This latest interview with Joey Belladonna in Sweden Rock Magazine made me really sad for him.
The mag asked Joey what his relationship is like with his band members and "purely business" is an understatement:
"You're joining four guys that are friends from New York City, and I don't live… It's like coming into a new neighborhood and trying to get new friends.
"If I walked into Chuck's [Billy of Testament] neighborhood and he's got four of his friends, then I'm, like, this new kid. No matter what you do, it's gonna be hard. They're all so close, unless you actually fit in right away and they're just that cool… They were open to me, but they weren't doing anything either way to make me feel like it was gonna be the best thing in the world; it was more business-like. 'You wanna join with us, man? It'd be great.' Of course, [ANTHRAX's manager at the time] Jonny Z, was very, very encouraging, 'cause he knew more about what it would be like to have somebody in there that would help make the band right versus a bunch of guys that weren't sitting in the band very well."
He continued: "It's not right for everybody. This kind of band and that kind of music, it has to be right. Even the whole thing, the whole package — not even just the voice part of it; just the whole setting of it all.
"I don't think I've ever really found my place with this band. I mean, as much as we do what we do, it's so corporate in its own way. But, yeah, it doesn't get much better than it is now, but it could be a whole lot better, too, at the same time. [I'm] only allowed so much friendship.
Aww, guys… why can't you invite Joey over for the big game? As for how often he talks to the rest of the band…
"I don't even talk with [the other guys in the band] right now. I mean, there'll be a few e-mails, but they're so short. It's not like I sit on the horn and talk with Charlie [Benante, Anthrax drummer] all day. He don't have time for me. I do, but they just don't, you know?! It's only out of necessity [that they keep in contact with me]. So even back then, I don't think it was anything really that cool. Part of me might not have joined it because it wasn't as open as when I jammed with friends at home and they'd always come over my house all day and play for hours. And we'd go out together and we'd hang out together. ANTHRAX wasn't like that, you know?!"
As Blabbermouth noted in their story about these quotes, Belladonna wasn't even the band's first choice for vocalist, he was just their only option, citing a 2010 interview with Scott Ian:
"We had a meeting with John [Bush, the ARMORED SAINT frontman who has been singing with ANTHRAX], at which he was honest enough to tell us that he really couldn't make the commitment to the band that he knew we needed. It was all very friendly, but ended with us feeling we had to find someone else.
"Nobody wanted to go down the route of finding an unknown. So, it left one option: calling Joey. He was really into the idea of coming back.
When we interviewed Scott Ian last week, he mentioned the band was writing new material, but it was specifically he, drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frankie Bello who were writing. No mention of Joey at all, but I assume his contributions come much later in the process.
Regardless, it's clear from this interview that Anthrax is not a group of friends getting together and jamming, but rather a corporate entity, as Joey says so himself, that work together in order to put food on the table.
While I appreciate Belladonna's candor and honesty, you'd have to think being this open about his relationship with the rest of the band might get him some heat. Let's hope not.