ve been working on getting my voice ready to play those songs and prepare for them. And I’m looking forward to that and that’ll be fine. But in terms of the Saint stuff, I just, haven’t been really ready to start practicing those songs yet. So, I’ve been holding off actually.
Victor M. Ruiz: Gotcha. Okay. So, for Metal Allegiance what are you singing along through outside of your songs? Are you singing along.
John Bush: we’re doing well. I don’t want to tell people too much of what we’re doing. I want to lead with something special. We are planning a couple of the original songs. Like the song I sang which was “Bound By Silence”, which was on the second Metal Allegiance record. So, we’re going to do that. And then we’re doing “Dying Song”, which is a song that that Phil Anselmo actually originally sang on the record, the first record, but once me and Marko get together.
We’ll sing it as a duo. And Mark is going to be there. It’s just going to be him and singing it all. And then, it’s so usually sometimes there’s different people that come in and sing with it. But this time it’s just gonna be me and Mark. But Chuck, Billy usually comes out and as part of it, but I don’t think maybe he must be busy or something this time.
But were doing some covers and we’re doing some Anthrax songs that I did during the era, so are doing a couple of those songs from the John Bush era of Anthrax too. It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be fun.
Victor M. Ruiz: Awesome.
John Bush: Maybe too much because I don’t want to reveal too much. So that’s why I’m a little bit vague in that
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah. That’s absolutely understandable. You’re trying to keep it special for the people that go out and.
John Bush: Exactly.
Victor M. Ruiz: Get to the show. Totally understandable. We were talking about your live album a moment ago. Do you have any favorite live albums that you grew up listening?
John Bush: Absolutely. I think you can’t ever go wrong with Kiss Alive. Obviously, Unleashed In The East, Strangers In The Night would probably be my top three. I think I wore those records out and to this day still listen to them. And as a matter of fact, I’m going to play a couple songs with Metal Allegiance off of two of those three records.
Of course, you could put Live And Dangerous, from Thin Lizzy in there as well. And let me think here. And those, I think those are, would be my favorite records for sure. They just changed my life Unleashed In The East, for sure. It was just, when that came out, we heard that it was just, wow.
It was just, it just went to a whole, another level of blowing my friends and my, and mind away. And then Strangers is amazing too. As a matter of fact, Joey just gave me as a gift. The new box set that came out with them contains seven other shows that they compiled the whole record from when it was really cool, because it was a bunch of songs from that Obsession record, which ironically enough, that was the tour for that record.
But yet “Only You Can Rock Me” as the only song from Obsession on that, which in retrospect, looking back at that was but, on this box set, there was like “Hot And Ready” and “Cherry” and “Pack It Up”, which were amazing songs. So, I was really excited to have that and listening to that. And Kiss Alive, come on.
And that was my introduction. I remember playing that at El Cerito Junior High School where me and a bunch of Gonzo of Joey and various friends went to junior high school and going in the library and taking it out at the school library had to probably show a library card. And you had maybe a small window of lunch or something that you would be able to play the record, and then you had to return it so weird.
But it was, that was just like, oh my God, “Deuce”, the beginnings is I’m sure millions of people can relate to that, of course. But yeah, it was pretty eye-opening, and I saw a Kiss for show ever, Anaheim Stadium. I believe it was 1976. I was like 12 years old and went with a group of friends.
I think my mom took us and Ted Nugent open, which must’ve been like Free For All album or maybe the first Ted Nugent record. And it was Destroyer forget about it. And it was just, I was like, wide eyed doe. Walking around people painted their faces. And I was probably a little scared because I was young, it’s, it was a lot to be exposed to, but it was also just very eye-opening and riveting.
Victor M. Ruiz: Cool. Actually, since you brought up Kiss, there was a Kiss related question in the chat. Michael. James Jackson produced Creatures Of The Night, which fans rave about to this day. Do you have memories of him working or working with him on March Of The Saint?
