Anthrax has been around for 30 years plaguing with the world with beautiful Thrash Metal everywhere! Starting with their name “Anthrax” which Scott Ian and then member Danny Lilker chose the name in a biology textbook because it sounded “sufficiently evil”.
On February 1, 2011, Anthrax headlined and rocked everyone’s ears off at The Green Iguana Stadium in Tampa, Florida! I also had a chance to interview the vocalist Joey Belladonna!
After a long awaited album from Anthrax from many fans among the world, “Worship Music” finally was together and touring the world as well; but before Worship Music came line-up changes with members and problems that surfaced the band as well. Anthrax started out as in 1981 with members Scott Ian, Danny Lilker, Dave Weiss, and, Kenny Kushner. Kushner seemingly insufficient for the band, was replaced by Paul Kahn who was also seemingly insufficient for the band. Danny Lilker decided to take over for bass and Greg Walls joined as lead guitarist. Weiss was replaced by Greg D’Angelo early on as well. The vocalist position was temporarily filled by the band’s roadie John Connelly (who later went on to form the band Nuclear Assault with Danny Lilker), Scott Ian’s younger brother Jason Rosenfeld, and Tommy Wise within a short time before the band finally decided on vocalist Neil Turbin in late August 1982. A stable lineup was finally in place.
Turbin first performed with the band at Great Gildersleeves on September 12, 1982. This line-up made recurrent live performances in the New York/New Jersey tri-state area. Greg Walls left in the summer of 1983, and Bob Berry, who was suggested to Turbin by Rhett Forrester of “Riot”, temporarily replaced him on guitar. Bob Berry’s stay was small and he was replaced by Dan Spitz who had formerly been with New Jersey thrash band Overkill. With Dan Spitz, a second demo was recorded.
In September, Charlie Benante replaced Greg D’Angelo on drums. This lineup recorded the “Soldiers of Metal” 7″ single, produced by Ross the Boss of Manowar. The B-side of this single was “Howling Furies” from the earlier demo recorded with Greg D’Angelo on drums, and is the only official Anthrax recording to attribute his work. That single had Anthrax land a recording deal with Megaforce Records! Anthrax recorded their debut album “Fistful of Metal” in late 1983 and released in January 1984, followed by a U.S. tour. Tensions between Danny Lilker and the rest of the band arose due to Danny Lilker’s non-paying of rehearsal rent, lateness, negligence and unprofessional behavior. Danny Lilker was released from the band and he went on to form Nuclear Assault with previous roadie John Connelly. He was replaced by Charlie Benante’s nephew Frank Bello. In late August 1984, Neil Turbin was fired as vocalist for the band. He later went on to form the band DeathRiders. Matt Fallon was a temporary replacement. The band also appeared as a four-piece billed as “The Diseased“, with Scott Ian on vocals. They performed a few hardcore punk covers. Vocalist Joey Belladonna was chosen as the new singer and debuted live with the band on February 27, 1985. An EP titled “Armed and Dangerous” was recorded and included two live tracks from early 1984, and the two songs from the “Soldiers of Metal” 7″ single. Later in 1985, Scott Ian, Charlie Benante and Danny Lilker collaborated with vocalist Billy Milano to produce the satirical album “Speak English or Die” under the band’s name “Stormtroopers of Death”. Anthrax’s next album, “Spreading the Disease”, came out in the same year and was followed by U.S. and European touring.
The follow-up album “Among the Living”, recorded during 1986 and released in March 1987, developed the band’s humorous and more experimental side. Anthrax radically left from the “traditional” heavy metal look in favor of brightly colored “surfer” jam shorts and began a lyrical trend that focused on movies, comic books and Stephen King novels. Anthrax stuck to its thrash metal formula on the 1988 album “State of Euphoria”. The single “Antisocial”, originally by French heavy metal band Trust, soon became a staple on MTV in regular rotation as well as on “Headbangers Ball”. In 1989, MTV held a contest in which the winner would get to have the band come to their home and trash it. The contest was won by a female fan, and the band subsequently came to her house and caused havoc. This was the inspiration for the band’s 1992 appearance on “Married… with Children”, where the main characters of the show win a similar television contest.
