Armored Saint

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Armored Saint
Armored Saint – Waterkant X-Mas Bash 2015 02.jpg
Armored Saint performing at Waterkant X-Mas Bash in Germany in 2015
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Heavy metal
Years active 1982–1992, 1999–present
Associated acts
Members John Bush
Joey Vera
Jeff Duncan
Gonzo Sandoval
Phil Sandoval

Armored Saint is an American heavy metal band, formed in 1982 in Los Angeles, California. Since 1990, the band has consisted of John Bush on vocals, Joey Vera on bass, Jeff Duncan on guitar and the Sandoval brothers, Phil and Gonzo on guitar and drums, respectively. Of the current lineup, Bush and Vera are the two constant members. To date, they have released seven studio albums, one EP, two live albums and one compilation album.

As one of the leaders of the Los Angeles heavy metal scene, Armored Saint achieved moderate success during the 1980s with their 1983 self-titled EP and first three studio albums: March of the Saint (1984), Delirious Nomad (1985) and Raising Fear (1987).[1] Prior to the release of their fourth studio album Symbol of Salvation (1991), the band was plagued by extended inactivity, due to record company issues and the death of their original guitarist Dave Prichard, who died of leukemia in 1990. Armored Saint eventually broke up when Bush joined Anthrax in 1992 to replace Joey Belladonna, but reunited in 1999, and has continued to tour and record since then.


Early career (1982–1989)[edit]

Armored Saint was formed in 1982 by brothers Phil Sandoval (guitar) and Gonzo Sandoval (drums) with guitarist Dave 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[citation needed] 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.

Death of Dave Prichard, Symbol of Salvation and split (1990–1998)[edit]

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 featured two hits "Reign of Fire" and "Last Train Home". The album 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. The tour for Symbol of Salvation was successful; they opened for Suicidal Tendencies on their Lights...Camera...Revolution! tour and Savatage on their Streets tour. They also toured with Wrathchild America.[2]

In 1992, the band contributed the song "Hanging Judge" 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. The Sandoval brothers formed Life After Death, who have since split up, and Jeff Duncan formed DC4 with brothers Shawn and Matt, and former Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson.

Reunion (1999–present)[edit]

In 1999, with Anthrax on temporary hiatus, John Bush and Joey Vera decided to reform Armored Saint. The entire Symbol of Salvation lineup returned to the studio, and in 2000 the album Revelation was released. It included the band's first song with Spanish lyrics, "No Me Digas". A small club tour opening for Dio and Lynch Mob followed.

The following year, the band released Nod to the Old School, a collection of rarities, demos and outtakes (many from the Prichard years), plus a few new tracks. Soon after, John Bush returned to the studio with Anthrax, and Armored Saint was once again placed on indefinite hiatus.

In 2004, Joey Vera rejoined Bush in Anthrax on a temporary basis, filling in for bassist Frank Bello. Early in 2005, Anthrax's Scott Ian announced that their classic Among the Living-era lineup was reforming, leaving the membership of Bush and Vera in question. Bush stated his involvement with Anthrax was over, and Dan Nelson took over vocal duties in the band in 2007. This move gave hope to many that Armored Saint would once again record. A one-off show with the Revelation lineup took place in 2005, and in 2006 the band embarked on a new tour.

As part of their 20th anniversary, Metal Blade released a special edition of Symbol of Salvation. Also reissued was the band's long out of print live video A Trip Thru Red Times.

The band finished recording their new album titled La Raza, which was released on March 16, 2010.

On December 7, 2011, the band played the role of opening act for the 30th Anniversary of Metallica show at the Fillmore.

