ANTHRAX Singer Talks About Making Of ‘Worship Music’

Jenna Williams (a.k.a. “The Scream Queen”) of conducted an interview with ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna on October 19 in Denver, Colorado. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. You just released your new album, “Worship Music”… How do you feel you guys created depth and life into it?

Belladonna: Well, I’ve been with these guys for a little while. Well, for me, vocally, I mean, I just wanted to go in there and just hammer away and, you know, I just… I kind of do everything right off the cuff. I mean, some of the stuff I didn’t even hear any of it at all. Really?!

Belladonna: Yeah. I didn’t even know I was walking into. [Laughs] So it was kind of cool that way. So, nobody was there too, on top of it. So I didn’t really have anybody to kind of making suggestions and stuff — just me and the producer, Jay Ruston. How do you feel you connected to it, even though, like you said, you didn’t really know what you were walking into?

Belladonna: Well, I connected because I have my own little style that fits with what they do and I just seem to really expand even more so because everybody… I mean, I’m getting a feedback from these guys thinking, “Are they going to like it or is it a little too new for them?” But, off the bat, like when I did “Crawl” first and we sent that on, everybody was just [like], “My God, this is cool! Alright! Excellent! OK!” They were on board and I just kind of started hitting the songs one by one and everybody was just real comfortable with the album and it was just a natural thing. I don’t know. I don’t really know; I don’t know… People ask me why things hit the way they hit, that’s just… you just don’t know. I mean, even when I joined them, I didn’t even know anything about them. So, it was like I walked in and started singing again and even then, I hadn’t even heard myself sing, so I didn’t even know what I was going to bring to them vocally either, because I got off right off the bat and just… I don’t know. I don’t know how to describe it, really. It’s been a while since you’ve recorded anything with ANTHRAX… How was it when you initially began? You kind of touched on it earlier. But being away from the studio for such a long period of time and coming back…

Belladonna: Well, I guess the hard part, too, is when you’re in a band, then you’re out, and you’re wondering why are you out, what are you going to do this time that’s going to be different to them when you weren’t with them. So it’s like, “I hope I’m going to do something…” Although, I mean, I felt what I was doing before was fine, but it was just somehow there was just a mix-up of what they were looking for. So as I started singing, I’m thinking, “What I do is what I do.” So, hopefully what you didn’t hear before, you might hear now. . . There wasn’t very much time to finish. I remember calling Jay, “I’ve got fourteen days on my calendar, what do you got?” We found fourteen days. And of course, if we didn’t finish at that point, we were going to do some live shows, we were going to go on the road, I don’t know if the record would’ve even had a chance to get out by September at all. So, you just hope what you’re doing is cool. I mean, it was overwhelming enough that everyone dug it. I’m beyond that point of worrying. I just said, “I’m going to do what I’m going to do and hopefully they’re going to naturally like it versus going ‘shit, it’s cool, I wish we could do something else…'” Even me, I didn’t even fool around with the songs either. It’s not like I said, “Hey, you know, let’s get rid of the bridge in that song, or let’s shorten that, or let’s change the key.” You know? We didn’t do any of that kind of stuff. It was just like, you stuck with the song, you know, and I also did my own thing with it, but I didn’t take the arrangement and rip it apart. And we did some extra recording with the drums, and the bass, and the guitars, and all that kind of stuff. And vocally, I just did whatever I could with the frame.

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