I got a stroke of luck recently in reaching bands and I was helped by a publicity manager—who was a bit of an asshole—but none-the-less, she hooked it up in the form of a phone interview with Joey Belladonna, Original Anthrax vocalist. I was hoping for some face time with the man but beggars can’t be choosers and I had more than enough questions to ask regardless if it was through the phone or in person.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month then you should know that the big four are back in action; Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, the whole damn cake. These beasts are conquering the U.S. in the Jagermeister Tour and seem to be kicking ass and taking names along the way according to Joey. Our conversation started with the usual greeting and I proceeded to ask him some questions. I’m not going to fake it and say Anthrax is the band I listen to every day but I’ve paid them extra attention lately and all I can say is, they’re rock icons for a reason.
I started off by asking, how being on tour for the first time with these other three amazing bands was. He laughed and said “Well, it’s the first time we’re on the same tour but I know a lot of these guys from playing shows back when I was in Anthrax. We did the Master of Puppets tour in 85’ with Metallica and Clash of the Titans tour in 91’ with Megadeth, Slayer and Allice in Chains. So we walk around high-fiving each other and hanging out it’s a lot of fun”. By the way he answered you could really pick up in his voice that he was having a great time. He reminisced on good times with some of the band members from back in the day and ended by saying “We know each other and we’re just great friends” it sounded like a big party to me especially since these guys were some of the first, heavy metal, rock stars and set the bar for other bands to follow.
“So, what does the this tour have to offer fans?”, he paused for a moment after the question and laughed a bit, “Just a lot of fucking heavy music. Just a great catalogue all-round”. Which sounds about right, all these bands have proven through the test of time that they are still 666 metal and ape-shit crazy and they are rocking across twenty states in the U.S. I asked Joey what he had been up to musically since he parted from Anthrax in 92’. “Keeping busy and playing instruments. I have two bands that I’m in. One is Belladonna and we have a current album 3/4’s done and one out on iTunes. I also have a fun cover-band called Chief Bigway and we cover artists such as Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Who and bands like that”. Since his cover band was called Chief Bigway and one of his song-titles is called ”Indians“—which is one of their more popular songs—I made a connection and wondered why he liked indians, “well it’s because I’m half Indian(laughs). I love all of those artifacts and art and I take part in learning about their history”. I thought this was pretty cool, I hope I’m not the only one.
Anthrax, back when Headbangers ball first started on MTV, had a lucky female contestant win the opportunity for the band to go and trash her house, quite a prize, “It was strange going over her house” said Joey, “we owned it! The producers gave us spray cans, hammers, you name it”. Just to show, sometimes crime does pay! I got down to asking a bit about the “mind set” behind the creation of their albums; Armed and Dangerous, Spreading the Disease and Among the Living. “Well, I came into Armed in Dangerous when it was pretty much written, all I did was sing my face off and as far as the lyrical process goes, I don’t really know what it means. But when we did the Among the Living album we got into a bit of a fantasy land.” In this album they had tracks like I Am the Law which was in tribute to Judge Dredd, he went on to add “… plus we get some cool artwork”.
We spoke for a few more minutes and concluded our interview with one final thought. I asked him, if he could shout out on a megaphone any message what would it be? He answered enthusiastically as if he were talking into a microphone; “LISTEN UP! Thrax is back and we’re doing it again! A new record in your face soon!”
We’ll see what the boys have in store, soon. In the mean time get your tickets for this sunday (October, 3rd) and watch Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer kick it live in Miami!