It’s been thirty years since Symbol of Salvation (Metal Blade Records) first landed on record shelves around the world and to celebrate, LA metallers Armored Saint present Symbol of Salvation Live (Metal Blade), a show recorded at New York’s Gramercy Theatre in 2018 where the 1991 classic was played in its entirety to an overjoyed and packed house.
We had the honor of chatting with heavy metal legend Joey Vera of Armored Saint all about their new album Punching the sky (read our review here) out now on Metal Blade Records. Joey talked about the future of the music industry and what it might look like post-COVID19, how the band writes together, his personal preferences in production and recording styles, his take on livestreams, the progress he is making on his other projects such as Fates Warning and Motor Sister, and more! Buy the album here and check out our chat!Continue reading
Showing no visible signs of wear and tear, classic Los Angeles metallers Armored Saint return with eighth studio album Punching the Sky (Metal Blade). Noted for their consistency in both output and personnel, you have to go all the way back to 1987’s Raising Fear (Chrysalis) to find a studio album with a different line-up. A surprising level of stability considering two lengthy hiatuses and the untimely death of original guitarist Dave Prichard.
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (https://www.diocancerfund.org), founded in memory of the late rock legend, will commemorate what would have been Dio’s 78th birthday on July 10 with a video in which rock music celebrities talk about what Ronnie and his music has meant to them. Dio lost his months-long battle with gastric cancer 10 years ago, and the charity founded after his passing has raised more than $2 million to fight the disease that took his life. Largely compiled from red carpet interviews with celebrity guests at various Dio Cancer Fund events, including the 10th Anniversary Awards Gala held at the Avalon in Hollywood in February (see our coverage here) just before the pandemic shutdown, the video contains special video messages from Rob Halford and Geezer Butler, who were close friends of Dio’s. Among those also expressing their thoughts are Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Rudy Sarzo, Craig Goldy, Scott Warren, Simon Wright and Vinny Appice of the Dio band, Fred Coury, Robbie Crane and Ricky Warwick of Black Star Riders, Ahmet Zappa, Joey Vera, Glenn Hughes, Jeff Pilson, Doug Aldrich, Terry Ilous and Eddie Trunk, who hosts most of the Dio Cancer Fund events.Continue reading
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, founded in memory of the late rock music legend, commemorated the 10th anniversary of his passing and the formation of the charity with its 10th Anniversary Memorial Awards Gala held on February 20, 2020 at the Avalon Hollywood. Hosted Eddie Trunk (That Metal Show, SiriusXM Trunk Nation), the organization recognized honorees in eight categories—each named after songs written by Ronnie James Dio–who have played a role in either Dio’s legacy or that of the charity. Live entertainment was provided by Ronnie James Dio’s live band Dio, featuring vocalists Tim “Ripper” Owens and Oni Logan, and band members Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Scott Warren and Bjorn Englen, and highlighted by the vocals and visuals of Ronnie James Dio. Los Angeles comedian Brian Posehn, in addition, his comedic duties, performed a song from his upcoming GRANDPA METAL album accompanied by Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning), while local rockers Sadie & the Tribe opened the festivities with their set. Check out these EXCLUSIVE photos by Tyler Kanode of Brilliant Reverie Photography. Continue reading
In major news for Heavy Metal fans, legends Mercyful Fate, featuring King Diamond will reunite their “9” lineup in 2020 to perform at the Copenhell Festival, presumably other major European summer metal festivals and unspecified other concerts. These shows will also feature Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Motor Sister, ex-Anthrax) on bass, but does not include Michael Denner. The set list will apparently include only songs from the “mini LP”, the “Melissa” album, and the “Don’t Break The Oath”. The band has also written new music for the tour, for release next year and are planning a major stage show to accompany these concerts. Continue reading
Within the parameters of Los Angeles, rock music often spawns in the most unlikeliest of places. For Motor Sister, it came together at a birthday party with five people performing music from a defunct band which was brought back to life. Their début album Ride is the result of the love of one band’s music that they felt more people needed to hear.