In 1990, Anthrax released the more serious album “Persistence of Time” to even greater success than “State of Euphoria”. The album was considerably darker, more technical and progressive than Anthrax’s previous work. This struck a chord with metal fans that had been previously wary of embracing the band because of their “silly” side. The biggest single off the album was a cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time”. Jackson himself even claimed that he enjoyed Anthrax’s cover version of his song. During 1991 they collaborated with pioneering rap artists Public Enemy on a joint version of “Bring the Noise”. This was a hit, and the band played a successful joint tour with Public Enemy. The EP “Attack of the Killer B’s” was recorded during 1991, featuring a new version of “I’m the Man” and a cover of “Bring the Noise” on which Scott Ian did some of the vocals. A brief time later during 1992, Joey Belladonna was fired from Anthrax. Shortly after Joey Belladonna was fired, he was replaced by John Bush, formerly of “Armored Saint” who had recently parted ways. Anthrax signed with independent label Ignition Records for the 1998 release “Volume 8: The Threat Is Real” that once again saw Charlie Benante playing lead guitar alongside Crook and Dimebag. Pantera’s Phil Anselmo also was a guest. Unfortunately, almost immediately after the album’s release, the label went bankrupt and disappeared, making the album difficult to find. Regrouping, the band signed Beyond Records and released the greatest-hits album “Return of the Killer A’s”, although Beyond Records soon went out of business as well. During this period, a two-vocalist tour featuring both Joey Belladonna and John Bush was proposed and set to go, until Joey Belladonna decided to pull out at the last minute. Despite the difficulties and various legal entanglements regarding who had the rights to certain albums, Anthrax managed to carry on. In 2001, new lead guitarist Rob Caggiano joined, and two years later, the band released “We’ve Come for You All”, through “Sanctuary Records”. In early 2004, the band returned to the studio to record “The Greater of TwoEvils”—a “live in the studio” re-recording of the band’s early work with the then-current lineup. Abruptly afterward, Frank Bello announced he was leaving the band to join Helmet and was replaced for touring purposes by Fates Warning and Armored Saint member Joey Vera. In late 2009, John Bush made a concise return to perform with Anthrax at diverse shows, but as he eventually decided he did not want to commit to the band full time; Bush was again out of Anthrax in early 2010.
On April 1, 2005, the band announced that the “classic” lineup of Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Dan Spitz, Joey Belladonna, and Frank Bello would be reforming. On some dates of the resultant tour, they performed “Among the Living” in its entirety for the first time. At the conclusion of the tour, it was expected the renewed line-up would begin a new album, but on January 24, 2007, Scott Ian posted a message to Blabbermouth.net: “Finally, we’re going back to work. We’re going to Chicago to work our asses off and write a record. […] One problem… no singer. We were offered a direct support slot on a major tour this spring and Joey [Belladonna] decided he did not want to move forward. The reunion is over. We tried to make it work but I guess that’s the problem, you can’t ‘make’ something work. […] My curiosity was piqued by the idea of what Anthrax would sound like now with Joey singing. Over the last few months we’ve discussed this endlessly to no avail. The problems that were there could not be fixed no matter how hard we tried and in the end Joey made the decision.” Following that announcement, speculation was cast over whether John Bush would return. Bush had stated on February 7 that he was not ready to commit to Anthrax again. In May 2007, Scott Ian said that the announcement of who will be singing for Anthrax would be made at the end of June, though the actual announcement did not come until December. In June 2007, John Bush was interviewed by Rock Hard about being asked to return to Anthrax, and whether or not he was bitter about the reunion. He replied: “No. Bitter is not the way I wanna be about anything. I’m not bitter at all. There was probably not a perfect way to do that, what they did. It was like, how are they gonna say…? I mean, they asked me to do it—the tour with Joey—and it just wasn’t right for me, I couldn’t do it. So, whatever…if they felt they had to do that, I understand. It wasn’t like I was going, ‘Yeah, do it. That’s great.’ But once it happened, I was like, ‘okay.’ It was like a book ended. It’s okay. I mean, it’s much better to look at it that way than to be angry or frustrated, ’cause I really don’t feel that way.” When asked if he was approached to rejoin the band once Belladonna left the group, Bush said, “I was asked to write, and it just wasn’t right for me. I couldn’t go back and say, ‘Here I am…’ It would be like coming in with my tail between my legs, and that’s not right for me. I just couldn’t do that. It just didn’t feel right to do that. It was about soul, your gut. How does that feel? Does it feel right? Good enough. Sold. Answer.” John Bush afterward did appear with Anthrax for Sonisphere 2009 festival in the UK. Due to the overwhelming fan response following his performance, a ‘Bring Back Bush’ campaign was set up and subsequently endorsed by Scott Ian.
On December 10, 2007, it was announced the band’s new vocalist would be Dan Nelson, formerly of “Devilsize”. Around the same time, it was confirmed that Rob Caggiano would return as lead guitarist. In his monthly Food Coma column, which was posted on December 22, 2008, Anthrax’s Scott Ian revealed that he’d “been in the studio working on the new Anthrax album since November 4.” Scott Ian went on to say that drums, bass and rhythm had been laid down on a total of 19 tracks, and that the process of laying down vocals had begun. “We should be mixing at the end of January and soon after that giving birth to a really pissed off, loud, fast and heavy child.” In a succeeding May 2009 Food Coma column, Scott announced that the album was being mixed by “Dave Fortman”. In a post to the Anthrax website, Charlie Benante stated that “Worship Music should be out in May”. Dan Nelson had also left the band with rumors that he was sick and the band cancelled the tour that the band left as a statement in the press. Although Dan Nelson had admitted afterwards that it wasn’t true at all and was misleading to his fans and had never resigned and was ready to play the tour dates. All the tour dates were cancelled except for the Sonisphere date in the U.K. of August 2009 with John Bush performing vocals.
In early 2010 Joey Belladonna returned to Anthrax for the shows in summer of 2010 as well as committing to a new album! Since then he has remained as vocalist for Anthrax and rocked the ears off of everyone who loves Metal and Thrash! Check out my interview with Joey Belladonna!
Check out Anthrax!
- http:// http://anthrax.com/