JOHN BUSH: Rejoining ANTHRAX On A Permanent Basis 'Didn't Feel Right'

Former ANTHRAX and current ARMORED SAINT vocalist John Bush was interviewed by host Victor M. Ruiz for the latest episode of the "Mars Attacks" podcast. You can now stream the podcast using the audio player below.

On being asked to sing for METALLICA in the early '80s and his decision to join ANTHRAX in 1992:

Bush: "[Joining METALLICA] just wasn't my fate, it wasn't my destiny. It would have changed metal in the most gigantic of ways and I wasn't meant to do that. Of course I was always flattered that those guys had an interest in me way back. You've gotta remember — this was, like, around [the time of the release of METALLICA's] 'Kill 'Em All' [1983]. It was way back early in the stages of their career and ARMORED SAINT. And ARMORED SAINT was doing well; we were starting to escalate in our popularity. So I didn't wanna just go join some other band. I was , like, 'Hey, this is my band, these are my friends. You guys are great, but I'm cool here.' So it wasn't my destiny and I can't even imagine what life would have been like; who knows what would have happened? I would say it would have much more of a bigger mistake to not join ANTHRAX. 'Cause by then my career already had gone through about eight or nine years, so it was the right time for me to do that. If I would have not done that, that probably would have been a large mistake. I'm all good with the way my rock and roll career has gone . . . It's just about timing; it, really, was more about that than anything. The timing seemed right. I think ARMORED SAINT had exnhausted everything we could do and it was time for us to take a break, and that's what we did. It would have been a mistake to pass on [being] a part of the ANTHRAX world in the '90s, and I'm very happy that I did [decide to join the band]."

On his decision to not rejoin ANTHRAX full-time in early 2010, paving the way for ANTHRAX's reunion with singer Joey Belladonna:

Bush: "I think there were a few things that were a factor in that. The main factor was that I felt like it wasn't really time for me to resume my lead singer role in ANTHRAX on a permanent basis. I kind of felt like not enough time had elapsed. You've gotta remember that the last ANTHRAX record was 'We've Come For You All', of original material, so if I would have [gone] back in and re-recorded [the vocal tracks on the unreleased ANTHRAX album 'Worship Music', which was completed with lead singer Dan Nelson] and resumed my position in the band, there would have been nothing in between that, and I just didn't think that was... It didn't feel right. What those guys did is they did a tour where they had Joey Belladonna come in and do the reunion thing [in 2005] and it felt like the next step for them would have been to make a record with Joey. And, for whatever reason, they didn't. In retrospect now, it's like a bunch of time went by and they should have just done what they are doing now then, and that made the most sense. Nothing against Dan Nelson — he was nothing but nice to me in the press — but that was a weird segue that probably didn't need to happen because they should have made a record with Joey Belladonna then. And I think that's what the ANTHRAX fan base wanted and expected after they did the reunion. And so for me to come in and to re-record Dan's stuff, which I was not into doing at all, and to kind of resume the position of the lead singer after the reunion, it just didn't feel right; it just never sat right in my stomach. To go and do those shows that I did [in late 2009 and early 2010], they were great, they were awesome. There were no weird vibes with the band whatsoever, I had a great time, it all was easy. Going on stage with them is cake; it's second nature and it's not a problem. But to resume my place in the band as the lead singer after what went on after I left, it just didn't feel right to do that for me. And I was pretty clear about that to them. Were there other factors? Yeah. I have a new career that's doing well and I was kind of reluctant to go, I'm just gonna blow it out now to go back to the band — I had apprehensions in doing that. I've got a business with my wife, and I've got two kids now and that's another thing that I was, like, 'Well, I don't know how I'm gonna be able to juggle all this as well.' And those were factors as well. But I think that, more than anything, the main problem that I had is that I just didn't feel like it was time for me to resume being the lead singer in the band. We kind of roller coastered with it and I think feelings were hurt, and there was some understanding, but not. And you know what?! At the end of the day, it is the way it was meant to be. Joey did these shows. I think that no one could question whether or not he was part of this nostalgic tour ['Big Four'] that happened. It kind of made sense that he would do it. Look, I had committed to doing [the 'Big Four' shows] and I was eager and excited about doing it, but it didn't happen, and that's life. ANTHRAX and Joey Belladonna doing these ['Big Four' dates], I think it's probably the logical thing. For me, I'm a real... I kind of stay firm in my thought process that things happen the way they're supposed to and they are what they are. Even though I've done a lot of thinking about it, because it's hard not to, at the end I'm pretty happy and I feel like it all kind of happened the way it was supposed to."

On whether he has seen videos of Joey Belladonna singing the John Bush-era ANTHRAX song "Only":

Bush: "I watched one thing; I was curious like anybody else. I watched one thing and that was about it. I'm not that much of an Internet guy where I sit around and watch a bunch of YouTube videos of anything in particular; it's just not my thing. So watching it once was enough... I would probably watch myself once and that would be enough. [laughs] To his defense, he sang it one time, or at least that one time that I saw it... I'm sure the first time I sang 'Indians', it probably wasn't stellar either. So I'm sure if they keep playing it, it'll just get better and better. My feelings on them doing songs that I was part of is actually [something] I feel they should do. Because otherwise if they don't, then it's erasing a huge part of the band's career. There's a bunch of amazing songs beyond 'Only''Room For One More' and 'Inside Out' and 'Fueled' and 'Safe Home' and on and on and on... We had some great songs. So I think it would be sad if they didn't play some of those songs, because I think the fans would wanna hear some of those songs. . . If they don't play songs that I made with the band, then it's kind of like they're saying, 'Well, this isn't up to snuff,' and that would be confusing, because they are great songs, and I think they should honor those songs."

"Mars Attacks" podcast:


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