Metal singer ready to rock with Anthrax again
Joey Belladonna was the lead singer of metal act Anthrax from 1984 to 1992, during which time the band was nominated for three Grammy Awards. Earlier this year, Belladonna rejoined the band to perform a series of shows in Europe with the “Big Four” — Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Anthrax makes a stop in Oklahoma City Thursday before heading out on tour again with Slayer and Megadeth. The Daily’s AJ Lansdale spoke to Belladonna about his long career in music.
AJ Lansdale: So you’ve been in and out of Anthrax a couple of times. You left in 1992, then came back for the Among the Living tour in 2005. What was it like being in the band back in the ’80s and ’90s, and has anything changed with the reunions?
Joey Belladonna: The band is a bit stronger — better musicians, more mature. We’re doing great musically, understanding each other’s needs. We know more what we have to do, and we’re working toward the same goal: putting out a great album.
AL: It seems like metal is more popular overall in Europe than in the U.S. What was it like playing the Sonisphere shows in Europe with Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth?
JB: It’s more overwhelming over there, they’re more enthusiastic overall. Maybe they grew up with a better environment, they’re just so rampant about it, they feed off it. It’s still cool in the States, but it’s not quite the same culture.
AL: Who are your favorite musicians or groups, as influences or just that you enjoy listening to?
JB: Rush is one of my favorites, it’s always been awesome. Neil Schon (guitarist of Journey) always blew me away. Sevendust is one of the newer bands that I like, but I find a lot of stuff that’s really enjoyable, It’s really hard to pin down any one favorite.
AL: Sort of going back to the Big Four shows, after the Okalhoma City show on Thusday, Anthrax is heading to Dallas with Slayer and Megadeth to be part of the Jagermeister Music Tour. What’s it like to have three of the biggest bands in thrash metal on one tour?
JB: It’s awesome, man. You learn to respect peoples’ achievements and friendship. It’s an honor, and I’m looking forward to playing with those guys again. It takes a lot to achieve their goals and do what they’ve done.
AL: OK, so the band’s been working on a new album, tentatively titled “Worship Music.” John Bush left the band, so you’re recording new vocal tracks for the album. Kind of a strange title, but Scott (Ian) said in an interview with Metal Hammer in Germany that you guys might change it?
JB: I’m doing some new stuff on top of what they already have. I don’t really know about the title of the album; I’m a little out of the loop. As far as I know, the name should stay intact. There’s going to be some interesting stuff — it’s hard to give a detailed version, but they’ve had it one way [and] it’ll change a bit with me, but there’s going to be some real good riffs, really heavy.
AL: It seems to me that metal is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Do you think that metal’s coming back to pop culture, or do you think it never left?
JB: I’d have to say it never really left. It swings up and down like every other musical style. It’s actually more accepted now than I think it’s ever been. There’s a lot more younger kids coming out to shows; I see parents bringing their kids to shows. It stretches across the generation gap.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern, Oklahoma City
COST: $19 in advance, $24 day of show