Armored Saint and Fates Warning bassist Joey Vera has a story similar to many of us as kids, dating back to before he even picked up an instrument. “When I was getting into hard rock and music in the mid-70s and the late ‘70s, at that point I was just playing a tennis racket in the mirror and doing my best to mock all the favorite bands I was listening to," says the bassist to kick off this edition of Gear Factor.

But what was the song that finally got him to give up the "racket" to make some racket? "It wasn’t until I heard KISS Alive I and that song ‘Deuce’ was the thing that really did it for me. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s so heavy,” recalled the bassist, rocking out a bit of the KISS classic.

In this edition, Vera really takes us through some of the history of his favorite Armored Saint moments. He recalls the first song he ever wrote for the band being a track called "Madhouse." "It was just a song I brought to the band and I believe it was just a bunch of riffs I had that collectively we arranged it into the song because we had small three-song EP. Vera says the song has a bit of a nod to Motorhead, whom the band would go on to open for.

Though known as a thrash band, Vera says he mostly gravitates to the more groove-oriented stuff in their catalog. Taking it back to the Delirious Nomad album, he rocks a bit of "You're Never Alone." "It just has a real solid bass line that grooves with the kick drum," says Vera. "I always appreciated that that the kick and the bass just locked in together. It’s something I’m always looking for, especially nowadays.”

He also pulls out a bit of a rarity, a track called "Legacy" from the Raising Fear album. "It’s very challenging for me still even today," says the bassist.

We also asked Joey some of his favorites from Armored Saint's latest album, Punching the Sky. He immediately singled out the album opener, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants."

"The bass groove, I was sort of thinking of a Phil Lynott type of thing when I was writing and playing it. And yes, I did use a pick on the record. I just felt it added a lot to the part and I always pay attention to that. So whatever the song wants, the song gets.”

He also digs into another track called "Lone Wolf," admitting his love for adding some R&B flavor to the song. “The intro’s cool too cause I wanted it to sound super dark and get your attention so what better way to do that than to let a little Black Sabbath come into the picture," he adds. Take a listen toward the end of the video.

Both "Lone Wolf" and "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" features on Armored Saint's latest effort. Punching the Sky will be available as of Oct. 23. You can go ahead and pre-order the album here (as Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases). While Vera remained focused on Armored Saint, a band he's been with since their beginning, he also has a new record with Fates Warning, Long Day, Good Night, out Nov. 6, also on Metal Blade. Get your copy here.

Armored Saint's Joey Vera Plays His Favorite Bass Riffs

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