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Frank Bello chats to Jen over lunch about ‘For All Kings’ due for release on 26th Feb

L-R: Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna, Jon Donais

ANTHRAX release their new album ‘FOR ALL KINGS’ on February 26th. 

Reviewers are giving it 10/10 and most critics saying it is the best album they have done. After listening to it I must agree. I caught up with Frank Bello this morning to find out more about it. A very enjoyable interview indeed! 

Hi Frank, how are you? 

I am fine Jen, how are you doing?

Not too bad thanks. Are you in Oklahoma atm?

I’m actually in New Mexico right now.

Ah, I was looking your Facebook page I must have been looking in an older post.

As I speak to you, I am having lunch, I have no other chance to eat so I can eat and chat if that’s okay with you?

Sure is! I am having my morning coffee.

Ha it is like we are having lunch together!

How did you tv interview go this morning?  Thanks for doing that as I got an extra hours sleep!

Great! I helped you there then!

Leading up to the release of For All Kings can you explain some of the setbacks that you have had for example, Charlie due to his ongoing pain from carpel tunnel syndrome.

This happening to Charlie actually affected how good the album has turned out so I guess if there is a positive in all his pain there is that! Is Charlie looking at it that way?

Yes, what other way is there?  You play with the cards that you are dealt with your health right?

Yes I sure know that!

And the way I look at it, I think he got a lot more energy in the record because of it. We were able to do the album in different chunks, we did it in 4 or 5 songs at a time then go away and do more songs after that.  I think that it was really important for the energy of the record so I think it actually worked out well.

Yes I think so too.

‘For All Kings’ does not have a theme but it comes from straight from the heart and each song seems to have a theme of it’s own.  There are many dark themes including religious extremism which is displayed On ‘Evil Twin’ that was written after the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and even more so relevant  after the more recent attacks in Paris.

“Ideology used as a weapon…

You represent your discontent

Slaughtering the innocent

Insolence

You’re no martyrs”

Can you explain to your thoughts?

Sure, I mean Scott writes the lyrics of the songs for Anthrax of course but I can speak about them as we all agree on them. This is how we live now, terrorism is part of our life now and I personally choose not to live in fear and I just don’t understand why any human being could hurt another human being for any form of religion because it is meant to be about peace and love.  So when you hear a song like ‘Evil Twin’ and the lyrics say ‘You’re no martyrs’  it means a lot to me but at the same time we are a metal band and people can take it the way they want to take it.

That is very true.

We are not preaching here it is just the way we are.

I love to listen to Blood Eagle Wings. At this moment it is my favourite off the album.

Well thank you!

It is just so long you can put it on lay back and listen to it.

Well it is funny that you say that, when you put out a record, every week I have a different favorite song. The songs like my children almost and to let them go out into the world on February 26 is almost quite hard you know? It very much feels like that. As you speak about blood Eagle wings I have to talk about this with you. That is my favorite current song of the week! (Both laughing) I find it so strange and  I spoke to another journalist yesterday and that was their favorite song of the week! That is the great thing about the record, I’m really psyched about it, it takes you on a ride, like a rollercoaster, you go up and you go down and it leaves you on a high. So for you to pick that song really interests me and I’m very happy about it.

I do tend to switch favorite songs after listening to the  record again so who knows what will be next week!

As a writer that is kind of what you want to hear, the way I look at it is that you just wanna keep hearing that. I am interested in people’s views and how the song affects them and you want to connect to the listener as a writer, you know what I mean?

Yes, you don’t want one song to be a standout and the rest just to be discarded.

Exactly, you wouldn’t want it to work like that. That is why we take so long to write new songs and we make sure that it is absolutely the right time to go out. You have to be happy with it.

You do. I totally love the album artwork and that the finger prints of the designer Alex Ross, awesome idea! I also like  the crowd figures in the front. Can you tell me the story of the other images symbolize?1

Well it is really for the title ‘For All Kings’ and the way I feel about the title. (the cover) I don’t know if you have seen Charlie’s artwork, he is an incredible artist and he designed it with Alex Ross  as he has done in the past and they came up with this brilliant looking album cover. ‘For All Kings to me just means that you can be your own king in your kingdom. You can be the best in your own world. It means everything about that.

It is an awesome cover, I mean all the colors,the statues and the outline of crowd.

We just got the stage design set up and it looks awesome and so impressive as a backdrop on the stage. It is pretty incredible. It is a whole package thing it is pretty cool.

Look forward to seeing that!

I was looking at your Facebook this morning. Not sure who writes your posts and comments,

Well I post on it but not comment, I feed it in a way.

Well someone posted something negative on it this morning about Who wants some milk.

The post was….Who wants some milk? (an ode to Billy)

Mike ** wrote

just before you started to suck but I do love this song (I’m The Man)

and the reply was

Anthrax Hey, Thanks and eat shit.

