Mayhem 2012: Interview with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax

Posted on November 11, 2013


LEFT TO RIGHT: Frank Bello, Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Rob Caggiano, Joey Belladonna

LEFT TO RIGHT: Frank Bello, Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Rob Caggiano, Joey Belladonna

Q & A: Joey Belladonna of “Anthrax”

By Rachael Mattice

Take a trip down nostalgia lane. Who were the bands that influenced who you were and transformed your childhood? Everyone has a few embarrassing records and CDs when they first started collecting, but this is in reference to the bands and songs that changed eras and personalities. For some, it could have been Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, the Spice Girls, or even Public Enemy. For a lot of metal heads, it was Anthrax.

Anthrax was at the beginning of the rise of thrash metal in the early 80s, differential enough that they are referred to as one of the Big 4, bands that started the onward push of metal corruption everywhere.

Don’t know the Big 4? Look up SlayerAnthraxMetallica and Megadeth

Starting the disease young, New York natives Scott Ian and Danny Lilker formed Anthrax in 1981. The path has been extra turbulent though, divulging multiple line-up changes and label refinements for 30 years.

Regardless of the stress and difficulties Anthrax has had, their experimental conquests with monstrous riffs paved the way for a reunion with vocalist Joey Belladonna in 2012, considered a close original lineup.

During the Joey era, respectively from 1985-1992 and then recently the regrouping in 2010 to present day, Anthrax’s reign featured many accolades that set them into rock n’ roll history chronicles.

 See a TIMELINE of the Anthrax/Joey Belladonna era of spreading the disease

Starting with an EP called “Armed and Dangerous” featuring Belladonna in 1985, Anthrax’s next album “Spreading the Disease,” came out the same year. “Among the Living” was released in 1987 demonstrating a much more goofy, provisional side to the thrashers. Their second EP titled “I’m the Man” had the rowdy singles “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “I’m the Man.” One of the singles, “I’m the Man” was a clear example of experimentation and genius ludicrous where Joey executed vicious drumming while Scott, Charlie and Frank rapped.

1988 was when “State of Euphoria” was introduced, followed by “Persistence of Time” in 1990. The filming of the “Married with Children episode” ‘Dinner with Anthrax’- inspired by an MTV contest where the winner could have the band come to their home and cause destruction and havoc featured the song “In My World” from “Persistence of Time.”

“Bring the Noise” was an infamous single with Public Enemy on the album of B-sides “Attack of the Killer B’s,” meshing rap and metal together again in 1991. With so many aspects of exploration and growth, it seems impossible that a fan could not think of a favorite Anthrax snippet.

Bring the Noise? Dinner with Anthrax? I’m the Man? Bulgaria Big 4 concert? Tell me your favorite Anthrax memory in the comment section.

A few generations passed and a few years after Joey returned for a monumental Big 4 metaldom, Anthrax’s most recent album from September 2011 came forth, “Worship Music.” Debuting at #12 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart, “Worship Music” received commendable feedback, putting Anthrax on fresh grounds for new fans that were not even born at the time of their empirical metal rule.

Listen to Anthrax’s “Worship Music” album: HERE

Now, after playing in front of endless seas of people from every corner of the globe, they are concentrating on a home front tour with Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival 2012. Instead of headlining the main stage, they will burn the festival’s Jagermeister Stage to the ground. Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante said the setup will be “no lulls, no filler, totally in your face.” Guitarist Scott Ian said that they decided to do something special for the crowd. Their Mayhem set will be “fun, fast and a furious 45-minutes, so they’d better have the EMTs on hand.” Anthrax audiences are notoriously commendable for elbow-face-collision warfare.

Journal and Courier producer and music journalist Rachael Mattice talks Mayhem Festival with vocalist Joey Belladonna, old Anthrax and what has revolutionized since. Mayhem officially started in San Bernadino, Calif. on June 30 and will endure until August 5. See Anthrax perform at the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville on July 15.

Q & A

– What obstacles have you had to overcome since rejoining the band in the last few years?

“We were taking on everything we can to make the band good again and put all the pieces into place so that everything is back to normal. We are working on moving forward.”

-I know that Ronnie Dio was a big influence in your career and vocal style, what do you want aspiring musicians to know about developing a career and those that look up to you?

“I would just say to be yourself, you know, and focus on what you like and what makes you feel good. Be inspired by other people.”

-You’ve been on the show “Married with Children,” you’ve performed in front of massive amounts of people in numerous countries. What has been the highest point of your career thus far?

“I think the longevity of Anthrax in general and continuing on and striving forward and being involved with other bands, it’s very hard.”

– What was the best part of being a part of filming ‘Dinner with Anthrax’ for “Married with Children?” Christina or Amanda? What was in that mystery pack after all … ?

“I think just how they ran the show. They took you to the set, you found your place … I don’t know what was in the mystery pack, it was like Jell-O. I didn’t really taste it … the whole family was really fun. It was definitely a great moment in time.

VIDEO: “Married with Children” – Dinner with Anthrax

-Craziest thing that has happened during an Anthrax show?

“I’ve been tackled by a bouncer. It definitely was a bout; it wasn’t just a push down. It was a face plant.”

-See any memorable Anthrax fan factors?

“All the time, this kid had engraved letters ‘Anthrax’ across his belly.”

-Do you ever miss the Anthrax goof days with “I’m the Man?” Will Anthrax ever perform that live again? Is that on the set list for Mayhem?

“I’ve been doing ‘I’m the Man’ lately, not the whole song but the upper half. As far as Mayhem, I’m not too sure if we will perform that, it will be hard with the set setup.”

VIDEO: Anthrax- “I’m the Man”

– Worship Music was accepted really well upon its release. You have a pretty young following now, many that were not even alive when thrash metal and Anthrax started to rise in the 80s. What do you want to deliver, not only to the loyal fans that had the opportunity to grow up with Anthrax, but to the newbies that are coming of age and being influenced by Anthrax’s music? How will Anthrax’s show at Mayhem be different for them?

“They will really have a better impression of what we did then now and just the fans have a lot to do with it … We have our own style and we’ve been around and know how to take on a show no matter what time it is and just bring it and show them what Anthrax is all about.”

What are you looking forward to most with Mayhem compared to other tours?

“The only thing planned is the word ‘mayhem.’ We’ll have a lot of signing in the afternoon and interaction with the fans, we will venture out. We’ll make appearances here and there.”

Rachael Mattice is a producer and music writer for the Journal and Courier. She can be reached on Twitter at RachaelM_JC.

Music featured in the Timeline is “Earth on Hell” by Anthrax

Posted in: 2012