In the beginning of the 1980s in the US a great many bands were formed who took their inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Among the most gifted of those were bands like TWISTED SISTER, MÖTLEY CRÜE, WASP, MANOWAR and of course Anthrax.
Anthrax was formed back in 1981 by two guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Lilker. They had been classmates at the Bayside school in the Queens area of New York. Both of them already had a certain experience on stage; they played in FOUR X and WHITE HEAT respectively. Other members of the band were Dave Weiss, Paul Kahn, and John Connelly the lead singer. Problems began to appear from the very beginning. Several members left the band due to their incapability of following the standards set by Scott and Dan. The first three songs they recorded were "Sin", "Antichrist" and "Haunting Dog" with Neil Turbin at the vocals.
Anthrax's first appearance on stage took place at the "Battle of the Bands" that they have naturally won. This permitted the band to win over some local heavy metal fans, but this was not enough for them to obtain a contract with a record label. After a few more line-up changes, Charlie Benante has become the drummer of Anthrax and still remains one today, and Danny Spitz the rhythm guitarist (and has remained one for a long time). A little later, a manger called John Zazula showed a certain interest in ANTHRAX'S, music, but he thought they should work on their sound. He and his wife Marsha were the founders of the Megaforce Records and Crazed Management.
It's thanks to them that the famous Anthrax-Metallica cooperation was made possible as Metallica were also signed on the Megaforce Records. Finally Anthrax could register their first single "Soldiers of Metal" followed by "Howling Furies". The producer if the singles was Ross the Boss from Manowar (they played at the same concert just prior to that). Three thousand copies of the first single were sold in just two weeks. This encouraged John Z. to sign a long-term contract with the band and he sent them on a tour with METALLICA and RAVEN.
Finally, in 1984, Anthrax have recorded their first album entitled Fistful of Metal, that clearly showed the talent of the band thanks to the ultra-fast riffs in the style of thrash and speed metal. A lot of importance must also be attached to the lyrics of the band, who have not followed the fashion of writing about Satan and witches, but rather focused on everyday problems such as drugs and violence.
After this recording, Dan Lilker decided to leave the band and was replaced by Frank Bello, Charlie's nephew. Prior joining Anthrax, Frank was an Anthrax roadie. He still remains a member of Anthrax.
After one of the Anthrax concerts, Neil Turbin showed a highly disrespectful and arrogant attitude towards the public and had to be fired as a consequence. Anthrax have remained without a lead singer for a whole two months. They have worked with Matt Fallon on the Spreading the Disease album for a while, but they needed a permanent member. By a coincidence, they have heard about Joey Belladonna, who ironically sang in a band called MEGAFORCE. He was to greatly mark the history of Anthrax. They have put tremendous pressure on Joey to become a member of Anthrax and he finally accepted. They have completed the Spreading the Disease album with him and it was around then that Anthrax found their own sound.
In February 1985, the Armed and Dangerous album came out. Right after that Anthrax took part in the "Metal Hammer Road Shows" with ANGEL STEEL and OVERKILL.
In summer 1985 Charlie and Scott decided to form a side band called the STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH (SOD). The two other band members were Billy Milano and their former member Dan Lilker who they were still friends with. In only three days they have recorded 21 songs with their producer Alex Perlas. The name given to the album was "Speak English or Die". The record became known for its extremely heavy music and half-serious but nevertheless satirical lyrics.
The band broke up right after that. The Armed and Dangerous album has attracted the attention of the Island Records. They have signed a contract with the band and the next album that was originally entitled Anthrax Kills but was finally renamed Among the Living came out via Island. At the moment this album came out Anthrax were already a mature band. They have toured Europe several times, especially with Metallica, but one of these tours was cancelled due to the tragic death of Cliff Barton.
Among the Living was a turning point for Anthrax. They have introduced several new aspects in their music, making allusions to the works of Stephen King and rap music. "Among the Living", for example was inspired by Stephen King's The Stand. The song "I am the Law" was inspired by a character named Judge Dreadd from the famous comics series. The basic idea behind the "Efilnikufesin N.F.L." song (for those who have me on their ICQ, it sounds familiar, right?) was put forward by Scott Ian after he read the book about the death of John Belushe, the leader of the BLUES BROTHERS, from an overdose. The song entitled "Caught in a Mosh" is not about moshing, but rather the situations you often find yourself in against your own will.
It was inspired by an accident with one of the Anthrax roadies when he stage dived and injured his back. Two more songs on that album deserve particular attention: "Indians" and "One World". The first one talks about the discrimination of the native Americans (Joey is himself a native American) and the second one is about the catastrophic results that could take place if the nations keep antagonizing themselves.
Despite the energy that can be easily taken for aggression by some people, Anthrax remain a pacifist and an optimistic band. By making allusions to violence, they try and stress what the major problems of our time are. According to Scott, that they are not putting their subjective opinions across, but rather an objective reality, it's all in the papers. Among the Living faced a couple of problems. Certain critics accused the band of having sold out and several Christian organizations disliked the somewhat satanic cover, but their success was nevertheless undeniable. It was in the beginning of 1988 that Anthrax could tour with their idols, KISS, and establish friendly links with Gene Simmons.
The 12th September 1988 is the release date of the State of Euphoria. Among the biggest hits on the album are "Make Me Laugh", "Schism", "Antisocial" originally by TRUST, "Now It's Dark", "Who Cares Wins", "Misery Loves Company", "Out of Sight, Out of Mind".
The next year Anthrax made an appearance in England, where they played with LIVING COLOR and were invited to the "Head bangers' Ball".
This appearance permitted Anthrax to open the door to the continental Europe. They toured with legendary bands such as MÖTLEY CRÜE, WHITESNAKE, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, HALLOWEEN, and KING X. Their European success was supported by that of the US.
Towards the end of 1989 Anthrax began to work on a new album entitled Persistence of time. Unfortunately, on the 24th of January 1990, fire destroyed most of the records. They managed to get the album out by the 20th of July. Soon afterwards they released a new EP called Attack of the Killer B's. Among those songs is "Bring the Noise" that they recorded with Public Enemy, followed by a tour with the same rap group.
In March 1992 Scott reformed SOD to hold a number of concerts that helped them record a disc called Live at Budokan. It was then that Joey Belladonna began to lose interest in what Anthrax were doing and had to be fired. The new vocalist was John Bush, the former lead singer of Armoured Saint. It was with him that the last three albums were recorded: The Sound of White Noise, Stomp 442 and Volume 8: The Threat is Real. Unfortunately, their last 2 record labels, Elektra and Ignition Records did not do a good job promoting those.
In 1998 the SOD were formed once again and they have currently finished work on their new album Bigger Than the Devil
Please click here to submit the latest Anthrax biography
The following area is only for review,
Recommend the artist to your friends.