James Hetfield hosts a segment on SiriusXM‘s Mandatory Metallica channel called “Road Dog Brothers,” where the vocalist tells stories from touring with other bands throughout METALLICA‘s career.
Hetfield revealed that other singers who were being considered for the frontman position in METALLICA included Jess Cox of Newcastle, England’s TYGERS OF PAN TANG and John Bush of ARMORED SAINT (and later ANTHRAX), who actually turned the offer down.
“A lot of those early memories were celebrated with a band called ARMORED SAINT, who were a fellow L.A. band back in the early ’80s,” Hetfield recalled recalled.
“When we were getting started, obviously John Bush was a singer we got to know really well. [We] really, really tried to get him into the band as a singer, it didn’t work out. He was dedicated and very in love with what he was doing with his brothers in ARMORED SAINT. And we absolutely respect that.”
“METALLICA did ask me to join, but I said no for all the right reasons,” Bush later said in an interview. “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 came to see SAINT at a gig in Anaheim, at The Woodstock in 1982. I heard they were interested in asking me to join, which they did later. The thing was that METALLICA was this new kind of thing, and nobody back then. I don’t care what they say now; nobody could have predicted what would happen. I didn’t know the guys either, so there was no real interest. It was great to be asked — in fact, a lot of people asked — but ARMORED SAINT was really strong.
“Some time after Kill ‘Em All had come out, I heard the same thing again, but I never understood that because James was singing great then and he was doing a great job. I understood the lack of confidence back in ’82 but not for Ride The Lightning. James owns that record.”