In a brand new interview with Rock On The Rise Radio, former ANTHRAX and current ARMORED SAINT frontman John Bush was once again asked whether he is still open to the idea of embarking on a special tour during which he would perform material from his time as the singer of ANTHRAX. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's something I've talked about for a long time. I haven't really put it into motion. I've talked to my booking agent about it. He kind of comes in and out of being behind it with me. Because he goes, 'Okay, let's do it.' And I'm, like, 'Ehhh.' And then I'll come to him and go, 'Well, what do you think? Do you think there'll be interest?' And he's, like, 'You wanna do it now?' And I'm, like, 'Well, I don't know.' And he's, like, 'Get outta here.'
"I like the idea of doing it," he continued. "I don't know if I'm ready to tackle going out for three to four weeks and doing a run because I just don't know, quite honestly, what the interest would be. So I was kind of trying to do a handful of shows, maybe, in some different territories. But, unfortunately, when you do things like that, you sometimes can't make money. Not that I need to make a lot of money, but you certainly don't wanna lose money. So that was one of my ideas and that was where one of the conflicts came, and so we stopped talking about it again.
"Again, right now it's on the backburner," Bush added. "But it's something I would like to do before I die. And I'm not getting any younger, 'cause we know that [ANTHRAX's first album with Bush] 'Sound Of White Noise' is 30 years [old in 2023], so everybody can do the math. The bottom line is I'm turning 60 this year, which is insane; I can't even believe it. But still I feel like I'm still singing better than ever. But at the end of the day, tackling 'Room For One More', 'What Doesn't Die' and 'Reign Of Fire' when you're 70, that sounds pretty daunting; I'm not gonna lie. They're demanding. It's like you are a hockey player. It's a real physical thing, and I think most metal singers can attest to that and relate. You've gotta take care of yourself and you've gotta be in shape, in vocal shape, and rest and all that crap.
"It might be one of those things where all of a sudden where it's, like, 'Oh, he's doing that.' Not to give people false hope, but maybe that would be the case. And it's also about timing, really."
Last October, John told The Metal Voice that a special tour during which he would perform material from his time as the singer of ANTHRAX "would be great. I don't really wanna go out and do like a 30-date tour with it, but it would be cool to do a handful of shows in some key markets," he said. "We can certainly play those songs for a support slot or even a headlining slot, let's face it. I think there's enough songs of the four records [I recorded with ANTHRAX] that would make for a great show. Who [would be] in the band, I'm not exactly sure. I talked to [former ANTHRAX guitarist] Paul Crook about it, 'cause I love Paul; he's a great guy. He was actually there when I made a couple of those records, as far as engineered and played guitar on it. And I have done some stuff with the METAL ALLEGIANCE guys; we've done 'Only' and 'Room For One More' at various shows. Rock In Rio would be one, [which] we just played… I'm open to it. It's just a matter of… the timing, I think. Really, that's what it comes down to."
Regarding the fact that ANTHRAX played "Only" live on its recent U.S. tour, with Joey Belladonna on vocals, Bush said: "I always support Joey singing those songs. I wish they would do more, to be honest… I have no qualms with that. I support that. And Joey, we're not the best of friends, because we just aren't. It's funny, 'cause my wife and his wife have become pretty good text friends, so they're closer than him and I. But I always endorse it and tell him he did a great job and support whatever he does. He has his own backlog of stuff, and he also has the new songs and the new records that he's done. So I understand, and I'm not offended by it. But if they wanna play some songs from the John Bush-era albums, I'm great with that as well."
ANTHRAX has had a number of vocalists — including Bush, Belladonna, Neil Turbin and Dan Nelson — over the last 41 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. Bush fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005 but was sidelined when the band reunited with Belladonna for a 20th-anniversary tour. When that collapsed, and relationships disintegrated with next frontman Nelson, Bush returned for a time before Belladonna took the job back in 2010.
Bush previously talked about a hypothetical tour during which he would perform ANTHRAX material in a July 2021 interview with Pierre Gutierrez. At the time, he said: "Some ideas are being explored right now regarding doing it in some capacity. So we're just trying to figure out the right scenario to make it happen. But it's becoming a very good possibility."
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 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."
Bush went on to say that he was "caught by surprise" by ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian's comment that was not opposed to taking part in a special concert featuring most of the singers that have fronted the band over the course of its nearly four-decade existence. "I was, like, 'Wow. Okay.' And I thought that's a great idea. That would be really cool," Bush said. "I think that would be an amazing thing for the fanbase. But what I keep saying is that Joey Belladonna is the singer of ANTHRAX, and Joey should be the singer of ANTHRAX, as far as I'm concerned. And if this happens, it needs to have his approval, really, quite honestly. Because I wouldn't want him to feel like, 'Well, this is not my idea, and I don't wanna do this,' because he is the singer who'd be sharing the stage [with the rest of us], quite honestly. So I think it would be something that Joey would have to give endorsement to, for that to happen, if that's an idea. And again, I think it would be a fun thing to do a couple of handful of shows, sporadic stuff."