Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces of Rock recently conducted an interview with SAINT VITUS guitarist Dave Chandler, who talks about the making of “Lillie: F-65″, which arrived earlier this year and is their first since 1995’s “Die Healing” as well as their first with Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals since 1989’s “V”. He also talks about the band’s original drummer Armando Acosta (who died in 2010) and their legacy.
How would you describe the new songs?
Well, I try to keep them true to what we do. I wanted them to be modern enough, so the kids, like younger kids, or maybe kids getting into us, may be able to enjoy it. But at the same time, I wanted to keep it the same, the old way, so the old fans would dig it. I personally hate it, when a band reforms and they don’t sound anything like they were. I think that’s just ridiculous. So, I try to get it to come out that way, and it seems to work. A lot of people say the new album sounds like it was recorded in the early 90s. So, I’m very happy with that assumption. That’s what I was striving for.
And the general response from the fans to the new record?
Oh, it’s really good. It’s really cool. I guess during that time we were gone, doom metal became a legitimate genre. There are bunch of newer bands that play doom metal, and they cite us as the influence. So, during that time we were gone, many people who never heard of us before got into us through seeing other bands wearing our shirts, and talking about us. So, when we came out again, they wanted to see the band everyone was talking about over the years. There were all kinds of weird rumors about us circulating.
What is the meaning of the album title?
It’s like a double meaning. If you look at the artwork, the girls is like an addict, left behind in the deserted hospital. Her name is Lillie, F stands for female, patient number 65. And she’s deserted, and whole concept of the album is the weird trip that she goes through when she realizes that she stuck in there. And if you take it literally, Lillie: F65 is a barbiturate that was popular when we were in high school, and we used to take it all the time. I used to take it all the time. It’s basically a horse tranquilizer. It’s just a little thing for the fans to puzzle over.
Unfortunately, your longtime drummer, Armando Acosta, who is no longer in the band, passed away recently. Care to say few things about him?
Well, you know, unfortunately, Armando got real sick, and he didn’t want to go to the doctor. He was pretty much in denial, he couldn’t play anymore, even told Mark and me, “I can’t play anymore.” We did Roadburn Festival with him, and it was like three shows after that, he just couldn’t do it anymore. So, we had to hire somebody to do the Hellfest show, and I’ve already played with Henry in DEBRIS INC. so he was my first pick. As for Armando, like I said before, he refused to go to the doctor, and everything caught up with him, and he passed away, which is terrible. Since I’m the leader of the band sort of speak, I was the one who had to call him and tell him he was not in the band anymore. Of course he got mad, and talked a bunch about it on the internet, which was expected. But, unfortunately, that was the last time that I got to speak to him when he was pissed at me, so he passed away being mad at me. I feel crappy for that, but we begged him to go to the doctor, and he just refused.
What general memories do you have of Armando?
He was always a good guy. He was always a joker, always doing stupid, silly kid jokes. Saying stupid things, and making us laugh. He was really cool and fun to jam with all those years. He was a good guy.
After all that hard work in the ’80s and ’90s, were you surprised by the legacy you’ve left behind?
I was very pleasantly surprised. We quit in 1995 because it didn’t make any difference, and it didn’t. Nobody gave a shit at all, except for us. We’d figured, that’s it. And once this started happening, we were like, “What the hell is going on?” People were bringing their children to us who grew up listening to us. It’s a really good feeling to know that all the hard work we actually did, did something. We just didn’t know about it.
The rest of the interview can be read here.
Photo by Metal Chris.