Anthrax makes a comeback with return of maniacal frontman
Last year American thrash-metal band Anthrax released Worship Music, its first album in eight years. It was also the first one to feature singer Joey Belladonna—the group’s singer in its mid-’80s heyday—in over two decades. So would that qualify it as a “comeback” album? According to founding guitarist Scott Ian, why not?
“Well, sure, I guess you could call it a comeback,” says Ian on the line from his home in L.A. “Certainly for Joey it is, because it’s his first record with the band since [1990’s] Persistence of Time. But I don’t get too wrapped up in what people want to call it. People can call it whatever they want. I just find if people call it a comeback album sometimes I think like, ‘Well, we haven’t really gone anywhere—you did.’ We’ve been doin’ this nonstop forever.”
What Anthrax has been doing “nonstop” since the early ’80s is test people’s eardrums with the type of metal that got them dubbed one of the “Big Four” of American thrash acts, along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. And now that the band has got its old singer back it plans on keeping him.
“I’ve gone on record saying this will be the only version of Anthrax until there is no Anthrax,” Ian declares. “That’s how I feel, absolutely, in my heart. I don’t see why we would do anything different. This band sounds so great; we made a great record. And I’m super-excited about the future of this band creatively.”
One of the things about the rejuvenated Anthrax that Ian is most psyched about is the energy Belladonna brings in a live setting; he argues that it’s right up there with that of Iron Maiden’s hyperactive Bruce Dickinson.
“There’s a certain maniacal energy that Joey has on-stage,” says Ian, “and that’s his thing. I mean, if I just compare him to our contemporaries in the Big Four, between James [Hetfield] and Dave Mustaine and Tom Araya you’ve got three frontmen that are all attached to the microphone—but Joey’s all over the place on-stage. He’s a maniac, and I always felt like that was one of the things that gave us the kick in the ass we needed way back when to be able to break through and make it, so to speak.”
When Ian’s not helping Anthrax bring the noise, the horror freak and zombie fanatic indulges his love of all things gory as host of the online program Fangoria’s Blood and Guts With Scott Ian, which is expected to premiere October 3 at nerdist.com/.
“It’s basically me going behind the scenes with a lot of the top effects people and them figuring out really fun ways to kill me,” he explains with a chuckle. “I get killed in almost every episode. I’m like Kenny from South Park.
“It’ll just be a web series,” he adds. “So now I can compare it to Jerry Seinfeld’s new Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. That’s something really cool and really successful, and it’s a web series. So now when people say, ‘What’s a web series?’ I can say, ‘Well, Seinfeld does one.’ ”
Anthrax plays the Vogue Theatre on Thursday (September 20).
You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.