Joey Belladonna of Anthrax - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney -

Anthrax are currently ‘Spreading the Disease’ across the globe. Playing too sold out audiences worldwide. The line-up which has not shared the stage together in thirteen years is back together and stronger than ever. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Metal Thrashing Mad front-man Joey Belladonna recently as Anthrax annihilated Australian audiences. Joey spoke about those first rehearsals back with the band, the DVD which will be filmed next month, the possibility of a box set due out at the end of the year, those comments about singing on “The Sound of White Noise”, juggling family life on the road and much more.

It’s time once again to get ‘Caught in a Mosh’ metalheads! I hope you all enjoy it!

Metal Fanatix:
First of all welcome back to Australia Joey and thanks so much for setting some time aside to do the interview this evening. How has the tour been going so far?

Joey Belladonna: It’s going as good as I could expect. I think we’re all actually happy about being here and everything that we’re trying to achieve is coming to the best of our abilities.

Metal Fanatix: You guys just played a handful of shows in Europe. Did the fans welcome you back with open arms?

Joey Belladonna: Oh yeah! We only spent three days there. We played Dublin, Holland & Glasgow. The shows & the fans were great.

Metal Fanatix: For all the fans back home that haven’t seen the reunion shows yet, what can they expect to see on this tour?

Joey Belladonna: They will get to see the spark & the vibe that we had in the old days. Tight playing, getting the five of us guys stuck in the mode of what we use to do & it’s right there. There will be a lot of great classics too.

Metal Fanatix: Now, I spoke with you guys in New York a couple of months back when you announced the reunion tour, at that point no rehearsals had taken place. Can you tell us about those first rehearsals? Did everything fall straight into place or did you have to work out a lot of bugs?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah it came right off the bat. The fact is that we went right back to our ways. The second day we didn’t do anything, we just went over a few things so we didn’t really rehearse. We were only there for two hours. The third day is when we actually rehearsed again.

Metal Fanatix: At the New York press conference you guys also mentioned that you would be filming some of the reunion shows for a DVD which is scheduled to be released later in the year. What can you tell us about it?

Joey Belladonna: The DVD is actually going to take place on the 3rd of June in New Jersey. It’s the only date we have booked for the east coast.

Metal Fanatix: That’s great, have you guys filmed any other footage for the DVD?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah we shot some at Dynamo & we did some in Detroit. We had shot some footage for the DVD a couple of weeks before we did the first rehearsal. Our first meetings together, on the plane, going to MTV, there’s a whole bunch of stuff.

Metal Fanatix: I believe there is a box set that will be coming out at the end of the year?

Joey Belladonna: When it’s going to come out, I’m not to sure. There’s going to be some re-mastering done & some bonus tracks, but I’m not too sure what they’re going to be just yet.

Metal Fanatix: I want to remind you of a quote you said back in 1987-88 which reads “Some people do it for the money; we do it because we love doing it”. How much of the reunion tour was motivated by money?

Joey Belladonna: None really, we love to do it, we make money when we play anyhow so there’s nothing that’s gonna change that. We don’t play for free. We’re like anybody else and we earn a living playing music. It’s not like ‘since were back were gonna charge this & that’. We were very interested in doing this together because nobody had to be pushed into it. No one had to be persuaded. We all wanted to do it, we’re all able to do it & we’re all real happy to be doing it together again.

Metal Fanatix: Now Joey, once the press conference had taken place Anthrax fans voiced there opinions on various message boards & it seemed to me that there was a lot of fans that weren’t too happy about the reunion taking place. More than likely a lot of the fans who were upset may have been younger fans who didn’t really know too much about your time in the band! A few weeks later they were offended again when they read your comments in an interview which was to the effect that you could have done ‘The Sound of White Noise’!

Joey Belladonna: I said that?

Metal Fanatix: Yeah, I can’t remember who the interview was with but you had mentioned something about being able to do ‘The Sound of White Noise’ album in your sleep or something to that effect?

Joey Belladonna: I don’t remember saying that ‘if I was still in the band I could have done most of the records’. I mean why wouldn’t I have been able to do them? I was capable of basically singing on any of them. I really don’t remember saying that. I would never go that far or give a conviction that I could do things better. If I was going to say anything I would say, “If I was still in the band, I think we could have kept going”. I could have done the “Sound of White Noise”; I could have carried on doing the records. Whether I would have done them like him [John Bush] or he would have done them like me who knows! Put it this way he actually recorded all of the old songs.

