Metallica’s James Hetfield Shares A New Band That ‘Surprised’ Him And Brought Smile To His Face

During a recent episode of “The Metallica Report,” a podcast dedicated to providing weekly insider updates on Metallica, James Hetfield discussed his current musical interests. When asked about new music that has caught his attention lately, Hetfield shared his thoughts on the challenge of discovering fresh tunes in today’s music landscape.

He admitted to often relying on Sirius XM and playlists for music, noting the ease of sticking to familiar tracks. Reflecting on his radio listening habits, Hetfield mentioned being pleasantly surprised by a band called Category 7. He expressed admiration for the vocals, which he later recognized as belonging to John Bush of Armored Saint, a vocalist Metallica once considered for their lineup.

Category 7, featuring prominent figures like Phil Demmel from Machine Head and Jack Gibson from Exodus, alongside Bush, has caught Hetfield’s ear with their upcoming self-titled debut album set to release on July 26 under Metal Blade Records.

“I guess the newest thing that I was surprised by and really made me smile was Category 7, a band that’s kind of a collaboration of few people,” James said. “I was listening to it, I’m going, ‘That voice is awesome. And it sounds very familiar.’ It was fricking John Bush, our singer that we never got.

In the early 1980s, Metallica invited John Bush to become their lead singer. After releasing Kill ‘Em All, James Hetfield began to doubt his singing abilities and wanted to concentrate on playing guitar. Hetfield personally approached Bush with the offer, but Bush declined, choosing to stay loyal to Armored Saint.

In a previous revelation from 2021, Hetfield also discussed considering other vocalists like Jess Cox of Tygers Of Pan Tang and John Bush for Metallica’s frontman role.

“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.”