Vocalist Joey Belladonna recently rejoined Anthrax after initially parting ways with the band in 1992. Last fall Anthrax released their first album in eight years, “Worship Music,” featuring Belladonna on vocals, to solid reviews. They subsequently went on tour with fellow classic thrash bands Testament and Death Angel. The three bands are rejoining for another leg of the same tour (for specific dates, go here), and it was recently announced that they will be one of the headliners on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
You’re going out on tour with Testament and Death Angel again after a leg last fall – I take it that initial run was successful then?
Yeah, it really has been good. Considering all the situation and the time of the year and everything, the album came out and that helped quite a bit, the excitement from that, but yeah, on paper it was pretty successful and it looked pretty good to me every night, and we were all quite happy with it. We all started to get a really good regimen going.
What has the response to “Worship Music” been like from fans?
Well, everybody’s been digging the whole album, the entirety of it, the actual song arrangements, the production, the vocals have been on a little bit of a different take with some of the people. You know, I think the band has just evolved with a second phase of just style and thoughts and approach but in the end, we, myself, went in and just blew out 11 songs in 14 days and – now that I think about it maybe it was more like 12 days. I basically did a song and a quarter a day almost if not just one song a day. And I really didn’t even go over it with anyone, you know. I heard some of it, not a lot of it. But overall, you know, everyone’s been digging it and they’re very excited and it’s gotten some great, great reviews all across the board. I’ve been really happy about that, it gives everybody a nice leg up about how you feel about coming in and I don’t think anyone’s put anything into it that would put us into a different phase, we just really feel confident enough.
Now you said it took you 12-14 days, was that just for the actual recording of the album? Because I know the existing material had to be reworked… Was the reworking also in that 12 days, or how did that work?
The 12 days was strictly vocals. And some new arrangements, new recording along the way, as I was, you know, I would come in at different times, you know. One month for four days, another month three or four days, you know, I didn’t spend a solid time. I’d come back and the other four songs were re-recorded or re-reworked or somewhere left alone and I just did another version of it or that kind of stuff. But mainly my part of those days were strictly vocals. Only vocals.
Gotcha. And it was spread out over a period of time.
Right. And there again, they were tracking guitars and drums and stuff along the way, and backing vocals and all the bass and it was just a whole lot of stuff, you know, but there again recording-wise, I think there was a large, large demo of really what they were about to embark on. I don’t really think it was done at all, you know, most people think it was done and I just sang over it. You know, even if that was the case, I’d still have sang in a completely different fashion. I wouldn’t have approached it any different… anything that they had laid out, I didn’t really care to hear much of it. Obviously I wanted to make sure that I stayed in the frame that they were looking for, initially, but I didn’t really think about that part of it too much. But again, regardless I gave an enormous amount of time versus, like, you know, if we all went in and just banged it out a month after rehearsing or so, you know.
You mentioned that this is kind of a second phase of the band, and some people have been using the word “comeback.” Is that a term that you would agree with?
Ah, I guess that we’ve come back together, that’s about all the comeback I can think of. [laughs] I look at it, we, the way I come in right now, I feel the same as I did before. If anything I’ve improved. Just because you work at it and hopefully you bet better and you focus certainly and it affects being in the band and being in the business is part of it. I mean, yeah, I guess if you want to put the “comeback” in there, I don’t know what that means, just the way I look at it is that we’re back together and we’re just picking up where I left off, really, and I didn’t think the band took a rest at all.
Sure. I think part of that comes from, as far as the band releasing albums, there was a considerable amount of time where they didn’t release anything and then there was the new album that got recorded and re-recorded and all that.
Yeah, I mean, to me, it’s hard to even comment on that without some kind of like… See, not being there and not being able to just counter all that time frame and just..
You weren’t personally involved with it.
Yeah, you know. It’s just a drag to see all that go down and wonder, were they indecisive? Were they thinking twice about this and that? It’s a mystery unto itself and I just try to focus on what we’re doing now and stay positive about it. And just roll on even though there’s plenty of things you can look back on and try to figure out where it all happens and of course they could do what they wanted to do in that phase. So obviously there is some proud moments of just doing what they were doing at that time. Regardless of who was there.
So has the band kind of gelled as far as the current lineup and the direction you’re going in now?
Yeah, no doubt. I mean, we’re at that one-for-all kind of like let’s get this, let’s do this, it’s right there. It’s what we always thought, what it was before and there’s no change of heart. And, um, you know, everybody’s got different phases in their life and stuff as we go day to day in our own situation and just getting all your ducks in a row but definitely overall, you know, we can do this. It’s just, you know, business is always one of those things that you’re always trying to make sure that everything’s on the right, you know, right status and that’s the whole thing that keeps people from doubting. And we’re always trying to get it right, you know.