"Everybody had their fun in the '80s…"
'80s thrash legends Anthrax have reunited with original singer Joey Belladonna and just released Worship Music, their first studio album in eight years. They're considered one of the "Big Four" of thrash metal, along with Megadeth, Slayer, and Metallica; the four bands, once rivals, have played several stadium shows together in the past two years, including a colossal show at Yankee Stadium last month.
I'm dating a guy who's awesome in almost every way, but he hates metal. You should see his face when I put on Live After Death in the car. How seriously should I take this?
Charlie Benante [drums]: At a certain point, it's going to reach a point where you will say these words: "What do we have in common?"And music is always such a big thing because it takes up a good part of your life, whether it's listening to it or going to shows. If he can't hang with that, he's not the right person for you.
Frank Bello [bass]: I don't know if you guys are compatible. Metal is life, isn't it?
That is often held to be true.
FB: Yeah, so, for me, my wife likes metal, but she doesn't live on metal, you know? It can work, but it's got to be a compromise. If you can have other things in common, that can work, but if the other things aren't working, that's telling you something.
You know, I was just reading Dave Mustaine's memoir, and he says his wife never liked metal in general or Megadeth in specific.
CB: That's not a good thing.
There's this girl I really like, but once we got in the sack, the sex turned out to be awful. What should I do?
CB: There are so many different answers to that. One answer is give her money for cab fare and see her on her way. But if you really like the girl…
FB: Watch some porn! Honestly — you want to know the truth? If she's really bad, porn can help her learn. If you can learn some good moves, why not?
I've been dating my boyfriend for years, and he's always had dreams of becoming famous with his garage band from high school. I feel like it's time for him to give up and make music a side project. How can I approach this topic?
CB: You've got to approach it delicately, of course. I think you need to address it like, "Look, I think you're so talented, but the other people around you are just not cutting it and I hate to see you waste more time with it."
Blame the rest of the band, you'd say.
CB: Of course.
FB: I don't think you should stand in the way of anybody's dreams. If it's a real relationship, you've got to support them, no matter what. A big part of a relationship is to support the person to the fullest you can. There's no me-me-me.
We're visiting my boyfriend's parents for a week. What are some ground rules we should set for having sex in their house?
CB: Bring your own locks. Install sensors so that if someone comes down the hallway a light goes on in the room.
FB: You've got to be really quiet. No moaning. It's going to be fun, but get ready to bite that pillow. Have some respect, and don't be screaming, because then you will get busted. It's definitely going to be fun if you know how to do it.
CB: Also, you can try to send the parents on their way somewhere — get them to go out to dinner.
When I was listening to Among the Living in high school, I didn't think I would ever be asking you these questions.
FB: It's kind of great! It's a complete change of pace!
I'm dating a girl who likes it rough, but I feel weird being overly aggressive during sex. How can I relax and enjoy it more?
CB: You can't adapt to it? Stop being a fuckin' pussy and man up!
FB: Make her lead the charge — ask her what she wants. What's too much, and what's too little. Let her give you direction.
What Anthrax song should I put on when I'm trying to convince the girl I like to make out with me?
CB: "Caught in a Mosh." That would be the one.
CB: No. Too obvious.
Scott Ian just took off some tour dates because he and his wife are having a baby. If you'd told '80s-era Anthrax that that would someday happen, how would the five of you have reacted?
FB: In this band, it's always been family first. I think that's the way to be. We'll work around it. Everybody's happy and compatible.
CB: It was just a matter of time, but for me, I wouldn't have wanted to do it when I was really young. I wouldn't have been a good dad.
Do you think you would've been surprised to find yourself in this place?
FB: No — the longevity of the band, that's what I'm surprised at.
Back in the day, what was the best way to sleep with a member of Anthrax?
CB: Bring comic books. [laughs] Yeah, that and a six pack of Sapporo.
FB: Show up? No, actually, I was never a stud boy, but everybody had their fun. Show your brain, really. Show that you're more than just a bod, because bodies are everywhere. I mean, we were never really a stud band anyway. We were a metal band! A girl would have to just be herself, quite honestly, and not be somebody she's not, and not come on too heavy. It always had to be a little more than the obvious. But, you know, thems were the early days. They are far away. It's all about the metal now.
Do you have any good hookup stories from back in the day?
FB: Well, everybody had their fun in the '80s. There was some crazy stuff. Our crew loved us, because for the most part the band really wouldn't go crazy with that kind of stuff, so the crew would partake in a lot of it. From what I've heard, there are some volumes of… pictures, if you know what I mean.
CB: We did like to take care of the crew. They were hard-working.
So you guys were the bait.
FB: Yeah, I guess you could call it that.
Who of the five of you got the most action on the road?
CB: It depends on which decade you're talking. In the '80s, probably Dan Spitz. He was just that guy. He was ruthless.
So it wasn't that he was super-smooth?
CB: Nope. He was just super-committed.
Rank the Big Four in terms of sex appeal.
FB: I don't think the Big Four and sex appeal are… equal. It's more about just brutal metal. If you get turned on by that, all good.
So you would rank them all last? Come on, man, you've got to at least rank Anthrax first.
Dan Spitz at the height of his committedness.
FB: Well, that's obvious. [laughs]
CB: That would be very egocentric, to put us in the sexiest position. To all metal fans, I think it's a very attractive bill. But sexiest? Slayer. Violence is very sexy.
In that case, who's sexier — Megadeth, or Metallica?
CB: Well, Metallica has Kirk Hammett, the sexiest man on the planet.
I'm going to tell Dave Mustaine you said that.
CB: I don't care. Although actually, the thing about Megadeth is their drummer has the best hair in rock. He spends, I think, $200 a week on hair products. Oh, he's going to hate when he reads that.
So, Frank, you're playing Richard Hell in this upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic, and you've worked as an actor and a musician for a long time. Which has gotten you more women?
FB: Musician. Easy. Oh yeah, dude. You have a guitar on, people are just drawn, which is cool. Before I played, I was always drawn to people who play guitar. It's a natural thing.
So should I keep going with my band, or go to acting school?
FB: You should do both!
Will there be any more Big Four shows?
FB: It's up to Metallica. It's their game, and obviously we couldn't play Yankee Stadium without Metallica. I'm ready, believe me. The other bands, I know we're all in. I'd love to.
CB: Each band has a Big Four phone that Metallica gave us. When it rings, we'll be there to answer it.