Armored Saint's John Bush was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The singer was on hand to discuss the band's new album, Punching the Sky, which will be out Oct. 23 on Metal Blade.
In the interview, Bush addressed his approach to writing lyrics in which he strives for a timeless quality while simultaneously speaking to topics centered around the current day. His growth as a songwriter comes with the benefit of age and experience as he explained it took about three decades for Armored Saint to truly define their identity.
In the '80s, Bush said Armored Saint didn't fit well within the scenes happening around them — hair metal and thrash. He acknowledged the band could easily fit on a bill with bands from either style, but that his own group didn't have that same stylistic sticking point for fans of each scene to flock toward.
Elsewhere, the singer looked back at his one-time offer to join Metallica around the Ride the Lightning era, which he declined, electing to remain with Armored Saint. Still, he does not regret the decision and even said passing on the opportunity to later join Anthrax would have been the bigger mistake.
It's an interesting time to release a new album both in terms of marketplace and also lyrical subject matter. What overall statement did you feel compelled to make with Punching the Sky?
Wow, you are going to just dig right in! You are not even going to hesitate at all! Funny.
Well it's a funny time as you put it, there are a lot of things that you can write about. It's endless what's happening in the world and, for songwriting purposes, it's actually a great thing. I could probably write a whole other record at this point.
Lyrically, a lot of the times the way I approach songs — and I have the last couple of records — is to reign in certain ways that I am saying something and I want people to kind of read between the lines. I don’t want to be reluctant about taking chances about what to say, but at the same time I don’t want songs to be kind of pigeonholed in a time capsule.
Sometimes the best, most amazing records and songs are ones that feel timeless. When you are listening to them, whatever year it is, it can still be right on the money as far as what's happening. Sometimes my lyrical approach is a little ambiguous and I do it in a way that I want people to think about what I said, but read between the lines.
It's weird, sometimes after writing and recording a song, even the lyrical concept that I was maybe approaching at that moment, a few months later it almost pertains to something else. So the song almost creates a new identity for itself as time goes on, which is a trip.
My answer is probably a little bit roundabout and vague but, like I said those are the most fun topics to write about. I just don’t want it to be too specific, I want things to be able to have different meanings in different times of life.
Armored Saint, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" Music Video