Chad Bowar: How did the latest reunion come about?
Joey Belladonna: I got an email from Charlie saying their new management wanted to speak to me. I called them, and next thing you know we're discussing me rejoining the band.
Was there a face to face meeting between you and the other guys?
We arranged to meet in the city. I went out with Charlie and Frankie one night, and Scott and Rob met up with us the next day. We talked, and asked if everybody was up for it, then decided to do it. Even to this day we're still trying to put the business end of it together, so we are clear in every little thing we want to achieve and do and how to run it. It's a business. It's been a business for a while.
When you started rehearsing, was the chemistry instant, or did it take a while for everyone to readjust to each other?
I think each one of us knows what to do and how to do it, so it's just being prepared. We walked in and rehearsed one day, and it wasn't very hard to do. It's pretty quick.
What's the status of the next Anthrax CD?
There's stuff already ready for the picking. We have to tweak stuff and rewrite some lyrics. All the vocals have to be placed in the songs again. I already sang on one song already, and maybe we'll take that out live with us.
Is there a release date yet?
I'd like to shoot for the spring, just out of reality.
How did the Big 4 shows in Europe with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth compare to your expectations?
It was pretty much what I thought it would be. It was quite overwhelming and cool as hell to be part of Metallica's world. The enormous venues and countries that we've never been to was awesome. We definitely came in and did what we needed to do. It was a nice start.
Broadcasting one of the shows to theaters worldwide was a cool idea.
It was great that it was documented. I tell people I wish I could have gone. (laughs)
You're getting ready to head out on American Carnage with Slayer and Megadeth. When was the last time you did a full U.S. tour with Anthrax?
On tours like that is there much interaction between bands?
It varies. It depends on the mood and how busy people are. Some days you might run into people all day long, and other days you might not see them. But there is conversation, there is camaraderie. On the tour we did with Metallica you could reach into the other band's dressing room. That's how close it was.
You're doing some V.I.P. meet and greets on the tour. What's your opinion on charging fans for access like that?
I guess it's not as excessive as some bands that charge a thousand dollars for a photo. We give away some stuff as well. I guess it's not too harmful. Of course you have to make sure you're attentive to all those needs and make sure you are there to attend.
What's the set list going to be like for this tour?
We're looking to change things up each night. We're in the process of pulling out some more songs and trying to learn the things I've never done before. We're working on it. It's a lot to learn and pick up and memorize really quick, especially when I didn't write the song. I know why people use teleprompters!
When you sing the John Bush era songs, do you change them up or put them in a different key or anything to make it suit your voice better?
Nope, I just leave them alone. Some songs are easy, some songs are a bit quirky. Some are in a great key, some aren't in a great key. I just go for it, let it roll. I sing it my way.
Is there a particular Anthrax song that's especially difficult?
There's a lot of fast stuff, and you need to pay attention. Stuff goes fast, and you don't want to miss your cue.
Is there a song that always gets the biggest crowd response, or does it vary?
We know which songs are the goods. “Antisocial” is big, “Indians” is big. There are certain ones that don't go over as big. Not every song is a singalong. “In My World” is one of those songs we jammed and people were banging their heads, but it's not a big singalong.
Do you usually close with the same song, or do you change that up?
We've been changing things up. Right now in the early stages we didn't have a ton of songs. Plus we only had a 40 or 45 minute set and we needed to make sure we got everything in. When we headline we can spread it around. Even on this Slayer tour, even though we have a shorter set, we still want to shift it around.
Slayer and Megadeth are playing albums in their entirety. Do you have any plans to do that?
It's cool. I'm not sure it's needed. In the end I think you're better off doing a whole array of tunes. There are certain records that are easy to do up there, but because you have a record doesn't mean people want to hear the whole thing.
If you had to predict, what are the chances of a U.S. Big 4 tour at some point?
I'd go 70 percent that there will be one.