Benante admits 2005 tour was bad move – and he’s not surprised Joey Belladonna refused to stay with them afterwards

In and out: Joey Belladonna

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante admits their 2005 reunion with classic-era singer Joey Belladonna was a mistake – and he’s not surprised the frontman didn’t remain with the band at the time.

The thrash giants are poised to release Worship Music, their first album with Belladonna since 1991′s Persistence of Time. But Benante believes the singer had good reason not to stick around six years ago.

He tells Radio Metal: “I think the reunion tour was done for the wrong reasons. At the time we were with a different organisation, and Joey didn’t agree with them. He didn’t like the people involved with the band at the time. And I don’t blame him, because we didn’t want to stay with them either.”

When Belladonna bowed out for the second time, previous singer John Bush refused to return because of the way Anthrax had treated him. Instead they hired Dan Nelson – but fired him in 2009, leading to a stand-in period by Bush followed by Belladonna’s third and current stint.

Benante says of the turmoil: “Around that time everyone was scratching their heads and needed to get away from Anthrax. I think that’s why some of them went and did some other projects.

“We hit a wall. We knew John wasn’t going to be a part of the band any more and we needed to move on.

“I think what we’ve done now has been done with the right intentions. It’s been done in a very organic way and it wasn’t forced upon us. It’s like, ‘Hey man, come on, let’s try and work this together.’”

The drummer understands why guitarist Scott Ian made some disparaging comments about Belladonna following his departure in 2006.

“I think Scott’s had to eat some of his words,” says Benante. “He only said those things because I think he left things off with Joey kind of bad. Their relationship wasn’t very good when he said them.”

Like other members of his band, Benante wants to steer clear from comparing Bush and Belladonna – but he observes: “The hardest thing has been choosing this guy over that guy, or whatever. But we’ve seen the difference between playing with John and with Joey.

“There are way more people coming to the shows and it’s more exciting. I’m not taking away anything from John at all; I’m just stating a fact.”

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