James Hetfield’s iconic “Yeah!” is one of the signature components of Metallica’s music, but the frontman has actually revealed that he wasn’t the band’s first choice to be their singer.
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. During this particular installation, Hetfield focused on Armored Saint.
“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,” the frontman 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,” he continued.
While they didn’t get to steal Armored Saint’s singer, they did end up getting to work with one of the group’s crew members, Zach Harmon.
Listen to the audio clip below.
Bush explained why he declined to work with Metallica during an interview with National Rock Review a couple of years ago. “What people don’t understand is that even though Metallica was garnering fame and attention, Armored Saint was becoming popular and doing well,” he said. “For me to leave all the guys I grew up with wasn’t something that sounded appealing to me at the time.”
“I felt complimented when the band was proposing the ideas to me. But it just wasn’t my destiny to be in Metallica,” Bush continued. “I would have changed the face of heavy metal, and I don’t need that pressure. James is an incredible vocalist. He really developed through the years, and I can’t imagine anyone else there.”