The reunited pre-1993 lineup of ANTHRAX — Joey Belladonna (vocals), Frank Bello (bass), Scott Ian (guitar), Dan Spitz (guitar) and Charlie Benante (drums) — were the special guests on on the "Friday Night Rocks" show on New York's Q104.3 FM this past Friday (April 1). The reformed group discussed their upcoming tour, new DVD plans and the possibility of a new studio album, among other topics. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On how the "reunion" came about:
Charlie Benante: "Last summer we were in Europe doing a bunch of shows, whatever… We just got to the end of it, and I had this idea. 'Wow, it would be great to do something really special for our 20th anniversary,' which was last year. It would be great to do a reunion tour — put everybody back together and get that thing going. And I think I put the spark in Scott's head, and then we waited a few months, we got new management, and they put it into place, actually — they got it going. And that was it. It came together. It was the right time to do it."
Scott Ian: "And actually it came together really easily, and that was the key, because if it was a case where it was gonna have to be like, 'Well, so-and-so is not into it and there's arm-twisting or whatever…' I mean, if it came down to that, then there would be no reason to do it. Because why would we do this unless we were gonna have fun doing it? None of us are gonna end up on [MTV's] 'Cribs' because of this reunion tour. So the idea was, 'Let's go have fun.' Let's commemorate our career by doing this."
On why a previous attempt (in 2000) to have Belladonna touring with the band alongside then-singer John Bush fell through and why a reunion with Belladonna is happening now:
Joey Belladonna: "At this time, we feel that this is right, so… That just didn't pan out. I think it was kind of a tight squeeze to get it together and it just didn't work. I don't know if anybody really said that they didn't wanna do it. I've always been into it, from the beginning."
On how the bandmembers seem to be interacting each other like no time has passed since the Belladonna/Spitz lineup dissolved:
Scott Ian: "That's how it was Wednesday night [March 30] when we had the big set-up and everybody showed up at this loft where all the cameras were waiting to see everyone's reactions when we all walked into the room. I'm not sure if they expected it to be bigger or tense or more emotional, but it was kind of like, 'What's up?' It was exactly that. Joey walked in and it didn't feel like 13 years had passed at all. It's like, 'It's Joey Belladonna, it's Dan Spitz, we're ANTHRAX.' It was very comfortable and very easy."
On Frank's current status with HELMET (the band he joined after leaving ANTHRAX):
Frank Bello: "The story is, I did the tour, and it was great. I knew I had to do this. I talked to Page [Hamilton, HELMET leader] and Johnny [Tempesta, HELMET drummer] and Chris [Traynor], and they were great about it. They just told me, 'You have to do this,' and it was just decided. In fact, later on tonight, Johnny's in town, I hope to be drunk with him later. It's all good, it's all positive, and Page asked me to play on the next record, so it's all good."
On how previous ANTHRAX singer John Bush and guitarist Rob Caggiano are dealing with the news of the reunion:
Frank Bello: "We just left Rob. He's in a bar. He's getting loaded in another bar right now, so he's fine with everything."
Charlie Benante: 'That's how he's dealing with it." (laughs)
Scott Ian: "You know, John and Rob are part of this ANTHRAX family. Nobody's been fired from the band. That's the one thing that… There's so many rumors on the Internet. I don't think anything we ever say will dispel any of the rumors of the speculation. I mean, according to the Internet, we're still doing Ozzfest."
Frank Bello: "We're still doing Ozzfest. It's booked."
Scott Ian: "They're still saying it. It was still on there today saying that we're doing it. . . But everyone's cool. John Bush is part of the ANTHRAX family, Rob Caggiano is part of the ANTHRAX family, and everything is good."
On the possibility of a new studio album with this lineup:
Frank Bello: "We're all taking this day to day. Who knows about tomorrow? Nobody knows anything. So it's day to day, let's play the shows, let's see where it goes from there."
Scott Ian: "We understand why people [are constantly asking], 'Are you gonna make a record?' But we have no idea. Let us just have fun doing this. We haven't even played yet in a room together. That doesn't even happen until the end of this month. All we've been doing is blabbing our mouths quite a bit for the last three days and hanging out with each other, which has been great, and the vibe is really cool, so we're just gonna take it as it comes."
On the possibility of touring with MEGADETH this summer:
Frank Bello: "No, we'll be in Europe. I think it's great that people wanna see us on tours like that, but when it's right, it'll be right.
Scott Ian: "We are playing shows with MEGADETH in Europe. Not that it does anyone good over here."
On why they're not doing Ozzfest this year:
Frank Bello: "Sharon [Osbourne] never asked! . . If people are pissed about that, go to Ozzfest.com, say you're pissed about us not being on it, 'cause we were supposed to be on it, whatever. It's not happening. We were never approached about it, it was a serious rumor, and fine. We belong on it, [but] we're not there."
Scott Ian: "The plan is, we're basically out of the country until the end of August, and the plans is September/October, sometime in that time frame is when we'll be touring the United States. . . We don't know who we're gona have out. The plan is to go out and do a headlining run. I'm sure we'll have some bands opening for us — we don't know who yet, it's still way too early, we don't know who's even gonna be available at that time. And I would assume, venue-wise, that we would be playing places like Roseland [in New York City], like that size, I would assume. That would be the goal."
On the possibility of releasing a new DVD:
Scott Ian: "Actually, we plan on doing a DVD. It's not just gonna be a straight-up concert DVD. Of course, there will be that, but we plan to make it more of a documentary."