ANTHRAX Bassist Says 'Sinking Stage' Was Reason For Rochester Concert Cancelation: 'We Had No Choice'

August 27, 2022

In a new interview with the "Metal Mayhem ROC" podcast, Frank Bello spoke about the cancelation of ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's August 19 concert at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York. Regarding what caused the two bands had to call off the show after opening act HATEBREED had already performed, the ANTHRAX bassist said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We were ready to play. I was literally stretching out for the show. Our guys — it was a safety thing. They said, 'The stage is sinking' — literally sinking. As our friends HATEBREED were playing, I think Jamey [Jasta, HATEBREED frontman] even said it on stage. The stage was sinking. And then they went underneath the stage. They have all the proof here; they have a lot of pictures they had to take because of the show. They were breaking. I mean, things were not safe to hold the gear and the band."

Frank continued: "Look, we came all the way out there. We wanted to play. We were dying to play. Two hours [before showtime], I'm stretching for the show already, and our guy, our tour manager comes in [and says], 'I can't put you on that stage,' 'cause it was a danger for everybody — not only us, not only the band, but the crowd. We can't do that. So it was a liability [issue]. We had no choice. Even if we wanted to play, we had no choice. Things were going to break. There were cracked cases underneath the stage. They have documented pictures.

"Look, you know us, man — we don't cancel shows unless it's serious," Bello added. "Plus, 'cause of sickness a couple of weeks ago, we had to put a couple of shows down. So the last thing we wanted to do was cancel another show. It was out of our hands. So we feel bad for everybody. Believe me, I wanna come back. I wanna do it right. We all do. 'Cause we were there all day hanging out. I went down walking the streets. I had some coffee at a great coffee shop. And all of a sudden there's no show. So it's kind of, 'Ahhh. What happened, man?'"

Asked how something like that can happen at a gig of that size, Frank said: "Quite honestly, dude, as I'm talking to you right now, honestly… All I can do is be honest with this… All I know is I was stretching for the show. It was two hours before the show. … And our of nowhere… Look, they did line checks and everything. All of a sudden, apparently, somebody came in and said, 'The stage is sinking in.' That's all I heard. And then they took it, the powers that be took it from there, and it's beyond the band at that point. It's safety — all that stuff. I can just tell you as a bandmember, I felt like shit. Like, 'I can't believe we're not gonna be able to play.' Getting hyped for the show all day and hanging out and all of sudden you just can't do it because of something like that, I just felt bad for the fans — for everybody there. I don't know what happened with the stage, to be honest with you. But that's all I was told. … They told us that the stage wasn't safe enough for us to play. That's all we know. That's as honest as I can be with you. Whatever that means. I don't know. All I know is I'm the bass player in ANTHRAX. I do a job. That's beyond my pay grade."

When ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY announced that they were canceling the Rochester show, they said in a statement: "Due to unforeseen production issues, the show tonight at the Main Street Armory in Rochester had to be canceled by both ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY as it was unsafe for the bands to perform.

"ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY do not cancel shows lightly but we could not put the health and safety of the bands and crew at risk. All of the bands tonight apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment. We will be back to Rochester to rock another time.

"Refunds are available at the point of purchase starting Tuesday August 23."

ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian also took to his personal Twitter to write: "Rochester we didn't want to cancel, we had to. The stage was broken, the venue did not fix it and it was not safe to continue the show. It's shitty for you, it's shitty for us. We'll be back my friends, on a real stage."

One fan who saw HATEBREED perform at the Main Street Armory before the rest of the show was called off tweeted: "Rochester canceled after 5 songs from HATEBREED due to a 'broken stage'. HATEBREED front man states 'we have to get off stage, safety first, let's get this taken care of to see BLS!' And does one last song ??(5th song) then a 40 minute wait for a staff member to get on stage".

ANTHRAX kicked off its tour with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and HATEBREED on July 26 at Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona. The trek will wrap up in Philadelphia at the Fillmore on Sunday, August 28. ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY are both playing headline sets. HATEBREED, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the "Perseverance" album, is the special guest.

ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY had shared festival stages and one-off shows numerous times, but this marks the very first time these two bands are touring together.

ANTHRAX's latest album, "For All Kings", came out in February 2016 via Nuclear Blast.

ANTHRAX celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021 with a number of special activities and events. Formed by Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in Queens, New York on July 18, 1981, ANTHRAX was one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast and quickly became regarded as a leader in the genre alongside METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.

Active over the past five decades, ANTHRAX has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple gold and platinum certifications, received six Grammy nominations, toured the world since 1984 playing thousands of shows, including headlining Madison Square Garden and playing Yankee Stadium with the "Big Four".

"For All Kings" was called by some critics ANTHRAX's strongest album to date. Its arrival followed a five-year period during which the group experienced a rebirth of sorts, beginning with ANTHRAX's inclusion on the "Big Four" tour, and continuing with the release of comeback LP "Worship Music".

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