John Bush: I do, it wasn’t one of the most fun memories, nothing against Michael as a person. He was a very nice man. I think he was going through something personal in his life at that point. And he was a bit disassociated with that record. We did a lot of the stuff, Chris Minto, who’s the engineer, and that’s why we actually used him on Raising Fear.
We love Chris. I think Michael, he might’ve been going through a divorce. I don’t remember exactly now. It was a long time ago, but we, one of the reasons we’re excited to work with them is because Creatures Of The Night, I believed that Like It Up too, and those records were powerful. We were excited, but for some reason it was just I don’t know what it was, but I think he was just a bit disengaged and.
Whatever, it’s just another story in the life of Armored Saint. I don’t look back and, harbor any ill will, by any means the record sounds the way it does, certainly could have been powered and a little more powerful on the basic tracks were probably a little meaner and grittier than the record came off a little more polished than I would’ve liked to had it.
Plus, we spent way too much money on it. I think we spent like somewhere around 350 grand making that record. And that was, when people were making records for a lot of money during that time. And we were in Ocean Way Studios, which, we were in one room and Supertramp was in another room and Barbara Streisand was in another room and we’re like, what are we doing here?
Like this? I was like, these are really huge artists and what are we doing here? As a matter of fact, I recorded a lot of the vocals, that little studio called Clove. Which is probably better because it was small and, it was just felt like a little more vibey. And but obviously when it was great, it was amazing.
The studio is still there. I don’t know if it’s called something else now, but still there. I drive by it all the time. It’s right down the street from where I’m at right now, but, and it was great to be in there, but it was just like ding, ding, ding, the money was just going. And I wish, people were like keeping better track of what we were spending, but I guess everybody thought we were going to be these mega stars and it didn’t quite turn out to be that way.
And it actually did put us in debt for the rest of our career, quite frankly, but hey, that’s life and live and learn, but he had to do and it is a great record and I love March. And let’s face it “March Of The Saint”, and “Can U Deliver” and “Madhouse” and “Seducer” and “Gloria Hunter”, and “Stricken By Fate”. I These are like songs are super associated with Armand Saint’s history.
But I think was Michael just a little disengaged and that’s what I would say.
Victor M. Ruiz: Gotcha. Okay. I have a few other fan submitted questions here from my Patreon. It’s another thing related to a show. So, we have Gerry From Long Island who asks, do you guys remember the gig at Stony Brook University with Quiet Riot?
John Bush: Wow. That’s funny you say that. Okay. So, Gerry needs to go to the Metal Allegiance show cause he’s on long island. If he still is living, there. Number two is I just did an interview with the guys of Metal Allegiance, a radio show, and the DJ asked me, what was your first time ever playing the island? And I’d mentioned that show Stony Brook.
I think it was Stony Brook University. It was a college. And we played there with Quiet Riot and Whitesnake. I don’t remember that much about that particular gig other than it was there. I remember Stony Brook. And it was just the name I wouldn’t have forgotten. And it was on long island, but I don’t remember much about the gig, nothing against I’m sorry, Gerry.
But I’m sure it was great. And it was a fun tour and we got to see Whitesnake every night, which is so amazing because they were red hot, right then it was the Slide It In record and Coveredale was just a rock star. And John Sykes and, Cozy Powell and just amazing band. And Quiet Riot was great too.
And they were already slipping a little bit, was such a massive record and “Metal Health”. And then by the second record, Conditioned Critical. You’re already having there for 15 minutes and it was starting to slip, but we, that was our first arena tour and we were so excited to be out there and we paid some big gates on that to her Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Cobo Hall, which is where Kiss Alive is recorded.
The Beacon Theater in New York and, just great venues. And it was our first tour. It was like, it was a hard place to start because he started playing arenas. Can only go down from there, but we weren’t obviously the headliner, but yeah, it was pretty awesome. And we were 21 years old, man.
