Anthrax Frontman Joey Belladonna – The full in bloom Interview – 2005

Interview with Anthrax vocalist
Joey Belladonna

full in bloom: What’s new, what have you been up to lately and what’s in the future?

Joey Belladonna: I’ve been touring with the Anthrax 20th Reunion Tour. During the last week, I’ve been resting from the tour and preparing for the next. Also, we just finished working on our live DVD.

full in bloom: How has the tour been going?

Joey: Just fine. There were great crowds with great responses and everyone is getting along well.

full in bloom: The band features all the original members, correct? If so, how has it been playing with those guys again?

Joey: Well, the very first Anthrax vocalist was Neil Turbin, for about a year and a half and Dan Lilker was the bass player during that time. I think there was another drummer, too. So, we’re actually more or less the second group. It’s nice to be in a tight organization with great musicians. It’s really good to be playing with those guys again.

full in bloom: How did the tour come about?

Joey: Charlie (Benante) and Scott (Ian) discussed it with management. Management then gave me a call and arranged for everyone to get on the phone in a conference call to work out the details. It took off from there.

full in bloom: Why are there only 3 Anthrax shows booked in the States? Why would you tour Europe first?

Joey: Actually, we began the tour with three dates in the States as warm-up shows before we went to Australia. We then followed with the European tour. We are now working on shows for this fall in the States and have five shows in September with Megadeth’s Gigantour.

full in bloom: Where did you tour in Europe?

Joey: Forgive me if I leave anyone out here, but we played Spain, France, Belgium, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Greece, England and Finland.

full in bloom: Any chance of a new Anthrax record? If so, when can we expect to hear it?

Joey: There’s nothing definitive right now, but the longer we move along, the bigger the possibility.

full in bloom: What are your 3 most fond memories of being in Anthrax?

Joey: First of all, joining Anthrax was awesome. Then, playing with a such a great band and getting to see the world would be the other two.

full in bloom: Describe the year 1985, as best as you can recollect. That year you released Armed & Dangerous and Spreading the Disease. What were some of the highlights from that year?

Joey: Just walking in the room and not knowing who Anthrax was or ever hearing their music was a moment I’ll never forget. Two days later, I’m doing the Spreading the Disease album with them as well as Armed & Dangerous. Just the beginning of a great band was awesome in itself. Those are very fond memories.

full in bloom: I once worked with a guy named Kerry Crafton, who produced & engineered a lot of Metal Blade acts, including engineering the first Rigor Mortis record. What was your connection with Kerry?

Joey: Kerry was doing lots of demos and did a couple for me back in 1994/5. He was assigned to the project at the time and that is how I knew him. The first set of demos after Anthrax was done at the Goodnight Dallas Studio, but never released.

full in bloom: Any memories stand out from the Spreading the Disease sessions?

Joey: Yeah. It was my first studio record and came together really nicely. It was a wonderful experience. We also signed with Island Records after recording that album.

full in bloom: What is your favorite Anthrax release? Why?

Joey: I’d have to say Spreading the Disease because it was so overwhelming. Everyone was so open-minded and let everyone do what they had to do to finish it. The song “A.I.R.” was put together at the end of the session while we were in the studio and added to the album.

full in bloom: Who were some of your favorite bands that you toured with throughout your career?

Joey: Well, there were several, but Iron Maiden, Ozzy, and Black Sabbath were some of my favorites.

full in bloom: Any memories stand out from the Among the Living recording sessions?

Joey: We did the mixing it in the Bahamas and that was a lot of fun. We were there for a couple weeks and really enjoyed it. Also, working with Eddie Kramer was great. There are a great bunch of songs on that record.

full in bloom: What was your highest selling record? Approximately, how many copies?

Joey: The I’m the Man EP was our highest seller. It was certified at a million copies sold back then, but I have no idea where it stands at this time.

full in bloom: Who are some of the people that have inspired you most? Why?

Joey: The Beatles, with their great songs. Ian Gillian because of his great range. Steve Walsh……..super musician. Those are a few of several.

full in bloom: Have you had any Spinal Tap moments in your career, if so, what was the latest, or one of your top 5 spinal tap moments?

Joey: We were going to Slovenia during our latest tour and they had held the flight half an hour for us. While boarding the aircraft, one of our guys said, “Hey, they’re not loading all our gear on the plane! They’re driving away with it!” We had to make a call and have them return and load our equipment on the plane. They then actually loaded some of the gear into seats in the passenger cabin. Some of our crew guys didn’t make it on the flight due to customs.

full in bloom: How has your view of the music industry changed since the eighties?

Joey: You know what? My view hasn’t changed, but the industry has. I just try to go with the flow.

full in bloom: Any advice you could give to people just starting out in the industry?

Joey: You have to really love playing and be ready to work very hard, if it’s something you seriously want to do. It takes a world of practice, focus and effort.

full in bloom: How do feel about being a pioneer of rap / rock?

Joey: It’s just something that happened. I never thought of myself as a pioneer, but I hope it made people more interested in what we did.

full in bloom: What was it like working with Public Enemy?

Joey: It was a lot of evenings full of fun. Flav made me laugh every night. It was so much fun, and having them close the show with us every night made it really awesome.

full in bloom: What was the state of the band like while recording and touring for the State of Euphoria release?

Joey: It was great! We were doing the Ozzy tour and really rolling along. “Antisocial” was doing really well then.

full in bloom: In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

Joey: H-mmmmmmmm. I can’t really think of anything.