© Dhruv Kumar
Interviewed by Duncan Everson (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Joey Belladonna is a man that barely needs an introduction but for those that don’t know, he’s the voice of legendary thrash pioneers Anthrax. No wonder he’s about to feature on the Metal Allstars tour set to hit Europe in November. I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with him for a quick chat about the tour and the new Anthrax DVD recently.
MyGlobalMind: I’ll start with a few questions about Anthrax if that’s okay. Worship Music was the last album of original music to come out in 2011, are there plans at the moment for a new Anthrax album soon?
JB: Well, we’re stuck for material right now. There’s music…quite a few songs as far as instrumentally. Vocally, at the moment, I haven’t really put anything as far as recording. I work on stuff at home and everybody else is working on some ideas and stuff and we haven’t fully recorded anything that’s finished, for real, shall we say. We’re still in the writing mode right now. But there’s quite a few songs to pick from I suppose as far as instrumentally.
MGM: There’s some ideas going around then.
JB: Oh yeah, there’s a lot. More than I can remember over the years, you know.
MGM: Oh great! Chile on Hell is due out on Monday (20th October) and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing that as I haven’t seen the band since the Among The Living tour actually. Have you been very involved with its production? Of the DVD and CD?
JB: Well, we got to see some of the outtakes and stuff and you kinda put it together but it’s so hard to get everybody on board at all times. I mean, everybody gets sent a prototype of some stuff and you make your corrections and stuff like that. I’m not there hands-on with the company at the moment they’re doing it. That particular show was the first show on the tour.
JB: Yeah, and we hadn’t even got any sequence of anything there – we kind of just blasted off the first day on that show and it came out the way it did which means there’s no overdubs, it’s dry and straight-ahead and real as it could be, you know.
MGM: That’s great, that’s how I like any live material personally. I don’t like too many overdubs – it seems a bit pointless then.
JB: Yeah, I suppose we’ve all bought… there’s probably a live album right now in your catalogue that you love that may not even be live at all and you may not even know that. [Laughing]
MGM: [Laughs] Yeah, true.
JB: But I may say, “Jeez, I still love that “live” album!” You know, if it’s necessary to do an overdub then I guess it is but I personally like to achieve a live track, as is, and then it’s like you were there, you know. Verses somebody patching up something. I mean, unfortunately, sometimes people have to do it. There’s a mistake or it just was a bad shot at it or something, I don’t know.
MGM: I know there’s various side projects going on at the moment, for example Scott’s [Ian’s] book has just come out, I believe. Have you read it?
JB: No, I haven’t even seen it. I’ve seen some pictures that he threw up but I don’t have anything to do with that book whatsoever, I mean he didn’t need me for anything – he’s been around me enough to [not need] to interview me [laughs].
MGM: I wondered if you had any plans of your own for a book or anything like that?
JB: You know, someone approached me a while ago but it didn’t seem like it was something I was interested in at the time and I really don’t know what kind of theme I’d like to have. I mean, is it a tell-all or is it “I did this when I was young, kind of thing and here’s how I ended up” or what. I dunno, it sounds like it would be interesting. I dunno…I just never…I mean, I’m sure somebody may have an idea to do something but I don’t know.
MGM: I see. Nothing at the moment then.
JB: I just wonder how interested people would be really, you know. It seems to be a theme for people to put out a book…
MGM: I’d say there’s definitely a market. I read quite a lot, probably far more than I should, of autobiographies of various stars and find out more than I should about what really happens behind the scenes.
JB: Well nowadays you find out a hell of a lot more anyhow whether, you like it or not.
MGM: Your own side project, of course, is the Metal Allstars tour, which I believe is starting in November.
JB: Yeah, I got that Metal Allstars thing coming out again – this is my second go around – um, it’s starting to be cool for me, I get a chance to actually go out and just bang out some other songs or even Anthrax but with some other people, you know, just to have the camaraderie with other people, other “stars” as they say or other musicians. And even on the boat – we just did a cruise – we called it the Metal Alliance and it was more of a niche involved, they were all friends or other bands that we really, really – not that this other one isn’t, but the one we did on the boat is, you know, people from Megadeth and Testament and most of the Anthrax guys and some Pantera guys and it was cool, you know. We were all on the boat at the same time and we’re gonna do it again sometime. It’s kinda the same idea but that one wasn’t touring, this one will be touring.
MGM: It’s quite an incredible line-up for this one…
JB: It’s cool, huh. People are digging the line-up, I think.
MGM: Yeah, I think so. Has it been an absolute nightmare getting everybody’s schedules to balance and clear at the same time?
JB: This one has been up for quite a while as far as the people that are involved so it seems like it’s a well-run thing, you know.
MGM: Good. I always wonder if people will drop out when something happens or they have something else that goes on with their own career that they need to concentrate on.
JB: Yeah, you gotta know when you sign up that you’re gonna be able to do it, you know, beforehand.
MGM: Yeah. Have rehearsals started for this?
JB: No, no, I haven’t seen anybody. I think everybody’s just getting song lists now and trying to figure out who’s playing on what. That’s more difficult than trying to get people on board, you know.
MGM: I was gonna ask about how the setlist works actually. Is it, for example, two songs from Anthrax, then you go off and Chuck Billy comes on and it’s two from Testament?
JB: I think I’ll end up doing mine and then he’ll do his, kinda thing where we don’t keep coming on and off. You know, do your set, the next guy does his set and then whatever happens from that point on. If there’s any special things to go on but so far it’s just do yours and he’ll do his.
MGM: And then will you all come on together at the end to do “Smoke on the Water”? [laughs]
JB: Yeah, they’re thinking of doing something.
MGM: Oh right. The European tour is currently scheduled to finish here in the UK in London on the 16th December…
JB: No, I guess there’s more dates as far as I see. We’re up to even the 20th. Is that right? If you go up on the website I think they’ve added more dates.
MGM: It says there’s more to be confirmed I think [at the time of interview – now confirmed up to the 20th] but is there more past the New Year or is that a nice tidy end to it with Christmas?
JB: Anthrax has got some stuff looking ahead to early spring and hopefully the release will be entailed with that and buttoned up to that. I’ve got another call for an interview – gimme one second and I’ll see if I can…
[JB comes back on the line with me]
JB: My other interview was calling twice while you were on and I had trouble trying to tell him hold off for five minutes so I could get back to you, so sorry about that.
MGM: No problem at all. You were a possible Anthrax release in Spring?
JB: Yeah, hopefully we’ll….we gotta get something in, I would think by the middle of next year and there’s a couple of other things maybe coming up. I mean we’ve got a Slipknot show coming up this next Saturday [18th October]. Us and Slipknot and a bunch of other bands at Knotfest. Other than that I don’t think we have any other full dates coming up.
MGM: Oh right. Is there a possibility of a UK tour next year for Anthrax then?
JB: I sure hope so, you know. We have fun doing that and we love being there so I would certainly hope there would be some shows, hopefully in the summer I would think.
MGM: That’s great. Would that be like a tour or festivals?
JB: I’m not sure, you know. I think it would be more festivals to be honest. Of course, we did some side shows on the festivals. So you do a drop in here and you drop in there on other days.
MGM: Well that would be good. I’d better let you go as you have another one [interview] waiting so thank you for taking the time to speak to me and hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you in London on the 16th.
JB: Alright, well thank you very much and you have a great week.
MGM: Thank you. And you. Bye.