Anthrax Singer Says He Was “Sideswiped” Out Of Band

Anthrax Singer Says He Was “Sideswiped” Out Of Band
Original Photo Credit: Markus Felix, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Metal legends Anthrax have had their share of vocalist changes throughout their four decades of existence. Neil Turbin, Joey Belladonna, John Bush and Dan Nelson have all fronted the group, and the band even came close to recruiting Slipknot singer Corey Taylor before Taylor’s record label put the nix on the plan at the 11th hour. Belladonna, who rejoined the group in 2010, is widely regarded as the band’s classic voice, but it appears he still harbors some ill feelings towards his dismissal in 1992. 

Belladonna recently spoke with the “Beer Rum & Rock N Roll” podcast and reflected on his initial departure from the group. “I didn’t quit… Like, I wanted to sit around for 13 years while these guys just kept [going],” he said. “People don’t wanna hear it, but that’s the truth. Why would I quit? Forget about that record without me,” he continued referring to 1993’s “Sound Of White Noise” album, which featured Bush on vocals. “I could have been on that record regardless of what they came up with. Let’s just pretend they didn’t even write that record yet. That record would have been cool too regardless of what you’re already familiar with. I’m not saying whatever was on there wasn’t right. I was in that car that rode into that record. I got sideswiped out of there.”

“So, yeah, I didn’t quit,” Belladonna added. “I didn’t quit anything. I don’t want anybody thinking that, ’cause I wouldn’t even have the heart to do that.” Belladonna also spoke about the negative comments he endured while he was out of the band. “Some people are, like, ‘Why the hell are you back with them?” he said. “Why would you go back? That’s stupid, man. You’re an idiot. She cheated on you twice, dude. Don’t go back with her. Come on, man. She’s just gonna go out with that other guy tomorrow night,'” he said.

“It took them a long time to go, ‘You suck. We didn’t like you that much. And now you’re all right.’ Every day I walk in their presence in the room knowing that these people felt that way, ’cause I never felt that way about them. I don’t feel that way about those people. I respect and I highly recommend everything that they do. And obviously I’m back. And I dig what we’re doing right now, I dig what we’re doing. But it’s hard. It’s hard. You get a complex, you know?”

Last year in a series of documentary clips, Anthrax talked about their entire career and the split with Belladonna. Guitarist Scott Ian said: “By the time we finished the year-and-a-half touring cycle — 20, 21 months of touring cycle, and then ‘[Attack Of The] Killer B’s’ comes out. I think the last thing we did together as a band with Joey was [our appearance] on [the] ‘Married With Children’ [TV show]. And then it wasn’t long after that when we made the change. But it wasn’t a quick decision. We were very much a united front, the four of us. Because otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.

“There’s never an easy way to talk about this stuff,” he continued. “Certainly when you’re in the thick of it, when it’s happening, it’s horrible when you’re having to make a decision like this. But it just really came down to, creatively, we all just felt like there was just no way for the band to move forward. We had just hit a wall. It was the heaviest decision in the history of the band, certainly. And even that I feel like doesn’t give it the weight that it needs. And there was never anything personal with Joey — it was never personal with him. It just really came down to the creative ability for the band, honestly, to move forward. And I hate that it’s something that happened.”

Anthrax is currently on the road with Black Label Society and Hatebreed. Earlier this summer, it was announced that Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will fill in for late drummer Vinnie Paul for a Pantera tour next year. Benante said: “I can’t go do this as the drummer from Anthrax because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I’m gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it’s gonna sound like it’s Vinnie, basically. And that’s how it’s gonna be… The sound is gonna sound exactly like him.”

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