ANTHRAX Bassist FRANK BELLO - "Music Is My Outlet For All The Pain I Had In My Life, And I'm Very Grateful For That"
November 28, 2021, a month ago
Rare Bird recently announced the release of Anthrax bassist Frank Bello’s Fathers, Brothers, And Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, And Anthrax, co-authored with Joel McIver, including a foreword by Gene Simmons of KISS.
During a conversation with Ultimate Guitar's David Slavković, Anthrax bassist Frank Bello talked about his heroes, KISS, his new book, going through the Covid pandemic, and more. Following is an excerpt from the chat.
UG: You're also known for your philanthropic work - you've been supporting Little Kids Rock. Could you tell me a little bit about it? Do you find inspiration in - well, inspiring new generations of young musicians?
Bello: "Great question. Here's where it is for me now - I guess I'm in a reflective time of my life. We're still going through this horrible time of Covid, and it makes you reflect on what you have, what you don't where you've been, what do you want to do in the future.
For me, I want to pay it forward. I was the little kid - think about it, we're all children at one time. I was inspired by musicians. Musicians gave me the outlet; music is my outlet for all the pain I had in my life, and I'm very grateful for that. So for me, it's very important that I pay that forward. And maybe, some kid somewhere doesn't know if he wants to try an instrument - he's afraid. Maybe if he sees something positive that I'm doing with an instrument - maybe he likes the way that I play bass or guitar or sing - then hopefully, they'll say, 'If Frank can do it, I can do it too!'
And that's what means everything to me, it really does. And I hope - because it happened to me when KISS did that - all my bass heroes: Gene Simmons, Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee - these people made me want to play. If I can do that going forward - to inspire somebody, even one person, and even through the book - if I can inspire one person to feel better about where their lives are and go get help if they need it, therapy and all that good stuff - it's very important to me. For one person, it means it is all good."
Read more here.
Frank Bello, bassist with the legendary New York thrash metal band Anthrax since 1984 – one of the “big four” of thrash metal - has sold over 10 million albums, travelled the globe more times than he cares to count and enthralled audiences from the world’s biggest stages. He and his bandmates have even been awarded keys to the Bronx in recognition of their status. His long-awaited memoir would be a gripping read even if its pages only contained stories about his life as a recording and touring musician. While those stories are indeed included - and will blow your mind - Bello also focuses on deeper subjects in Fathers, Brothers, and Sons. Once you’ve heard his life story, you’ll understand why.
Born into a family of five, Frank grew up in difficult circumstances. His father abandoned his wife and children, and Frank’s mother moved heaven and earth to keep them fed and educated. Left with no male role model, Frank found inspiration in heavy metal bass players, following their example and forging a career with Anthrax from his early teens—first as a roadie, and then as the group’s bass player. International stardom came Frank’s way by the mid-to-late 1980s, when he was still in his early twenties, but tragedy struck in 1996 when his brother Anthony was murdered in New York. Although the case went to trial, the suspected killer was released without charge after a witness, intimidated by violent elements, withdrew his testimony.
Two decades later, Frank is a father himself to a young son. Like many men who grew up without the guidance of a dad, he asks himself important questions about the meaning of fatherhood and how to do the job well. This is the wisdom which Fathers, Brothers, and Sons offers readers. Despite the emotive nature of these topics, Fathers, Brothers, and Sons is a funny, entertaining read. A man with a keen sense of humor and the perspective to know how surreal his story has been, Frank doesn’t preach or seek sympathy in his book. Instead, he simply passes on the wisdom gained from a lifetime of turbulence, paying tribute to his loved ones in a way that will resonate with us all.
Frank Bello is an American musician, most notable as bassist for the legendary thrash metal band Anthrax. On hiatus from Anthrax, he briefly performed with Helmet, but he has appeared on every Anthrax release since 1985. He lives in New York.
Joel McIver is the bestselling author of Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica, which has been translated into nine languages, and several other books. He has written for Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, and he is the occasional guest on BBC. Classic Rock magazine has called him “by some distance Britain's most prolific hard rock/metal author.”
Fathers, Brothers, and Sons was released worldwide in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook on November 2nd. A percentage of sales will be donated to charities assisting abandoned families.