John Bush (Armored Saint)

  • Interview by: Madhav R
  • Date: March 28, 2017

Throughout their chequered history, Armored Saint have maintained a quality and commitment to their sound that has firmly stood the test of time. Our associate writer Thumri got a chance to speak to frontman John Bush, and explore their long spanning career.

HBI: So it’s been less than a year since you were last in the UK, is that right?
JB: We played in London in July of last year, sort of as a one of show prior to playing a festival in Barcelona. But we purposely skipped London on this trip, because every time we came here, it seems like we only ever played London, and we had some people say: stop just playing London!. So that’s why we decided to go to Manchester, and Birmingham, and Belfast. And we played last night at the Hammerfest festival in Wales. So, we are trying to come to places that we have never been, including Manchester, and we’re excited to be here tonight.

HBI: When you look back thirtyish years, did you think Armored Saint would still be going?
JB: I think that is one of the things that we’ve always yearned to do – to have longevity. I always say that you can’t determine how big you’re going to be, or how many records you’re going to sell. A lot of these things are just out of your hands. You’d like to say that you have control over that, but the truth is: you really don’t. What you can have control over is how well you perform, the quality of your records, and how much endurance you have – and Armored Saint has a lot.

HBI: I wasn’t actually there, but I’ve seen the footage of Keep it True, 2009, and I’m just so jealous of anyone that was. What was that like – knowing that you were playing to a room of people that worshipped you?
JB: It’s always really fun to do big, cool festivals in Germany, although that one is a little smaller and more intimate. It was great – there are very loyal fans that go to that particular festival. They love old school metal, and it was fun for Armored Saint to be the headlining band that night.
We’re a band that can play wherever. Last night we played the Hammerfest and it was a big room, at a fairly happening festival, and it was great to play. And tonight, there’s carpets on stage and it’s kind of like we’re playing in someone’s living room, as Joey said earlier. So, whatever you’ve got, whatever situation it is – we’ll roll with it.

HBI: You must be sick to the teeth of being asked about it, but – the Metallica reunion shows – what were they like, given that you and Joey both turned down Metallica at different points in your careers?
JB: I think Joey had an offer to come and audition to try out for Metallica, I don’t know if he was the guy chosen for that position. When the job was offered to me it was actually before Kill ’em All was even recorded – so long ago. We did numerous shows with Metallica, a lot of touring in the early days, had the same management, and became friends with them. I think that friendship has lasted over a long stretch of time, even if we go through periods of no communication.
First they offered Armored Saint to play the show, to open one of the nights. They also then asked me if I wanted to do a song, and play on ‘what if this is how we might have sounded’, and I was honoured, of course. We chose The Four Hoursemen, or I think I did, and it was killer. It was a memorable night in all capacities. The way they set up that whole thing was really cool, kind of like story-telling, where they were just talking to people, introducing various artistes. On the night we played, King Diamond, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull were there – it was just an awesome night. It was a cool thing to be part of and we’ll always treasure it.

HBI: Did you ever have a moment of ‘oh – this could have been me’?
JB: I never really think of myself as the guy who should’ve been in Metallica. I just never do. I don’t need that kind of pressure – to have affected heavy metal, possibly. I don’t need that. I just never see anybody other than Hetfield being the singer of Metallica. It never should be anybody but him. It was not my destiny, and that’s just the way it is. No biggie, it’s all good. I mean, I’ll take a little bit more of the money that maybe I didn’t get, maybe a couple of bucks? Nah – I’m joking.

Read the entire interview on Thumri’s site!