MusicIncider has ANTHRAX
An Interview With Frank Bello
I know you ALL LOVE FUCKING ANTHRAX! Why wouldnít you? In fact, you would be pretty fucking stupid if you didnít. After all, Anthrax HEADLINED MetalFest 2003 at The Masquerade here in Atlanta. I hear Anthrax influences in a lot of the baby bands I go listen to-so the gods opened the heavens and let MusicIncider Magazine talk to the amazing and incredibly sexy bass player from Anthrax-Frankie Bello. Hey man, look out for the moose!
MI-What sign of the horoscope are you?
Frank-Cancer. (I ask this question because I am a psychic. It helps me get a read on what questions to ask. Cancers are generally really NICE people and are helpful, Frankie was no exception. He was a helluva guy to talk to.)
MI-Tell me about the new cd, and what inspired it.
Frank-What inspired the new cd? Well, we needed to work again (laughing). Inspiration came from going through a lot of drama in our lives. We had a really hard time getting out of our last record deal, and there is a lot of good anger in that when bankers and lawyers get involved. It was kind of a nice relief when it finally happened, and it always makes for great songs.
MI-How does it feel to be the headliners for 34+ local bands at Metal Fest 2003 at the Masquerade? How did you guys get involved with that anyway?
Frank-I think that was the date we were playing Atlanta anyway, and we heard about that and they put us on it-literally. As far as I know, honestly, that is how it happened. To Metal Fest!
MI-How do you feel Anthrax has influenced other bands?
Frank-I think Anthrax-as far as other bands go-I think they know we are pretty real, that we arenít just faking it. It comes from the heart, and people like that about us. We are a blue collar band. I think they know that we are hard workers and we arenít just copying everybody else. We have always did it from the heart, and we were the trendsetters instead of copying the garbage that was on MTV.
MI-What is your favorite song to play off of the new cd?
Frank-Safe Home is always fun. I always enjoy watching the crowd scream it.
MI-What is your most favorite place to play live?
Frank-Italy. Itís nuts, and right after the show you go into a serious restaurant that has the freshest food in the world. (Okay, I was dying for some fucking pasta here.)
MI-Tell me something that nobody knows about each one of your band mates.
Frank-Everybody in the band has a Starbucks card. How about that? -Everybody has there own lives. Everybody is addicted to cell phones but me. I am looking at our guitar player right now, Rob, and they are all very addicted to cell phones. It is pathetic. (Oh shit. I have TWO cell phones and a Starbucks card.
MI-What would you tell other bands just starting out to watch out for?
Frank-Bad contracts. I mean that emphatically. Write that down. Donít sign anything without letting your lawyer see it, because there are a lot of sharks out there ready to eat you up. ĖAnd just write your music from the heart, because that is the only thing that is going to make you different from anybody else.
MI-How do you feel the music industry has changed over the years?
Frank-I donít know if it has changed or not-we sell records by touring. MTV has taken over the music business. They have dominated it, and when it becomes corporate like that, it is not organic and it is not a real living thing anymore. It is people making decisions in an office about who is big and who is not, and that is what the music business is now.
MI-If you could change anything in the music business what would it be?
Frank-I would get rid of the music channels for the same reason-that is exactly what I would do.
MI-What is the worst thing you have ever seen on the road?
Frank-We hit a moose the other night. I am serious; coming from Canada we hit a moose. I felt horrible. I was sleeping and I didnít even feel it-but man, John could give you a great story with that. The moose got up and ran away. I felt horrible after that.
MI-Tell me the story about how Anthrax got together.
Frank-Back in 1984, literally in science classÖScott, Me, and the old bass player Danny got together and started practicing. Charlie Benate came in afterwards. We had Joey Belladonna back then, and we kept that going for awhile, and pretty much ten years later John Bush joined our band-our singer John Bush. Right now, we have a guitar player named Rob and he is a great part of the band. We are really happy with him. MI-And he is on the cell phone? Frank-He is actually in the bathroom on the cell phone right now. Isnít that sad?
MI-Have you ever inhaled?
Frank-Christ. I love the smell of pot; I just canít smoke it because it fucks up my throat.
MI-Where were you on 9-11, and how did it affect you?
Frank-We were on tour and I was in my bunk sleeping when it actually happened. I thought it was a movie, unfortunately, that was on the front lounge-and it turned out to be CNN. ĖIt was so loud and everybody was screaming-What The Fuck?!? Everybody kept screaming what the fuck. I jumped out of my bunk and I really thought it was like a Die Hard movie or something. I couldnít believe that it was my hometown. I was very angry like everybody else, and I just anted to be home and not on tour. MI-I am from Yonkers myself. Frank-Were you home? MI-Yeah. Frank-For me, I obviously couldnít do anything. I couldnít even get home and it was driving me crazy.
MI-If you were stuck on a desert island and could bring one book, one person, and cd, and the one thing you love most-what/who would you bring?
