Joey Belladonna - Anthrax

December 30, 2005

You guys have done a reunion thing. How is that going so far?

It's excellent. It's a great, great feeling to be with the guys. It's a kickass band and it's the way it should be.

I was talking with Sal from Sworn Enemy and I was telling him I liked you the best because you've got this operatic voice that's really powerful and passionate. I always loved that and I missed that for a while.

Yeah, well to me I'm right down the middle of it all. I try to deliver as much as I can but have your own style and just keep it real without trying to follow something that may or may not be your bag.

When you left Anthrax, what were you doing in between then and now?

I was working on my own stuff keeping busy there. Everything according to a musician's way of life. Everything there. I was having fun. I was playing out and I was playing drums and singing and gigging quite a bit. Supporting a few other tours with some other people. W.A.S.P. and I did some stuff with King's X and M.O.D. and just a bunch of fests and all kinds of cool stuff. A lot of local bands coming in and playing with us. It was pretty fun. Keeping me busy. Recording some material too. I kept on doing that kind of thing. Mainly just being creative as much as possible.

What exactly led the guys to wanting the original lineup back together again?

Well, there's definitely a few things like the 20 years it's been. Like an anniversary kind of thing spawned. You get a situation where why not. That was a good band. There was no reason...what's to say that you couldn't put that together, right? Any way no matter what, how good or how bad something might have been. That wasn't bad by any means but if that were the case, what would stop somebody from mending something and putting it together just to do it. All the above. There's all that. We just wanted to do it. We're not getting any younger so why not try it?

Yeah, that's quite true especially with so many people departing the scene on us already.

Yeah, right?

A lot of times when people are in bands together, especially with guys when they're so much younger and they're a little more headstrong, they clash and then run off. It's nice to see them mend fences later.

It's major. I don't know. It's nice to see how good we were to be able to do it again. I think it's a good thing.

You guys put out a double CD called No Hit Wonders. That was a really cool CD. How did you guys go about putting that together?

We just randomly picked some good cuts. Obviously everything isn't on there but we got a lot of good things on there. It's remastered. Just wanted to reacquaint everybody, just like the live thing. Just give everybody back some material.

I thought it was a really good selection because it was a number of songs from different albums. I thought it was so well done and it just covered the whole history of the band pretty much.

I think we nailed it pretty good. It was a tough call sometimes getting everything but I think we pretty much covered a good portion of what we needed to put on there.

You guys always wrote some really good, meaningful songs. You didn't put a whole bunch of stupid bullshit together and here's the song. They had a lot of thought and meaning to them. I kind of find some bands these days are lacking in that sort of thing.

Yeah, you bet. That's why it's so cool to be able to still do the old stuff and not really worry about doing it because it's still pretty kickass. It's not like "oh my God, we can't play that. It's so dated." Or "it's not hot enough." Forget it. We've got plenty of good stuff.

One thing I thought was really fascinating was when you guys were up in New York talking about the vaccine that they were giving the soldiers. Being a veteran of the military myself, I was so glad that you guys were actually talking about that. I don't think a lot of civilians realize that when you join the military, you are a guinea pig. I remember getting all sorts of vaccinations where I didn't even know what half of them were and that was during peacetime. What was so funny is I was about 18 or 19 years old and both of my parents had served in the military and they told me about all the vaccinations and to ask what they were. So I would sit there and do that and those doctors would get so pissed at me for asking.

Yeah, it's really very secret.

One doctor asked why I was asking so many questions and I said it's my body and I'll have it all my fucking life. I want to know what's going in it. I was really glad to see you guys talking about that and bringing that up. Bringing it to people's attention. At the same time people were getting pissy about it and I said well you sit around talking about supporting the troops all the time and part of that is bringing up bullshit like that.

Amazing.

I wanted to let you guys know how much I appreciate that.

Well, thank you. It's nice to lend a hand in any way that we can with something that may open somebody's eyes in some other way. Again, we can learn a lot more about it. We did learn quite a bit as it was. I was happy to be there to do that. It's just a very interesting subject.

After the New Year, you're going on a major tour with Manntis and Sworn Enemy.

Yeah, it's coming soon. It's finally coming. Just spent a couple of months off so it seems like we've been relaxing a little too long. And that's short too. It's relatively shorter than anything we normally do. Definitely ready to take it on. It's going to be a pretty short but packed night after night.

You guys are going to be busy.

Yeah, right.

What are you guys doing after that tour is over? Do you have plans to do something a little more extensive?

I think there will be some stuff coming up but I believe that people have some obligations right now beforehand or after the fact. We'll have a little bit of downtime again. There's really no telling when we'll get back on the road. I'll take a shout out and just say we'll probably hit Europe after that somewhere and headline probably in the spring. I don't know really. I wouldn't quote it but anything is possible.

You guys have been doing a whole lot of touring thus far.

Yeah, we've been busy. We took a month off in August. We took off the end of November and December. Actually we took off November and December. We've been off three months and of course we didn't start working until April but we've been busy.

Something I was wondering about when I was talking about your voice, did you ever take singing lessons or did that just come naturally for you?

No, my lessons are singing to records all day. I still do it. I just got back from the store a while ago and I had the stereo going and I'm singing my ass off to all kinds of kickass shit.

Something I find interesting is that some singers wind up not having their voices cooperating after a length of time. Then there are singers whose voices even after 20 or 30 years still cooperate with them. Is there anything special you've done over the years where you managed to keep that beautiful, operatic kind of thing going?

I don't know. It's just one of those things. That's what I do so I take good pride in it. It's something I like to perfect so I'm always doing it. I have some friends that will come over tonight and we'll sing all kinds of cool songs and it won't even be anything related to Anthrax. It's just the whole exercising of singing. It's just doing it. That's the cool thing.

Have you guys thought about doing a studio album by any chance?

We haven't really formally discussed it but as time goes on I think that the prospect becomes apparent. There's a good chance but again you have to get in the room. You have to make some noise and everybody has to have some time to do it. We've been so busy and again, as they switch gears with other members and stuff, you just don't know what's ahead. Not talking about it and not being together for a lot of time you don't know what to expect. We also came into this thing without going "this is what we're going to do and this is how it's going to go." We're just taking it little by little, day by day, month after month. That's how it ends up being. We're all digging what's going on. It's all in line for that I think so the idea of doing it becomes a lot more enjoyable in the thought of it. That's just my opinion.

I think a lot of people will be crossing their fingers on that one.

Oh, big time. I think so too. Again I would love to hear it myself to be honest with you. I think with a newer vibe that they had and the older stuff we did and then me coming in doing something off the wall. It could be pretty cool.

You guys have matured so much over the years so it would probably sound like some of the older stuff but yet with more maturity to it. That would be a cool thing. Any other thoughts or comments?

Thank you. I appreciate it. You have a merry Christmas and a good New Year.

Anthrax