Richard Bienstock of Guitar World conducted an interview with ANTHRAX for the magazine's November 2011 issue, which features the "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal (METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX) on the cover. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Guitar World: Fans of the band still seem to be a little confused as to what happened with previous singer Dan Nelson. Did he quit? Was he fired? Was he truly sick, as was stated in the press release?
Scott Ian (guitar): He quit the band, dude. I will stick by the statement I made back in the summer of 2009. He quit. He e-mailed management and he quit the band.
Guitar World: Do you believe he was sick at the time?
Ian: Physically sick? I have no idea. But his words were, "I quit. I'm not doing this. Don't come to my house. Don't try and talk me out of this." Again. Because that wasn't the first time he had quit ANTHRAX; it was the third time. But that was his M.O. He would quit, and then he would make a bunch of demands on us, and we would cave and he would come back.
Charlie Benante (drums): First show we did with him, backstage, big argument, big blowout. It was unbelievable. And from that moment we should have known. And all along, he just kept pulling weird shit. Like, he would call me and not tell the other guys, or call one of them and not tell the rest of us, and just talk shit. At one point he caused a major issue in the band between some of the members. But at the end of the day, it was like, "You didn't say that? What? It was a fucking weird time. But he's a bully and he tried to bully us. And at first we let it happen.
Guitar World: Why? Was it easier than dealing with the prospect of once again being without a singer?
Benante: I think there was a point where we were just so vulnerable, we were on this emotional rollercoaster. So at the end of the day it was more like, "Just give him what he wants. Can we move on?"
Guitar World: After parting ways with Dan, you made an attempt to get John Bush back into the band. How close did that come to being a reality?
Ian: It was something we thought about, but it's not something John was thinking about. It's not where his head was at. We were just projecting, basically. But we did a few shows with John after Dan left us hanging, and yeah, I'd be lying if I said we didn't talk about the possibility of making new music and trying to get him to be on the record. But I think it was something we all knew in the end was like trying to get milk from a horse. It wasn't meant to be. It was not the right road for us to take.
Guitar World: The right road was Joey Belladonna.
Ian: It was, but we didn't know how to approach it, because I think there was some trepidation on our part going back to Joey and being like, "Hey man, you wanna do this?" Because you just don't know. You think things would be so easy being in a band, just, "Fuck yeah! Let's go! Let's play shows and make some records!" But sometimes it's unbelievably difficult. It's worse than dealing with family. [laughs]
New ANTHRAX song "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" performed live with Dan Nelson on May 28, 2008:
ANTHRAX circa 2009 (with Dan Nelson):