Metal Fanatix: I’m glad you mentioned that. The last time we spoke you hadn’t heard ‘The Greater of Two Evils’. Have you had the chance to listen to it yet & what did you think?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah, it’s alright! I don’t hear anything extraordinary like “Oh my god finally they’ve done it right, its amazing I never thought it would be like this”. Whether he [John Bush] does it in a lower voice or with more growl, I don’t really hear anything that’s over the top. Someone can do something like that, why not do it? It’s really flattering but at the same time I never would say “Oh my god I could have done it better” or anything like that. I don’t go that far.

Metal Fanatix: What Anthrax song would define Joey Belladonna to a complete stranger?

Joey Belladonna: Indians! It’s got all the elements of what we do in it, there’s a hook, there’s this there’s that there’s speed in it.

Metal Fanatix: I only recently found out that you were in a band called Medusa before joining Anthrax?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah Scott Thomas from Manowar was in the band as well.

Metal Fanatix: After Medusa you went on to play in another band called Megaforce which was Anthrax’s record label back in the day, it’s a strange twist of fate isn’t it?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah, that was the band I was in when Anthrax called me too.

Metal Fanatix: Now Joey, you’re married. How do you juggle family life when you’re on the road so much?

Joey Belladonna: I don’t, I just do it. I go out on the road & she does her thing as I do mine. There’s not really much choice. It’s a way of life really. I was doing this before I met her & it would be really hard for me not to do it because she wouldn’t want me to. But she really wants me to do it. She knows I love singing & playing, that’s why I’m here. I really love being out on the road.

Metal Fanatix: Are you currently listening to any of the newer bands?

Joey Belladonna: I listen to the newer stuff. Anything from Sevendust, Foo Fighters and Slipknot’s pretty cool. Anything classic I’ll listen to all day long.

Metal Fanatix: Like Iron Maiden & Kiss?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah Maiden, Kiss, Priest.

Metal Fanatix: Toto & Journey [laughs]?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah I do, I swear to god.

Metal Fanatix: I know I seen you looking at the shirts yesterday! [Laughs]

Joey Belladonna: I'm a total jukebox, I love just about anything.

Metal Fanatix: In a few words what comes to mind when I mention the following anthrax tracks/albums!

Joey Belladonna:

I just think of that video we did, it always puts me in a spot. That was the first video we did, I remember walking in there & not really knowing what to do. It’s like ok, we’re gonna roll camera now. [Laughs]

Among the Living
: A great bunch of songs for a second record to have, and having Eddie Kramer there who has produced plenty of great albums Hendrix, Zeppelin etc was kind of a treat.

Medusa: I like it a lot because its one of those songs that’s got a great groove to it & a good bunch of placements for vocals.

I'm the Man: Oh god, I’m the man is just one of those things where you’ve got a variety of funny moments & being able to play drums live, that’s always been a cool thing to me.

Metal Fanatix: What advice do you have for up and coming bands?

Joey Belladonna: Well, to me I think anything that you do you’ve got to do with intentions that you feel good naturally about it. You have to go in with a good solid bunch of guys that really wanna work together & love to practice & play, and take every step with patience to let it develop without going “ok if it doesn’t happen today then I quit”. You really want to love doing it. For me, I have always played in a band, so I don’t care if I’m not riding in a plane or if I’m driving in a van, it’s all good. I don’t have any special recommendations as far as what I need to do what I love.

Metal Fanatix: Well Joey I know your really busy, so I won't take up anymore of your time, I want to thank you again, it’s really been a pleasure to finally meet you. Do you have any last thoughts for our readers?

Joey Belladonna: It was great to meet you to, it’s great to be back, and it’s also a real pleasure to see everybody again & I’m really happy that everybody’s welcoming us back and feeling good about being at the shows. Basically have fun at the shows.

For all the latest Anthrax news Check out the following websites. - Official Anthrax Site - Official Joey Belladonna Site - My Rock/Metal Interviews + more - Dedicated to 40 years of pure hard rock & metal music.

Anthrax is currently on tour. You can catch them at the following:

Fri 06/03/05 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom (Filming for the new Thrax DVD)
Thu 06/09/05 - Solvesborg, SWE - Sweden Rock Festival
Sat 06/11/05 - Donington, UK - Donington Park (Download Festival)
Sun 06/12/05 - Milan, ITA - Gods of Metal Festival
Fri 06/24/05 - Le Mans, FRA - Fury Festival
Sat 06/25/05 - Dessel, BEL - Graspop Festival
Sun 06/26/05 - Tolmin, SLO - Metalcamp Festival
Sat 07/02/05 - Leipzig, GER - Full Force Festival
Sat 07/09/05 - Athens, GRE - Rock Wave Festival

Used with permission by Cameron Edney © May 2005