ANTHRAX members Scott Ian (guitar) and Charlie Benante (drums) took part in an online chat with the members of the band's official fan club, CDC, on Wednesday, January 31. The primary topic of discussion was the group's most recent split with singer Joey Belladonna and the band's future plans, which may or may not include a reunion with ANTHRAX's former vocalist John Bush. An excerpt from the chat follows (edited by BLABBERMOUTH.NET for clarity):
Charlie: I had this idea to do a special anniversary tour, [featuring both] John [Bush] and Joey [Belladonna]. I thought it would be an amazing thing for everyone to see.
Scott: I concur.
Charlie: John decided that he didn't want to be a part of it.
Charlie: He felt he would be overshadowed by Joey coming back.
Scott: He felt he didn't need to take a backseat to the reunion-with-Joey excitement.
Charlie: We all understood. Well, now with John not into it, we all felt that we could go and do some shows.
Scott: SABBATH. Oops, you're still back 20 months ago.
Charlie: I knew this was going to be hard for John, and believe me, it was hard for us as well. WE LOVE JOHN.
Scott: His life was already changing with the birth of [his daughter] Jezebel.
Charlie: John has always been one of us, from day one. Maybe Scott can continue.
Scott: Once we left to do the reunion, we were on a different path. No matter how hard we tried to keep him [John] in the mix, it was strange. Like cheating on your wife.
Charlie: It was really hard seeing these reunion bashers and all. I tried staying in touch with John, but I could tell he was hurt and didn't want any part of it.
Scott: Once things started to happen for us on the tour, it became apparent that people were excited, business was good, etc.
Charlie: But I always knew in my mind that some day we would get back and do another record.
Scott: The touring got this band out of a huge financial hole. John included.
Charlie: I remember reading the thing that Rob Caggiano [former ANTHRAX guitarist] said about us [on the Anthrax Reunion Bashing Club web site] that really gutted me.
Scott: We were working and he was home and we took care of all his debt as well. Rob knew where we were business-wise, and he took a cheap shot. It's water under the bridge now.
Charlie: For the most part, the reunion tour was good. There were ups and downs, but we would see the excitement on the faces and it kinda got good to us as well.
Scott: Anyway, the tour worked on many different levels. I really believe we became a great band again. Granted, we were only playing the old stuff, but it really gelled. At some point, we all decided to go forward with Joey. Why not? It seemed like the right thing to do.
Charlie: Now here's where it's going to get weird.
Scott: After the [ROB] ZOMBIE tour, I believe we had the first conversations with him about making a [new] record. Even though during that tour Joey was already acting like he didn't want to be there. He didn't want to go to Japan and I had to talk him into it.
Charlie: Joey is a very nice person, but he has demons, as we all do in some way or another.
Scott: I don't know why he changed so drastically. I thought moving forward and making a record was all he wanted to do, but once we started trying to communicate with him, it all fell apart.
Charlie: I spent hours on the phone with him. When it got to hour three, I wanted to jump into the phone and strangle him.
Scott: Long story short, we were offered the SABBATH (with Dio) [HEAVEN AND HELL] dates back in December. We were so excited. We figured this would really make Joey happy because he loves Dio. Go ahead, Charlie.
Charlie: But Joey felt he couldn't continue unless he had some info.
Scott: We couldn't believe he wouldn't do the SABBATH dates.
Charlie: It all comes down to dollars and cents with him. THAT'S THE FUCKING TRUTH.
Scott: And he was and would've gotten an equal piece of everything.
Charlie: EVERYTHING. I hate when I read that Scott and Charlie did this or Scott and Charlie did that. Fucking bullshit.
Scott: He thinks he has been cheated even after his own business manager told him that everything was right with the books.
Charlie: Children can't run things, it takes leaders.
Scott: After hearing that 10 times, I took it as a personal offense. I tried to talk to him and he wouldn't answer my attempts.
Charlie: I told him that he'd be letting down a lot of people... didn't make a difference.
Scott: You don't accuse someone of stealing and then disappear.
Charlie: This is the truth.
Scott: We tried. We bent over backwards and all we got was a bunch of vague, nonsensical answers.
Charlie: Like that interview he did that appeared on Blabbermouth. I don't want to slag him, I don't want to start that. I guess I'm just really disappointed in him.
Scott: It's a simple question: do you want to make a record? Yes or no? All we got back was that he felt cheated. After we were offered the SABBATH thing again a few weeks ago, we tried one more time. He still wouldn't talk to us. That was it. I wished him luck in life and told him I hope he realizes what he's giving up.
Charlie: Joey has a good heart. I think his issues just get in the way of his decisions.
Scott: Joey is 45 years old. Grow up and be a man. Take responsibility for your life.
Scott: It's sad that it ended the way it did, but it was out of our hands. End of story.
Scott: Moving forward...
Charlie: Exactly. We're not fighting. We're going to start writing a record.
Scott: No, Joey disagreed. That's it, no more Joey questions. Go tell Joey at his solo dates.
Charlie: This record could be an ANTHRAX record or it could be something else.