JOEY BELLADONNA On Rejoining ANTHRAX: ‘I’m A Great Choice To Have As A Last Resort’

Michael of the Scottish web site EspyRock recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX vocalist Joey Belladonna. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

EspyRock: Before the reunion last year and after you parted ways with the band in 2007, did you ever see yourself getting back together with the band or did you think that your time was over?

Joey Belladonna: I guess it was a case of never say never, because there were lot of things going on in the band and a lot of moments were it could have been possible. I thought there might a shot to do it all again someday, and then, of course, the reunion came along [in 2005], which was more a case of “let’s just go out and do some shows and not take anything too seriously.” I always remember the words “baby steps” being said, and that we shouldn’t get too excited about being a band again as we’ve got to go through all of the motions — “let’s just go out and have some fun,” and whatever it was at the time. I just rolled with it. I thought they were looking for me to stay, but I don’t think they ever wanted to fully open the door to me, so there was no way for me to get in there and stay there. Then I read online that they have got another singer and I didn’t even hear anything about it until I saw that, so I was never on the cards to come back and apparently I was never on the cards to come back this time either. If John [Bush] had stayed, then they probably wouldn’t have been bothered to think about me.

EspyRock: I was actually going to ask you about that considering the fact they had Dan Nelson in first, then they had John, and then it was yourself, do you kind of feel like you were a last resort?

Joey Belladonna: It’s interesting to think that I’m the last resort, and sadly enough, I think that I’m a great choice to have as a last resort. [laughs] It does seem to be that way, as I’m never at the top of their agenda, and all I can really do is smirk as I can’t fuss over it or cry over it and nor do I want to do any of the above.

EspyRock: When they finally asked you to join full-time, did you have any sort of sitdown with them to discuss everything that has happened before and how you felt about it or did you just want to move forward and not dwell on the past?

Joey Belladonna: Yeah, we are always trying to make sure that those loose ends are all tied up, if there are going to be any at all. When they first asked if they could get me to come in and start working on the record, I said, “Yeah, I’d like to,” but I wanted to know if I was officially there as a member and will this go down properly. I had to make sure everything was going to be the way it should be, as it was a little late in the game for me to be jumping on board. We finally got to the point that I was coming in and we booked some time, me and the producer Jay [Ruston], after I looked at my calendar and said, “Well, I have these days open,” so we ended up doing like four days then stop, couple of weeks break, then four days and stopping again. We went in and done one song a day and it just came together. So, overall, we didn’t so much sit down with a set of stipulations that if they were not met then I wasn’t coming in, I just wanted to know my place. We toyed around with what we were going to be doing, but there was nothing that stopped us from rolling forward to the record.

EspyRock: When you were talking about what you were going to be doing, did you at any point feel the way that John did in that because you had no initial input to the album and the creative process that you would have preferred to have more or less scrapped the album and started a fresh?

Joey Belladonna: Not really, as I didn’t have any stipulations regarding that. You know, at first, if you are working on a record, you would want to be there from the start and it is nice to be able to analyze everything that you can possibly do with the record, but I don’t always think that it is absolutely necessary. Sure, you get a better look at things, but that doesn’t always result in better results. I didn’t have a problem coming in, and we ended up doing so much stuff that it felt like we had started from the beginning anyway. I had to take every song from the bottom. We made plenty of changes, because there are lots of new guitars, all new drums, all new bass and new lead and all new vocals, so I find that it was a brand new thing. As far as I saw and heard, the album wasn’t done at all, it was in the process of getting to the point where they would be recording for real and they might have had a couple of things that could have been mixed up or whatever, but I never heard anything, and I think they were far from being where people think they were.

Read the entire interview from EspyRock.