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Interview: A Conversation with Anthrax Lead Singer Joey Belladonna

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As Anthrax took a short break in preparation for the launch of the “Jagermeister Fall Music Tour,” set to follow the “Carnage” and “Big Four” tours, I had a chance to speak with lead singer, Joey Belladonna, who talked to me about his recent reunion with Anthrax, his side projects Night of Journey, Chief Big Way and, of course, Belladonna, whom Joey says is currently working on a new album.

joey belladonna anthraxI started our interview by thanking Joey, as a Dio fan, for the acoustic version of “Man on the Silver Mountain” that he performed at Ronnie James Dio’s memorial. He responded, “It was a tough couple of days out there, you know. We became friends, his wife and everybody, the whole staff, the whole crew…his people, all the band mates. It’s just…whole interesting steps to go through, you know? But I’m very honored to be able to have done that and I’m glad it worked out.”

I mentioned to Joey my interview with Dave Lombardo from Slayer and I asked him what it was like coming back on-board just as Anthrax was kicking off the “Big Four” tour with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth. Who did he hang out with during that tour?

Audio Interview: Joey Belladonna of Anthrax

“Well, God, Metallica, they run such a great show, everything is top-notch. To be around all that—just to be a part of it is a great honor. It’s just a nice opportunity to be anywhere near that, to be on those shows.

“We’re pretty close, everybody knows each other in and around the way, throughout the years, and so it’s just one big family. Just being able to sing with them, play with them on stage, and every day to have the camaraderie of talking together, you know? We’re so close. The tents are so close. People hanging out together, that’s awesome.

“Megadeth and Slayer could be within arm’s reach of each tent or trailer. We’re all there during the day, sometimes James [Hetfield] will come hang out or Kirk [Hammett] will be around. People are just walking around all day long, from noon until 11 o’clock at night. You can just do the rounds, you know?”

I didn’t ask about his original departure from Anthrax. I know that it was a difficult time and not something that he, nor any of the Anthrax band members, want to dwell on, but I did mention what Steven Adler had said in our interview about Guns N’ Roses, that he regretted not being able to finish what he started “with those jackasses.” I asked Joey if he ever had that concern over the years, or did he always feel he would eventually come back to Anthrax?

“A lot of people would tell me, ‘Yeah, they’ll call you, you’ll get back in there.’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, possibly. It’s possible. And if that’s so, we’ll address it when it comes around.’ It’s sad to see the band part ways for whatever they wanted to do, but it is what it is, you know?”

I responded by asking him what he missed most about the band during the time that he wasn’t in Anthrax.

“I missed all the hustle and bustle, and of course being with the band, just playing with them—being on stage and being in Anthrax. It’s just different. It’s like losing a partner, you know?

“It’s cool being on your own too but, obviously, Anthrax is just great. You can’t top that, that’s a really well-put-together thing. Once we get together we can really do some wonders, you know?”

Since I’ll be covering the upcoming Jagermeister Fall Music Tour on October 1st, along with a backstage interview with Anthrax, I asked him what it was like being back up on stage with them.

“It’s awesome, you know? We just came together quick. We rehearsed the once, in Poland, for the first show, and from that point on things started to click right away.

“It’s just one of those things. We really click together. And we got so much tighter as we went along.”

On September 24th, Anthrax will kick-off the very first date on the Jagermeister Fall Music Tour with Slayer and Megadeth. They will also headline two shows. Visit TicketMaster.com to purchase tickets.

Anthrax is also offering exclusive meet-and-greet and V.I.P packages via ArtistArena. Log in under username: anthrax password: tickets for more details.

Also, visit JoeyBelladonna.com for information on upcoming Chief Big Way, Night of Journey and Belladonna shows and releases.

