Former Anthrax Vocalist Neil Turbin Claims He Was Almost the Singer for Metallica
In a new interview with The Metal Voice, mostly long-forgotten former Anthrax/current Deathriders vocalist Neil Turbin claims that while working on Anthrax’s 1984 debut, Fistful of Metal (y’know, the only Anthrax album on which he ever appeared), he almost landed a job with Metallica. Asked for his recollections about recording the classic “Metal Thrashing Mad,” Turbin humbly replies:
“I knocked it out of the park. I think on that particular song, I remember being in the studio, and I know that Jonny Z.[Megaforce records founder Jon Zazula] was listening to these songs while we were up in the studio, he was there for part of the time, and he was up there when I was doing vocals if I recall correctly. And I think at that point there were some interesting comments made… he of course managed Metallica at the time, and, y’know, he talked about ‘Oh, maybe we should get to sing for Metallica’ or something like that. I’m like, y’know, ‘No, that’s alright, thanks though.'”
There are a number of suspicious things about this story. For one thing, Fistful came out in January of ’84, six months after the release of Metallica’s own debut, Kill ‘Em All. It’s hard to imagine Turbin turning down a shot at the band that was already pretty much the leader of the thrash pack. It’s also kinda hard for me to buy that Metallica were still considering having anyone besides James Hetfield do their vocals by the time Kill ‘Em All came out, although I’m obviously speculating there. And, of course, while a band’s manager obviously holds sway over the group, I don’t think Metallica ever would have let Jonny Z. dictate to them with regards to who should be in their band.
But who knows? It’s basically Turbin’s word against Zazula’s, and I don’t foresee Jonny Z. commenting on this anytime soon, because he, y’know, isn’t in desperate need of publicity. And even if he did refute the statement, unless he was wearing a wire that fateful day, he still won’t be able prove it. So I guess we just have to take Neil Turbin at his word, and believe that he really is the schmuck who turned down the chance to be in what would become the biggest metal band of all time.
Actually, when I put it like that, I realize that’s not hard believe.
Funny enough, eventual-former Anthrax vocalist John Bush infamously really was asked to be the vocalist for Metallica in their early days.
You can check out the interview with Turbin below. Warning: the audio is TERRIBLE. What can ya do.