Metal thrashing madness!

The real Anthrax line-up: Charlie, Rob, Scott, Frank and John.
The real Anthrax line-up: Charlie, Rob, Scott, Frank and John.

The last couple of days I’ve been listening to Anthrax‘s excellent The Greater of Two Evils CDs in the car on my way to and from work.

I love that album. It collects together a kind of greatest hits of the band, prior to 1993, when ex-Armoured Saint frontman John Bush joined the band and they released the incredible Sound of White Noise album. It’s a greatest hits with a difference. First the set list was chosen by the fans; second it has John Bush singing them … and I have to say that I love John Bush’s voice. It has a power and prescence that neither Joey Belladonna nor Neil Turbin had. When Anthrax parted company with Joey Belladonna in 1992 I wasn’t overly upset. I never thought that his voice was terribly well suited to Anthrax’s music. In fact, I might go as far as saying that I thought it held them back.

I remember hearing Anthrax’s first single with John Bush, Only. I bought it on cassette single (those were the days!) and played it over and over and over again, to and from college, down the back path from David Russell Hall to Melville. It was incredible!

I’ve seen Anthrax a couple of times live now. Both times in Glasgow, once at the Barrowland, once at the Garage. And each time they rocked! Two of the best gigs I’ve ever been too. The Garage concert, in particular, was memorable because of Scott Ian’s winding up the rest of the band with his on-stage banter, and then John Bush stage diving off the speaker stack into the crowd. Now that’s REAL Metal™!

So, when I heard that Anthrax were getting back together to celebrate their twentieth anniversary with the “classic” line-up of Joey Belladonna (vocals), Danny Spitz (guitar), Frank Bello (bass), Charlie Benante (drums) and Scott Ian (guitars) I was more than a little disappointed.

Seemingly the original idea was to split the concerts: one half with Joey and Danny; the other half with John Bush and Rob Caggiano, but John — quite understandably — wasn’t up for it. So, Anthrax (read Scott Ian and Charlie Benante) decided to go ahead and book the concerts with Joey and Danny, anyway.

But what the fans want to know is … what has happened to Rob and John? Scott said in an interview ages ago that they are not out of the band.

ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has rejected Internet rumors that vocalist John Bush has been kicked out of the group in favor of returning frontman Joey Belladonna.
(Source: Blabbermouth. Mar. 24, 2005)

But the almighty Wikipedia says this about the sorry affair:

In early 2005, Anthrax issued a press release stating that classic Among the Living lineup was reuniting. Anthrax has stated that John has not been fired, but with Joey Belladonna’s return and talk of a new album in the works, it is unclear if Bush will record with them again in the future.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Joey Belladonna was in Anthrax between 1985 and 1992. Seven years. John Bush was in Anthrax between 1993 and 2005. Twelve years! It just seems to me (and other Anthrax fans) so wrong! It would be like me wanting to celebrate my twentieth wedding anniversary by going off on a world cruise with Maggie-Jane, the girl I went out with between 1988 and 1989 rather than Jane!

I’m hoping that this is just some kind of metal mid-life crisis. They certainly have the lesser of two evils right now. Would the real Anthrax line-up please come to the information desk?

Glad that’s off my chest now…!

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Metal thrashing madness!”

  1. neil turbin was a way more powerful singer than bloey primadonna and john bush was dumped for bloey. rob caggiano was dumped for dan shitz. now they’re going to exploit the band further by trying to play whole albums like among the living. bloey was in an anthrax cover band playing to 14 people at the edge in palo alto on his solo tour. anthrax saved him from extinction. john bush need to go back to armoured saint where he belonged. neil turbin is way better off in deathriders than a joke band that plays rap metal

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