Red Carpet Interview
2013 Nominee – Guitarist of the Year – 23rd Annual LA Music Awards
Armored Saint was formed in 1982 by brothers Phil Sandoval (guitar) and Gonzo Sandoval (drums), and guitarist David Prichard, while attending South Pasadena High School. Next to join were singer John Bush – also a South Pasadena High School Alumnus – and bassist Joey Vera. Gonzo Sandoval came up with the name after getting stoned with the other band members and seeing the film Excalibur at a theater in Monterey Park. Armored Saint recorded a five song demo that landed the song “Lesson Well Learned” on the compilation album Metal Massacre II. Three of these demo songs were then used for the band’s self-titled EP on Metal Blade Records in 1983. The group then signed with Chrysalis Records in 1984.
Armored Saint released their debut album March of the Saint in 1984 followed by 1985’s Delirious Nomad. The debut album yielded a minor MTV hit with “Can U Deliver?”. After the release of Delirious Nomad, guitarist Phil Sandoval left the group. Their third album, Raising Fear, was recorded by the remaining four members. Unhappy with their lack of success on the Chrysalis label, Armored Saint returned to Metal Blade in 1989. Soon after the release of their first live album Saints Will Conquer the band added Jeff Duncan formerly of the L.A. club band Odin as second guitarist who is still in the band to this day.
While writing and recording rough four-track demos for their next studio album, guitarist Dave Prichard was diagnosed with leukemia. Prichard succumbed to the disease before recording sessions for Symbol of Salvation began. After a brief hiatus, Phil Sandoval returned to the band to replace Prichard. The following year, Symbol of Salvation was released to widespread critical success. It was dedicated to the spirit and memory of Dave Prichard, whose solo on the demo recording of the song “Tainted Past” was used on the album.
Following the successful Symbol of Salvation tour, The band recorded and had hits with “Reign of Fire” and “Last Train Home” in 1991. The following year the band contributed a song to the Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth soundtrack, as well as made a brief appearance in the film. Several months later, John Bush was offered the position of lead vocalist in the very successful thrash band Anthrax. Unsure of Armored Saint’s future, Bush accepted the job. The remaining members declined to continue, and Armored Saint was officially disbanded.
After Armored Saint disbanded, Joey Vera kept busy playing with such bands as Fates Warning, Lizzy Borden and Chroma Key. He released a solo album in 1994 and started a successful second career as a producer and engineer.