Big concerts have a lot of moving parts and something is always moving. After a little rescheduling, I was able to sit down and chat with Anthrax’s bassist, Frank Bello before his next sold out show. Already on day 6 of back to back shows, Frank was nothing but charm and smiles as he talked about Slayer’s retirement and the possibility of future Big Four shows.
How has the tour been for you so far?
It’s been great. I’m back stage right now at a sold-out amphitheater in Detroit. It’s been nothing but sellouts and craziness over here. Really great day out here, blue skies, hot, it’s the total summer festival vibe.
What’s it like seeing Slayer retire? They have been such a big part of The Big Four, it’s kind of an end of an era.
There will always be a Slayer. I don’t think it will ever die. I’ll always have my Slayer records, I’ll always be friends with these guys. Because they are not touring anymore, doesn't mean there won’t be a Slayer. I get it. The road does a lot to you, talk about relentless. The road is tough. We are going into our third week here, this is our sixth show in a row. Anthrax does shows on the side when Slayer is off. It does run you out.
I’m really looking forward to my day off tomorrow. At this place on the road, you get really beat up. We’ll be in Toronto and I’m gonna see Solo tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it.
What do you think has led to the longevity of Anthrax? How has the band stayed fresh and relevant all these years?
Persistence and great “Frans.” I call ‘em “Frans”, friends that are fans. I just think we are consistent, we are persistent, and I think the fans appreciate that. Look, you gotta write a good song. Thankfully, we’ve written songs that connect with the fans. I don’t think we’ve ever lost the fact that we are fans of this music. We are fans writing this music on what gets us going and we want to make other people feel the same way. Hopefully it reacts with other people the way it makes us react.
I think you guys do a great job of that. I’ve always felt that out of The Big Four, Anthrax is the most approachable band, down to Earth, fun loving band.
It’s music man. It’s gotta be fun. If you don’t do that what are you doing it for?
You just released a new live DVD, Kings Among Scotland, how did that turn out?
When I was first getting edits for this, I was saying how much this feels like you are the show. That’s really what we wanted to accomplish.
I love the artwork, loving the KISS vibe.
Gene Simmons actually gave us his permission for that. Obviously, everyone knows we are all diehard KISS fans, it’s a tribute, they had so many great ideas, why not?
Who would you say is the biggest KISS fan in Anthrax?
I don’t know, we all pretty much grew up the same way. The three of us, Scott, Charlie and I are pretty diehard KISS fans from the beginning. Paul (Stanley) and Gene (Simmons) will tell you that also.
You’ve recently teamed up with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth for a side project, how did that come about?
We have. A couple of years ago when we were off, we have days jobs that keep us pretty busy, thankfully, with Megadeth and Anthrax. On the side, Dave and I a couple years ago put out an EP. It’s actually on iTunes. You can pick it up. Altitudes and Attitudes it’s called. It’s a three song EP. It got such good traction and a great reaction from people that we decided to do a full-length record that will be early next year.
I’ll definitely need to check that out.
It’s pretty cool. It’s David and I with Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle) on drums. I’m handling vocals. It’s heavy rock.
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
There are so many. After so many years, there have been so many songs. Recently it’s been Breathing Lighting. We don’t do that song on this set because we only have 40 minutes. We are doing best of Anthrax on this (tour)
What do you think the possibilities are for another Big Four Show?
You really need to ask James and the guys from Metallica. We’d love it. Believe me. I think all three other bands would and maybe even Slayer would come out of retirement to do it. You’d have to ask Slayer that also I think.
That’s a very special thing to all of us, for all four bands. Look, I know we’d be there in a second because it was such a great experience. I would love it. It was such a great thing that a lot of people didn’t get to see live.
That’s great to hear. I came close to seeing the Big Four myself. I saw Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer share the stage a few years ago and it was incredible.
It was a great atmosphere and vibe. Again, nothing like that has happened before. Metallica are doing pretty well on their own. (laughs) I don’t think they need to do anything. I would totally be into doing anything like that. These big shows are fun even today. The other night we played Chicago it was 26,000 people. It’s great when a mass of people get together for this metal community, I think it’s awesome.
Cincinnati is ready for you guys. June 6th cannot come soon enough. We are really looking forward to the show.
We are too. It’s gonna be great. These shows are action packed. It’s a complete bulldozer ride, it never ends.
Enter to Win Tickets to the Show on Wednesday, June 6th at Riverbend Music Center