ANTHRAX frontman John Bush recently spoke to Norway's Imhotep Zine about the group's "The Greater of Two Evils" CD and the death of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
Imhotep: What do you think about the old ANTHRAX and about what the band recorded with [previous singer] Joey Belladonna?
John Bush: "They did great records. I see nothing but positive things about all of the original albums. 'Among the Living' is a classic heavy metal record. 'Persistence of Time', 'Spreading the Disease', they're all great records. I keep trying to explain to the people that I talk to that our goal here [by re-recording the songs for 'The Greater of Two Evils'] is not to try to fix something that we thought was broken, or right or wrong. What we were trying to do is just to give a different version of me singing these songs and how we play them in 2004 contrary to 1988. There's just a different feeling, a different momentum, a different excitement to them. But all those albums are amazing. They are great albums."
Imhotep: Do you like Joey's vocals?
John Bush: "Yeah, Joey is a great singer. He did awesome things with ANTHRAX and he has a very unique voice. I think he was a very important part of ANTHRAX."
Imhotep: You were compared to Belladonna for a long time and obviously this still happens [from time to time]. How did you deal with this in the past? Nowadays, can you see that those comparisons are smaller?
John Bush: "Well, I understand when there's a singer change in a group. I'm a fan and I know what it's like when a band makes a change. I loved VAN HALEN and when David Lee Roth left it was an adjustment to make. When Ozzy left BLACK SABBATH and they hired Dio, I was like, 'Wow, this is different.' The same thing when Bon Scott died, and I thought, 'Well, this guy's is different.' But I do like 'Back In Black'. So I knew how it would be when I joined ANTHRAX, I knew I'd have to feel this experience. I understand and empathised with the fans when they said that it sounded different. But the day I joined ANTHRAX, the day I was the singer, I did nothing but look forward. I didn't want worry too much about what people were going to say. I think that they were going to make me insecure about what I did and I didn't want to feel that way. I wanted to think, 'I'm the new singer, I'm gonna go out and just rip people stands off and I'm going to be the best that I can be.' And that was the only attitude I wanted to have. I was takin' that thing away of what people did before me. But, I mean, I was the man there, and that was the attitude I was going to take. And that's the attitude I continue to take. It's the only way to me. I get on stage and I put everything I can into [it] and I hope the people feel the sincerity that I have as a singer. I feel very good about the years I've been in this band. I worked truly hard and I think people can sense that. It's truly genuine. All you can ask for as a musician is that you can be honest. If you are super honest, people will see and feel that. And they will feel close to you."
Imhotep: I didn't hear your thoughts and feelings towards the Columbus tragedy and the death of Dimebag Darrell. How did you receive the news and how did you feel after being told of his death?
John Bush: "Charlie [Benante] called me in the [middle of the] night and told me about the tragedy. I couldn't believe it. It was such a crazy thing. Dimebag was this crazy guy, who loves to drink, a very happy and joy person. If it would happen in any other way, it would have been already sad, but for the way he died it was horrible. What can you say? It was a really ugly black stain on heavy metal. But Dimebag was such an amazing guitarist and a musician. His music will always move on and that’s what we have. Dimebag played on the last three ANTHRAX records and we were so honored that he did it anytime. Every time I think about him, I just think about somebody who is very happy about life. He was a nice guy. Believe me, there's plenty of vile people in heavy metal, but he was not one of them. He was a good person. Always nice to fans. To him to die like that is really awful. I feel very sad for his brother, for his wife, I can't imagine what is like for them."
Read John Bush's entire interview with Imhotep Zine at this location.