Former ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna recently spoke to Metal-Exiles.com about his decision in early 2000 to bow out of the ANTHRAX tour that was to feature two frontmen: Belladonna and his replacement, John Bush.
The tour, which went ahead without Belladonna's involvement, was to feature Joey on the band's older songs, while Bush was to handle vocals on the more recent material. Both lead singers were to perform on the band's rendition of THE TEMPTATIONS classic "Ball Of Confusion", which appeared on their "Return of the Killer B's (A's)" album.
"We asked Joey to do this because we thought it would be something really cool for the fans, and they could enter a new millennium with a special ANTHRAX event," drummer Charlie Benante said in a statement issued a week prior to the start of the January 2000 tour. "However, Joey has decided that he doesn't want to take part in the festivities with us. He's the one who's going to miss out in seeing all those happy faces in the crowd that have been waiting for something like this for years, but we don't intend to let our fans down."
Explaining his decision to pull out of the trek on such short notice, Belladonna said, "I had everything in front of me way late and I saw what they were going to do and I said, 'Look, if you are going to put me out on the road first of all you have to negotiate a little bit earlier than now. Then you've put me in a pigeonhole after you announced it.' They didn't negotiate with me and that's the bottom line. Whatever money I wanted was nowhere near what they were going to make and nowhere near what they would've gotten on the end of it versus what I would've had on the back end of it. What I would've had to have done is helped them out and they would've gotten many benefits from it versus what I would have got. That's how you try to balance it out, the benefits of not being in the band versus being the flute player coming in the band like I had nothing to do. Like I wasn't doing anything.
"By the way, [former ANTHRAX guitarist] Danny [Spitz] was at my house around that time and we were working on stuff, we were busy. They didn't ask him either and plus they asked me to sing with them after saying, what kills me, they asked me and then they said on that VH1 thing that I was terrible and that I sucked every night. I was like why would you say stuff like that? Why didn't they just say, 'Hey, dude it just didn't work out?' I mean why did they cut me down and make it sound like I sucked. He actually said that, 'He was awful every night.' I'm like, 8 years, where did you hear that? How did you come up with that? Just for them to ask me to sing with them, they should at least own up to the fact that they were asking me to come out with them and they should have at least acknowledged that. Plus, they still didn't negotiate in a proper form. They wanted me to go out and they waited right until the end and here is what we are going to give you. I was like 'Whoa, wait a minute now.' It was as equal to or a little more than being one of the crew. They tried to downplay me being on that bill, saying that it wasn't that big of a deal with me on it. It sounded like it is the real deal and we're going to do a shared thing and it is going to be an attraction. Right? Let's be frank, that was the story. Then I come off the thing and people did not know that I was not going to be on the tour and some people were freaking out. They just really downplayed the whole thing as if I had nothing better to do and it would maybe get me on my feet again. I understand all that would be nice but that is not the end of the game.
"I don't want to get into it too much but the bottom line is they did not negotiate with me in a proper sense and make it worth my while just as well as it would be for them. Of course they don't want to shell out because they wanted to have this with me and earn more and get it done in a bigger way. Danny was there, he was totally on with what I was doing and he would've done the same thing. If they were smart they would have asked Dan and I to do it and then we all could have done it. They didn't want to do a nostalgic thing."
Read Belladonna's entire interview with Metal-Exiles.com at this location.