Motor Sister is the somewhat alter ego of the long time Los Angeles based musician Jim Wilson’s band Mother Superior. The band called it quits in 2009, but the interest in their music from fans was still there. Then came Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian’s 50th birthday party at his home. Wilson explained how the whole scenario took place.
“When Scott started hassling me about the original idea, they made a poster that said Mother Superior and that’s what they sent out to their friends. We weren’t making a new band. We were having a party and having a good time. By using Mother Superior lives, it’s kind of saying we’re playing these songs and with a skeleton head on the flier.”
“Word got back via Neil Zlozower (veteran LA photographer). He did all of the old Van Halen and the Motley Crue album covers. He was at the party. He did two of the Mother Superior covers – the one on Triple X (2001’s Mother Superior) album and the Deep (1998 on Top Beat Records) album. When it came time to have the party, he was on the list. Neil had to be there. So he was the one who made the call to Metal Blade on the Monday morning after the party. He made the call on our behalf to Mike [Faley] from Metal Blade and talked about the party and seeing us. He hyped it up. So he dug further and approached us about making a record. There were some hardcore Mother Superior fans there. I’m not lying but there were some people tearing up because they hadn’t heard it for so long and joy was in the air. We finished the first song and the band looked at each other and laughed. Some people hadn’t experienced anything like it. They were emotional. A friend of ours had a list of every Mother Superior show she had been to, and she thinks she’s seen about 95% of every show from the earliest days. That’s how long she’s been following us. That kind of fan was really touched. We didn’t know where to begin. We just figured let’s just get together and do this. But when the Metal Blade thing came around, they asked Scott first. Scott said it’s all up to Jim if he wants to go back there or not.”
“I had such a good time and I had nothing but respect for Mother Superior. It’s been a little difficult with the old members… I’m sure they’re happy the music’s getting out again. We didn’t part as the greatest of friends. It’s hard to go to them and say ‘hey guys everything’s great.’ But it wasn’t me trying to form a new band. This kind of happened organically and the response is what’s keeping it going, and more so than anything it’s been the music. We can’t complain about that.”
Their début album Ride was based on the set list of songs played at that party, and somewhat of a Mother Superior best of record. The band who performed then (Wilson, Ian, co-vocalist Pearl Aday, bassist Joey Vera and drummer John Tempesta) became the band who recorded the album, with producer Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther) overseeing the recording sessions.
“I know the twelve songs that are on the album is the actual twelve song list that Scott came up with himself for his birthday party. So those are the ones that he came up with off the top of his head, and after he sent the email to myself, Johnny, Joey and Pearl saying these are the songs for the party, a week later he said ‘oh shit, I forgot ‘Rolling Boy Blues.’ I forgot ‘Five Star.’ We kept it at those original twelve. We did “Rolling Boy Blues” as the encore for the New York show. We are open to other ones. We are starting to write new songs as well. The album’s been done for six months now recording wise. We need to get the cover and the release schedule. It takes a little while for the label to get it all together. In that time, we’ve been talking about making another record with some original tunes too. So maybe the next album might be 75% all brand new and a couple that we left off.”
While the twelve songs chosen for the set list that evening were compiled by Ian, Wilson himself talked about songs left off that evening he may have also added.
“The one I was surprised that we didn’t pick was from our very first album (1993’s Right in a Row) called “The Wiggle.” It seemed like one of those rock songs and every time we play it someone would yell ‘The Wiggle!’. We always ended up playing it. It’s a good jam. We were so young. I was in my early 20s and barely had any beer in that time. It was many beers ago!”
Wilson shared how he first met Ian, which he knew was a Mother Superior fan from the early years.
“It was the Viper Room. It was around the Deep album in 1998,” he said, recalling that moment. “I do remember when we played and where the Club Lingerie was on Sunset Boulevard, and at one point it was taken over by John Bush (Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax vocalist) and some of the Armored Saint guys when John was in Anthrax. They sponsored the club. Scott was probably at that show because I remember meeting John Bush. I remember meeting Scott at the KNAC Anniversary show at the Palladium in 1999. It was Skid Row, Rollins Band and Anthrax played. I met Scott backstage.”
Ironically, Wilson shared a story about him nearly becoming a touring mate of Ian’s.
