Metallica frontman James Hetfield has opened up about his band’s attempt to recruit a different vocalist during their early days. Hetfield was recently invited to host a new segment on SiriusXM’s Mandatory Metallica station, Road Dog Brothers, in which he talks about “the bands we’ve toured with, causing chaos, joy [and] debauchery”.
During the segment, Hetfield recalled Metallica’s early days on the road, describing some of the antics they got up to. “A lot of those early memories were celebrated with a band called Armored Saint, who were a fellow LA band back in the early ’80s when [Metallica] was getting started,” he told listeners.
“John Bush was a singer we got to know really well, and really, really tried to get him into the band as a singer,” he added. But as Hetfield explained, the attempt proved fruitless. According to Hetfield, Bush was “dedicated and very in love with what he was doing with his brothers in Armored Saint. And we absolutely respect that,” he said, before adding: “But we got to hear them and love them every single night. We did get a crew member from them, our buddy Zach Harmon, who was running their whole show.”
John Bush is reported to have said that he turned down Metallica’s offer “for all the right reasons,” adding, “People must think that’s crazy, but you have to remember the scene then. Metallica was nobody. Armored Saint was hot; you have to remember that. Also, I was very tight with the [Armored Saint] guys, back to elementary school in fact. Armored Saint was getting interest from all kinds of places, and we had a lot of people starting to turn up at shows.”
Metallica, of course, went on to become one of the biggest-selling heavy rock bands of all time – and they’re still standing. Recently, Lars Ulrich teased fans with the prospect that “there’s new music coming” from Metallica, but explained, as of yet, “there’s nothing cohesive” in terms of a follow-up to 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.
The band, as Ulrich explained, have been working on new material over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with James Hetfield confirming that they have written over ten new songs together over Zoom during quarantine.
Check out the whole segment with James Hetfield below.