In a new interview with the "2020'd" podcast, guitarist Jonathan Donais was asked how we landed the gig with ANTHRAX after previously spending almost two decades with SHADOWS FALL. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "SHADOWS FALL, a couple of the guys were having kids or about to have kids and got married, and they just didn't wanna be on the road anymore. And we weren't making enough where you could have that kind of stuff; you had to be on the road all the time. You can't be selfish anymore once you have a wife and kids. You can't [go], 'Well, I might make this much money, or I might not. But I'm gonna go have fun.' It came to the point where they had to choose that path. And then ANTHRAX lost their guitarist, and they asked me to fill in — just to fill in. And I was, like, 'Absolutely,' 'cause I kind of saw the writing on the wall with SHADOWS FALL."
According to Donais, his predecessor in ANTHRAX, Rob Caggiano, hooked him up with his current gig. "'Cause he knew he was gonna leave, and he wanted to make sure that they were all set," Jon said. "He wanted to make sure that they were covered and didn't wanna leave 'em hanging. And he knew we knew each other, and he asked me if I'd be interested, and I was, like, 'Yeah. A hundred percent.' And then I didn't hear anything for a little bit, and I didn't know what was going on.' Then, maybe two or three weeks later, [ANTHRAX guitarist] Scott Ian called, and he goes, 'I heard you know what's going on.' I go, 'Yeah.' He goes, 'Can you do it?' I go, 'Fucking absolutely.'"
Donais made his live debut with ANTHRAX in Australia without a single rehearsal with the band. "I jammed with Scott a little bit, but it was, 'Here. Learn these songs and be ready,'" he recalled. "Oh. God. That first show — I was shaking."
Donais contributed lead guitar to ANTHRAX's latest album, "For All Kings", which came out in 2016 via Nuclear Blast in Europe and Megaforce in the U.S. At the time of the record's release, his ANTHRAX bandmates praised his playing, with bassist Frank Bello saying: "I think Jon has brought a great energy to the band. He stepped up and then some on this record." Ian added: "Jon's approach towards lead guitar playing, he's more of a guy who's looking to construct something that makes sense and helps a song rather than the 45 seconds for him to be showing off how many notes he can play in X amount of measures."
On the topic of the "For All Kings" recording process, Donais told Distorted Sound Magazine: "It was real easy. It was my first time working with Jay Ruston, the guy who produced it, and the way we did it was he would give me the demos of the songs and then I would start writing the leads and then send them to Charlie [Benante, drums]. Charlie would then tell me what direction the leads should go in, there were a few times where it would take a couple of attempts to get him happy."
He added: "I didn't know how they worked or necessarily know what they were looking for. So I just did what I did, and if Charlie wasn't happy, we just got on the phone and discussed the direction that he wanted to go in, and most of the stuff didn't take more than three demos to get right."