Anthrax is a thrash metal band formed in 1981 in New York City. In fact, they were one of the “Big Four” of thrash metal. They were one of the most popular of the 1980s thrash scene and were the first to combine heavy metal and rap. They pulled it off quite well in my opinion. The others of the “Big Four” were Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Their song “Madhouse” was featured on the radio station V-rock in GTA: Vice City. Most of this is copy-pasta, the era stuff and the members that is. Major props to you if you actually read this gigantic wall of text.
Early Days (1981):
Anthrax was formed in mid-1981 by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker. They found the band's name in a biology textbook and claimed it because they believed it sounded sufficiently evil. John Connelly (from Nuclear Assault) jammed with them a few times while trying out for the band, but never actually joined. He ended up being a roadie for the band for many of their early shows instead. Drummer Dave Weiss and a bassist named Kenny Kushner were other original members. Kenny Kushner was replaced very early on by Paul Kahn, who was found to be insufficient as well, so Lilker chose to take over on bass and Greg Walls joined as lead guitarist and vocalist Neil Turbin, who the band found after going through a series of temporary vocalists (including Ian's 14-year-old brother Jason). Weiss left and was replaced by Greg D'Angelo (from White Lion) on drums, who left the band in spring of 1983 while recording the second demo.
Neil Turbin era (1982–1984):
Neil Turbin joined the band in late August 1982 and performed two weeks later at Great Gildersleeves on September 12, 1982. This line-up made frequent live performances in the New York/New Jersey tri-state area. The line-up recorded a NWOBHM-sounding demo in July 1982. Greg Walls left in the summer of 1983, and Bob Berry, who was recommended to Neil Turbin by Rhett Forrester of Riot, temporarily replaced him.
Lead guitarist Dan Spitz soon joined the band, replacing Bob Berry. With Spitz, the second demo was recorded. In September, Charlie Benante replaced Greg D'Angelo on drums. This lineup recorded the "Soldiers of Metal" 7" single, produced by Ross the Boss of Manowar. The B-side of this single still featured one of the old demos with Greg D'Angelo on drums, and is the only official recording to feature D'Angelo. This demo won them a recording deal with Megaforce Records. The band recorded their debut album, Fistful of Metal, in late 1983. The album reached #8 on the British Charts and garnered some international attention for Anthrax. It was released in January of 1984, followed by a US tour, during which tensions grew between Danny Lilker and the rest of the band due to Lilker's non-paying of rehearsal rent, lateness, sloppiness and unprofessional demeanor. Lilker was released from the band and he went on to form Nuclear Assault with former Anthrax roadie John Connelly.
Charlie Benante's nephew Frank Bello replaced Lilker on bass. Turbin was fired in late August 1984. Matt Fallon was a temporary replacement on vocals in late 1984. Also in late 1984, the band appeared as a four-piece, "The Diseased", with Scott Ian on vocals. They performed a few hardcore punk covers. Vocalist Joey Belladonna was hired on February 27, 1985, and an EP titled Armed and Dangerous was recorded. Some older material was added to fill out the EP including two live tracks from early 1984, and the two songs from the "Soldiers of Metal" 7". Later in 1985, Ian, Benante, and Danny Lilker appeared on the S.O.D. album Speak English or Die. Anthrax's next album, Spreading the Disease, came out in the same year followed by a US tour and a European tour supporting Metallica.
Neil Turbin formed his own band, Deathriders, in early 2003 and is touring the US and Japan in 2008 and releasing an album entitled Back With a Vengeance in 2009. He is outspoken and has stated that he does not want reconciliation with Scott and Charlie of Anthrax.
Joey Belladonna era (1985–1992):
Anthrax were, almost from the start, noticeable among their peers for their willingness to experiment with genre and image. During the late 1980s, the band radically departed from the "traditional" heavy metal look in favour of a brightly coloured "surfer" jam shorts style of appearance. They were known for introducing a humorous side to their music, in contrast to the serious mindedness of fellow metal bands such as the other "Big Four Of Thrash", who were as I mentioned earlier Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth.
In 1985 the band released their second studio album Spreading the Disease which had their hit "Madhouse"; and in 1987, Anthrax released their third album, Among the Living. This album began a lyrical trend that focused on movies, comic books and Stephen King novels. All these elements would for years become typical lyrical themes Anthrax fans would come to expect. "I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" (which, when spelled backwards, reads "nise fukin life") is about comedian John Belushi's drug addiction and death. "Indians" and the mosh pit anthem "Caught in a Mosh" are both considered Anthrax classics today. The album was dedicated to the memory of Cliff Burton, the late Metallica bass player. Aw wasn’t that nice of them. The band continued its success, sticking to the thrash metal genre of Among the Living on the album State of Euphoria. The single "Antisocial," originally by French heavy metal band Trust was a staple on MTV in regular rotation as well as on Headbangers Ball.