Frank-One person, I would bring my wife. That is the correct thing to say I think. The cd that I wouldnít get bored with would probably be Revolver by The Beatles. The book would be Interview With A Vampire. ĖI would need a guitar just to write about what I was going through.
MI-Who are your musical influences?
Frank-Black Sabbath, Zepplin, Rush, Kiss-big time, Cheap Trick to name a few-those are definitely right there.
MI-Do you believe in psychics or the paranormal, and have you had any experiences?
Frank-I have personally. I do believe in that. I think it is definitely there. I am a spiritual person. I definitely believe in all that.
MI-Tell me about the average day in the life of Frankie Bello.
Frank-There is much coffee involved. It is mainly just being productive-I cannot NOT be productive, because them I just feel like a bum. I get up-the coffee is on. I go for the guitar, because that is like a mellow thing. It gets me in a good mood. I sing a song or whatever. ĖI get out of that, and then I work out. I definitely work out so I donít feel like a fat fuck. Frank-Do you own a house? MI-I rent. Frank-So things need to be done around the house or the apartment. MY focus is that I am not paying somebody to do things I can do myself anymore, so I learn by breaking shit. The first time I break it, and then I go read a book and learn the right way how to do it. Thatís what I usually do-I am like Mr. Fix-It Guy now.
MI-If you could design a memorial for the victims of 9-11, what would it be like?
Frank-Just a heart-for much love, all the love in the world-and we are there with you.
MI-How do you think Bush is handling the country right now?
Frank-I just think he is a figurehead. He is just here, but for me to bash Bush doesnít even make sense. Politically, I am bored with it all.
Bush-he is just there. This guy is like a puppet. He is just a guy who is doing what he is doing-it is neither here nor there for me.
MI-What are your thoughts on marijuana, or any other drug being legalized?
Frank-Marijuana should be legal. It is no worse than liquor in my book, but the hard stuff-you gotta stay away because kids get that stuff. ĖMarijuana should be legalized already, but other people are making too much money off of it, and that is why it is not legal.
MI-Tell me the story about how you wound up playing bass and singing.
Frank-I started on guitar, and I was playing the bass parts on guitar. It just made more sense to do that. As far as the singing goes, I was tired of relying on singers for singing and I just knew that I could do it. So I started to learn how to do it by listening to different records.
MI-Who influenced your singing?
Frank-U2-Bono. Sting-The Police. Pavarotti-not that I sing like Pavarotti, but just the strength of his voice is incredible. Even Roger Daltrey-just balls out. I just love his stuff.
MI-What is the worst job you ever had?
Frank-A roofer was definitely the worst job, because my hands would get cut up every day putting roofs on houses, and I would come home and I couldnít play my guitar. It sucked.
MI-If a genie came to you and granted you three wishes, what would they be?
Frank-Stop the pain in the world-that would be the first thing. Stop ALL PAIN. That would be a definitive thing-no more pain in the world. I am tired of people suffering. Number two-just make an even tilt for everybody, so everybody has what everybody else has, so that there are no haves and have-nots. ĖEverybody should enjoy a more peaceful life. Thatís all there should be.
MI-If you were not a musician, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
Frank-An actor. I just love performing. I would do that-it is not just the guy that wants to be famous in the suit with celebrity status. I just like the theatre thing. I love that.
MI-If there was a movie made about your life, what would the theme song be and who would you want to play you?
Frank-He would have to be angry. Edward Norton would be great I think. The theme song would be Donít Get Fooled Again.
MI-What do you think of MTV and how it has changed over the years?
Frank-MTV? It is not really music anymore. It used to be music, but now. ĖMTV2 I watch sometimes just because we are on it. We are on Headbangers Ball sometimes, but I really rarely watch MTV.
MI-Who do you think the best musician and band of all time are/is?
Frank-Great question. ĖGoing back to big band stuff, Benny Goodman and all that stuff too. ĖFrom what I like in rock and roll, Angus Young canít be touched.
MI-If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Frank-My brother Anthony-he passed.
MI-Tell me a joke, any kind of a joke.
Frank-We hit a moose (laughing)-no, I feel horrible about that. I really do feel horrible about that. ĖHereís the deal, we were driving the tour bus, and I heard the moose was trying to keep up with the tour bus, and then he just cut right in front of it. That was the problem-my bus driver didnít see it until the last second. The moose actually came at us and ran right in front of the fucking bus.
MI-If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity, what would that charity be and why?
Frank-I would donate it to a foundation for people that have fathers that abandon them, because thatís what happened with my family.
MI-Do you believe in reincarnation, and if you do who do you think you were in your past life?
Frank-I do believe in reincarnation, and I really think I was somebody who just performed. I think I was somebody who performed for a living-thatís just what I get. Thatís what my gut is telling me.
MI-What do you think of Ian Astbury singing for The Doors?
