Interview With Anthrax Frontman Joey Belladonna
A man that needs no introduction, but here's one anyway. Joey Belladonna is the singer from the classic lineup of the iconic thrashers Anthrax. In and out of the band, Joey is back to the delight of fans everywhere. Recently off of the Big Four Tour, Anthrax joins Megadeth and Slayer for the American Carnage Tour, carving it's way through the States as we speak. I had the chance to sit down and talk with Mr. Belladonna before his show in New Orleans where we discussed a new Anthrax album, his solo career, and just what it was like being on the show "Married...With Children." A transcription follows.
Buick Mckane: Welcome to New Orleans.
Joey Belladonna: Yes, thank you.
Buick: How’s the tour been going so far?
Joey: Good, good. We’re only three shows in. So, yeah, it’s good. We’ve played together with Metallica. All three of us played “Clash of the Titans” back in the 90s. It’s all pretty familiar to us and we’re all good friends, so. It’s like the other part of the family moving in on the game, you know.
Buick: Yeah that was back in 1991. How has touring changed since those nine years?
Joey: Well, we’ve become a little bit smarter; know how to run things, how to travel. Technology is a bit more available with cell phones and computers and all that good stuff.
Buick: Is there less partying or more?
Joey: I want to say there’s just as much, if not more. From my view.
Buick: That sounds great.
Joey: Not to mention any names.
Buick: I know you’ve been asked a lot lately about Anthrax’s tenth album possibly coming out in the foreseeable future. Can you tell me more about that?
Joey: Well there’s material and everything. It’s just a matter of time when we get down to do everything. I think we’ll write on the road a little bit. We’ll tidy up any parts that maybe I’m not familiar with working with yet. We’ve done one song already that I sang a demo on, again that will probably be rerecorded on. And it can be done in an hour it’s that ready to go. It can be quick again that’s just a matter of time. But we are going to do something.
Buick: There’s been a lot of talk about the Big Four should actually be the Big Six including Exodus and Testament. What do you think about that?
Joey: If there’s room, bring it on. The more for the fans, the better. I heard something like that, you know. It really won’t be up to us. But if there’s room for us and everyone wants to do it, we’re there. I think it would be great for the fans.
Buick: Those bands really want to do it too. They’ve said a few things about it, so maybe you should start planning.
Joey: Good, well, we’ll see when it happens.
Buick: Awesome and today you had a few songs released on Rock Band.
Joey: Yeah, when’s that come out?
Joey: Today? Wow, I gotta get me one of those. How can we get one?
Buick: Or earlier today, I guess.
Joey: Cool, there’s going to be likenesses of the people? Is that how it works, because I don’t know anything about those games.
Buick: I think it’s just the songs that are released and you can make them look like whoever you want. If it’s that actual, like, Metallica version of Rock Band, then it looks like them.
Joey: Oh, cool. Well maybe it’s not going to be that fancy. Cool.
Buick: Maybe that will be the next thing you could work out.
Joey: I might have to get that just for the sake of having it. I don’t own any of that, and I never play it, so.
Buick: How do you feel about your songs being featured in video games?
Joey: It’s awesome. It’s hard to get in anything. If you have any luck…So that’s great.
Buick: Earlier this month, you did a few solo shows. How did those go?
Joey: Good. People are stoked. We’re this far from the audience at these clubs, so. And it’s very intimate, so I enjoy it. And I do club shows on my own, too. We’re constantly within…the people are all over us anyway; over the stuff and behind. It’s so different than here because there’s a distance between everything. It’s cool. I think it’s great, you know.
Buick: Are you going to do a lot more solo stuff while you’re still in Anthrax?
Joey: You know what? I can do as much as I can if there’s time. I don’t shut down; I’m always playing. As soon as I get back from this tour, I’ll play the next night. If I had my way, I’d probably play the night I got in. But it’s a little too much. I’ve been gone for a month, so I think I’ll take one night off. So, yeah, I’ll keep playing. Book shows as the day goes on. It’s just good to be busy, you know. It’s good practice.
Buick: Well, unfortunately, you’ve been in and out of Anthrax a few times over the years. Are you going to stay for a good long time this time?
Joey: Well, you know, if I had my way, I would have already been in the band from as long as we started from ’85 to now. It’s just that they wanted to make a change for whatever reason. My opinion is that they wanted some other style of vocalist, which in the end, I’m not even sure if it was…I’m sure they were happy with it and got to do something new. But in the end, I’m not sure if it made a whole lot of difference. I know you got comparisons for all this stuff. I’m willing to hang out whenever it’s right. You know, when you’re in the right kind of company, you can make things work. So, it’s very easy if everybody’s on the same page. There’s no reason for it not to happen. It’s the best lineup, I think, not just because I’m in it. We work well together, it just seems to gel nice, and the fans dig it. We really go from day one.
Buick: It is technically the classic lineup. And you are the one who got to be in “Married…With Children.”
Joey: Yeah, that was a cool thing we did.
Buick: I love that show. And that episode is great.
Joey: Not a day goes by that I don’t run into someone who wants to talk about that.
Buick: Reruns of that show are very big right now. It comes on a lot. I love that episode. Was it a lot of fun doing that?
Joey: It sure was, although the time when we did that there was some stuff looming of things on the outs. I could just tell by the way everybody was acting and stuff. It was a little bit weird. That kind of took the fun out of it. I felt like something was in the works by the way people were acting. That was a great moment. It was a great honor to be on that show and be a part of that history.
Buick: I was always wondering why you didn’t get to sing in it.
Joey: Well, the song didn’t have the vocal at that point. From the part that we had, it was just the opening. And you know, Anthrax is known for a minute and a half song before the vocal comes in. So I was like, “What do I do? Give me one of those bottles.” We just got wild in there. I gave myself a big bump because we did two live shows that day. But, yeah, there was no vocal in that section. If we would have taken the song from somewhere in the middle, then it would have vocals. It kind of worked out good, I was just the fool on the couch.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Joey: I got some new stuff of my own music on iTunes and stuff. So that’s something to look forward to. And we got plenty of things going on with this tour that will be good and to keep an eye out for. And also keep posted on everything we’re doing. It’s always nice to be aware. We can’t ask people to be informed enough. It’s more important to get the news out. So that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Buick: That’s right. And hopefully soon we’ll see the Big Six on tour.
Joey: Yeah, or we’ll take the four if it has to be. Even the three or the two.
Buick: It could be any combination of them. Thank you so much.
Joey: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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