We’ve said it before and we’ll probably say it when we review For All Kings: Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna is a national treasure. Along with Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, he’s one of the last of the old guard of metal vocalists that can actually really sing. And while he’s always been a solid singer, he’s really come into his own on Worship Music and the new album. Some of that might have to do with Scott Ian letting him do his thing and not constantly looking over his shoulder. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ian admits that he micro-managed the singer. When asked how he involved Belladonna in the creative process, he replied:
Anthrax songs don’t happen until it’s in the room really with Charlie, Frankie and me arranging material. But for Joey, we left a lot of room for him – even going back to Worship Music – we felt we didn’t need to be looking over his shoulder like we used to back in the Eighties and the Nineties. We used to all sit there and analyze and nitpick, and obviously things didn’t work that way. So we decided to let Joey just work with Jay [Ruston, producer] and do his thing.
When asked to elaborate, Ian admits he was a control freak:
No one else in the band has everybody hanging over his shoulder when he’s doing his thing, so why should we all hang over Joey’s? Obviously we had to become grownups to come to that decision [laughs]. So we sent template ideas of the songs to Joey – like, I’ve written lyrics that I shout down into my phone – but then we just leave it in Joey’s hands. He’s, like, the Superman of vocals. There’s nothing he can’t do, which I realized in the last five years. I certainly used to be a control freak and I’m not that person anymore in any shape or form, and Joey has certainly proved that he doesn’t need anybody looking over his shoulder.
Elsewhere in the interview, Ian talks a little more about the Phil Anselmo controversy and his reaction to it.
For All Kings will be released this Friday, 2/26 on Megaforce Records. It can be preordered here.