Anthrax Fall Tour Schedule

SEPTEMBER
23 Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK (headline show)

24 Superpages.com Center, Dallas, TX
25 AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
26 Verizon Wireless Theatre, Houston, TX
28 Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA
30 Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN

OCTOBER
1 Arena at Gwinnett Center, Atlanta, GA
2 Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL
3 Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Miami, FL
5 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
6 1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, MD
8 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, NY
9 Toyota Pavilion @ Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA
10 LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH
12 Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
14 War Memorial Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, IN
15 DeltaPlex, Grand Rapids, MI
16 Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
18 Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO (headline show)
19 Maverik Center, Salt Lake City, UT
20 The Pearl, Las Vegas, NV
21 Gibson Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA

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About A Geek Girl

  • the real bob

    Great interview! Awesome! I love your angles–not just some boilerplate questions.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Nice job on this AGG…you Iron Maiden, you…

    -Glen

  • AGG

    Wonder who thought that one up? Hmmmm

    I read your review. You’re a tough act to follow, but I don’t get a choice. I love these guys. And Joey reminds me of my mom, reminding everyone to do their chores before they hit the road. Too cute!

    Should be an interesting time backstage.
    Wish you could be there…

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I have to confess my taste in metal is pretty “selective’ (remember, I’m the resident Neil Young guy ’round here). But I enjoyed reading this anyway…you asked some good questions. As for who came up with the Iron Maiden moniker, I’ll never tell…

    -Glen

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl/ AGG

    You know, I was raised in such a weird music environment–I never really learned to be genre specific. Dad was a country music Deejay, Mom worked with such a diverse mix, uncles who played in bands. My first favorite bands, when I was really little, were Lynn Anderson, Elvis, Grand Funk Railroad, Tammy Wynette, BTO and the first album I ever owned–by way of begging my aunt, was Slade’s Slayed?, an album I was forbidden to play by my dad, but mom let me listen to in my room. Still one of my faves.

    Later on I liked Springsteen and Renaissance, got turned onto CSN&Y, owned the entire Windham Hill collection.

    My first concert *without parents* was Judas Priest, with Iron Maiden opening, (ironical, no?) and I fake I.D’ed to get into a club see the Dead Kennedys.

    Probably why I’m not a music snob… like some people, ahem.

    But you have to admit, even if you aren’t a fan, they’ve added so much to the musical mix over the years, from speed metal to getting the mosh out of the punk clubs and into the metal scene. And where would VH1 be without Scott Ian?

    I can’t say anything about going from major “big hair” to those god-awful shorts though. Now, that’s a question for the interview–what the hell were you thinking? Now all the metal are wearing shorts at the fests. I want my leather and studs back.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Music snobs don’t usually like ABBA…and I like ABBA…LOL…

    -Glen

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl/ AGG

    My dad loved Abba. Used to dance with me in the living room when I was little to Abba, he made me a mixed Abba cassette when I left for the Army, he knew I’d get homesick. And he used to turn up Neil Diamond songs full blast and sing along with them.

    I still put on Hot August Night when I miss him. Man, he could shake the room with Brother Love.

    Being an Abba fan doesn’t remove your snob label–everybody loves Abba, even if they won’t admit it.

    But I think we’ve had this conversation before…

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    You should have asked him what Anthrax was going to do about that new album they recorded with Dan Nelson? It’s not really a Belladonna record, so, I wonder what it would sound like…

    As for the “shorts”, Clam-diggers (I think Vision made some)were freaking thrash along with a hat with the brim bent upwards so you can read the bottom [affix “NOT!” here]. I think it was influenced by the skate community. Well, considering that Anthrax was considered NYHC back in the late 80’s, it would only make sense that they got inspired by skaters on fashion. Though, I think the hat “style” was ripped from pro “cyclers”.

    I need to get me some vintage hi-tops…

  • AGG

    Brian, thanks dude :P
    I asked Joey and drummer Charlie Benante about clam-diggers when I video interviewed them backstage and they looked at each other, and then me, like I was a moron.

    You’ll see it for yourself soon enough.
    sheesh!