ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello spoke to the "Battleline" podcast about the various lineup changes the band has undergone over the years, particularly the departure of John Bush, who fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005 but was sidelined when the group reunited with Joey Belladonna for a 20th-anniversary tour. When that collapsed, and relationships disintegrated with next frontman Dan Nelson, Bush returned for a time before Belladonna took the job back in 2010.
Speaking about personnel shuffles in general, Bello said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET), "Stuff like that needs to happen in a band when things aren't working anymore." He then added: "John, I don't think he wanted to do it a lot; he didn't wanna tour a lot anymore.
"Look, I love John Bush; you have to understand that," he explained. "And we're all good friends. Sometimes in bands, this is what happens. This is what I've learned as a fan in a band. This shit happens, and you've gotta roll with the punches and see where it goes. And that's what we did. So when Joey came back, it was great. It made sense — it made sense what we were doing. And the good thing about it is nobody's hurt — nobody hurts from this stuff. John's good. The last ARMORED SAINT record rocks — it's great; great stuff. Joey's singing great with us. So it's good all around.
"I know people and the trolls are gonna try and dig into the negative stuff," Frank said. "I'm not into it. I don't care. I don't care. At the end of the day, what makes me happy is this band rocking and really putting out a great record and playing great shows. It's been a great ride, and I just don't look back — I honestly don't."
Asked if he and his ANTHRAX bandmates still get along after four decades of recording and touring together, Frank said: "Yeah. Look, we're no angels — we do argue; songwriting [and] stuff like that, that happens. But you've gotta realize that 40 years together, we've been together longer than with our families. I grew up in the same house as Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer]. But we grew up together on the road. There were times we weren't home for months at a time — months. We were on tour. So I spent a lot more time with Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist] and Charlie and Joey than with a lot of people in my life. So, yeah, we're tight.
"Again, peaks and valleys, right?" he continued. "You have disagreements like every family member would. The truth of the matter is you're not gonna get through that. That's why bands break up — 'cause you don't talk about it. If you don't talk about it and get shit out, it doesn't work. But we found a way to do it. We know this works, and that's the most important part. This band works, and we know when we get together onstage, there's a magic there that can't be touched for us. So, it's that important."
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".
The arrival of ANTHRAX's latest album, 2016's "For All Kings", 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 2011 release of comeback LP "Worship Music".
Bello is currently promoting his memoir, "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, And Anthrax", which was released on November 2 via Rare Bird. The foreword was written by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons.