JOEY VERA Interview
by Martin Popoff
Joey Vera is best known for his work on Armored Saint through 20 years of headbanging, but the man almost tapped for the Metallica slot has also been involved with well-regarded side-project Engine as well as having plucked the fat strings on the last three Fates Warning records. Recently, he's added Anthrax to his envelope, having completed a Japanese and Australian tour with the NYC moshers, next up being European dates through mid-August. The low frequency dynamo also produces records, and has guested with his headstock on a number of other hard rock records.
First off, I had to ask Joey about his recent gig, specifically the difference between his bass duties for Anthrax versus the technique needed for the Armored Saint catalogue. "The main thing for me," he explains, "is that, mostly with the older material, I mean, it's just guitar parts basically. It's trying to keep up with Scott Ian; he's a great rhythm player and a lot of this stuff is very fast. The Armored Saint songs were never really like that; we had a few songs that you could call thrashy, but for the most part we were a little more mid-tempo. Plus, my tendency is to play a little bit more funky, and the old Anthrax songs don't really have that element. It's just like on 11 the whole time. So for me, it's been a stamina thing, trying to keep up with them. The newer material, especially songs from We've Come For You All, I less like that; they have a little more groove and they're more straightforward."
"That was kind of my whole introduction," notes Vera on the Asian jaunt. "We did a warm-up show in L.A. at The Whiskey, and then a couple days later we flew to Japan and did ten days, seven shows, and then five shows in Australia. It was interesting, the first time I've been to both places. The thing I noticed mostly in Japan was that they were very, very organized. Everything we told we were getting, we got, as far as production goes, back line and a crew; there was someone from the record company, named Amiko Kato (sp?), who was very nice, with us every single day, all day, figuring out where we were going to eat, because not a lot of people speak English at all there. It was a bit like being on Mars. But the shows were great, everyone was really professional, everything ran on time, the venues were really nice, the crowds were just as nuts as they were anywhere else. Everyone is very polite there. I always heard that in the past, maybe in the older days, that the crowds couldn't leave their seats and they had to just clap, wouldn't go crazy too much, but that wasn't the case here. They were going nuts (laughs). Mosh pit, the whole nine yards."
JOEY VERA Interview Page 2