Hard Talk

Interview with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax

Back holding the reigns of one of the most influential thrash bands of all time, Joey Belladonna is back with Anthrax on their 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Here he is to tell us what’s happening in the Anthrax camp, as the head back on the road this month for an opening slot with Judas Priest.

JH: How has the touring been with “The Classic” line-up?

JB: Yeah, everything is going great. There’s a lot more business to attend to.

JH: So everyone’s getting along good?

JB: Yes, we’re all getting along. It feels good. We’re all real optimistic here about what we’re trying to accomplish here.

JH: How did this reunion tour come about?

JB: I don’t remember what it was. You know there was a mention of the 20 years. There’s probably an array of reasons. People thinking, hey we’re not getting any younger and it’s really nice to just dial-up a cool thing that we never finished. I didn’t ever really want to leave the band to begin with. They had wanted to make a change vocally and do something completely different. But you know as business, I think it was a good move.

JH: There have been talks in the past about you coming back on board. What makes this time so different than before?

JB: The Bush thing?

JH: Yes.

anthrax_3B: Well that was more of a spur of the moment thing. Plus, the offering was not quite in place for me to do it then. You just can’t throw something out like that and just expect to do it. It needed to be more thought out than it was. I’m sure people thought I backed out and all, but that wasn’t the case. You just don’t go out and do it like that. It needed to be arranged enough so that we could all participate in it. There was not enough timing to get it all together.

JH: How did you guys come up with the current set list? Do you change it up from night to night?

JB: What ,the one we’re doing right now?

JH: Yes. I was surprised on a couple songs that you had played and did not play the other night.

JB: We’ve got plenty of material that we can flip around. It’s just on some nights we have a certain amount of time to play. Certain places want too many of the new thing. You just get locked into a cool, tight set. To us it’s not old, it’s hard for us to dig to deep in the well. If we do some of that old stuff and then not do it for awhile, when you bring it back it’s like o’boy.

JH: Here’s one of the questions everyone would like to know. Are there any talks of recording new material? With the five of you?

JB: We haven’t really discussed anything as of yet. Everybody has been asking that. The chances of us doing it are getting greater and greater. Sure there are days and times that we spend together. It’s going to take some time to get us in a room, if we do go in a room to get it done. Really, there is nothing specific right now. It does seem that it’s the most likely thing to happen, but who knows. It has to be done with great intentions too. Proper and well done. Not just for the sake of doing one.

JH: So as of now this is not the permanent Anthrax line-up? Or is it too early to ask?

JB: I wouldn’t say anything is for sure, but I do know that we are taking this on with a full head of steam. We’re not fucking around here. We’re really nose first into this thing. Everything I hear that we’re doing is good. Right now all I can think of is it being correct and forward. It’s not like hey let’s just do it for this time and that’s it. Who knows. Things could even get better and better. I’m optimistic about this whole thing.

JH: Now there’s a new DVD and another greatest hits out?

JB: Yep.

JH: Can you tell us about those?

JB: One Hit Wonders.

JH: They’re both out now?

JB: I believe so. I haven’t been to any stores lately. I know the One Hit Wonders is out, I’d bet the DVD is out too. Until you go to the stores, you never know what is there or not.

JH: Now this latest DVD is with you and this line-up from this summer?

JB: Right, in June.

JH: What do feel has led Anthrax to survive for over twenty years?

JB: I think we keep it fresh. Every body keeps it focused. We love to play. And it’s so in everyone’s blood. So that helps a lot, when you really intend on doing it for a really long time. And for the right reasons. I think we’re quite efficient players, that helps maintain some of these longevities too. We just have a spunk that sort of just carries on through. Cool vibes that are still there that people still find fresh.

JH: Has there been any disrespect towards you from any of the newer fans that just want to see Bush in the mix? Or is that not even a question?

JB: I Haven’t seen anything. You know it’s impossible to be able to go out there and to talk with everybody, and at this point I don’t even think of it as a reunion. I also don’t think of it as we have anything we have to prove to anyone in certain ways. I was there in the first place, so I’m just doing what I know. I’m not trying to do something to try and catch up to anyone, or something that’s already been done. You really just have to do your own thing. I really have not heard any census on that question. But than again, I really not even worried about it. I just do my own thing as I’m sure John did his own thing. We’re both pretty different vocally. There’s no way to compare, unless you just want to take sides or something. It would be weird having that over your head anyhow.

JH: How about your solo career? What’s going on with that?

JB: For me to continue the solo thing was just a way of life for me. And musically that was just something I wanted to maintain musically. What better way to do it myself than joining another band. I’ve got plenty of material. I’ve been flipping around with musicians because none of them know if they even want to stick around. There have been numerous ,sporadic moments with other musicians. So someday, if I’m not doing it with Anthrax, then I’d probably just pick it up, I suppose.

JH: Hey man, thanks for the time, but that’s about it for now. Have a great show tonight.

JB: Rock on.

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