If there were any years more pivotal and ground-breaking for New York's own ANTHRAX, then the past two would certainly be considered key for Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano. So much has transpired between 2010 and 2012 for Anthrax; their album Worship Music (released in 2011) got stellar reviews and was named one of the best metal albums of the year by boatloads of media outlets. That album has already sold three times as many copies as their last album (it's sitting at 100,000 units) and more than any other of their releases in the last decade. Worship Music would debut in the Billboard top 200 charts at #12. The band would also be prominently featured on the now historic Big 4 shows in New York and California and The Rock Star Energy Mayhem Festival and more.
BraveWords.com correspondent Matthew O'Shaughnessy (from WVOX.com's Metal Mayhem
) recently caught up with bassist Frank Bello about the "serious hunger" fans have for the band.
BraveWords.com: To say it's been a great run for Anthrax these past two years is a complete understatement. The band really broke so much new ground in several aspects all around.
Frank Bello: "It has been a great run. Good times all around!"
BraveWords.com: Anthrax's latest album Worship Music was called metal album of the year by an abundance of journalists. That's a great testimony to the band. The album just really exploded. That's got to make you feel great.
Frank Bello: "Thank you. For the band it is very gratifying; we are totally humbled. We know what kind of business we've chosen here. It is not easy, especially now a days. There are no record sales any where. So for Anthrax to break the one hundred thousand record mark - that alone nobody expected. We couldn't be happier and more thankful for it. You have a humble band here and we are happy to be back and we feel we are back in a big way!"
BraveWords.com: Since Worship Music was released Anthrax has played a monumental one hundred and seven shows all over the world.
Frank Bello: "Tell my back about that! (laughter). I just remember playing Yankee Stadium on the Big 4 which is obviously the highlight for this band being from New York and Yankee fans and all that good stuff. I just remember releasing that record right then and it feels really like yesterday. The time really flew by. It also feels good to have this kind of longevity on a record."
BraveWords.com: You have commented before on a new Anthrax record of covers. What's the latest with that?
Frank Bello: "Any Anthrax fan who has been around us knows we like to jam other songs during sound checks; what we did we recorded a bunch of songs we grew up on. We did 'Smokin'' from BOSTON which is a great classic song and 'Anthem' from RUSH - we are all diehard Rush fans. Just fun songs but I want people to be surprised. We are thinking about re-releasing Worship Music next year with some of these B-sides on it which is cool. It's just a different side of us; and I think people always want to dig into that."
BraveWords.com: I understand Anthrax has been incorporating some vintage tracks into the live set, songs you haven't played in a while.
Frank Bello: "Yeah, we've been doing that so far. With Anthrax, the good thing about this band it doesn't like to stand still with its set-list. You have your obvious ones that you have to play otherwise people get pissed. We like to mix it up. The great conversation we have is about two hours before the show; "Alright what are we doing?". And we all just look at set-lists and say let's try this. That's the fun part nobody sees. Yeah, you'll have your classics but we always like to throw in a curveball. So you don't know."
BraveWords.com: Anthrax has been quite active showcasing Worship Music on the road for the past year and a half, including the Big 4 shows and The Rock Star Energy Mayhem Festival where you headlined the second stage playing a special high-energy, non-stop, bare bones guerilla set at super-sonic speed.
Frank Bello: "It was! I'm telling you there are two tours to me in my life that were very special - we've done alot of touring throughout our years . The Big 4 you have to put right up there. But the Mayhem tour because of the impact that it brought; seeing these fifteen and sixteen kids and younger along with our own audience coming to these shows which is a really beautiful thing. That tour was exactly what we wanted to accomplish. Doing 40 minutes on the second stage and just making the newer people who haven't seen Anthrax get it. I think we did the right thing thankfully. All I could say is for forty minutes of Anthrax it's exactly what we wanted to accomplish. I mean I literally didn't even get to have a drink between certain songs. Some shows it was one hundred and eight degrees on stage! The impact of the Mayhem Tour I'm seeing now. We see a buzz again. People are saying we are back. This band has a serious hunger to achieve and I am really psyched about it."
BraveWords.com: Your going out with MOTÖRHEAD in Europe soon.
Frank Bello: "It's insanity! (laughter) Thankfully, we hear that the bill is really popular and the tickets are going really fast! It's the best. Lemmy rules beyond anybody. Period."
BraveWords.com: This past September at the Toronto International Film Festival you made your feature film debut in the new movie Greetings From Tim Buckley.
Frank Bello: "It's funny you should say that. You know, I've studied acting forever in New York and it's a really serious passion of mine almost like creating a person within a person. Long story short, around the Big 4 time I get a call for an audition from a friend of mine who says you would be right for this role. I go in and read for it and I was cast for it on a Thursday and started working Monday on the film. A couple of weeks later the Big 4 at Yankee Stadium was happening and as the story goes, and this is the God's honest truth, I had a seven AM call for a big scene. We were celebrating at the Metallica after party at Yankee Stadium and at three-thirty in the morning my manager taps me on the shoulder and says, "Frank you have a seven AM call!" My face just dropped!. It all worked out great. So I went to Toronto; they flew me out and it was great promotion for the film. It was a lot of fun. I want to do more when I am home. I enjoy it in my off time."
BraveWords.com: What message would you like to leave you fans with now? It's been a sweet raging ride for New York's own titans o' metal - Anthrax!
Frank Bello: "Our fans have been on this rollercoaster ride with us for a long time. I really applaud them for staying around with us; it's the pay off for all of us. The bands back and we are on this ride together."