Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you think part of the energy on "Worship Music" came from [singer] Joey Belladonna's return to the band?
Frank: Absolutely. Joey is an awesome singer. He came and put the cherry on top of that record is the way I look at it. Joey came in and number one, he has that amazing voice. This isn't a kiss-off; it's just fact. The dude has always had a great voice and not because he's the singer of ANTHRAX but because I'm a fan of his singing. He just has a great voice and he comes in and he just makes it easy and seamless with his singing. You know it's funny after all these years, Joey came in and it was a natural lock-in with the music and his vocals. It sounded like that ANTHRAX. You understand?
Ultimate-Guitar.com: I do understand.
Frank: It was that ANTHRAX and I think a lot of people hadn't heard that ANTHRAX in [a long time]. And no disrespect to any other ANTHRAX. It was just a thing people haven't heard in a while and really liked. Everything just clicked at once and that's what's so exciting about going to the next record. Because nobody knew what the next deal was gonna be and how everything was gonna work out. But from the overwhelming, positive vibe from the fanbase that we have — and us and the way we feel about the last record and where we are — yes, of course. We can't wait for the next thing. It's great looking ahead now.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You're currently working on a new album?
Frank: We're writing a new ANTHRAX record right now. And there's nothing better coming from that. We didn't need to take a break 'cause we were on such a high, we wanted to dive right into it because we all had some great stuff written. We're just putting it all together now.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: What is the status of the record at the moment?
Frank: We almost have 12 songs already, which is unheard of for us with a new record. 'Cause we think we're in a good rhythm — you know what I mean?
Ultimate-Guitar.com: I do.
Frank: So when that vibe is there and god — we haven't felt that since the '80s. With the band getting along really well, there's a whole new generation of fans we have along with our fanbase that happened from the Big Four. So everything's clicking, which is really nice.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Does the new album jump off where "Worship Music" ended?
Frank: To be quite honest, the best way we can describe this — and Scott [Ian, guitar] and I have talked about this in length — is we know it's a thrashier record absolutely hands down. It's got more intensity to say the least but it's definitely a step to the thrash side. No doubt. It takes a while for us to warm up into playing it because quite honestly it's hard to play.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Has new guitar player Jonathan Donais [SHADOWS FALL] been a part of the creative process?
Frank: No yet. He'll definitely be part of the lead process on it. But the core of the band — Charlie [Benante, drums], Scott and I — usually write the stuff together and bounce off of each other. Get the main structure in the song and then we'll have the lead section and we'll pick Jon's head and see what he's got. I'm sure it's gonna be great because he's awesome. He's a great addition to the band.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Who's producing the new album?
Frank: Jay Ruston — straight up. He mixed the last record and he did vocals with Joey specifically. He's so easy to work with; he's one of us. He's definitely the next member of ANTHRAX. He's in with us and he's in our writing sessions right with a Pro Tools and editing things as we go. He'll tell us if we need a suggestion like, "Is that part too long?" he goes, "You should probably cut that part out." He'll just help us edit it where we need it, which is great.
Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.