by Joey Vera

Joey Vera (Armored Saint / Fates Warning) goes head to head with Billy Sheehan in this SHOCKWAVES exclusive. Be sure to check out Part 2 of this interview, to be posted next month on Shockwaves Online.

SW: I've been listening to the live Talas Record...It sounds like it was one big party. It must have been a blast to do.
BS: It was, and there's no fake audience on it. I'll swear on a lie detector. I've done live recordings where either the audience didn't record properly or it just didn't sound right. But the only problem we had with this record was that we had to turn the audience down!

SW: How long have you guys been talking about doing this record?
BS: We talked about it in the summer before last, but at the time, it would have been too much to get the show organized, so we started planning it that summer and ended up doing it that Thanksgiving weekend.

SW: I imagine you've kept in contact with Dave and Paul (from Talas) over the years.
BS: Actually, I hadn't at all. We were incommunicado. After they left I restarted Talas with three other guys and it was good, but it just wasn't the same. When I got the (David Lee) Roth offer, I split for L.A. and I hadn't been in contact with them at all since.

SW: You wouldn't ever bump into them in Buffalo or....
BS: No. We kind of left on bad terms. You know, we went through so much shit together. We got "almost" signed about fifty times. It was just so personally frustrating for everybody and we had nobody to blame but each other. After a while, we ran out of people to blame.

SW: I can imagine.
BS: But after the first 5 minutes of getting back together for rehearsal, it was a breeze. It was like nothing ever happened. We had to sit down and say, "What happened, happened. Big deal. Why hang on to it?" You know, I had so much fun with these guys. Unfortunately, as you know, most people in bands or in any kind of a relationship, tend to focus on the bad stuff. Even though it's usually minor. And then later on you realize how cool the good stuff was. It's kind of clichˇ because it happens so many times to so many people. Then it was hard to rehearse because we kept telling all these stories about all the shit that used to go on in the old days. About all the shenanigans and all the wacky people we'd run into over the years. So, a 4 hour rehearsal would end being about 45 minutes of actual playing and the rest story telling.

SW: And to get this back together in the hometown with the local fans, how was that?
BS: It was amazing. We really didn't realize how much this band meant to so many people. I mean people grew up with us, met the girl they married, and got her pregnant in the parking lot. We really had a lot to do with peoples lives. I think a lot of people don't realize that. You know , you play and make your records, do your thing. And then you get a letter a few years later telling you about how they were listening to your record when such and such happened. You know, musicians do have an affect on other people's lives and I think as players and as people we forget that we have a huge influence on people. Any musician should not sell it short.

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