Metallica saved Anthrax says Frank Bello

Frank Bello
Thankful: Frank Bello (Image credit: Getty)

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello has thanked Metallica for providing the “kick in the ass” his band needed to return to form.

And he argues they’re more energised now than they’ve ever been, even in the 1980s.

He believes the Big 4 of thrash shows in 2010, along with Slayer and Megadeth, was the focal point that led to a return to form with 2011 album Worship Music and this year’s For All Kings.

Up until then, Anthrax had been struggling in the wilderness as they tried to secure a permanent frontman between John Bush, Joey Belladonna and Dan Nelson. Classic-era vocalist Belladonna returned full-time for Worship Music.

Bello tells “This band has new life. It’s like a resurgence. Even before Worship Music it really started with the Big 4 tour.

“I have to credit Metallica, and I’ll always be thankful to them for that. They didn’t have to do the Big 4. That really gave us the kick in the ass to be a band again, and to be real with it. I swear there’s been non-stop momentum since that tour.”

He says it’s “humbling” to be told that For All Kings is the band’s “best work to date” and adds: “I feel that way too – but hey, I’m one of the songwriters in the band.

“When you ask, ‘Are we re-energised?’ that’s an understatement to how we all feel. We’re hungrier now than I can remember being in the 80s.

“We know who we are as writers and we tapped into something that gets us going.”

Settling on a singer meant Anthrax could concentrate on writing songs that matched his voice, Bello reflects. “This is not a kiss-up to Joey, but he’s better now than he’s ever been,” says the bassist.

“I stand on stage with him every night and the dude is just a phenomenon. I never heard of any singer that doesn’t warm up and can still sing like he does. I’m a background singer and have things that I do to prepare. He is so consistent.

“I’m a fan of his voice – he has a gift from God and it’s a beautiful gift. I’m thankful to be in a band with him.”

Of all the challenging times in Anthrax’s career, he says his own worst moment came with the death of his brother. Anthony Bello was murdered in New York in March 1996, and the crime has never been solved.

Bello says: “We were going to cancel a tour of Japan like 10 days later. I had to do it, because my brother was such a fan that he wouldn’t want to see me holding up the momentum of the band. He was always very supportive of us. So I did that in memory of him.

“That was the darkest time for me – everything else is business. You have to realise after 35 years, life takes on a whole different character. In life everything goes on and you have to roll with the punches; you have no choice.

“We recently met Robert De Niro and it’s like the line in Raging Bull, ‘Never went down.’ You can take your punches but never go down.”

Anthrax have just begun a North American tour with Slayer and Death Angel, which runs until next month – full dates below.

Charlie Benante: For All Kings is not final Anthrax album

Anthrax tour dates 2016

Sep 13: Montreal Metropolis, QC
Sep 15: Pittsburgh Stage AE, PA
Sep 16: Brooklyn St Vitus, NY
Sep 17: New London Revolution Rock Festival, CT
Sep 18: Chester Rock Allegiance Festival, PA
Sep 20: Indianapolis Egyptian Room, IN
Sep 22: St Louis The Pageant, MO
Sep 23: Shreveport Riverside Warehouse, LA
Sep 24: Houston Open Air, TX
Sep 25: San Bernardino Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, CA
Sep 27: Orlando Hard Rock Live, FL
Sep 28: Miami Fillmore, FL
Sep 29: Destin Club LA, FL
Sep 30: Tunica Horseshoe Casino, MS
Oct 01: Lousville Louder Than Life Festival, KY
Oct 03: Norfolk Norva, VA
Oct 04: Asheville Orange Peel, NC
Oct 05: Atlanta Tabernacle, GA
Oct 06: Baton Rouge Varsity Theater, LA
Oct 07: Dallas Gas Monkey Live, TX
Oct 08: Austin ACL At The Moody Theatre, TX
Oct 10: Denver Fillmore, CO
Oct 11: Salt Lake City The Complex, UT
Oct 13: Missoula The Wilma Theatre, MT
Oct 14: Idaho Falls Hitt Event Center, ID
Oct 15: Garden City Revolution Concert House, ID
Oct 16: Spokane Knitting Factory, WA
Oct 17: Lethbridge Enmax Center, AB
Oct 19: Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre, BC
Oct 20: Abbotsford Centre, BC
Oct 21: Portland Daze Of The Dead, OR
Oct 22: Sacramento Aftershock Festival, CA
Oct 23: Reno Events Center, NV
Oct 25: Flagstaff Orpheum Theater, AZ
Oct 26: EL Paso County Coliseum, TX
Oct 27: El Paso County Coliseum, TX

Anthrax slam YouTube on launch of Monster At The End video

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.