Frank-I saw him. He was amazing. I really thought he was amazing. I love The Doors, of course-Ian was no Jim, but I am telling you man, he took over the role. Everybody understands that you would have to go into a situation like that understanding that. I really enjoyed that night. ĖI would see it because he sounds like him. He totally gets into it. He totally takes over that role, and once you understand that Jim has actually passed it is just a really great thing. It is just nice to hear the songs. They sound great.
MI-Who are your newest, latest, favorite bands?
Frank-Not a lot of them. There is not a lot of them because everything is so rehashed right now. I canít even think of one off hand. ĖThere is this black metal one called Dimmu Borgir-my guitar player Rob got me into them. They are heavy and new-but there is not a lot of new bands that I am into right now. I listen to old Black Sabbath and stuff.
MI-If you were God for a week, what changes would you make?
Frank-I would clean up the mess thatís around. People are making too many mistakes left and right.
MI-Who would you compare John Bushís vocals to?
Frank-No one. He is in a class by himself. Honestly, I feel like he is in his own class. I am onstage with him every night-no one touches what he does. Nobody in Rock and Roll especially right now.
MI-Who would you compare your playing style to?
Frank-I grew up on Steve Harris and Getty Lee and Geezer Butler-so it is a mixture of all three of them.
MI-Name four of the greatest bass players of all time-we are including you in this list so that makes it five.
Frank-I donít think I am one of these guys-but Jocko Bastari, Stanley Clark, Cliff Burton from Metallica-he passed. He was a friend of mine. I think he was an amazing bass player. Getty Lee.
MI-If you could be a comic book hero, who would you be?
Frank-Superman, because nothing could penetrate me.
MI-Who is your favorite writer?
Frank-Stephen King is unmatched right now.
MI-Is you could see any movie more than once, what would it be?
Frank-I throw it in every time I am in a bad mood-The Godfather takes me to another place. It takes me to a very mood driven place that I like.
MI-What is your favorite past time/hobby?
Frank-Eating (laughing). I am Italian. I love to eat. I do, and I am proud of it to.
MI-Where do you see Anthrax five years from now?
Frank-With another great record.
MI-How did you guys get the Carson Daly show, and I understand there is a contest for your fans to come see you live in NYC-what do we have to do?
Frank-Number one, I am sure it is on our website. I just heard about this yesterday-I didnít get all the details, but I am sure it is on our website. Just go to Anthrax.com, and it is there. ĖCarson Daly happened through management. Our manager hooked that up. We are doing Safe Home acoustically, so it should be interesting.
MI-Do you think Bush will get re-elected?
Frank-Yes. There is nobody to challenge him; unless Hillary decides to come in-but she is not until another four years have passed.
MI-If you could bring in any President from history to fix the problems that we have going on now, who would it be?
MI-The bands tour ends on Halloween. What are the plans for the bans once the tour is over?
Frank-We are talking about us going back out for a few more weeks in late November/early December. ĖIn January, we go to South America and Japan. ĖThis has been nonstop pretty much. It is a constant touring cycle here.
MI-What do you think about the Cobain diaries being released?
Frank-For me, those Nirvana records were great. For me, I am done with it. It was a great thing-but enough. I would like to hear more music. ĖIt is not for me.
MI-If you could bring anybody back from the dead, who would it be?
Frank-Letís see what Elvis can do.
MI-What is the weirdest dream you have ever had?
Frank-I donít remember dreaming.
MI-What/who inspires your writing?
Frank-Life-just what happens in life every day.
MI-Do you have a message for your fans?
Frank-Thank you for sticking around. We know it has been a turbulent way about us, but you know it is from our hearts so thank you for sticking with us.
MI-The Make A Wish foundation comes to Anthrax for a kids wish-would you do it? Frank-Of course. MI-Even is they asked you to ride six moose through the hospital floor? Frank-I would do anything for a kid.
MI-If you were on the road and saw a great local band-would you ask them to open up for you?
Frank-Sure I would. It would be a better show.
MI-Who was your most favorite band that you ever opened up for?
Frank-There has been a few of them in our day. Because I grew up on them, it has to be KISS. It was just a fun show. It was just Paul and Gene from the original band, but it was at a great time.
MI-What is the worst thing you ever seen on the road, except for the moose?
Frank-People getting hurt really bad-I mean neck braces and stretchers, the whole nine yards. Thatís unnecessary-diving off of the stage and getting really hurt.
MI-What is your favorite quote of all time?
Frank-To be or not to be, that is the question.
Thanks Frankie. I knew you were busy on tour, and I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. I know that our readers really fucking appreciate it to. Next time you are in Atlanta, I will take you to La Strada in Marietta-they actually have some pretty decent Italian food. It will remind you of New York. I know the owner of the place, and I promise that I will make sure that there isnít a fucking beer bottle served in the place that night-and on a lighter note, there has never been a moose sighting in Marietta.
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