According to the New York Daily News, ANTHRAX has settled a lawsuit brought on by singer Dan Nelson over the fallout from his departure from the veteran metal group.
After more than two hours of closed-door negotiations with a judge in Manhattan federal court on Monday (June 25), ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello and guitarist Scott Ian walked out smiling. Bello told the New York Post after striking a deal with Nelson, "I've got to put a Band-Aid on my tongue from biting it so much."
Details of the settlement were not made public.
Nelson, who was in ANTHRAX for nearly two years — from late 2007 until July 2009 — filed a lawsuit last November claiming that Benante, Bello and Ian falsely stated in "numerous interviews" that he had "abruptly resigned" after getting sick, forcing a cancelation of a tour. The $2.65-million suit also alleged that Benante told BLABBERMOUTH.NET that Nelson "was a bully."
The Long Island native said his ex-bandmates' "intentional defamation" has caused him a loss of income and damaged his reputation.
The Manhattan federal court filing further charged that Nelson co-wrote the tunes on the band's latest album, "Worship Music", but hadn't gotten his fair share of the profits.
Before reaching the deal, ANTHRAX attorney Brian Caplan told the judge that Nelson had been offered a "fairly small dollar amount" and co-authorship of 11 ANTHRAX songs that the band recorded for "Worship Music", according to the New York Daily News.
Nelson and ANTHRAX parted ways in July 2009, despite the fact that he had recorded some vocal parts for what eventually became "Worship Music". A press release issued by the ANTHRAX camp stated that the singer claimed illness left him unable to perform with the rest of the band at a series of festival shows across Europe and that he subsequently left the band. Nelson publicly responded that the allegations were patently untrue and that he had been unceremoniously fired from ANTHRAX.
John Bush, who fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005, temporarily rejoined the group for a number of shows in late 2009 and early 2010 but stepped aside in May 2010 in order to make room for the return of Joey Belladonna. Belladonna was 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.
Speaking to Guitar World for the magazine's November 2011 issue, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian stated about Nelson, "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."
When asked if he believes Dan was sick at the time, Ian said, "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." Drummer Charlie Benante added, "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. . . 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?'"
Regarding his split with ANTHRAX in July 2009, Nelson told The Metal Den, "I never live my life with any regrets and never look back and wish I did something different. I chose instead to look forward to the future. We did some great things in the time we wrote and performed together, and I am very proud of that."
Nelson is currently the frontman for BLACKGATES, the new East San Francisco Bay Area/New York metal outfit also featuring drummer Paul Bostaph (ex-TESTAMENT, EXODUS, SLAYER, FORBIDDEN), guitarist Jeremy Epp (THE VENTING MACHINE) and bassist Luis Barillas (THE VENTING MACHINE).
BLACKGATES made its live debut on May 5 at Rooster's Roadhouse in Alameda, California as part of the Cinco De Mayo Metal Throwdown with guests MUDFACE, FALLING TO PIECES and ANOTHER VOID.
Dan Nelson in 2012:
ANTHRAX performing the "Worship Music" song "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" live with Dan Nelson on May 28, 2008:
ANTHRAX circa 2009 (with Dan Nelson):