Kristen Dunleavy of myYearbook recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
myYearbook: [Guitarist] Scott Ian has said that when work on ["Worship Music"] first began in 2007, there was essentially no ANTHRAX. What was going at that time that fractured the band in such a way, and how did you all manage to come together again?
Bello: I think it was the frustration of it all, and communication, quite honestly. Communication and not being together I was playing in another band for a while, HELMET, and it just fractured. That's the best word for it. I wasn't available to go to Chicago with [drummer] Charlie [Benante] and Scott, so they wrote one or two songs. Then I came in and joined them and it was just time. We knew what we had. All of a sudden, it just started to take momentum. We just didn't know who was going to sing on the record. All the trials and tribulations have been well-documented, as you know. It's just a pleasure and I can't be more psyched for what Joey Belladonna [vocals] is doing with the record.
myYearbook: Do you feel the dynamic of the band has changed since Joey's back?
Bello: Yes. This is ANTHRAX and no disrespect to anybody who's played in ANTHRAX, but when you hear this record, you hear ANTHRAX. I'm really happy to be in this place right now with this "Big Four" thing going on. For god's sake, you're talking to a guy who grew up in the Bronx and I'm playing Yankee stadium in a week! It's kind of overwhelming and we have a record coming out after eight years. Joey's back in band, everybody's talking about the record, it's a really good time to be in ANTHRAX. Thank God. We've been through the mill and we're ready to have some fun again.
myYearbook: Was the writing process for this album any different from past albums?
Bello: Honestly, no. It's Charlie, Scott and I, for the most part. The core of the band has always been that. Nobody's taking any different credit for anything who writes the lyrics, who writes the music. It's the culmination of the band, the personalities in this band. When Joey comes in, my god; Joey's singing better now. I stand on his side every night on stage. I'm listening to what's coming through the monitors. He's singing better now, and that's the god's honest truth. Every sound man has said the same thing. It's a phenomenon. Why is he singing better now than ever? But hey, I'll take it, it's all good. The guy doesn't warm up. It freaks me out; I'm very jealous because I have to warm up, but Joey goes out there and lets it go.
myYearbook: How different is this version of "Worship Music" from the first version you recorded?
Bello: We just threw out the old parts that we didn't want in the songs that didn't belong there. Joey absolutely put his stamp on each and every one of these songs. He owned each and every one of these songs. That's a test, for Joey to come in like he did. I tip my hat to him because it was an uphill battle for him to do that. Look at this mountain of songs! Joey took it on; he made every one of them his own. He really lived the songs, which I loved.
myYearbook: You'll be playing Richard Hell in the upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic, "Greetings From Tim Buckley", starring Penn Badgley as the late Jeff Buckley. How did you get involved with that project? I'm not sure many of your fans know that you act.
Bello: I've been studying theater for the last 15 years. I just love the art of performing and getting into character. I'm not a big fame guy; it's about the work and living a character. I have an agent here in New York and she said this role would be really good for me. I got a call on a Thursday that I was cast, and I started shooting on Monday. So far, I've done two days of shooting and literally the day after Yankee Stadium I have another two days of shooting. I'm hoping I have a late call time the day after we play Yankee Stadium. [Laughs]
Read the entire interview at myYearbook.