Interview with Joey Belladonna of ANTHRAX September 27, 2011

September 30, 2011 by: admin

September 27, 2011


Joey Belladonna – vocals

New York

By: Shauna O’Donnell

Hi, Joey how are you today?

I’m good, thanks for calling. I have a few interviews today, trying to keep as busy as possible.

You released your tenth studio album this month on September 13th called Worship Music. This is your first new album in eight years. How long did it take to make the album?

I honestly don’t know, all I know is I came in towards the latter part of it and put my fifteen days of studio time that I had open to start singing on. I did all my work in the latter part of the time. They had someone else in between working on some stuff and I wasn’t quite in there at the time. I didn’t come in until later in the process, but that is fine because I had plenty of time to make due with whatever material I had in front of me, so it wasn’t a problem really.

I was curious, it just so happens that this is the thirty year anniversary of the band, did they kind of wait to put the album out for that specific occasion?

I think it fell into that thirty year time frame.

How does it feel being back in the band?

It’s quite nice, I mean, at this point in time I really wouldn’t want it to be anything different really. When we get going it is the way to go.

Did it take much persuasion to get you back in the band?

No, it was just a matter of calling and making sure that what we had was a full time frame where we could get it done right and put everything together. It’s all a matter of compromising or adjusting to whatever anybody wants to do.

The album debuted on Billboard’s Top 20 at #12.  That is the band’s highest chart debut in two decades. Were you guys surprised it debuted that high?

Yeah you can be surprised at any of that stuff. No one has any indication of how people are going to perceive it. Nowadays, I wouldn’t dare to suggest a place where we should be and what number we should be at.

I think this is the band’s best album to date. It takes us back to the way the music sounded back in the day. Do you feel that way also?

To me, it fits everything we are doing. If anything we are taking it one step further and carrying on to where we left off. It’s what we do; I never look at it any differently. I’m very happy with the direction and the songs are open for me to sing on in a good way. They fit me well, even though I wasn’t there to dictate anything, which a lot of times I wasn’t anyhow. At the same time I have to have plenty of room to adjust to anything they had going on. It just seems to fit. Someone was asking me yesterday “Were these songs written for you?” I said “Not particularly, that is the way Anthrax is. They are not going to fit into any element that they have going on as far as the writing focus.”

Do you find it hard singing lyrics that you did not write? I think a lot of vocalists would say that would be difficult.

I’ve done it before and had no problem doing it. You could send me some stuff and I could sing on something. It depends on the song. In these cases I haven’t had any elements where it just doesn’t fit me or there is a bad key to sing over. I haven’t run into any of that in this particular situation.

Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano co-produced the album along with Jay Ruston. Both are Grammy nominated producers. Is Rob still producing for other bands?

I would assume he is, he seems to be busy as ever.

You got to work with Jay independently. Was he able to draw things out of you that you didn’t realize you had in you?

I think we worked together great. He just let me sing. That was the best part of it. Nobody was there. The band wasn’t there to push me into a situation where it wasn’t suitable or interfering in the actual achievement of singing the songs. It was a great time.

Do you think Jay really helped shape what this record sounds like?

Yeah, Jay had a lot of things to do sound wise. He had a way of putting his stamp on it too. He didn’t record all of the stuff. I think a portion of it was already put together before he came in. He and I both came in later in the situation. We did whatever we could to make it work along the way just as well.

Now that this album is out and doing so well, do you think that you will be putting out albums more regularly now?

I certainly hope so, that is what I really remembering doing. That helps put us in a position to keep busy and keep the fans more motivated. It’s a great thing to keep writing music. Obviously when you write, you don’t always have the greatest ideas at the time that you want them and sometimes you are not interested in doing it when you want to. I’m not sure I will come up with everything I want that day, but I can do it right now. I can do it at the same time I’m doing the record. There is always a time to do something as far as the writing and I never put a limit on it as far as that goes.

Are you still doing the Belladonna Solo Band?

I have material and stuff. Belladonna was built around something that I needed to do because I was out of the band. Anthrax is really more of a priority for me. Someday I may do the Belladonna again I guess, I don’t know, or it could be something completely different. Right now I am busy doing this and we have got plans in front of us, so I want to make sure I do it right. I want to focus all of my attention on this without any other interference.

You guys played at the Yankee Stadium as part of the Big Four. I though it was so cool that you had a day named after you, ‘Anthrax Day in the Bronx’.

Yeah, how cool is that you know?

It is interesting that it took all this time to get Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer on the stage together. How did that finally all come about?

The Big 4 thing I guess was just a matter of Metallica making a decision on how they want to tour and with whom. I wish I knew the whole process of that.

Now that you have done it and it was a success, do you think it will be something that you would do again?

I would certainly think we could do it again. There is no reason why we can’t. It comes down to timing and how everyone wants to go about it.

In October and November you will be doing a headlining tour with Testament and Death Angel. That is going to be one hell of a tour. How long has it been that you have personally played with Testament?

Well, on the same stage on the same tour it has been a while, back in the 80’s. We have played together at a festival, but on different days.

Thank you so much for the interview. I want you to know that I am very happy to see you guys back in full swing and I wish you the very best in all that you do. Before I let you go would you like to add or say anything?

I’d just like to thank everybody for sticking with what we have been doing. I like the great news that you like the record and I hope to have more coming your way. I look forward to seeing everyone on the road. Go online and check us out, that way you can find us.

Filed under: Interviews

Comments are closed.