Bob Zerull of Zoiks! Online recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Zoiks! Online: How would you describe your new album, “Worship Music”, to the fans?
Joey Belladonna: I just think that… I don’t know, I think it’s really got some diverse type of tunes on there. I think we’ve broadened on the writing end. It’s as aggressive as any other record we’ve done. Sonically, I think it is one of our bests.
Zoiks! Online: I know they had an album ready to go before you rejoined the band. Is this that same album, but with you on it?
Joey Belladonna: No, there are plenty of new tracks. Lots of new recordings, all new guitars, all new bass, all new vocals, three or four different drum tracks, all new leads. The structure and the chords that were going to be the songs, some of the arrangements are the same, but at the same time, we just sort of busted it all up and put it back together again.
Zoiks! Online: If it wasn’t for the “Big Four” shows [with METALLICA, MEGADETH and SLAYER], do you think you’d be in ANTHRAX right now?
Joey Belladonna: I don’t know about that; that’s a good question. There is a good possibility that they may not have asked me, which is kind of sad. I’ve never heard that one before. That’s a sure possibility, which is kind of frightening in its own way, that you think that without an opportunity somewhere else they wouldn’t want to put me in there. Hell, let’s face it, if they didn’t have any problems with the other guy, they may have just rolled with the record. I wouldn’t have even been a thought.
Zoiks! Online: Did you feel any added pressure to deliver not just a good album, but relevant album being that METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH just came off of great relevant albums?
Joey Belladonna: There’s an excitement kind of pressure vs. a scare, I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-it kind of pressure. You always want to achieve a great record, a good vibe that we were used to doing. There’s always a good pressure more than uncertainty. Obviously, they’ve been sitting on something for a little while and people were getting antsy about what’s going on. “When are you going to finish it?” To come in and be the last guy out of the blue to try and reconcile all of that stuff, I hadn’t been in the band for a while, so there were some interesting thoughts like, “Am I going to be the burden here? Am I going to be the reason if it isn’t what it is?” I didn’t really think about it, once we got going I knew we were going to be fine. I didn’t know how good it was going to be, because you never can predict that. But I thought it was pretty… as I went down, I was like, “Wow!” You start listening to stuff back, because they do stuff so quickly. Within a four-hour period, we were done with a song. At the end of the day, we’d listen back to it a lot. I was done for the day and we’d send it off to everybody and see if they liked it. We were ready for the next song the next day, which is what we did every day. I was cool with that. I didn’t have any doubts. If people were digging it and I was digging it, that’s all you can ask for when you’re writing songs and putting songs together. If you like it, you just have to go with it. Unless somebody tells you this just doesn’t sound right, and that’s never been the case, but if you like it… that’s what I do. If I write something this afternoon and we record it and we love this stuff, we just go. If somebody doesn’t like it, what are you going to do?
Zoiks! Online: You reunited with the band back in what, 2005? It didn’t last as long, what’s the difference this time around?
Joey Belladonna: You mean as far as keeping it together?
Zoiks! Online: Yeah,
Joey Belladonna: What’s different right now, I don’t know. It’s just a matter of everybody staying focused together. You’ve got to make sure you keep things in tact as far as a group, the basics of working together and involving each person to the point where they feel needed and everything else business-wise. You have to do it that way, unless you’re just a hired guy and you don’t have to worry about suggesting stuff and offering your opinions you just come and here’s your memo. It’s not like that for us. We just need to make sure everybody feels involved and is comfortable about being there. That’s what it is. I’ve been in and out for whatever reasons, it’s too baffling, like you asked about the “Big Four.” I don’t even know… After doing the record of course everybody was like, “Wow, jeez, this is good, I’m glad we got a hold of him.” You never know what goes through their mind. Good thing, if it was just OK and it wasn’t received that well, it’d probably be like, “Too bad the other guy didn’t work out, because he’s not working out.” Those are the pressures. You think, “Gosh, sorry I even came into something that wasn’t even my idea or my style.” Those are doubts, but I never really felt like that when I came in because I knew what I could do as long as they were open-minded about it and then accept it. Now I got the thumbs up and I hope they feel that way in the long run.
Read the entire interview from Zoiks! Online.