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INTERVIEW w/ Legendary Anthrax Vocalist Joey Belladonna
Wow. You don't get to interview your influences very often, so I figured I needed to do this one for sure. It's a singer who made his own mark in the musical world with attitude and an original vocal style usually not used with metal, a singer whose lyrics will stick with me till the day I die. Joey Belladonna: is a vocal hero and inspiration to many of us metal fans the world over. Anthrax has been super-busy touring in support of their new album Worship Music. But I was able to catch Joey as he was relaxing at home a few days before Christmas.
Eddy: Joey! I got your new album Worship Music and it rocks! It's great to hear the original Anthrax sound back on disc. What's it been like these last few years since you've gotten back with the guys? Is it just like the old days? Or has anything changed?
Joey Belladonna: Of course there have been some changes in the lineup throughout the years, but overall I still go about it the same way. Everyone has become smarter, the musicianship has gotten better, as well as the songwriting and delivering them live. We are much more together as a band and wiser.
Eddy: Ma,n you guys sound better than ever!
Joey Belladonna: Thank you, and thank you for plugging Worship Music.
Eddy: I got to see Anthrax with Slayer and Megadeth last year. Dude, you hit every note! Your energy and range was impressive! A lot of vocalists lose their mojo as they age, but you, my friend, sound better than ever. What is your secret?
Joey Belladonna: Well, I really don't have anything in particular, if anything, I'm singing now more than ever now that I have a cover band going as well as the Belladonna solo work.
Eddy: You have a cover band?
Joey Belladonna: I have a cover band called Chief Bigway that plays classic rock covers. I play the drums and sing. We play Queen, Boston, Foreigner, Pink Floyd, Cream, Deep Purple, Rush. We don't play really big places yet, but we get to play in some pretty interesting layouts. We cover mostly 70s music and arena rock, but we do do some metal like Priest, Sabbath, Dio and we also do some recent stuff.
We cover a wide spectrum of classic rock from the 70's to the 80's and beyond. People like to dance, so we try to mix it up well. It's mostly just for fun, we pack up the PA and drums and rock out upstate New York. But as far as your question goes, no, I don't have a secret. I just stay busy singing more than ever and working on what I do. Chief Bigway has some stuff on Youtube if you want to check it out.
Eddy: On to Worship Music. What is your favorite song on the album? And why?
Joey Belladonna: I guess maybe "In The End" is one of my favorites at this point. It's one of those songs that was so unbelievable when we did it. This song came together in one day and knowing that it was about Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag Darrell made it mean something to me. I just love the tune itself, it has a lot of great groove to it. There are a lot of great songs on Worship Music, but that one comes to mind first.
Eddy: What do you like to do when you aren't on tour? And do you have any hobbies?
Joey Belladonna: I have three Rottweilers, so when I'm not touring they keep me pretty much busy.
My hobbies right now are my cover band, that kind of thing. I'm not into skiing, shooting hoops or into golf. I do like to watch TV! I like recording concerts and talk shows. I do love watching football and watching my team, the Minnesota Vikings, even though they have had a rough one lately.
Eddy: What has been your best show since rejoining the band?
Joey Belladonna: Ya know, there are so many shows, that it is really hard to pinpoint anything. One sorta runs into the other. Many times we've had crowds who take it up that extra notch certain nights. Plus I've forgotten a lot of shows! The festivals in Europe are always fun, it's a different atmosphere over there and with all festivities and people hanging out, the band camaraderie is good, and a lot of cool stuff is going down.
Eddy: What do you think of today's music? Is there anything you really like? Or is it just a bunch of "Plastic People"? ( Eddy: it's a reference to Anthrax's song "Imitation of life")
Joey Belladonna: Good one man! I like a lot of new stuff to check it out. I'm pretty open. What I listen to depends on the mood I am in. I probably don't own as much new stuff as I should/could. I listen to some weird stuff. I could listen to Filter in the morning and Seal in the nighttime. I wonder how people come up with stuff. I take a lot of time studying music, the way people write and learning. I just love to listen to music and learn.
Eddy: You have a show here in LouEvil on Jan 29! A lot of peeps are excited. What can we expect, and what would you like to say to your fans here in Kentucky regarding your upcoming show?
Joey Belladonna: Well, get ready for a good night of metal, that's for damned sure! We are gonna have a great night together and I'm sure everybody is looking forward to it as much as we are. We've ripping out a pretty lengthy decent set depending on the local curfews there. We plan on playing as long as we can! We are just very happy to be out there and covering your market.
Eddy: Well we definitely can't wait to see you! I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me Joey. I wish you a great Christmas and Happy New Year. I will see you January 29 at Expo 5!
Joey Belladonna: Thank you, and God Bless. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.