In 1989, MTV held a contest in which the winner would get to have the band come to their home and trash it. The contest was won by a female fan, and the band subsequently came to her house and caused havoc. This was the inspiration for the band's 1992 appearance on Married... with Children, where the main characters of the show win a similar television contest.
In 1990, Anthrax released the more serious Persistence of Time to even greater success than State of Euphoria. The album was considerably darker but much more technical and progressive than Anthrax's previous work. This made it a hit with metalheads who were afraid to embrace the band because of their "silly" side. The biggest single off the album was a cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time". Jackson himself even claimed that he enjoyed Anthrax's cover version of his song. The band's own original song "In My World" as well as "Belly of the Beast" were extremely and moderately successful, respectively. Anthrax was always a band prone to experimentation; in 1987, they appeared on the title track of rap group U.T.F.O.'s album Lethal. In 1991, they collaborated with pioneering rap artists Public Enemy on a joint version of PE's "Bring the Noise" (video later on), although Anthrax already did a fusion of rap and heavy metal (told you) in the form of "I'm the Man" in 1987, a comedic song originally slated to be played with the Beastie Boys (although they did not actually get to play this song with Anthrax until a 1991 remake). "Bring the Noise" was a hit, and the band had a successful joint tour with Public Enemy.
John Bush era (1992–2004):
In 1992, Anthrax parted ways with vocalist Joey Belladonna and replaced him with ex-Armoured Saint vocalist John Bush. The band left Island Records and signed with Elektra Records to release Sound of White Noise in 1993.
Though it was quite a change from their earlier work (it was more a "heavy grunge" oriented, especially because of the vocals) , White Noise received mostly positive reviews and "Only" was a major hit (in the liner notes for Return of the Killer A's, Ian says James Hetfield once told him it was a "perfect song"). Bush's voice lent a gravitas and weight to a collection of well-thought-out and technically excellent tracks. In keeping with the band's now-trademark eye for unlikely collaborations, classical composer Angelo Badalamenti provided music for the track "Black Lodge," a tribute to the TV show "Twin Peaks". Importantly, the album demonstrated that the band had shed its sometimes cartoonish outlook in favor of mature, thoughtful songwriting, a trend which had begun on their previous studio album Persistence of Time.
During the hiatus between Sound of White Noise and Stomp 442, longtime guitarist Dan Spitz left the band to quit music and become a watch maker (what the fuck), leaving Anthrax as a quartet for years. In 1995, the band released Stomp 442, an album for which Elektra refused to provide real promotion—it quickly disappeared without a trace. Obviously upset at what they felt was an attempt by the label to kill the album, Anthrax attempted to sever ties with Elektra.
Anthrax signed with independent label Ignition Records, and in 1998 managed to release Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, a punishing album that had the potential to return Anthrax to the top of the metal heap. Unfortunately, almost immediately after Volume 8: The Threat Is Real's release, the label they were signed to went bankrupt and disappeared, making the album difficult to find, which fucking sucks because I like this album. Regrouping, the band signed with another label, Beyond Records, and released a greatest-hits album Return of the Killer A's, although Beyond soon went out of business as well. During this period, a two-vocalist tour featuring both Joey Belladonna and John Bush was proposed and set to go, until Belladonna decided to pull out at the last minute.
During the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, the band altered its website to provide information about the disease, because many people had come there due to simply entering anthrax.com in their browsers. Amid what could have become a PR nightmare for the band, Anthrax issued a press release on October 10, 2001, that jokingly mentioned that they were going to change the name of the band to "something more friendly, like 'Basket Full of Puppies'.” The band later put a nail in the coffin of all of the name-change rumors that erupted from the press release at the New York Steel 9/11 benefit concert in November 2001, when they took the stage wearing boiler suits with a different word on each one that, when they stood single-file in a specific order, spelled out the sentence "WE'RE NOT CHANGING OUR NAME". A picture of the band wearing the suits can be seen on the inner tray card of We've Come for You All.
Despite the hardships and various legal entanglements regarding who had the rights to certain albums, Anthrax managed to soldier on. In 2002, new lead guitarist Rob Caggiano joined the band, and the following year the band released We've Come for You All, through Sanctuary Records—an album hailed by the metal press as a long-awaited return to form.
In early 2004, the band returned to the studio to record The Greater of Two Evils—a "live in the studio" re-recording of the band's early work with the then-current lineup. Around the same time, bassist Frank Bello announced he was leaving the band to join Helmet and was replaced on tour by former Armored Saint and Fates Warning bassist Joey Vera.
Among the Living reunion (2005–2007):
On April 1, 2005, the official website announced that the Among the Living lineup of Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Dan Spitz, Joey Belladonna, and Frank Bello would be reforming. On solo-dates of the tours, for the first time ever, they performed the entire 1987 classic album Among the Living.
On January 24, 2007, Scott Ian posted a message to Blabbermouth.net.
John Bush on returning:Scott Ian posted:
After the end of Anthrax's reunion tour, much speculation was cast over whether John Bush would return. Bush has stated that (as of February 7), he was not ready to commit to Anthrax again. In May 2007, Scott Ian said that the announcement of who will be singing for Anthrax would be made at the end of June, though the actual announcement didn't come until December.
