Former ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna was seen with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frank Bello this past Wednesday (April 28) at the FOZZY concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City, prompting speculation that he is in talks to rejoin the band in time for the group's upcoming "Big Four" shows in Europe with METALLICA, MEGADETH and SLAYER. (Belladonna lives in upstate New York while Benante is a Chicago resident, making it somewhat unlikely that this was simply a chance encounter.) Belladonna also got up on stage and performed a cover version of the RUSH classic "Tom Sawyer" with the Brooklyn, New York-based trio ZO2, which provided support at the FOZZY gig.
Video footage of Belladonna's performance with ZO2 can be viewed below (courtesy of Robert Bolger).
In its presentation of ANTHRAX as one of the event's performers, the web site of the Swedish edition of the Sonisphere festival writes (in Swedish): "Who is singing? Let's say this: His initials are J.B. And he has one goal: a mosh, for everyone."
ANTHRAX was supposed to release its new album, tentatively titled "Worship Music", last October. However, the set has been delayed indefinitely following the departure of singer Dan Nelson in July 2009 and the return of John Bush, who fronted the band between 1992 and 2005.
In a recent interview with Australia's PyroMusic.net, John Bush stated about the status of ANTHRAX's new album, "Well, obviously, [the other members of ANTHRAX] have a finished record that they're sitting on [featuring the vocals of Dan Nelson], and... and... I'm not sure what's gonna happen yet. At one point they wanted me to re-record it all, and I wasn't really up to that task. And then the game changed a little bit and we came up with the idea of an EP in conjunction with these shows in the summer. But there's been some business issues with that. So, I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen yet. Obviously the guys in the band would like to have something out to correlate with these "Big Four" shows [featuring METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX] and I totally understand that. It's just a matter of making something feel right. Because obviously there's been so much involved in making this one record... Dan Nelson singing on it, then Dan Nelson not being in the band, but his vocals being on it, and then me to go re-record everything and I didn't really have a hand in creating anything... I don't feel really comfortable just going in and re-recording everything as is. I want to make it my baby a little bit. And they're trying to do something with that... contrary to ARMORED SAINT, they would like to have something out by June for these shows. So I don't know. Worst-case scenario is that ANTHRAX will play the shows anyway, record or not. They were asked to participate and that was based on the band's history more than anything, so we'll see."
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. His voice was featured on over 10 albums, which reportedly sold eight million copies worldwide.
After splitting with ANTHRAX, Joey continued to make music with a solo project called BELLADONNA, which released its first self-titled debut in the mid-'90s. A follow-up effort, "Spells of Fear", came out in 1998 and it was heavily criticized for bad production and sloppy musicianship. The third album, or rather the demo recordings for what was supposed to be the third BELLADONNA album that was never recorded in a real studio, was self-released by Belladonna in 2003. It was a return to better songwriting and musicianship and it was well received by the fans.