ANTHRAX (1981–PRESENT). Neil Turbin (vocals, replaced by Joey Belladonna, John Bush, Dan Nelson), Scott Ian (guitar), Dan Spitz (guitar), Dan Lilker (bass, replaced by Frank Bello), Charlie Benante (drums).
One of the key thrash metal bands who introduced numerous metal fans to both punk rock and rap and helped pioneer the rap/metal crossover sound with both their collaboration with Public Enemy on the cover of Bring the Noise (1987) as well as their own rap song “I’m the Man” (1991). The band started out in Queens in 1981 led by guitarist Scott Ian, who has fired numerous members of the band over the years, leaving him and drummer Charlie Benante as the only original members. In 1984 they released their classic first record, Fist Full of Metal, a quintessential thrash album. Shortly after Lilker was fired, Turbin left and was replaced by the far more mainstream-sounding Joey Belladonna, who proved to be the main Anthrax vocalist for several crucial records including the brilliant Among the Living record, which spawned the pit classic “Caught in a Mosh,” an anthem of sorts for many metal heads. They became well known early on, especially guitarist and leader Scott Ian, for championing new music, particularly rap. Rap group Public Enemy responded by giving a shout out to Anthrax on the song “Bring the Noise,” in which they rap that “wax is for Anthrax, still they can rock the bells.” Anthrax returned the favor by recording their own version of “Bring the Noise,” one of the first rap/metal crossover singles. By 1992, tensions in the band forced Belladonna’s departure and his replacement by ex-Armored Saint singer John Bush, who added a harder edge to the band than Belladonna was capable of. Ironically, this led to a long fallow period for Anthrax.
Although the band has not been prolific in recent years, and even pondered changing their name after the anthrax poisonings following 9/11/2001, the band continues to tour to this day with new singer Dan Nelson, after a brief detour back to Joey Belladonna from 2005 to 2007. Despite their numerous personnel changes, Anthrax, along with Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth, is one of the key architects of the thrash sound, and one of the most open minded in recording nonmetal (the band even covered Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time” on the Persistence of Time album) influences and the first to pioneer the rap/rock crossover.
Discography: Fistful of Metal (Megaforce, 1984); Armed and Dangerous EP (Megaforce, 1985); Spreading the Disease (Megaforce/Island, 1985); Among the Living (Megaforce/ Island, 1987); I’m the Man [EP] (Megaforce/Island, 1987); State of Euphoria (Megaforce/ Island, 1988); Persistence of Time (Megaforce/Island, 1990); Attack of the Killer B’s (Megaforce/Island, 1991); Sound of White Noise (Elektra, 1993); Live: The Island Years (Megaforce/Island, 1994); Stomp 442 (Elektra, 1995) Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (Tommy Boy, 1998); We’ve Come for You All (Beyond, 2003); Music of Mass Destruction: Live from Chicago (Sanctuary, 2004); Alive 2: The Music Is (Sanctuary, 2005).