“I heard a rumor. I’ve never confirmed this with Scott before but Henry told me that when we were about to go on our first Rollins Band tour and according to Henry, Scott said ‘what’s Jim doing this summer? We might need a replacement Anthrax guitarist because our guitarist can’t make the tour.’ Henry said we’re going out and doing our first shows. Henry told me that at the time and I was tripping like ‘what?! I could have had the chance to play with Anthrax! Hey Henry – shouldn’t you have asked me first? – just kidding!”
Wilson also nearly got to share the stage with another idol of his, but due to scheduling conflicts, it ended after a few rehearsals. But the fact he got to audition meant a lot to him.
“Another friend of mine was playing with Dave Davies of the Kinks at the same time. Dave Davies was looking for a bass player and my friend asked if I had a good choice for that. I said of course. I went to audition for Dave Davies and I got the gig, and they were supposed to go out a month before the Rollins shows started. I told Dave that I was playing with Henry, and Dave was a big Henry fan. He was super excited to have me in his band. When I got the call from Dave Davies, saying he had to push the tour back to this time. So I told him I was going out with Rollins, so I didn’t get to tour with Dave Davies but was in the band for a minute. I got to rehearse with him a couple of times and play 35 different Kinks songs.”
They are a group of musicians whose collective musical pedigrees speak for themselves. Mother Superior founder, guitarist, and vocalist Jim Wilson fronts the band, with Anthrax‘s Scott Ian on guitar, Pearl Aday on backing vocals, Joey Vera on bass, and John Tempesta on drums. They are supporting their debut album Ride, out now via Metal Blade Records.
“Motor Sister is a group of musicians whose collective musical pedigrees speak for themselves.” Mother Superior founder, guitarist, and vocalist Jim Wilson fronts the band, with Anthrax’s Scott Ian on guitar, Pearl Aday on backing vocals, Joey Vera on bass, and John Tempesta on drums.
The group was originally assembled to jam for Scott Ian’s fiftieth birthday party. Thanks to Scott’s wife Pearl Aday, who has been working on her solo career with Mother Superior front man Jim Wilson for years, all it took was a quick phone call and the stage was literally set for Scott’s dream gig. “I wanted to cherry-pick a set list of my favorite Mother Superior songs and get these guys together and have the concert at my house,” Ian says of the event that eventually led to an album. That album became known as Motor Sister’s Ride.
Stream the video for “Fork In The Road” below.
What started as a one-time jam for Scott Ian’s 50th birthday party, Motor Sister is a semi-super-group minus all the hype. Scott wanted a cover band to play his party, and for him to play in; one to play the jams of his favorite LA rock band: Mother Superior. While not a household name, Mother Superior was a good rock band with some kickass songs for the better part of 20 years, and included a stint as Henry Rollins’ backing band. The party came and went, but the experience sat in Ian’s mind and he felt that if they could capture the spontaneity of how the jam came together on a record, it might be something special. Metal Blade agreed, the band recorded with Anthrax house producer Jay Ruston and Motor Sister and Ride were born.
Motor Sister suffers from none of trappings of a lame vanity project, mostly due to Jim Wilson. Jim is not just a songcraft master and strong riffer, he has a voice of gold. He has power and soul, and never over reaches for notes. His voice is also happily absent of the hideous fake growly blues quality so many try out and fail. In addition to Jim chipping in his own harmonies, Scott’s wife Pearl sings back-up on many tracks, adding in her sassy, powerhouse delivery. Their voices work off each other to great effect. The lead track ‘A-Hole’ is feisty like a lost AC/DC or Thin Lizzy song. ‘This Song Reminds Me of You’ starts out with slinky riff and then drops into an old-school vamp. ‘Beg Borrow Steal’, and ‘Fork In the Road’ are pretty badass concoctions too. The terrain stays adventurous too with the epic closer ‘Devil Wind’.
In addition to Ian and Wilson on guitar, the real treat of the album comes from the rhythm section of Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Anthrax) on bass and John Tempesta (Testament, Exodus, White Zombie, The Cult) They are locked in tight every measure. If you love simple, well-written rock music with some occasional heaviness, Motor Sister is right up your dirty back alley.