Motor Sister - Joey Vera

Motor Sister - Joey Vera

MOTOR SISTER is really a project playing MOTHER SUPERIOR songs, having original singer Jim Wilson behind the mic, along with Scott Ian, Pearl Aday, John Tempesta and, last but not least, Joey Vera. METAL KAOZ got on the phone with the MOTOR SISTER bassist to learn more about this project and get also an update on the ARMORED SAINT and FATES WARNING doings, so check below how things went down.

Hi Joey and welcome to METAL KAOZ.
Hello Dimitris, how are you?

I am freezing here in Chicago.
Sorry to hear that, it’s like 78F degrees here today.

Come on…
I had to say that... (laughs)

Anyway, I think it’s better to talk about music. First of all, how was the MOTOR SISTER show at the Saint Vitus club?
It was a killer and this is a cool venue to play; it was a packed house with 300 people. Scott [Ian] and John [Tempesta] are from the New York area, so there were so many friends there from back in the day and the show had some kind of a family vibe; it was really cool. MOTOR SISTER played great and, in fact, this was the first time for us playing live as a band.

Well, it was the second one if you count Scott’s birthday party, right?
Yeah, but that was a little bit different because it was a private party with just 20 people inside a jam room with a small stage a PA system.

How long did it take for you to say ‘yes’ when he asked you about playing at Scott’s party?
(laughs) It took me like five seconds... I got the call from Scott ‘cause he was the one who put this together and had the idea; I was going to his party anyway but he told me about doing this thing and play some MOTHER SUPERIOR songs live and then asked if I was into it. My reply was “of course, I am” without thinking twice about it; it was a no brainer for me.

I don’t know if you are a MOTHER SUPERIOR fan but I know that you have worked with this band as a producer, correct?
The back story to this is that Scott introduced me MOTHER SUPERIOR sometime around 2004 and since then I became friends with them and then I became a fan, went to see them live anytime they played and then I worked with them for a couple of records, mixed some songs, mastered some albums. So yes, I am a fan of MOTHER SUPERIOR and since then I have worked with Jim in several projects and also played with him in Pearl’s side project which is more of a Country kind of a thing and in other occasions but not in this music environment playing loud Rock ‘N’ Roll. So, this was the first time we were jamming together and it felt great. This was the back story to this and why I didn’t think much about saying ‘yes’ to Scott. I mean, Jim is our friend and it will be amazing to play some MOTHER SUPERIOR songs.

And who threw the idea of getting in the studio and record these songs?
Well, this kind of happened organically. A couple of days after the party the photographer Neil Zlozower is friends with Mike Faley who works at Metal Blade Records and they were on the phone talking about something totally unrelated and Neil mentioned the party at Scott Ian’s house and told him the whole story. Neil is also a MOTHER SUPERIOR fan, so he was very enthusiastic about us playing at the party and described this to Mike like something that would be great for Metal Blade to put out. And when Mike went to my wife’s office, who also works for Metal Blade, he told her “hey, why didn’t you tell me about this party and how come I wasn’t invited” and “why were you holding this from me” and she said “wait a minute; this was just a private and this was a jam”. And he said that we should do something about and my wife agreed that it would be great if they could talk us into this. He said “go make them an offer” and she called Jim and Scott and told them...

That’s cool! Is it true that it took you just two days to record “Ride”?
Yeah, and to continue the story about when the idea came up to do a record, we thought that we wouldn’t go to make a huge production and spends months working on in it. The only way we agreed to do this was to try and capture the energy and the vibe we had at the party. So, the decision was to record this live and that’s exactly what we did. We did six songs per day and we had everyone in the same room playing together with no overdubs. The only thing we end up doing again was recording the vocals because even though we had vocal-mics in the room and it was too loud in there to make them work. So, we had to redo the singing and - of course - Jim and Pearl did the vocals in one day and plus one more song which was incredible.

This was like the old days when bands did not spend months and months working in the studio…
Yeah, and that was the whole thing; we went in, setup the drums and got the drums sound in two hours - seriously it was that quick. I mean, normally when you’re making a record, you can spend 14-hour work days and even longer just to get the drums’ sound. But we went in, set everything up and started recording.

Were you involved at all in producing, mixing or mastering the album?
No, Jay Ruston who is another close friend of everybody and has worked on my projects was involved in this. He came and helped us capture the album live; he is a killer engineer, knows the studio well and he was instrumental in setting up the sound so quickly.

Listening to you talking about MOTOR SISTER, I’d say that this would be just a one-time thing, but still are there any plans to maybe write new music?
We haven’t thought about it until recently because people asking the same question about the future of MOTOR SISTER and where it is going; considering that we have so much fun and work great together and this is a without-pressure situation - it’s not like our carriers depend on this - we decided to see what we can do and write a few songs. We are going to start writing stuff together really soon because there is no reason for us to wait for next year. So, the plan is to start writing for the next couple of months and see what will happen.

That’s great Joey, and what about getting MOTOR SISTER on the road?
We played Brooklyn two weeks again and we’re playing on March 11th and March 12th in Hollywood at the Whiskey and San Francisco and these are all we have planned right now. And then I think Scott will go on tour with ANTHRAX and VOLBEAT so at that point we will try to fit MOTOR SISTER in our schedules. I mean, we love playing these songs live and like I said, it is so much fun doing it, so as long as we can make it work financially and at least we can break even, we will definitely do it.

And speaking of schedules, what is the latest updates on ARMORED SAINT?
The new album is completed and we’re just finishing the artwork. The album will be released on June 02nd via Metal Blade Records and we have some live dates booked in May; we have two shows on the East Coast, two shows in Texas and two shows on the West Coast with SAXON. All through Summer we’re playing in European festivals like ‘Hellfest’ in France, ‘Wacken’ in Germany and in late July we’re going to do 10 more shows there; four shows with QUEENSRŸCHE so we will be very busy.

Awesome, and what is the title of the album?
The record is called “Win Hands Down”.

Can we expect ARMORED SAINT live in Chicago any time soon?
Yeah, I hope so because we love playing in Chicago. ARMORED SAINT always does well there and we always have great shows there. We’re going to put something together during late Summer to play in Chicago, Detroit, Michigan and places around there...

I am going to hold you accountable on this, Joey and if you don’t come, I will call you again…
Yeah, please call me and remind me, Dimitris because we are really trying to make this happen.

And what about FATES WARNING? Any news there?
FATES WARNING were on a writing hiatus and we have just started writing material for a new record. We have loosely talked about maybe taking a break between now and the end of the year to do a couple of week of shows but nothing is confirmed; it’s just an idea floating around.

Some years ago, you did a really cool album under the name BASSINVADERS with Markus Grosskopf; so are there any thoughts of doing something like this again with just bass guitars?
No, I haven’t thought about it, but it would be a good thing to do though.

Thank you, Joey for your time and hope to see you soon onstage.
Thank you, Dimitris for calling, take care.

EARTHEN GRAVE - RELENTLESS re-edit w/ Studio track