In June 2007, John Bush was interviewed by Rock Hard, about being asked to return to Anthrax, and whether or not he is bitter about the reunion. He replied:
Dan Nelson era (2007–2009):John Bush posted:
On December 10, 2007, it was announced the band's new vocalist would be Dan Nelson, formerly of Devilsize. Around the same time, it was confirmed that Rob Caggiano would return as lead guitarist.
On May 28, 2008 Anthrax played their first show in 19 months at The Double Door in Chicago. Along with new singer Dan Nelson, the band played new material which was well received by the sold-out crowd. This was despite having some equipment problems—which the band took in stride with the classic humor for which they are known.
Also with singer Dan Nelson, Anthrax played Korea for the first time on August 17th 2008.
In his monthly Food Coma column, which was posted on December 22, 2008, Anthrax's Scott Ian revealed that he'd "been in the studio working on the new Anthrax album since November 4." Ian went on to say that drums, bass and rhythm had been laid down on a total of 19 tracks, and that the process of laying down vocals had begun. "We should be mixing at the end of January and soon after that giving birth to a really pissed off, loud, fast and heavy child." In a subsequent May 2009 Food Coma column, Scott announced that the album was being mixed by Dave Fortman whose previous credits include both of Evanescence's multi-platinum selling albums and Slipknot's fourth studio album titled All Hope Is Gone. In a post to the Anthrax website, Charlie Benante stated that "Worship Music should be out in May".
On Saturday March 7th, 2009 Anthrax played Bogota, Colombia for the first time in their career, opening for Iron Maiden.
On July 21st, 2009 Anthrax's manager, Izvor Zivkovic, confirmed the departure of Dan Nelson, due to an as yet unspecified illness, which Nelson has since denied, saying: "I was never seriously ill or sick at all, as reported in Anthrax’s 7/17/09 press release. This extremely inflammatory statement hurt me tremendously. This statement misled fans, friends and family members into believing that I was seriously ill when I was not. I was not aware such a statement was being issued and it came as a total shock to me, as I’m sure it did to all of you. It was the other band members’ decision to cancel the tour dates, not mine. I was ready, willing and able to do my job. After issuing the press release the other band members decided, on their own accord, that I had 'resigned' from the band. I never resigned from the band." Because of this, all tour dates were cancelled, with the exception of the Sonisphere festival in England, where former singer John Bush will perform as singer for a one-off performance.
Now for the band members:
• Rob Caggiano – lead guitars (2001–2005, 2007–present)
• Scott Ian – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1981–present)
• Frank Bello – bass, backing vocals (1984–2004, 2005–present)
• Charlie Benante – drums, percussion (1983–present)
• John Connelly (1981)
• Dirk Kennedy (1981)
• Jason Rosenfeld (1981–1982)
• Neil Turbin (1982–1984)
• Matt Fallon (1984)
• Joey Belladonna (1984–1992, 2005–2007)
• John Bush (1992–2005)
• Dan Nelson (2007–2009)
• Danny Lilker (1981)
• Greg Walls (1981–1983)
• Bob Berry (1983)
• Dan Spitz (1983–1995, 2005–2007)
• Paul Crook (1995–1998)
• Kenny Kushner – bass (1981)
• Paul Kahn – bass (1981)
• Danny Lilker (1981–1984)
• Joey Vera (2004–2005)
• Dave Weiss (1981)
• Greg D'Angelo (1981–1983)
Albums just in case you missed them:
Fistful of Metal (1984)
Spreading the Disease (1985)
Among the Living (1987)
State of Euphoria (1988)
Persistence of Time (1990)
Sound of White Noise (1993)
Stomp 442 (1995)
Volume 8: The Threat is Real (1998)
We’ve Come for You All (2003)
The Island Years (1994)
Music of Mass Destruction (2004)
Alive 2 (2005)
Caught in a Mosh: BBC Live in Concert (2007)
I could’ve seen these guys when I went down to London on the 16th July this year, but I didn’t have tickets and I had a 10:30 train back to where I was staying. I’m still annoyed about that.
Time for videos now, oh boy.
Caught in a Mosh (live (Music of Mass Destruction))
Anthrax feat. Public Enemy playing PEs "Bring the Noise"
Gung Ho (Live at Hammersmith)
I am the Law (Live at Hammersmith)
I’m the man uncensored
Madhouse (Live at Hammersmith)
Medusa (Live at Hammersmith)
Safe Home (acoustic (really good imo))
Safe Home music video (has Keanu Reeves in it)
Got the Time (live with John Bush)
Deathrider (featuring a bunch of headbanging)
Scott Ian plays Guitar Hero 2. He plays Madhouse on easy
Dave Mustaine (yes the one from Megadeth) plays Guitar Hero 2. He plays Hanger 18 on easy
Shit it's way bigger than I thought.
Band website: http://www.anthrax.com/