Armored Saint is a Los Angeles, United States, based heavy metal band.
The band was formed in 1982 by brothers Gonzo Sandoval and Phil Sandoval
(check out Sandoval Brothers on iTunes worldwide), and David Prichard. Next
to join was singer John Bush and bassist Joey Vera joined later. Gonzo
Sandoval came up with the name after getting stoned with the band members
and going to the movie Excalibur at a theater in Monterey Park. Armored
Saint recorded a five song demo that landed a song on Metal Massacre II and
later turned into a three-song EP on Metal Blade Records in 1983 before
signing with Chrysalis Records in 1984.
Armored Saint released three albums with Chrysalis, 1984's full length debut
March of the Saint, 1985's Delirious Nomad and 1987's Raising Fear. Phil
Sandoval played on Delirious Nomad, but then left the band, and Raising Fear
was recorded by the remaining four members of the band. Armored Saint
never achieved much success with Chrysalis and in 1989 returned to the
Metal Blade stable. The debut album yielded a minor MTV hit with "Can U
Soon after the release of Armored Saint's first live album Saints Will Conquer
in 1989, the band decided to replace Phil Sandoval, recruiting Jeff Duncan
formerly of the L.A. club band Odin as second guitarist. The band had begun
writing and recording rough four-track demos for their next album when
guitarist Dave Prichard was diagnosed with the leukemia that would end his
life before the recording sessions of Symbol of Salvation. After a brief hiatus,
Phil Sandoval returned to the band to replace Pritchard, and Armored Saint
returned to the recording studio. The following year Symbol of Salvation was
released to widespread critical and commercial success. It was dedicated to
the spirit and memory of Dave Prichard, whose solo performance on the four
-track demo recording of the song 'Tainted Past' was used on the studio
recording. During the early days of both bands, John Bush was invited to
audition for Metallica, who also courted Joey Vera after the death of their
bassist Cliff Burton. Following the successful Symbol of Salvation tour, John
Bush was offered the lead singer position in the thrash metal band Anthrax.
Unsure of Armored Saint's future, Bush accepted the job. The remaining
members decided to call it quits 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.
Reunion and Future
In 1999, while Anthrax was temporarily on hiatus due to various issues, John
Bush got together with Joey Vera and together they decided to reform
Armored Saint. The entire Symbol of Salvation lineup returned to the studio
and in 2000, Revelation was released. A small club tour opening for Dio
followed. The album was a resurrection of the classic sound of Armored Saint.
It features the band's first song with Spanish lyrics, "No Me Digas," originally
conceived by Gonzo Sandoval and John Bush, and then revamped by Joey
The following year, the band released Nod to the Old School, a collection of
rarities, demos and outtakes (many from the Pritchard years), plus a few new
tracks were released. Soon after, John Bush returned to the studio with
Anthrax and Armored Saint was once again placed on hiatus.
In 2004 Joey Vera joined Anthrax as a temporary member to replace Frank
Bello. Early in 2005, Anthrax's Scott Ian announced that their most famous
lineup was reformed leaving the membership of Vera and Bush somewhat
undetermined. Bush has stated his involvement with Anthrax is over,
although Ian does not appear to be sure. This move gave hope to many that
Armored Saint would once again start recording. A one-off show with the
Revelation lineup took place in 2005, and in 2006 the band embarked upon a
As part of their 20th anniversary and continuing celebrations, Metal Blade
released a special edition of Symbol of Salvation plus reissued the band's long
out of print live video A Trip Thru Red Times.
It was revealed in an outtake from the documentary film "Metallica: Some
Kind of Monster" that in 1982 Armored Saint and Metallica were at a party
and Phil Sandoval got into an altercation with Lars Ulrich. Phil pushed Lars to
the ground, after which Dave Mustaine, who was still a member of Metallica
at that time, got involved and ended up breaking Phil's ankle. Dave recounts
that to this day when he sees Phil he feels bad for the incident, but that he
just had Lars' back. Mustaine later made amends by apologizing and giving
Phil Sandoval an ESP guitar as closure.
In 1992, Armored Saint appeared in the film "Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth."
They are performing the song "Hanging Judge" in the club that Terry Farrel's