ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna was interviewed by rock journalist Mitch Lafon for a recent edition of the “One On One With Mitch Lafon” podcast (Facebook page). You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how the process of recording his vocals on an ANTHRAX album has changed over the years:
Joey: “I joined the band. It was obvious it wasn’t my band. When I got in there, I just think, me being a classic rocker… They just didn’t want anybody to do anything without having a hand on it — every moment, every turn. [1985’s] ‘Spreading [The Disease]’ was a little bit more open, because I just got there and they were just letting me go a little bit, so there was a lot more crazy stuff going even then. But once I started getting in, once [1987’s] ‘Among The Living’ kicked off, man… I mean, I’m not saying ‘Spreading The Disease’ was easy going, but it was a lot… I think they let me have… me and Carl [Canedy, producer], we were just having more experimental chances to do a few things, which we did — the harmonies and catchy choruses and all that kind of stuff, and I think the music was a little bit more straight up. Bu, yeah, the band was tough on what I was doing — Scott [Ian, guitar] especially, because he just had his way of how he wanted me to do things. When you’re singing it, it doesn’t mean that you’re trying to do anything… Sometimes it’s just more of a natual thing. I mean, to sing words real fast and pronounce them right and sing them with the right attention, the right attack and all this stuff… It’s just every little thing. Everybody had their vision of it, so we were always jumping on each other about what I could do and how I should be doing it and stuff. After a while, I felt like some kind of hired dude that just walked into a barrage of badgering ‘how to sing’ stuff. I’m surprised I got what I got over some of the stuff. Now it’s a lot more natural, and I just don’t have… I don’t worry about it. I don’t care. I just do what I do, and I sing the way I sing, and I don’t try to do anything above and beyond what I feel in the song. But I think I have a lot better chance at it now, because I can at least try a lot of things. Me and Jay [Ruston, current ANTHRAX producer], the first couple of tries on a lot of the stuff, I mean, we’re right on track, and by the end of the day, we’re not even spending twelve hours on vocals [to the] point where I don’t even know what I’m doing. I mean, by six o’clock, we’d even have a whole song almost done to a point where they [the other guys in ANTHRAX] can actually hear it by morning and we can move on. If they dig it, which they most of the time do, then we go — we move on.”
On being fired from ANTHRAX in 1992:
Joey: “It was a quick switch-and-bait, man, I’ll tell you. I mean, that’s a whole another story in itself, which I wouldn’t even begin to explain or even go into it. But it was definitely… I was caught off guard. I was definitely… With one phone call from the management, just like, ‘They wanna part ways.’ [I was], like, ‘Wow!’ It was as if you were just let off the side of the road before you even got to your next destination, and you had actually been the one that helped change the tires to get to that destination. I was kind of stuck. I wasn’t gonna beg anybody. I felt like] ‘You wanted me out. I guess there’s gotta be something to it, but it seemed a little too quick and too fast and too easy for you to do this. Are you sure about that?’ I didn’t even question it, but now, I’ve always questioned it, because, as you can see… I can’t imagine what we could have done… I mean, [1993’s] ‘Sound Of White Noise’, if I sang on that record — forget if you even heard it — it would have been really good; I would have done something really quite good with that record. It wouldn’t have even changed any mode that we were in. I just think somehow somebody had a bright idea to get somebody else in there and got fed up with something. I have no idea. And they can blame all they want, but I was fine. I was doing good with that stuff. I mean, [1990’s] ‘Persistence [Of Time]’ just happened to be a nice thing that we were setting into. At that point, I have no idea. I mean, maybe somewhere down the road, we’ll talk about it or something, but I just… I don’t get it. Yeah, it’s a drag. For me, as a musician that played a big part in a band, and to be just told, ‘You can’t be there anymore.’ And look, they had someone else even after — real quick, after I [did the] reunion [tour in 2005]. Boom! I get home [after doing the tour] and somebody tells me that they just hired someone else. I was, like, ‘Really? Wow! Do they know who they’re even hiring?’ So you think about stuff like that — what’s going on? And then to come back… I mean, someone else might have [said to them], ‘You know where you can go. I’m not coming [back]. Forget you guys.’ But I came back. That’s hard to do. Some people wouldn’t do that [after going through those previous experiences singing for the band].”
ANTHRAX‘s latest album, “For All Kings”, sold 34,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 9 on The Billboard 200 chart.
“For All Kings” is ANTHRAX‘s first studio album since 2011’s “Worship Music” (No. 12 peak with 28,000 sold in its first week) and follows the 2013 covers set “Anthems” (No. 52; 8,000 sold in its debut frame).