ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that he "loves" the band's lead singer, Joey Belladonna, despite the fact that Joey publicly spoke about the lack of personal friendship between Belladonna and the rest of the group.
In the March 2014 issue of Sweden Rock Magazine, Belladonna talked about how his role in ANTHRAX has evolved since he first joined the band in late 1984, saying: "You're joining four guys that are friends from New York City. It's like coming into a new neighborhood and trying to get new friends… No matter what you do, it's gonna be hard.
"I don't think I've ever really found my place with this band. I mean, as much as we do what we do, it's so corporate in its own way… I don't even talk with [the other guys in the band] right now. I mean, there'll be a few e-mails, but they're so short. It's not like I sit on the horn [telephone] and talk with Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] all day. He don't have time for me. I do, but they just don't, you know?! It's only out of necessity [that they keep in contact with me]. So even back [when I first joined the band], I don't think it was anything really that cool. Part of me might not have joined it because it wasn't as open as when I jammed with friends at home and they'd always come over my house all day and play for hours. And we'd go out together and we'd hang out together. ANTHRAX wasn't like that, you know?!"
On Monday (February 24), shortly after a part of Belladonna's Sweden Rock interview was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Ian tweeted: "Lest anyone think differently, I love Joey Belladonna. #PDA"
Back in March 2010 — just a couple of months before Belladonna rejoined ANTHRAX — Ian and his wife Pearl Aday appeared on an episode of VH1's "That Metal Show" and took part in the program's "The Throwdown" feature, where the guests and the hosts debated who was the best singer for ANTHRAX: John Bush or Joey Belladonna (see video below).
Countering co-host Eddie Trunk's point that ANTHRAX was in a unique position with Belladonna in the band of being able to "play incredible speed metal" while having "someone who could sing like a bird," Ian said: "We didn't need a bird; we needed a lion."
After Pearl offered that she was a "huge fan" of "The Greater Of Two Evils", a collection of re-recorded older ANTHRAX tunes with Bush on vocals instead of Belladonna, Ian said: "And that's the way we, as ANTHRAX, wanted to hear those songs."
Belladonna, whose most recent return to ANTHRAX was officially announced in May 2010, was originally the lead singer of ANTHRAX from 1984 to 1992, and was considered part of the band's classic lineup (alongside Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante), which reunited and toured during 2005 and 2006. His voice was featured on over 10 albums, which reportedly sold eight million copies worldwide.
Speaking to Radio Metal in August 2011, ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante was asked about Ian's "That Metal Show" comments. He said: "I think Scott had to eat some of the words he said about that. But he only said that because I think he left things off with Joey kind of bad, and their relationship wasn't very well back then when he said that. And I think Scott just harbored some ill feelings towards Joey and I think that's kind of why he made that statement, you know?"