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ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna talks Worship Music, singing for fun and being back in the band

Posted Dec. 01, 2012, at 7:14 a.m.

I could give a shit less about coming off like a fanboy, Joey Belladonna is not only one of my favorite singers from the last 30 years but the ultimate rock and roll Rocky Balboa story. A thrash metal icon with a background much more diverse than meets the eye, a music business survivor, a fan friendly, approachable guy who just makes you want to root for him. I love Anthrax and have always loved Anthrax but I will not lie when I say I am a Joey Belladonna supporter. In a sea of bands and singers all trying to sound demon possessed Joey set ANTHRAX apart from the pack and actually sang. The band is no longer wearing Bermuda shorts but is certainly surfing a wave of their own self-created success in 2012 . ANTHRAX capped off their appearance on the BIG 4 shows last year with the release of their latest album WORSHIP MUSIC, an album that deservedly made every ‘best of the year’ list on earth. I recently talked with Joey about the new tour (which kicks off Jan.22 with Testament and Death Angel) and more. Read on and come back later this week for a chat with bassist Frank Bello

Legendary Rock Interviews : I’ve done several interviews over the years with Charlie but never you so this is pretty cool. In 1990, I was 15 and writing for our local daily paper when I got to go backstage for the first time at Clash of the Titans. I remember you, Dave Mustaine and Mike Starr being the only ones who were back there to talk to. So its been a while’..(laughs). How are the new shows going?

Joey Belladonna: Wow, yeah it’s been a while. I remember that show. Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. That’s pretty cool that you were able to get back there and do that and meet us! The shows have been going really well in the past year or so that we’ve been doing this, we’ve made a lot of progress as a band and the new album has been going over great live so that’s always a plus. The new shows with Death Angel and Testament have been a lot of fun. We did one leg before the new year and now we’re gonna crank it up again. We’re out there bustin our ass and keepin it real.

LRI: Speaking of ‘keeping it real’ your performance on the latest album ‘WORSHIP MUSIC’ is real good. It feels real cool having you back up front. I have always been a fan of the material the guys did without you but it never felt the same for me no matter how good it was. These years since you haven’t been in the band have been tough on us old-school fans, most of us are resistant to change whether we wanna admit it or not.

JB: Yeah, it’s neat that somebody can try something new and experiment and see what it’s like or whatever but to me it all felt like it was for weird reasons or something. I never got it and really couldn’t do anything about it one way or another nor did I wanna sulk or focus on it but it was a drag. I imagine what we could have done together all those years and of course people can argue about it or whatever but to me it’s just a shame that I didn’t get a chance to work with the guys and do more during such a lengthy period. I guess the best thing is that it all lead us to where we are now which is great. The situation now, what we do and the way we do it, the lineup now, it all seems to be the way things need to be and the fans are responding. This is working out to be the best thing possible for all of us.

LRI: Back to that ‘Clash of the Titans’ era’..was there any writing on the wall or any hints that there was about to be a bump in the road?

JB: No, not at all John, that was the last thing on my mind at that point because we were rolling so hard. Back at that time we were really going amazingly well, we were nonstop and I never felt anything was about to derail that. There were sometimes later on when I might have got that vibe during the Public Enemy era but even still”who the hell thought that would happen, I didn’t. There were a few times I can remember guys being kind of cold or not giving me any kind of recognition or acknowledgement to make you feel right but it wasn’t during that ‘Clash of the Titans’ era.

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