I was like, I always say that was like my college education because when people were going to college, we were playing arenas.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah. Wow. Very cool. Mark Strigl from actually the Talking Metal Podcast asked will Armored Saint ever do a long old school tour instead of a few dates here and there. Like they’re doing now.
John Bush: In other words, you don’t play enough is what he is suggesting. We did actually tour a lot on Win Hands Down, probably the most we have in years. So, I think it’s just a matter of the right tour. And I know that people, when I say that let me clarify my point. Number one, we’re a bunch of guys that were in mid-fifties, late fifties, some of us going out and roughing it in a van is not appealing.
Don’t get me wrong. We did it. As a matter of fact, we did it on Symbol Of Salvation. One of the most grueling tours ever. Remember 10 guys band and crew in a van, carrying a trailer, traveling around the country, not the greatest tour Wrathchild America Wrathchild America. Last Crack where the bands were touring with.
It was a pretty rough tour on the crew is creating this kind of mutiny of the tour manager that it was a lot of dissension, and we were way too tight. And I remember driving through the Rockies and thinking we were going to just fly off a cliff. It was pretty treacherous actually, but it was a memory that I looked back on a laugh, but at the time it sucked quite honestly, it was rough.
And so, I’ve done that, and I don’t want to do that again. There was no reason for me to do that cause I won’t be happy. And then I won’t have good shows wanting to do a tour correctly. Doesn’t mean, nobody’s under any delusion about Armored Saint and the level of our fame. We are what we are, we do what we do, and we make the money.
That’s, that we should be making according to promoters and what we’re worthy of. But but you want to do something that is fun and good and you’re in a bus and you’re doing a right tour and hopefully everybody coming home with a little money and happy and getting sleep and living like a human being.
You’re 22, you can go out and rough it in a van, but we just can’t do it. So, we want to do the right tour, and that’s what we’re looking for. And usually, it’s a support slot. We’ll certainly we can headline; we did the Symbol Tour a headline tour and it was great and it’s fun.
It doesn’t matter what the tour is. It’s just it has to be right. And that’s what we’re looking at. And we did a lot, we toured Metal Church. And we toured with Queensryche. We toured with Saxon. So, we did a lot of great tours, UFO did a handful of shows and those are really all amazing.
So, it’s just, whatever it is, the right tour. And we already have a tour plan for the end of next year. Unfortunately, it’s not till later part of 22, which sounds like. We’re not even an October yet. So, it sounds like a long time away, but that’s, when some stuff is happening, but it will be a real cool tour.
It’s going to be a pretty long tour and it will be something, I think old school fans are going to really dig. I can’t say that because it’s just not being promoting and I’m not at liberty to say who, but it’s going to be a really cool tour. And it will be a pretty long tour for us. So, there you go.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah. And I think, again, going back to the interview that we did, when La Raza came out, you also talked a bit about how, your life had changed having kids and whatnot and having a family, not wanting to tour as much as you had previously done. Obviously, we’re talking 10 years later as kids get older and as life continues to evolve and change.
John Bush: My daughter is now driving as she’s 16 and driving naturally 17 next month. So, she’s driving, I don’t, although I didn’t take them to school today and I always want to cherish those moments because they are getting older. But and my son’s 14, so like they’re older now. Yeah, so I was home for those pivotal years.
I don’t think you get time back. That’s the one thing you can always find a way to make money, but you cannot get the time back. That’s something that’s gone, if that was the case, I made that sacrifice personally, not even always, probably with the band’s agreement, because they probably would have preferred touring more than me.
Maybe not Joey because he has a daughter too, that he was raising and she’s the same age, but it’s, it was important to me to be there, especially for my wife and I, and we tag team the way we raised our kids and that’s just the way it was and now they’re older. My daughter will be in college pretty soon now.
Which it breaks my heart, but it’s reality. So, it might be easier to go out on the road for a longer period of time now. And it’s just the way it worked out.
