‘I like nothing more than connecting with the audiences.’ An interview with Frank Bello.
Another Anthrax album is upon us and if we can believe the many raving reviews we are going to hear one of the best albums Anthrax has ever released (you can check out our review here). I had a chat with Frank Bello about the new album, the new excitement within the band and Anthrax’s future plans. Frank was full of enthusiasm just as he always is on stage. Here is what he had to say.
Marc: Hi Frank, how are you?
Frank: I’m good. I’m just backstage in the dress room in Dallas, Texas. We’re on tour with Lamb Of God at the moment.
Marc: Exiting times for you and Anthrax again. Your new album ‘For All Kings’ is going to be released on February 26. What can you tell us about the new album?
‘I’m so excited I wanna play every song of that record live.’
Frank: Well, like everybody else, when they are having a new record, you promote it and you go on tour. The only way to do that now is just talking to people like you and thanking you for having us. You just really get the word out to the fans. Quite honestly, after doing this for 35 years, most reviewers – we’ve been doing interviews for the last two months – most reviewers are saying this is our best record to date. And for me, after 30 something years of doing this, that feels so good coming through after all that time because of the amount of time it took to write this record. Quite honestly it took a long time. We really nitpicked every song on the album, made sure it was right for the record. We lived with the record for a while and took out parts that we weren’t sure about and we picked the parts we wanted in and we made sure that it’s absolutely the right record for Anthrax to come out right now. We couldn’t be more excited. We are on tour with Lamb Of God right now and we played two songs of the record on that tour. We played ‘Breathing Lightning’ and ‘Evil Twin’ and those songs were the most popular songs of the set. I can’t believe that I am really saying that but it’s really a great feeling for the future.
Marc: There have been a lot of comments from the band about the track ‘Breathing Lightning’. You seem to be specifically excited about that song, what makes that track so special for you?
Frank: You know what really makes this song special is, when people hear this song together with the whole record it’s what people hear. They say they want to breathe the album. There is such a thing as radios in this world (laughs). For that it’s definitely the most accessible song on the record. It’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s really hard – and I have to say this – your songs are like your children. It’s really hard think of one song as your favorite. I have such a hard time picking one song. Every week I have a different, favorite song and that’s good because it means I’m listening to the album. It has got staying power. When people like that song wait until you hear the rest of the record. That’s what gets my fired up. I’m so excited I wanna play every song of that record live. We are just playing two of them now and those are going great. So I can’t wait to play a song like ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ or just any other song. I’m just excited about the record.
Marc: Another new for you on this album is that it’s Jonathan’s first record with Anthrax. How did he fit into the band?
Frank: The word is seamless. I can’t believe how easy it was. I was very close with Rob Caggiano. When John came into the band Rob actually told us about John. We knew John. He was a friend of the band. We knew he was a great player. We didn’t know that he was available and of course he was. Rob said why don’t you jam with them. And he did. It was like he always had been in the band. You know when we hang out in the dressing room or in the bus it feels like we’ve been doing that forever. It doesn’t feel like any change. It feels like a very strong vibe. He’s always been a great player. With the new album I think he took a step above what he has always done. I rewind the songs just to hear him play. I remember the first time when I listened to the record I was like ‘Wow, what was that?’ I was just genuinely excited because I think he really stepped up. He really came to play. I’m really excited to have John in the band. He’s also my drinking buddy. So that helps me too.
Marc: Obviously that’s very important for the upcoming tours. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Frank: I can tell you that very easily: Just head over to anthrax.com and have a look on our website (laughs). We did the Slayer tour in Europe for seven weeks. Then we had two and a half weeks off. Then we started this tour with Lamb Of God. Now we have thirteen days off. Then we go right to South America with Iron Maiden which I am very, very excited about. Not only are they my friends, I’m also a big fan and I love their new record and we are getting to travel on the plane with them. Man, I grew up on them. Oh my god, I’m so psyched about that. Then, when the Iron Maiden tour finishes, we come back to Europe for the festivals. From what I’m seeing we are booking September/October right now. We’re gonna tour well into 2017.
‘We are getting to travel on the plane with Iron Maiden. I’m so psyched about that.’
Marc: Is there any chance that you’re gonna come to Australia any time soon?
Frank: We love Australia and we haven’t been there in a while. We are waiting to be asked to come from the right promoter. Believe me, if you guys know the right promoter we’re gonna come over. Please have us. We can’t wait to get there again. We were talking about it yesterday because we are doing a lot of Australian interviews at the moment. We’re ready now.
Marc: You are a very experienced musician. What do you actually do on a day one of your albums is released. Do you check social media or do you just have a few quiet drinks with some friends? Do you have a routine?
Frank: All of the above. I actually buy two records for luck. Every time we release a new Anthrax record I buy two records. We do a lot of social media that day. We’re gonna be at a big music store in New York. There’s a lot of promotion and they are even talking about doing more promotion. It’s crazy the way it works out. The record comes out on February 26. We leave on February 27 for the Iron Maiden tour. It’s a pretty packed schedule. I wouldn’t have anything less because I like doing that stuff. I feel very fortunate and we’ve been very lucky with our career. I like nothing more than connecting with the audiences and try to make the best music we can and the best live show. That’s all what we’ve ever been about.