Anthrax’s Frank Bello + Charlie Benante Talk Upcoming Album, Honoring Geezer Butler + More
Anthrax bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante recently took part in the Geezer Butler tribute at the Bass Player Live concert in Los Angeles, and Loudwire had a chance to get a few minutes with them on the red carpet before the ceremony. The guys opened up about their upcoming album, shared a few reflections about Butler and more. Check out our interview with Bello and Benante below:
What is it like to be here to honor one of the greats — Geezer Butler?
Frank Bello: For me, it’s everything. I was happy to be asked to come here and to be able to play songs that I already knew. But I love every little part of learning each bass line because he’s written so many great bass lines and this is what I love to do. This is my thank you to Geezer.
Charlie Benante: When I was little, my next door neighbors, they used to bring out their stereo system to the backyard. We used to play [Black Sabbath’s] ‘Vol. 4.’ We’d be swimming in the pool and you’d always hear ‘Vol. 4.’ You can’t help but love those records.
Oh, and I’ll never forget this. There was a record store in Westchester Square in the Bronx and I came home with a Black Sabbath shirt that had the skulls and the ‘666’ and I showed my mother, I’ll never forget it. [She said,] ‘You’re bringing that shirt right back right now. You’re not going to have that [in the house].’ She wouldn’t let me wear that shirt cause it said ‘666’ and there you go.
At some point, did you go back and get that Sabbath shirt?
Benante: Um no, not that one. (laughs)
Last time I saw you was at Battle of San Bernardino, the last show of your 2013 touring. Now you’re back in the studio and working on a new album. How is it progressing?
Bello: We’re deep into it. It’s going well. It’s a good groove we’ve got going. We’re very, very tight and I think we’ve got something to prove. We’re really going and really psyched about the future for Anthrax.
Benante: Our last record took eight years to make and so we’re very careful about the next record. I think a lot of people will be comparing it, of course. But we’re very much nitpickers.
Some things have changed obviously since the last record. Joey [Belladonna]’s there from the very start and you’ve got Jon Donais in place of Rob [Caggiano]. Can you talk about how things are coming along with the current lineup?
Bello: I think right now, as songwriters, we know what we’re doing. This is the band Anthrax and just having that as a unified thing means so much more.
Benante: I’ll tell you one thing. There’s a lot of bands out there right now who don’t know how to make music anymore and they just keep recycling what they did. It’s just not good anymore. I mean I anticipate and listen to some records coming out and it’s just s—. I mean there’s two or three songs and that’s the best of the record and that’s it. And for us, that’s just not what we want to do.
Bello: You’ve got to remember, we’re fans. We’re fans of this music and if it doesn’t get us right here [the heart], then it’s not going out. We’re very stubborn New Yorkers and it’s not going to happen.
So it sounds like you’re raising the bar with this next record then…
Bello: We just do what we do. We can’t worry about it. We want to write the best record and if we feel good about it, the fans will hopefully feel good about it. I mean, we’re fans. That’s the whole idea, and never think you’re above anybody, so we feel that if we’re good with it, we hope that the fans are, as well. Don’t forget where you came from. That’s the whole key. We grew up like this and we’ll stay like this.
And I know Metal Masters is coming up as well…
Bello: Oof. They’ve announced that right? Man that’s a different animal. We’ve got to put those shoes on again. Who knows? I think after this tonight, we’ll start looking into that.
Our thanks to Anthrax’s Frank Bello and Charlie Benante for the interview. Be sure to catch them both performing as part of ‘Metal Masters 5′ at Anaheim’s House of Blues on Jan. 22. Ticket info here.