Victor M. Ruiz: Father to father and someone who currently sacrifices a lot for their kids for a 10-and eight-year-old. I understand exactly where you’re coming from.
John Bush: I’m the main Uber driver. My son plays youth hockey is plays at a pretty high level and he plays in Valencia, which is about an hour here from L.A. And then I not only drive him, but I drive two other of his teammates a lot of the time. I’m like the carpool dude. And so, I know it’s not, the rock star that you imagined, but John Bush is really the driver of his son and he that’s just part of the job description of my life.
Victor M. Ruiz: Basketball at 7:00 AM on Saturdays after finishing my live show at 2:00 AM on Saturday morning. So yeah, my kids do
John Bush: Oh, great. Awesome, well Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol man, Spanish, Spanish team was amazing. Ricky Rubio. I’m a huge basketball fan, so I that’s cool.
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah, they’re definitely going to be in for a lot of transition now with the Gasol brothers retiring and a lot of the other, Rubio’s still what, he’s early thirties at this point.
John Bush: I remember when he was a kid. Yeah,
Victor M. Ruiz: Yeah,
John Bush: sure.
Victor M. Ruiz: me too. Yeah, absolutely. Last thing that I want to ask you about, you guys recently released a video for lone Wolf.
Outside of me mentioning when we talked about the album last year, how much that album or that track specifically stood out to me it was cool that a video came out of that, but also, what was it like to put that video together? Again, similar to what I asked you about the the DVD before, how much input did you guys have on putting that video together?
Or was the story presented to you guys? And how did they sell you on being the main character.
John Bush: Robert is the directory also did “Missile To Gun” and he also did “Enter Of The Attention Span”. So, he did both of those videos. And it was awesome. It was so fun to do that. And it was a challenge, because I was, doing this video that kinda made me a little bit of an actor, which was a unique experience for me, but it was fun to do that.
And I thought it was great, it really came out awesome. Like I said, Robert, the director is just super talented guy. He’s incredible at. Some of those videos, I still can’t believe how much we made those videos for let alone how they looked. Cause, they looked so stellar and so it looks like something that was made in the eighties for like thousands and thousands of dollars.
And we pulled it off and he pulled it off to make it, pretty reasonable as far as price goes. But yeah, it was cool. It was funny. I made the joke that we’re like some big eighties MTV band because we had four videos, which is ridiculous. And they all look really amazing.
So, it was fun to do “Lone Wolf” and be that character. And the guys, they actually were acting in, it did a really awesome job as well. It was fun. So hopefully, people get out there and check it out on YouTube. And it’s the last one we made of the four songs from that room.
Victor M. Ruiz: also, there’s no one climbing water towers. There’s no one performing any type of dangerous activity at this point in time.
John Bush: those guys did have guns. And we were in a pretty sketchy part of downtown LA where we filmed. And so, I was like going, this could easily, surreal get into a real kind of moment, because we were like, when I was looking around through it, it’s almost that I really was looking around me like who is here because it was pretty rough area.
But so, my acting wasn’t much a stretch on that, but those guys did a great job. And like I said, Robert, he’s going to be a star. And he’s such a creative director, young guy he’s going to do not a bunch of great videos. He’s, he’s going to do I see that guy making movies or working in television for sure.
Cause he’s really talented. And does things easily you’ll do a scene and, videos can be a long, arduous process. You can spend date a whole day shooting him. He would do a couple of tasting days. I got it. And I was like, oh, awesome. I got it. And I was like, great.
So otherwise, it’s take 30, here we go again. And it could be, it could just be long and just tiresome. But it wasn’t like that. He really, he got what he wanted, and he got it pretty on the ball. So, it was cool to, to work with him like that. And I, it’s funny in “Lone Wolf”, because I’m the kind of the bad guy, I’m like the guy who takes off and when it was first presented, I was like do you want to be that?
And I even think Gonzo was like do you want to be showcase I’ve event where I’m like number one, it’s me. I’m not really doing that in life. It’s just a video, I was like, let’s do it, cause I would say, no, it has this reputation of being nice guys. We really do.
