Anthrax Revisit 1992 Lineup Change On 40th Anniversary Series

Bruce Henne | 06-20-2021

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(hennemusic) Anthrax members revisit their 1992 decision to dismiss singer Joey Belladonna and bring in a new frontman in the latest installment of the band's 40th anniversary video series.

Following the success of 1990's "Persistence Of Time" and a series of follow-up projects, the group determined they wanted to move forward with a different voice to represent a change in their musical direction and, after a number of auditions, they hired Armored Saint vocalist John Bush.

"By the time we finished the year-and-a-half touring cycle - 20, 21 months of touring cycle, and then '[Attack Of The] Killer B's' comes out," explains Scott Ian. "I think the last thing we did together as a band with Joey was on (the TV sitcom) 'Married With Children'. And then it wasn't long after that when we made the change. But it wasn't a quick decision. We were very much a united front, the four of us. Because otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

"There's never an easy way to talk about this stuff. Certainly when you're in the thick of it, when it's happening, it's horrible when you're having to make a decision like this. But it just really came down to, creatively, we all just felt like there was just no way for the band to move forward. We had just hit a wall. It was the heaviest decision in the history of the band, certainly. And even that I feel like doesn't give it the weight that it needs. And there was never anything personal with Joey - it was never personal with him. It just really came down to the creative ability for the band, honestly, to move forward. And I hate that it's something that happened.

"Obviously, things are meant to be," he continues. "I am somewhat of a spiritual person. I've seen and done enough in my life to know that sometimes s**t doesn't just happen randomly. The way everything worked out in the end, with Joey coming back in 2010, and the band, for the last 11 years, being creatively better than we've ever been and in a better place than we've ever been, I have to say that I really believe that it all worked out for some reason. That doesn't make it any easier on Joey certainly; there's nothing I can say that ever would."

"It's so strange for me to even talk about this now, because Joey's back in the band now, and it's like he's never been gone," says Frank Bello. "It was a hard thing when Joey was out. It was a change, but I think it was best for the band 'cause of where we were going. It was a hard decision. I think we were going in a different way musically, and you could hear it."

"The 1991 me was more arrogant than I am now," adds Charlie Benante, "because the problem is I love Joey so much, and at the time we were different people doing it, and we felt this was the only thing for us to take us into the next level or the next chapter of the band. Yeah, it was tough."

Bush's first album with Anthrax was 1993's "Sound Of White Noise"; the group's sixth album delivered the band what turned out to be the highest US chart placement in their history when it reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200. Watch the episode here.

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