ANTHRAX's FRANK BELLO Says Writing His Memoir Has Been 'Cathartic': 'I Think I Needed To Do It'
July 1, 2021
During an appearance on a recent episode of the "Making Waves: The ShipRocked Podcast", ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello discussed his upcoming memoir, "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, And Anthrax", which is due on October 12 via Rare Bird. The foreword was written by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons.
"My co-writer Joel McIver, he's an old-time friend of mine," Frank said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "And we've been trying to do this for a long time, this book thing. There's a lot in it, and I think people will dig it. It's not just your classic rock and roll book. There's rock and roll stories in it — there's some crazy stories that people don't know happened, and, yeah, I went there — but on the other side, it's also really about how… My dad took off when I was 10 years old. It's a little depressing for people, but you'll understand it for people who've been through it. He took off, a family of five, and it's how I came out of that. I brushed myself off. He left us with no money — the whole thing; the whole game, man; whatever you can put in your mind, it was really, really tough. So I just want people who have gone through something like this or maybe something like that or just any kind of problems in their life, I think there's a way to look at it and brush yourself off and you can rise from it — rise from the ashes, I would say.
"From writing this book, man, there was a lot going on," he continued. "I talk about the ANTHRAX story. I'll tell you, man, even when I talk about it now, it's kind of weird 'cause of the unfortunate situation with my brother — my brother Anthony, who was 23 years old; he was murdered, gunshots. It was a really hard time. Going, a couple of weeks later, on tour with ANTHRAX from that was a really difficult time. And, again, this is all about… I just wanna pay it forward at this point and say, 'Look, everybody's got these shit times in their life. You can brush yourself off and just move on. And there's a way to do it. And if I can do it, you can definitely do it.' Again, it's got both — it's got the kind of rock and roll stories in it, but it's also got the realism of life and how you can rise from it — rise from the ashes."
Bello went on to say that we all share a strength from facing and overcoming adversity, over and over again. "It puts us all together," he explained. "There's so much tragedy in so many people's lives. The way I look at it, I felt this. I was low to the ground, man. And for me to actually do this and write a book, it was cathartic, because I think I needed to do it. On the other side, look, if I can help one person get out of the gutter where they are, and who's feeling really bad about what's going on in their life… People around me who've read the book already, they're really high on it. They said you don't wanna call it a self-help book, but, look, it makes you feel good, because at the end of the day, I don't want people feeling like shit; I just don't. There's too much of that, especially now. There's too much shit going on. So, for me, it's not a negative book. It's, like, 'Dude, you can do this. This is the shit I went through. I know we all have our stories. But this is my story. And I want you to know you can get through this and you can move on with your life. Things get better.' And I'll tell you, a big part of it, dude, is music. Music is my outlet. And thank God for it. And thank God for the metal fans — fans all around the world who are just like one big support system. It's a big deal. And we all have this. It's a big deal to me, 'cause these are smart, loving people. And people have to remember that it's not just metal; these are good people here, man. And we all get it. I'm very fortunate to have that in my life. I think we all are. We all came from this world of rock and roll and metal, and it's like a community — it's a community thing. We all grew up together, and we all stick by each other. I think that's really cool. All this stuff happened with my brother, and all that kind of stuff, and I got a lot of support from the fans, and I'll never forget that. But, again, I want people to understand, this is a book about you can do it too. You can get to that place. If you're in the gutter, man, it's not about you can be a bass player — you can; you can do whatever you wanna do in life — but you can get out of that, the position you're in, if you're feeling low. And you can rise above it. And that's what it's about for me."
Bello, a member of ANTHRAX since 1984, has sold over ten million albums, traveled the globe more times than he cares to count, and enthralled audiences from the world's biggest stages. His long-awaited memoir would be a gripping read even if its pages only contained stories about his life as a recording and touring musician. While those stories are indeed included — and will blow your mind — Bello also focuses on deeper subjects in "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons". Once you've heard his life story, you'll understand why.
Born into a family of five, Frank grew up in difficult circumstances. His father abandoned his wife and children, and Frank's mother moved heaven and earth to keep them fed and educated. Left with no male role model, Frank found inspiration in heavy metal bass players, following their example and forging a career with ANTHRAX from his early teens — first as a roadie, and then as the group's bass player.
International stardom came Frank's way by the mid-to-late 1980s, when he was still in his early twenties, but tragedy struck in 1996 when his brother Anthony was murdered in New York. Although the case went to trial, the suspected killer was released without charge after a witness, intimidated by violent elements, withdrew his testimony.
Two decades later, Frank is a father himself to a young son. Like many men who grew up without the guidance of a dad, he asks himself important questions about the meaning of fatherhood and how to do the job well. This is the wisdom which "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons" offers readers.
Despite the emotive nature of these topics, "Fathers, Brothers, And Sons" is a funny, entertaining read. A man with a keen sense of humor and the perspective to know how surreal his story has been, Frank doesn't preach or seek sympathy in his book. Instead, he simply passes on the wisdom gained from a lifetime of turbulence, paying tribute to his loved ones in a way that will resonate with us all.