ANTHRAX Guitarist Says Singer JOEY BELLADONNA ‘Owns’ The Band’s New Album

Ed Masley of The Arizona Republic recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Arizona Republic: What do you think of [the] early [ANTHRAX] records now, albums like “Fistful Of Metal” and “Spreading The Disease”?

Scott: I love ’em. I mean, I can’t listen to “Fistful Of Metal” because I hate the mix so much, mainly because my guitar is buried. Everything else sounds great but my rhythm guitars are lost on that record. I love the songs on the record but it’s one of those things that I’ve always wanted to go back and remix. And maybe when that album turns 30 in 2014, we’ll do that. But all those records, I love ’em. We still play so much of that material live, so I think that’s kind of the proof, at least in my mind, that it’s stood the test of time.

The Arizona Republic: When the thrash scene was starting, it seemed like such a departure for metal at the time. What inspired you to take the sound in that direction?

Scott: There was no thrash direction at the time when we were doing what we were doing. Thrash didn’t exist yet. We were just listening to lots of music, you know, that somehow we were channeling into what was to become our sound. I would say mainly at the time, [IRON] MAIDEN and [JUDAS] PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD were huge influences on us and then a lot of the more obscure New Wave Of British Heavy Metal stuff, like RAVEN and VENOM, which at the time wasn’t obscure but now a lot of people probably don’t know about it, certainly not in the mainstream. Even ANVIL. We were huge fans of ANVIL. We’re just massive, massive music fans, all of us, and somehow it just turned into what we started doing.

The Arizona Republic: How does it feel to have [singer Joey Belladonna] back on board?

Scott: It feels great. I just think his performance, that’s all you need to hear. Just listen to this [new ANTHRAX] record [“Worship Music”]. He’s singing songs that he’s only known for a little while and he sings like he’s been singing them for 20 years. He owns the album.

The Arizona Republic: How drastically did the material change when Joey came on [as the replacement for Dan Nelson]?

Scott: Not at all. We get this question a lot. People ask, “How much did you have to change to tailor it to Joey‘s voice?” I’m like, “We’ve never tailored anything we’ve written to anyone who’s in this band.” We just write songs and the singer sings them. A singer will take the songs we write and put his stamp on them. That’s what he does, the same way I play the guitar the way I play the guitar on the songs. We never thought once, “OK, now Joey‘s singing these songs; we need to change things,” because he’s gonna take these songs and just kill on them anyway. That’s his job.

Read the entire interview from The Arizona Republic.