ANTHRAX's FRANK BELLO On Touring During Pandemic: 'It's Dangerous' And 'It's A Pain In The A**'
December 30, 2021
During a recent appearance on the "Tour Talk" video podcast, ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello spoke about what it has been like for him and his bandmates to play live shows during the pandemic. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The way I look at things, at any given time, the rug can be pulled from underneath you — honestly. And [that's the case for] any band, anywhere we are, in this circumstance where we're at right now. It's unfortunate. But the only thing I know how to do is just do it and take all the precautions, be smart about things. Look, I come to my room. I don't hang out and party. I wear a mask. It's my personal thing. I don't do anything. I mean, for all of us, for that matter. Last night we all went to dinner. We sat together. We all had that vibe, and then we went back to the rooms. And that's the only way to survive, I think, right now from this COVID thing and just try to stay away from it if you can, is to take care of yourself.
"The bottom line is, dude, I don't give a shit about anything else; I wanna go home to my family healthy and not spread it," he continued. "I've been double vaccinated. Fine. But still, this delta variant and who knows what else is coming? But at this point, we all have to make a living and we all have to move on. But you have to be really careful. And I'm not used to it. I'm not used to this. We're used to doing long tours. We're doing weekend-warrior stuff at this point. Like with the festivals, you fly in the night before, play the festival [and then] fly out. Like today, I'm flying out back home. But then when I get home, I'm gonna take a test again, 'cause I have a family.
"You have to be smart about this stuff," Bello added. "It's a pain in the ass, is what it is. It's dangerous, it's a pain in the ass, and I can't wait till the day where you and I can be in the same room and not have a mask on and not have to worry about washing the bottle of water I just got [and] wiping it down. It is what it is for now. And I guess this is it, man, and you just deal with it. It's a big inconvenience, the way I look at it, but you have to stay healthy and you have to stay cautious. And that's the way I'm touring for now. I can speak only for myself. I don't know how other people are doing it. I try to be careful. But who knows?"
Asked if the COVID-19 restrictions have also affected the way the ANTHRAX members interact with other people backstage, Bello said: "Yesterday backstage at Louder Than Life [festival in Kentucky], I saw my friends in KORN — the band KORN — just to say hello. I would love to hang. And everybody's doing the elbow bumps and stuff, everybody's got their masks and all the good stuff, but you wanna talk more. You just feel like, 'All right. I don't wanna take too much time because I don't wanna get anybody sick or vice versa or anything like that.' You feel like, 'Let's be careful.' It's all out of respect. You just feel like, 'Hey, man, how are you? Miss you.' All that good stuff. 'Hopefully this stuff is over soon so we can hang and actually hang.' And I wanna see bands — I wanna go on the side of the stage and see bands, but I also don't wanna be an inconvenience for them either. 'Cause I understand — the more people, the more dangerous it is all around. And I get it.
"The way I settle it in my mind, dude, [is] I say, 'This is just for now,'" he explained. "And that's what I've come to in my head. It's making me feel better about things. I said, 'Look, this is just for now. And things will get better,' optimistically. I think that's the only way to look at it because otherwise you're gonna drive yourself fucking crazy — honestly."
Frank's memoir, "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, And Anthrax", was released on November 2 via Rare Bird. The foreword was written by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons.
ANTHRAX is working on material for the follow-up to 2016's "For All Kings" album, tentatively due in 2022.