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Feb 11, 2016
Interview with Anthrax - thrash legends Anthrax are releasing their newest album For All Kings on 26 Feb 2016. We talked to bassist Frank Bello about the album, touring, the Big Four and Lemmy.

Metal-Roos: Anthrax is about to release album number 14. How did the recording of this album go?

Anthrax has been super busy since... I guess the Big Four started and we released Worship Music. From the success of that album we have been on the road playing over 300 shows for Worship Music alone. Then we figured we need to start writing some more tunes, so I reckon around the 250th show Charlie, Scott and I got together periodically and started getting some skeletons for songs together. We did that for a bit but then we got the call up to play more shows. So it’s always good to get that call off the back of an album. Eventually we got it written and recorded and here we have For All Kings, due for release shortly.

Metal-Roos: The public hasn’t heard the new album yet, but what have you heard from the music media about the new album?

We are so humble and thankful, we have done a lot of press so far and a lot of the reviews for the new album across the board have been amazing. As a band who has been around 34 years and this is our best record to date... it's really overwhelming. With all the hard work that has gone into this record, the payoff is great. I think that we are at our best right now. I honestly feel the band is as tight as ever, we’re getting along. I think this our best record to date, our heaviest record for sure. Couldn’t be more excited to be in the band right now.

Metal-Roos: You’re on tour right as we are speaking, what do you do in your down time when you’re not on stage performing?

It would be great to do stuff but our days are quite filled because of the anticipation of the album and its really great to be doing all this press because it’s the only way we can get the word out about our record is talking to people like you and tour because quite honestly what else is there? I mean we have some good radio going on in America, but there are no big stations around that will play stuff like this. I hope that all changes...

Metal-Roos: How has the tour been so far?

It is insanely fun for me right now. You can probably hear on the record that there is resurgence in us as a band, we are playing the best of our career. We are touring with Lamb of God at the moment and the fans have been getting crazy with us. We have introduced Breathing Life and Evil Twin into the set and are going down as well or better than some our older songs - things couldn’t be better.

Metal-Roos: Anthrax has been that fun loving party band that didn’t take themselves too seriously. Was this because the other bands at the time did, or is it just your personalities we are seeing shine through?

I think that was just us. We all grew up in a certain way, Scott was into skateboarding in the 80’s and we all wore shorts because it was way more comfortable. As in life things move on, but I’m happy to have done those things and shared our experiences with others. I look back with great fondness because that’s what got us here.

Metal-Roos: In the early days of the band you were the bass tech for Danny Lilker. What was the day like when he left and you joined the band?

Well I auditioned for the band like everyone else did at the time and I got the gig. I’m still friends with Danny, he’s a great guy and great song writer and bass player. Anthrax for me has been a great run. This is my family and it's very much a way of life for me.

Metal-Roos: The band has been through a lot of crap over the years - you’ve had fires, things lost or stolen, member changes... a whole bunch of things go on. Was there a time where you may have thought, this is too much and it’s time to pack it all away?

No, like the old saying when the going gets tough the tough get going. That’s how we look at things; we have a lot of fight in us, we have jumped all the hurdles in front of us and I’m sure there are more to come but the whole thing is how one reacts to those hurdles. I can tell you there is going to be a lot more Anthrax to come.

Metal-Roos: When 9/11 took place and the whole world took on a whole new perspective on thing, Anthrax took to the stage wearing boiler suits proclaiming, “we're not changing our name”. What reaction did you get?

Look, you have to understand we are from New York. I live here so when 9/11 happened that was in MY city being hit - I live and breathe New York. So I took it very personal and when the thing changed, Anthrax' name was the 9/11 responders the fire fighters, the policemen and EMS. We did a show with the help of one of my friends Eddie Trunk for all of their families and during the show they were coming up to us and they were saying, “Don’t change your name, don’t let them win”. They took it as a spirit thing to not give in - we took that as a rallye cry. So we weren’t just speaking for us but all of those first responders on 9/11 as well.

Metal-Roos: How did the whole “I’m the man” song come about?

Well I’m not sure if you know but that song was originally supposed to be recorded by the Beastie Boys... long story short schedules got messed up. Charlie, Scott and myself went into the studio, literally looked at each other, laughed a lot and it worked! As simple as that and it took its own life on and went crazy... people caught on to it and it's just one of those things.

Metal-Roos: Another career defining moment for the band was when Anthrax and Public Enemy came together. How did that all come about?

We are big Public Enemy fans. Scott Ian got a hold of Chuck D, and he saw he was wearing a Public Enemy t-shirt. He connected with us and we did the song together. We embarked on a hugely successful tour together and it just broke down a lot of barriers. I think in music you shouldn’t be safe... we always try to do new things. That is what Anthrax has always been about, never staying the same.

Metal-Roos: Did you ever predict the Big Four gig to happen?

Well, think about life and how fast things happens... we hoped that it would happen and thankfully it did because of the Metallica guys - who are the biggest metal band ever. It’s great they did that because, let's face it, they really didn’t need to do it. They brought us all together and we had fun doing it. It was a great experience. I would love to do more but that would really be up to Metallica. It was a great life experience for me.

Metal-Roos: With the sad loss of Lemmy just recently, did he influence you at all - as a bass player and in life generally?

Oh yeah we toured and played with Motorhead a lot of times. But Lemmy was a friend. Let me tell you the thing that Lemmy left with me personally was that’s ok to be yourself and I cherish that. He was a great musician but most of all a great guy and will be missed.

For All Kings

Interviewed by Adrian 'Dren' Barham