On February 11, 2013, Joey Vera officially announced via Facebook and Twitter that the band had begun working on a new album. The album, titled Win Hands Down, was released on June 2, 2015.[3] Win Hands Down debuted at #183 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.[1] The album sold double what their previous effort, La Raza, sold upon its release in 2010. In Germany, the album reached #33 on the German Top 100 albums charts.[4]

On February 24, 2017, Armored Saint released their first live album in 29 years, Carpe Noctum.[5][6]

Asked in March 2017 about the next Armored Saint album, Bush stated, "We haven't really collectively started working on anything. Sure, all the guys are accumulating some stuff in their minds. I have a lot of lyrical ideas written down, but we haven't started writing any songs yet. Armored Saint, sometimes, we don't move at the quickest pace. I think it would be a good idea if we wanted to make a new record to move on it a little quicker. I've said numerous times I'd rather have the quality of the material than feeling pressured to put out something in a certain amount of time be the primary motivation for it. That being said, we're no spring chickens, I ain't going to lie. Trying to wait ten years, five years for a new record, it's probably a little bit too long. If we do make a new record and if we can try to make the material be as high quality as Win Hands Down, then it would be cool to be able to get something out sooner than later. That being said, we haven't worked on anything yet."[7]


John Bush was invited by drummer Lars Ulrich to audition as singer for Metallica in 1983, following the release of their debut album, Kill 'Em All, as frontman James Hetfield was not confident in his own singing abilities and wanted to focus on playing guitar. However, Bush turned down the offer as Armored Saint was still gaining popularity at the time. In 1986 during the Raising Fear recording sessions, Metallica contacted Joey Vera to replace bassist Cliff Burton after his untimely death.

It was revealed in an outtake from the documentary film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster that Phil Sandoval was involved in an altercation with Ulrich while attending a 1982 party. Sandoval pushed Ulrich to the ground, after which Dave Mustaine, who was still a member of Metallica at that time, got involved and ended up breaking Sandoval's leg. Mustaine recounts that to this day he feels bad about the incident[citation needed], but that he was simply defending his bandmate. Mustaine later made amends by apologizing and giving Sandoval an ESP guitar as closure.

In 1992, Armored Saint appeared in the film Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, performing the song "Hanging Judge" in the club that Terry Farrell's character visits.

Band members[edit]

Current members
Former members
  • Dave Prichard – lead guitar, backing vocals (1982–1990; his death)
  • Eddie Livingston - drums (1989-1990)




Year Title Label Other information
1983 Armored Saint EP Metal Blade 3 song EP
1984 March of the Saint Chrysalis
1985 Delirious Nomad
1987 Raising Fear
1988 Saints Will Conquer Metal Blade Live album
1991 Symbol of Salvation Reissued in 2003 with 3 disc Deluxe version
2000 Revelation
2001 Nod to the Old School A few new tracks plus rarities, demos and live material
2010 La Raza Released: March 16, 2010
2015 Win Hands Down Released: June 2, 2015
2016 Carpe Noctum Live album

Other appearances[edit]

Year Title Label Other information
1982 Metal Massacre II Metal Blade Compilation featuring "Lesson Well Learned"
1985 Crazed - an all out metal assault JSI (Jelto Concepts Incorporated) records Compilation of various metal bands featuring "Can u deliver"
1988 The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II (soundtrack) Capitol/I.R.S. Soundtrack to the movie of the same title. Featuring "You Can Run..."
1996 Metalmeister Metal Blade Compilation featuring "Creepy Feelings"


Year Title Label Other information
1987 A Trip Thru Red Times Chrysalis Live bootleg video. Re-released by Metal Blade in 2004
1992 Hellraiser III
2004 Lessons Not Well Learned Metal Blade


  1. ^ a b Armored Saint - chart history,
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Armored Saint To Release Win Hands Down Album In June". March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ "ARMORED SAINT – Win Hands Down Debuts On Billboard Chart". Retrieved 2016-05-27. 
  5. ^ "ARMORED SAINT: 'Carpe Noctum' Live Album Details Revealed". November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ "ARMORED SAINT: Official 'March Of The Saint' Performance Video". January 12, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  7. ^ "ARMORED SAINT Singer Doesn't 'Want To Alienate Any Particular Possible Fan Because Of A Political Belief'". March 11, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 

External links[edit]