The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






A lot of people may know who Joey Vera is, best known as the bassist in Armored Saint but currently he is also involved in Motor Sister, a new band that started out as a tribute to Mother Superior as part of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian's 50th birthday party. It's a great story and we caught up with Joey to find out more about the bands how it all came together.

Andrew: So how have you been Joey?


Joey: I'm doing good thanks, how are you doing?


Andrew: Yeah doing good thanks. Lets talk about the new band that you are doing at the moment, Motor Sister. I've been listening to a preview of the album and it's actually sounding really great! I've never heard of Mother Superior to be honest so can you tell me a little about who they are and what significance they have for you?


Joey: Yeah they are a band that formed in the early 90's and came to L.A. from various areas down in Delaware and Virginia and right around that area I believe. And they were a trio that formed in the early 90's and they basically put out over the course of their career which is then and kinda disbanded around 2010 or 2011 or something like that. They put out 9 records during that time, they are a band that really for the most part are just a great rock band. They are a trio based on the guitar, the guitar player sings, his name is Jim Wilson and he was the primary song writer and just a great song writer. Kind of has his roots set in I would have to say 70's music so the style that comes across is going to be music that is laden with that era. Back when great song writing meant great song writing and nothing was overly complicated or trying to be was before the guitar hero time so it's just great song writing. And it's interesting about that band because the records stylistically have a lot of different influences. They were also influenced by stuff that was a little more punk edged so you have those that go from like AC/DC meets Motorhead with a little bit of Black Flag in there all the way to just classic rock from the 70's. Some of it is a little bit funky, there's a little bit of Stevie Wonder influence in there, then there's a bit of 70's British pop influences. The gamut is pretty wide in this band, a really great band and Scott (Ian) has become friends with him right around the time after they were hired by Henry Rollins to be his backing band. And they did 2 records with Rollins and then the 2 main guys after this run with Rollins in the middle part of the 2000's Jim and Marcus (Blake) the bass player were both hired by the pop band Sparks to be in their band. They did this run in London where they played every record or something and so they did that for a while and then Daniel Lanois, the famous producer who has done everybody from U2 to Bob Dylan, they got involved with Daniel Lanois and basically they were playing with his band for several years. In fact the guitar player Jim still plays in the band. So they are just guys who are super talented and just great people. Scott introduced me to them around 2005 and we've been great friends since then. The story goes which is in the press release that Scott wanted to play with Mother Superior and wanted to be in the same room playing the songs with Jim and that's part of his birthday gift for himself for his 50th birthday and we made that happen. Pulled together some friends and myself included and John Tempesta and his wife Pearl and basically got a small band together to play Mother Superior songs and that's what we did. Played 12 songs at his birthday party and that party led to this record that we're talking about now! It's a wild story.

Andrew: Yeah I mean obviously the initial idea of it being a birthday present for Scott and then turning into this, did you guys expect when you first started rehearsing and playing together that this would turn into something more than it initially was?


Joey: No I don't think any of us did. We only rehearsed once and it was a day or two before his party. And so we got together and played once and after the first song we just sort of looked at each other and said 'wow that was easy!' It was like we were a band for months already and it was amazing! The vibe was great from the first song and so at the end of the night when we played the party and there was a great vibe and we had invited 20-25 friends and it was very intimate you could say. We just had a good laugh and some fun and we drank beer and we played these tunes and at the end of the night we were was so short and we wanted to do it again, we were ready to play all 12 songs over again. It was so much fun and you always want more when something like that feels so good and as a result of that night, some word got out that this party happened and that we had been at this thing and it was great. When word got out to Metal Bade Records, without hearing any of the music they basically said this sounds like a really fun thing and a great story, how would you like to record this thing and put it out. So we had a record deal without even playing any music for them, they just gave it to us haha! We said we would do it, it wasn't something we contemplated that when the idea arose we all sort of decided that if we were going to do it, it had to be in the same spirit as how the party was played. So that meant that we had to play this thing live in the recording studio, as a matter of fact we even went as far as inviting people to the studio. We didn't have 25 people, we had about maybe 10 people and they brought coolers of beer and they were in the studio with us, all of us in the same room. We played this record live and recorded it and recreated another party basically and that's what this record is, it's the same exact 12 songs that we played at the party and recorded live. That was important for us because the spirit of how it was done in the first place was really what it was all about so if we had to put this down on a recording, it had to be the same.