That’s our background. I don’t really think we are. I’m not saying I can’t be a dick. I can be a dick sometimes just like anybody else, but really, for the most part, we’re pretty nice guys. And we have that reputation and I love that reputation. I want to keep that, but it was funny.
It was like, that’s because then we had this idea. Maybe we’ll do like a Robin Hood thing where he goes and gives it to, some homeless person and or a shelter. And I was like, let’s not do that. Let’s make it. You don’t know what he’s doing with it. Be kept. And I go, it’s good for me to like, to be that guy.
It’s not always be the good guy. And I was glad about that. So again, it’s a video. It’s not like I really did that in life.
Victor M. Ruiz: It reminded me of the, a briefcase in Pulp Fiction where you don’t know what’s in the briefcase. You don’t know when the video ends. It’s oh, what did the guy, what did this guy do with that money?
John Bush: Exactly. Hey, maybe I did take it to a shelter. Maybe I think a homeless person, they could certainly benefit from it. Cause it’s really bad here in Los Angeles, but that’s the ambiguous part that we’ll leave the people.
Victor M. Ruiz: We’ll be fodder for the fans for years to come.
John Bush: There you go. There you go.
Victor M. Ruiz: What is the longest you’ve ever been on a video?
John Bush: Wow. It’s probably something I did with Anthrax. I don’t remember. I don’t think anything probably exceeded two days realistically, but probably there were two days shoots. I don’t remember exactly to be honest. But I do remember the “Inside Out” video for Anthrax, which was a killer video.
The one was based on the Twilight Zone episode and we’re on the plane and it was raining and that was a killer video. And I remember they wanted me to wear these contact lenses which was really unnecessary because I was, it was raining and what we, what it looked like it was raining.
It was just heavy, like water that we’re spraying on us. And so, he couldn’t really see it until the very end of the video, but I wore them and I like, I don’t wear contact lenses. I could never put anything in my eye. That’s why I wear glasses because I just couldn’t do it. And I had these things in, these were not like soft contact lenses.
They were a hard lenses and I wore it for hours. And maybe by the end of the day, I could not see, I could not see. So there’s that funny scene at the very end where you go in the plane and they show, like the character the band, and then they focus on me and I look at the video and I have a sad look and I could barely open my eyes cause I literally could not open my eyes because my eyes would, I don’t think I could see for two days after that because my eyes were jacked up from those lenses.
So, I do remember that being. Pretty horrible retrospect, but the video is great. It came out amazing. But God, that was brutal.
Victor M. Ruiz: Again, the things you do for your craft. Awesome. I want to thank you for your time. Again, it is always awesome to speak to you and awesome to speak to you for the first time like this. Face-to-face per se. And the album drops the 22nd of October if I’m not mistaken. Yeah. I have the blue Ray and vinyl pre-ordered it. Is that good, it is well worth it.
If anyone is remotely a fan of the band, I definitely I do recommend that you check it out and to keep up with you guys, it’s ArmoredSaint.com. Right?
John Bush: That’s correct. And you know what, let’s do another interview in the future. And what we could do is maybe we take a lot more fan questions and stuff, because that’s always fun. And so that’ll give us a premise for the next interview. We did.
Victor M. Ruiz: And no problem at all. I’ll bug Nikki about it. No problem.
John Bush: Great. Thanks again, dude, always a pleasure to chat with you. This is a lot of fun and stay safe. There is Spain, and hopefully we will come to Spain next year and play cause we’ve only played one show ever in the country of Spain it was Barcelona Metal Fest. A few years ago, Maiden was on the bill it was amazing.
And I did many shows with Anthrax and Spain that were always just some of the best ever. Hopefully we’ll see you soon. Thanks to all the fans internationally for all the support and we obviously can’t do it without you. And we’ll see you on the road somewhere sometime I promise.
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