Metallica once attempted to recruit a different frontman, says James Hetfield

(Image credit: Gina Wetzler/Getty Images)

Metallica once attempted to recruit a different vocalist in their early days, according to James Hetfield.

In a new segment on Sirius XM's Mandatory Metallica radio station entitled Road Dog Brothers, Hetfield says a lot of Metallica's “early memories were celebrated with a band called Armored Saint”.

“[They] were a fellow LA band back in the early '80s when we were getting started,” he says. [Their frontman] John Bush was a singer we got to know really well, [and we] really, really tried to get him into the band as a singer. It didn't work out.”

“He was very dedicated and very in love with what he was doing with his brothers in Armored Saint, and we absolutely respect that,” Hetfield continues.

“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.”

In an interview transcribed by Blabbermouth, John Bush said: “Metallica did ask me to join, but I said no for all the right reasons. 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...

“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.”

It's the 30th anniversary of The Black Album, and Metallica are celebrating in style. Last month, the band released The Metallica Blacklist, a monstrous tribute album in which 53 unique artists cover their favorite Black Album tracks.

Highlights of the release include a hip-hop reworking of Wherever I May Roam by J Balvin, a haunting reimagining of Enter Sandman by Ghost, and an industrial take on Sad But True by St. Vincent.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.