Saint Vitus the Band Talk About Playing Saint Vitus the Venue

Saint Vitus the Band Talk About Playing Saint Vitus the Venue

On Tuesday night, for the first time, the quintessential doom metal band Saint Vitus is playing the venue Saint Vitus in Brooklyn. For those not acquainted with the band or with the bar, this probably just sounds confusing. But for fans of both, it's a really huge deal.

The venue Saint Vitus is a little more than one year old; the co-owners named it after the band, who in the '80s pioneered the now-classic doom sound with down-tuned guitar and unhurried stoner pace. (The band took their name from a Black Sabbath song, so the bar's name pays homage to that, as well.)

Over the past year, Saint Vitus the venue has quickly become a metalhead hangout and has hosted countless shows, from local acts to national tours. But Saint Vitus performing for the first time at the bar that bears their name promises to be the most significant event yet. In fact, it's already sold out.

Founding Saint Vitus guitarist Dave Chandler spoke to us from his home in New Orleans prior to the launch of this tour. He even gave us the scoop on the whereabouts of the untraceable original vocalist, Scott Reagers.

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Many people refer to Saint Vitus as the first doom metal band, but a lot of bands today balk at the word "doom." What are your feelings on that classification?

That's just something the media slapped onto everyone. The first doom band obviously was Sabbath. And then in the early days there was us and Pentagram and Trouble and Witchfinder General, but no one knew about each other, so we all thought we were on our own. But we had never heard of [doom], ever. We never thought of it until the second tour we did of Europe in 1989, and the posters said "Godfathers of Doom." I asked the record company, "What is doom?" And they said, "That's what you play."

I don't really care if they're going to call us doom, but I could understand how now it's almost becoming cliché, which is sad, because it was like a super-underground thing. Then, in the 20 years we were gone, it got big, which was good, but now I've met quite a few bands who say: "We don't like to be called doom. We want to be called metal." Well, whatever, man. The media's going to call you what they're going to call you, and you really can't do anything about it.

You're touring with Scott Weinrich on vocals -- the Born Too Late lineup. But your earliest albums had Scott Reagers singing. Where is he these days?

We keep in touch with him. Mark [Adams] does more than me because they both live in California. . . . [Scott Reagers] works at a company, and he repairs their machines. I guess that's the best way to say it. And when he needs extra money, he does a bartending job.

He's not with his wife anymore, and his kids are all grown, but he has a new little kid with a new girl.


Why does he seem reclusive? There's hardly anything about him online.

If he's still the same way he was, he doesn't like stuff like that. So he would never, ever be on a Facebook or a Myspace. There's like no way. When he was raising his kids with his wife, they weren't even allowed to watch TV. They homeschooled. So there's no way he's going to get into the, quote, social network, unquote.

The first Saint Vitus album, from 1984, is considered a classic now. It's our favorite of yours.

The first one is actually a live album. We played it live in the studio, no overdubs, no nothing. Just like practice. We had no time. We had, like 24 hours. We just went into this weird, giant warehouse and put blockades between the amps and just played it exactly like rehearsal.

How many takes did you do of each song?

One. . . . At that time, we were practicing like five days a week. The only thing we had to do over was the one mistake on "The Psychopath," or something, and someone had to pop in a note.

How did the Saint Vitus at Saint Vitus show come about?

A mutual friend. . . . She lives right there [by the bar]. And she goes: "Yeah, they named it after you guys. They would love you guys to play there." So I told my manager [to] talk to the booking agent, and tell them. . . . I want to play there. He called them, and they said yes. So it's going to be Saint Vitus at Saint Vitus. I think that's going to be really cool.

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