JOHN BUSH: 'JOEY BELLADONNA Belongs In ANTHRAX'

December 24, 2021

In a brand new interview with The Razor's Edge, former ANTHRAX and current ARMORED SAINT frontman John Bush confirmed that he is "more than ever" open to the idea of embarking on a special tour during which he would perform material from his time as the singer of ANTHRAX.

Bush 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.

Looking back on his time with ANTHRAX, Bush said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Like any band, there's gonna be moments where there's gonna be little tension and trying to find your way. Mostly, in all honesty, and I find it to be with most bands, it's usually in the writing process; that's where people really kind of butt heads and maybe don't always have the same agreement.

"I always say getting on stage, playing a show just after a record is done, man, that's cake, that's easy. That's why nostalgia is big, because if you can just put a setlist together and say, 'Learn these songs,' anybody can do it… You might still look at that guy and go, 'Oh, I kind of hate that guy,' or, 'I forgot how much I hate that guy,' but that wasn't the case for us.

"I think for my time with ANTHRAX, it was really just trying to focus in on the songs and the albums and trying to get to that point where we all agreed, and sometimes that's not easy to do," he continued. "That's not unusual for any band.

"I always say ANTHRAX, it opened up a whole new world of my personality, of my style, of my confidence, of my voice, of singing, of being a frontman — all of that, it just catapulted me to a whole another level of confidence, and I cherish that. And I love the [ANTHRAX] records we made. I think we made some really cool records. It'll just never match the '80s, 'cause the '80s ANTHRAX was just the beginning, and they were great records and they were able to just ride the wave of what was happening. And then the '90s changed. I joined and everything was in flux. It's just the reality of it. To me, it doesn't take anything away from the quality of those records. I think people just need to kind of give 'em a listen to again. I'm not saying they're flawless by any means, but I think there are some great tunes throughout — some better than others — but I am real proud of it. And all the time, I was very close to those guys and we had a lot of fun. I did have a friendship with all of them individually, and some of those needed to be repaired or needed time to get back to where they were. And they may never be where they were when I was in the band. But it doesn't matter. Everything is cool now, and everything feels good.

"I've said it hundreds of times: Joey belongs in ANTHRAX," Bush added. "He is the singer of ANTHRAX. That's how they should roll it out and ride the wave and be done — with Joey — because it just makes sense. And he's great. Joey's a unique singer with a unique voice and such a huge aspect of that band. And it just feels right.

"I think if we can do something here and there… Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist] threw the idea out of maybe doing a little run where I came in and [former ANTHRAX singer] Neil Turbin. But I always said I would want Joey to feel confident about that. I wouldn't want him to feel like, 'I don't wanna do this but I'm being forced to.' It should be something, like, 'Yeah, that would be fun.' And it would be a one-time thing. I know HELLOWEEN [records and tours with current and returning members all together]. And I marvel at the fact that they have all these guys in this band and have a copacetic environment. Kudos to them for that. It's incredible. But things like that could be fun. I'm toying with [the idea] of going out and doing a little — I hate using [the word] 'solo,' 'cause I never imagined me doing that in my life, and it's a little daunting, and I'm a little insecure about it, but I'm open to it more than ever now, going out and doing a little run here and there, me singing those songs, because they just don't play 'em anymore and it would be fun. But the window on that is pretty small because I'm gonna be playing old material."

ANTHRAX has had a number of vocalists — including Bush, Belladonna, Turbin and Nelson — over the last 39 years, with Ian and drummer Charlie Benante remaining the sole bandmembers who have appeared on every one of the group's studio albums.

Turbin sang on ANTHRAX's debut LP, 1984's "Fistful Of Metal", before getting booted and being replaced by Belladonna. Belladonna performed on four ANTHRAX albums, including the fan favorite "Among The Living" (1987) before he himself was fired over creative and stylistic differences.

This past July, Bush told Pierre Gutierrez that he wanted former ANTHRAX guitarist Paul Crook to be involved in the hypothetical ANTHRAX tour featuring material from his era of the band. "I love Paul," he said. "And we have been talking about some things. Once again, it's just whether or not all the situations kind of merge together and make it work. You've gotta kind of deal with all that logistics and stuff."

John continued: "For me, it would be a little bit [difficult to put together], only because I'm just really lazy. All I wanna do is kind of do the singing, and I don't wanna do all the nuts-and-bolts things about putting the band together and getting rehearsals and doing some of the business. That's the daunting part. If I could just go on stage and, like, 'Okay.' I have to learn those songs again too, if I do it. But there's all that stuff that is just a little bit different than just going out and singing. So, we'll see."

In September 2020, Bush told Canada's The Metal Voice that he first talked to his booking agent about the ANTHRAX tour idea "several years ago." He said: "We talked about it, and I think he sniffed around for some feelers to see what people would think. And I don't think we got the response that we really wanted to. It wasn't like we were looking for millions of dollars or anything, but we wanted to make it worthwhile to do it, and do the proper shows. It's not like something I wanna go out and do six months of touring with. It'd be fun to do some sporadic shows. I'd have to put a band together to do it. I'm probably a little lazy about that, quite honestly. But that's what would be involved in doing it. And I don't think we were pleased enough with the response that we tried to push it ahead and make it happen."

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