In a new interview with Eonmusic, guitarist Paul Crook confirmed that he has been in touch with John Bush about joining the former ANTHRAX and current ARMORED SAINT frontman on a special tour during which they would perform material from John's time as the singer of ANTHRAX.
"It's going to happen," Paul stated, confirming that a band lineup has been discussed, and that "it's going to be fucking badass." The former ANTHRAX guitarist made his comments while discussing the forthcoming "Celebrating Meat Loaf" shows, which will hit the U.K. in May.
The idea of Bush going out and celebrating his era (1992-2005) of ANTHRAX was first presented to John in a question posed by Eonmusic in January 2017. After Bush responded that "I've entertained it. I haven't done anything to actually put that into motion, but I think it would be cool to do maybe a handful of shows", the story went viral, and has picked up momentum ever since.
In a follow-up interview in September 2020, Bush confirmed that he would love to play songs from his ANTHRAX era with the involvement of Crook, who was with the band between 1995 and 1999. John said: "I said something about wanting to do it with Paul if I did it, because I really love Paul; he's a really great guy, he's an amazing player, and he was involved in those couple of records. He played on 'Stomp ' and he did the tour of that, and then he also recorded a lot of 'Volume 8'. So the reason I thought it would be cool to have him involved if I did something like that is because he was involved in two of the four records of original material. And I just like him as a person; he's just one of the nicest guys and fun to be around."
In the same interview, Bush discussed a possible timeframe for the tour, suggesting that 2023 would be perfect for such a project.
"You know, there is something cool about, well, '[Sound Of] White Noise', I guess in 2023, that would be 30 years [since its release], so you know, who knows?" he said. "Maybe something in conjunction with that, at that point. And 'White Noise' came out in '93, and 'We've Come For You All' came out in 2003, so it was 10 years later, so there's an anniversary of both of those albums, because they both fall on the same year. So, I don't know."
Now, in an exclusive interview with Eonmusic, Crook stated about his involvement with the project: "Any time you're around John Bush, it's a blessing. Whether it's musically or just hanging out, having a drink, the guy is one of the greatest human beings that's ever walked the earth. Honestly, I can't say enough positive reinforcement about this man. Now, vocally, he's one of the greatest ever recorded in metal. We know this. So the thought of sharing your stage with him, obviously, is incredibly — you know, I'm so honored with the thought of that. And then playing those songs?! I love 'White Noise', I love those records so much, so I'm really excited about this. And John and I, we talk about it. We've talked about it several times already. John and I are texting a lot. We do a lot of texting, and, yeah, it's still very much alive. This all still could very much happen."
Although stopping short of suggesting a time for when the tour might happen, Crook doubled down on other details. "We have a band idea too," he said. "There is a band lineup. I'm not going to mention that, because that's John's thing; this is John's territory. But I'm letting you know that when this when this does happen — it's going to happen — it's going to be fucking badass."
Read the entire interview, where Paul talks about his time with ANTHRAX, working with Meat Loaf for over two decades, and the forthcoming "Celebrating Meat Loaf" dates, at Eonmusic.
Last October, Bush told The Metal Voice that a tour during which he would perform material from his time as the singer of ANTHRAX has "never gotten to the point where actually it's been made to happen yet. But I'm offered the idea," he confirmed. "I think it 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. 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 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."
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."