Classic reply. There are so many negative people out there. 

How do you feel when you get negative feedback, is it water off a ducks back now you are older?

At this stage we have been through it all, we have never been a blocking group, we can’t make everybody happy. I like all music that when people want to hear the stuff that we have done before I don’t want to relive the past. That is boring. I get, I understand that but that is not who we are. As a musician and songwriter I don’t want to be like that I wanna move forward, it is the only way to grow. So I get it, I mean everything you do you get critics.  I mean the chef who just made my lunch right now will have critics, it actually happens to be really great time sandwich.  (both laughing) It is an analogy that just popped into my head because I am eating it. I am a big boy, I can take it. You know what the next song, he might like it. Any time anyone says anything negative, there has to be a reason behind it, really we are all big boys in the band, some people like it and some people don’t. Most people like it, that is the way it is.

Anthrax - 2015

Clockwise from Left/front: Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Joey Belladonna, Jon Donias

Love that you are selling Poker cards with the theme of For All Kings, the dice and the awesome colored vinyls, who designs you merch for you?

We do along with our record company, everything is put together and believe me as a band we are very democratic and everybody is y are. Everyone has to agree with it. Everything is put out by us.

I really like the pack of poker cards, I think I will get them. Merch is available here

Great!

What do you think is different now than when touring when you first started out? Other than being a lot younger!

Yes, well first just because we have families.  Everybody in the band has families.It is hard to leave our families for so long. We did a seven-week run in Europe and that was not easy as I have a nine-year-old son and it is definitely harder. To stay on the road is the only way to get our music out there.

Do you ever get teased about how mature in years you are?

Not really. I think age is age, everyone is going to get old. The  great thing about that is when people hear how old the band is and if they think OMG this band is older and   they listen to the record then they come and see us live I can guarantee that they don’t think that anymore!

Awesome!

I last saw you when you were here for Soundwave, what about 3 years ago? No maybe 4.

It  was too long ago, I can’t wait to get back there!

Have you heard that Soundwave has been cancelled?

Yes some friends told me that. If anyone knows us  we have made it very publicly known we love Australia and we are just waiting for the right circumstances to come over. I am hoping that we are going to come over on this cycle.

I will let you get back to your sandwich now.

Oh no! I can talk, I feel like I am talking to a friend which is nice, I am on my own in a diner don’t feel like you have to go because I am eating.

Thanks that means a lot! OK more questions then! Great.

How would you describe your new album, For All Kings, in a couple of sentences? You mentioned Roller Coaster before.

Yes Roller Coaster without a doubt. It takes you on a ride. I think that anyone that worship’s music will love it. It will so to speak with us back on the map, people who have reviewed this record so far and I’m saying this as we have done a lot of interviews, 99.9% are giving it a rating of 10 out of 10. We have had nothing but great vibes. They are saying that if anyone is like worshipping music, this is a step above that and that is the biggest compliment that we could get. That means all of our hard work,all of our tears, living with the songs and making sure that they are the right songs to put out is paying off. That is all that we could ask for.

That is great! I think that once it is out your fans are going to love it. I will be reviewing it asap, I have so many reviews to write but I will get it done! It is awesome to have it already.

So you are in New Mexico now,  you played at Oklahoma City last night is that right?

I will tell you what I did.  I woke up on the bus after we got on the bus after the show last night. I had some coffee, brushed my teeth and had some coffee and a friend of mine is shooting a show out here, Earl Brown, he was  shooting a new show he is in about three blocks from here, and all the cast are coming to our show tonight. He invited us to come and hang out at the set with lots of people and it was really nice. It was a really cool thing. Literally they dropped me off here to talk to you. That is exactly what has happened in my day so far!

Nice and busy, you have more interviews coming up?

Yes about 4 in a row.

How was the music received by the crowd there?

Well this tour is mostly sold out and if it has not been sold out it has been packed out each night, there has been no ( word missed due to cut out) shows this tour. We play our old favs but when we do our new songs, like ‘Evil Twin’, I will be really honest, that song was one of the biggest reactive songs of the night. Which is a really good sign for the future.

That is great!

It does feel really good!

We are Road Dogs.The best way to connect with an audience is to keep playing your heart out. We are now playing with Lamb of God now,  we have played with Slayer, we keep trying to build our audience and there is a definite plan here. We will probably be headlining next October. There is definite plan.

Congrats that even though you have faced problems you have come through as a band and recorded your 11th Studio Album.

Thanks, it was really nice talking to you.

Thanks heaps for the easy chat Frank.

Yeah it was like having lunch with you! Thanks for getting up for me. ( early morning interview)

No problem, my pleasure.

All the best Frank.

Bye.

You can watch the unwrapping of the album by Charlie Benante here

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