The Traverse City music scene welcomes thrash metal band Anthrax. The band celebrates 35 years with a performance at Streeters on Sunday, September 11 with special guests Death Angel and Dead in 5. MyNorth Media entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau tells us more about the band’s history and influence on the metal scene before the Traverse City event.
Speed metal icons Anthrax
How the Band Got its Start
Guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Liker invited some friends to jam with them back in July 1981. After the usual personnel shuffling and comings and goings, which resulted in Liker switching to bass, the result was Anthrax. It combined the speed and fury of hardcore punk with the prominent guitars and vocals of heavy metal. Drummer Charlie Benante joined the group in 1983, and bassist Frank Bello replaced founding member Liker in 1984. Current lead vocalist Joey Belladonna joined the group in 1985 and has been in and out of the band several times since then, while the lead guitar chair is currently manned by Jonathan Donais.
Today, Anthrax is generally acknowledged as one of the Big Four founding bands of speed/thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Slayer and Megadeath.
Influences and Inspirations
Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Run D.M.C., Motörhead, Sex Pistols
In late 1992, vocalist Belladonna was fired and replaced by former Armored Saint vocalist John Bush. The All Music Guide wrote that Bush, “has a lower-register voice than Belladonna, and the result is menacing, premeditated, and sinister.” He recorded and toured with the band until 2005 when Belladonna was tapped for a reunion.
After the reunion tour, Bush decided not to rejoin the band, and Dan Nelson was named the new singer, staying until 2009 when Bush rejoined. The next year he again opted out, and – surprise! – Belladonna was back. Others, such as bassist Bello and guitarist Rob Caggiano, also joined, left, and returned, sometimes leaving again. The round robin approach finds the current lineup including Ian, Benante, Belladonna, Bello, and guitarist Jonathan Donais. That band recorded the band’s most recent album, For All Kings, released in February of this year.
Throughout its existence, Anthrax has been cited as a huge influence on the metal scene, broadening its scope by incorporating influences from punk to rap. The band has toured with everyone from fellow speed metal icons Slayer, Megadeath and Metallica to hip hop metal pioneers Living Colour.
“A lot of those emotions got me to where I was, got Anthrax out of the basement and onto the map, because I was so devoted and so focused and so in love with this music that I was able to commit my life to it.” – Anthrax founder Scott Ian to Loudwire
“The riffs are punchy, the drumming relentless, and nary a note is wasted, and it strikes that balance between artistry and economy that has always made Anthrax an elite metal force.” – The All Music Guide on For All Kings, the band’s most recent release
Date & Time
Sunday, September 11
Tickets are $28. Go to GroundZeroOnline.com