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Join Metallica? Too much pressure, says John Bush

Ex Anthrax singer John doesn’t regret saying no to thrash giants in 1980s

Ex Anthrax singer John Bush doesn’t regret saying no when Metallica asked him to join them in the early 1980s – because he believes the pressure would have been too great.

The thrash giants invited him to become their frontman after the release of debut album Kill ‘Em All, because James Hetfield wasn’t happy with the vocal role alongside his guitar duties.

But the only other man in the frame preferred to remain with Armored Saint, who release seventh album Win Hands Down in June.

Bush tells National Rock Review: “It’s something that always resurfaces in my life, and I find it funny.

“I felt complimented when the band was proposing the ides to me. But it just wasn’t my destiny to be in Metallica. I would have changed the face of heavy metal – and I don’t need that pressure.”

He adds: “James is an incredible vocalist. He really developed through the years and I can’t imagine anyone else there.”

He’s previously explained how he felt loyal to Armored Saint, made up of old school friends. Now he says: “What people don’t understand is that even though Metallica was garnering fame and attention, Armored Saint was becoming popular and doing well.

“For me to leave all the guys I grew up with wasn’t something that sounded appealing to me at the time.”

But he believes it would have been a “much bigger mistake” to refuse the Anthrax role, which he held between 1992 and 2005, then again in 2010. 

Bush reflects: “I feel like we made some cool records along the way. We had a lot of history and a lot of experiences.”

Referring to classic-era frontman Joey Belladonna’s return he says: “It was time to move on for both parties. I think people are happy that Joey’s back, and Armored Saint is a comfortable place for me to be.

“But it takes nothing away from what we did.”

Armored Saint play London’s Electric Ballroom on August 6, then at Bloodstock, Catton Park, Derby, on August 7. Anthrax have nearly finished their next album while Metallica continue work on theirs – despite guitarist Kirk Hammett losing 250 riffs when his phone went missing.

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