Interview with bassist Frank Bello | By Jesse Striewski

Few will argue that there’s a more important tour going on in the metal world right now than Slayer’s farewell tour, running from May 10 to June 20. Aside from Slayer themselves, the first leg of the tour features an impressive number of fellow metal titans in support, including Testament, Behemoth, Lamb Of God, and, of course, Anthrax.

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello takes a moment to discuss this historic tour.

I understand you’re calling from Canada today?

Yeah, we’re in Vancouver at the moment, playing a sold-out show at the PNE Forum tonight. It’s a beautiful city, and I love it here!

Is the tour is going well so far?

It’s been crazy so far! There’s just a lot going on at all times, and it’s been a really great experience. But I think, for just about any metalhead, it’s definitely the tour of the summer!

How has the band’s latest live release, “Kings Among Scotland,” been going over so far with fans?

Amazingly. We recorded it in Glasgow, which was just sheer chaos! People are loving the way it sounds, and that’s Jay Ruston being a great producer. He knows how to mix things just right, and the end result turned out awesome.

How similar are the setlists on the current tour to the one you did on “Kings…”?

Well, there’s five bands on this tour, and we don’t have as much time on the stage to play, so we have to make every second count. It just comes down to giving the crowd everything you’ve got in 40 minutes and leaving them wanting more.

Do you ever get the urge to toss something obscure into your set that hasn’t been done in a while?

There’s such a big catalog at this point, it’s really hard to choose which songs to do. On this tour, you really have to do what people want to hear in our set. But we did the entire [1987] Among the Living album on “Kings…”, and that really got a lot of that material out there. There’s a whole new fanbase now too, and we want to mix in some of the new stuff with the old as well. We do all that we can to make everybody happy, including ourselves.

Speaking of, what’s one of your own personal favorite tracks to play live at the moment?

I have a great time playing “Breathing Lightning” [from 2016’s For All Kings]. It’s a lot of fun to see people hear that side of us. It’s heavy yet melodic and just a good metal song.

When vocalist Joey Belladonna returned to the band permanently in 2010, was there ever any discussion of how many John Bush-era songs—if any—you might still incorporate in your live sets?

Well, when Joey first came back, we did play “Only” [from 1993’s Sound of White Noise]. I remember doing that. But to tell you the truth, there’s such a large catalog that Joey sang on that we have to go through all of that stuff before anything else!

What can you share about the side project you have with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, Altitudes & Attitude?

We have a full-length album that should be coming out sometime early next year on Megaforce. We were going to put it out this fall, but I didn’t know I’d be away so long with this tour [laughs]! The three-song [self-titled] EP we did [in 2014] got a lot of great traction for us, though, and we’re really excited about the record. We have some guest players on it who I think will really shock some people too!

You’ve done some acting over the years as well. Anything on the horizon as far as that goes?

I live in New York and would love to go on more auditions, but I’m never actually home to go on any! But when I get time, believe me, I do want to dig in and go for it.

Is it true there’s also talk of yet another studio album from Anthrax in the near future?

We were actually supposed to be writing around this time, but then, this tour came about and we couldn’t just say no to our friends Slayer. We get to play with all our old buds, though—some we’ve literally grown up with. But to get back to the new record, eventually we’ll all get together and throw some ideas around for sure.

With all of the rock bios coming out these days—including Scott Ian’s—do you see yourself writing one someday as well?

It’s funny you should say that! I was actually talking to a good friend of mine who’s a writer about it recently. There’s a lot going on right now, but I’m sure it will eventually happen one day.

Grab tickets here to catch Anthrax on tour with Slayer, and pick up their new “Kings Among Scotland” live DVD today!

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