Andrew: Yeah totally. You can hear the lively sound to it as like you said, you recorded with a live set of mind. It's great, it's a combination of classic rock with a bit of a metal edge to it with the tight riffage in there. What's the future with all this? Do you want to continue this a bit further?


Joey: It's funny because we hadn't really thought about the future up until recently because the record was coming out and starting to do press and people want to know. We still couldn't believe that this was getting released but we did talk about it last week when we were together and played a show in New York on Thursday, our first actual live show as a band. We spent a lot of time together and we did talk about this and we decided we do want to play more shows for one thing so we're trying to fit it all in between everybody's schedule. But we would like to play more shows in front of people and we think that is on the horizon for us for sure. The only thing in the future playing-wise is we are playing in Los Angeles on March 10th and San Francisco on March 11th but those are the only things booked so far. And then we also talked about doing some writing together in the future. We enjoy being with each other and we all have the same sensibility about stylistically what this is about and the vibe and the whole intention and just the whole thing. So we are all on the same page with that so we talked about writing new music together and as a matter of fact, have some things we already started so at some point when we have free time we'll get together and will definitely throw some ideas around and you never know. This may lead to another record and we would certaintly love it if it happened organically which is how we want to try to keep it. It would be great!

Andrew: What was it like bringing it to the live setting for the first time?


Joey: Super exciting, it was awesome! We rehearsed in L.A. before we left and then we rehearsed another day when we were there. Rehearsing for us is like playing the song once haha! So we played the set once and then we went and played the set twice and yeah it was exciting! In Brooklyn, New York we played at this place called St. Vitus and Scott and John are from New York so it was a really cool thing for them to be there and to have this thing be there because they have a lot of friends and a lot of old school people came out and it just added to it, it was like another party. Or it felt like another party, an east coast version of the party. It was really great and we all have a lot of business associates there also in the city so a lot of those guys came out and it was just a blast. Of course tons of fans came out too, the venue was packed and it was a really good time. It was the first time being on stage with these guys and it was cool, we all had smiles on our faces the whole night!


Andrew: It really does sound like a fun project and I guess spontaneity is a big aspect that you guys want to retain with this.


Joey: Yeah and that's why you kinda have to be careful with this kind of thing because we don't want it to turn into something that's almost like an obligation maybe, we don't want it to be that. We did this in the first place because it was fun and we were celebrating the music that Jim has written with Mother Superior and we all love each other and like to play with each other. So as long as those main things stay intact then everything else will be cool.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely and it's a great lineup too. Obviously you guys are busy with your other bands too, at the moment aside from this what else have you got going on?


Joey: I just finished up recording a new Armored Saint record, it just got finished being mixed a week and a half ago. It's currently being mastered and I think by the end of next week we should be approving the final master and it's set for a June 2nd release on Metal Blade. The record is called "Win Hands Down" and I'm excited about that too, it's a great record. It's got some great songs on it and I'm looking forward to getting it out there.


Andrew: Yeah it's been a couple of years since the last Armored Saint record came out. Is this a continuation of where you guys have been going the last few years or is it something a bit more different maybe?


Joey: I don't know really, I'm a pretty bad person to ask that because I'm so close to it. I think every record we put out kinda makes a slight left turn anyway. It's just my impression of our band has been like we've never made the same record twice and this one is no exception. So I think it's just another branch that's going off in another direction but it's still close to the trunk, if you will. In my opinion it still has elements of where we come from, I mean we're not completely abandoning our old school roots. It's got some very familiar grooves in there that you might hear on some of our catalogue stuff but it also has some things that maybe we haven't gone into. So we just wanted to write great songs and really big songs so to me when I listen to it as a whole it just sounds very big and epic and large. On some of the songs there's a lot of production value, there's a lot of things going on. It's pretty exciting for me I think.


Andrew: Awesome! And are you still doing your other band Fates Warning?


Joey: Yeah Fates Warning is on a little hiatus right now. Starting to write for the next record so that's begun and it's usually a pretty lengthy process. We may do some live shows hopefully before the end of the year but that's not confirmed yet so I don't know when or where. But I'm hoping we do a little bit of touring before that just to break it up and we usually do that in the middle of writing hiatus, take a few weeks off to go out and play some shows so we may do that too.


Andrew: OK cool. So as I mentioned, this Motor Sister project is a really great record so congratulations on the new album. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you so take care!


Joey: Thank you so much Andrew!



Joey spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe, February 2015





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