Frank Bello and Rob Caggiano are members of the legendary thrash band Anthrax. Frank, a member since the second album 1985, is the bassist and a nephew of drummer Charlie Benante (a member of the band since the very first album). Rob Caggiano is a guitarist who has been with the band since 2001. In 2011, Anthrax released its’ first album in eight years and when the members came together to record and tour, it certainly felt as if Frank and Rob been in the band forever.
“Worship Music” was produced by Caggiano (and credit to him and Anthrax) and features singer Joey Belladonna on his original first recording with the band since “Persistence of Time” in 1990. Along with Belladonna , Bello, Benante, Caggiano and founding member Scott Ian, the new Anthrax album was hailed by critics as a return to form and garnered accolades while racheting up stars and tipping the scales of rock critics around the world. The band has been on an ceaseless upswing ever since.
Anthrax has been touring ever since to promote the album, including playing several “Big Four” stadium shows with Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica. Recently the band wrapped a summer tour on The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, featuring Slayer, Motorhead and Slipknot. On August 17th, Anthrax was the first metal band to have its’ music played on Mars. “Got The Time,” a cover of the Joe Jackson song, from the band’s 1990 Gold-certified “Persistence of Time,” was one of several songs on NASA’s wake-up playlist for the Mars Rover, Curiosity, that touched down on the Red Planet August 5. “Got The Time” woke Curiosity up on Day Six. Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, Anthrax is gearing up to embark on a co-headlining tour with Testament, featuring Death Angel.
Rocksalt.mx chatted with Mssrs. Bello and Caggiano when the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival stopped in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
ROCKSALT.MX: Thank you for taking the time gentlemen, as it’s clear you’re quite busy. How’s the tour been going? It’s coming to an end soon isn’t it?
ROB CAGGIANO: Great!
FRANK BELLO: Great! (laughs) It’s been a great run and it’s almost done. We’re winding down now. You can almost see the end and there’s been a little wear and tear but we’re doing alright.
ROB CAGGIANO: It’s been a great run.
ROCKSALT.MX: Are you planning on going out on your again after this tour ends?
FRANK BELLO: Yeah, we’re going out in September with Testament and Death Angel.
ROB CAGGIANO: Middle of September.
FRANK BELLO: We start in the Northwest and then come back this way.
ROB CAGGIANO: Through Canada – we’re going to do Canada.
ROCKSALT.MX: When you come to New York, where will you be, do you know?
FRANK BELLO: I don’t know if we’re going to play New York, we’re coming to New Jersey I think.
ROB CAGGIANO: Yeah, we’re playing Atlantic City I think and maybe one other place; but we’re not coming into the city.
FRANK BELLO: Not this time around. We’ve hit it a couple times and eventually next year we’ll probably be coming back. A different tour.
ROCKSALT.MX: You’ve been working really hard touring this record.
FRANK BELLO: Nonstop.
ROB CAGGIANO: From 2011 to 2013 at least.
FRANK BELLO: We have to: it’s the only way to make a record sell now. That’s just the way you do it now. You tour and get new fans, that’s what we’re doing on this tour; and then go out and try to expand your fanbase again to make people see you. That’s the way we’ve always done it, but now you just have to.
ROCKSALT.MX: How does that influence your sets for the shows on different legs of your tour – how do you keep it fresh?
ROB CAGGIANO: With this tour we only have forty minutes, so we gotta squeeze a lot of stuff in there.
FRANK BELLO: We were given forty minutes… so, “Best of” and one new song and that’s it. Really, there’s not a lot of time in this set; we barely have time to have a drink. It’s crazy. It’s a punch in the face, really: give ‘em our all, make ‘em want more. Thank God that it happens every night.
ROB CAGGIANO: (laughs)
ROCKSALT.MX: How does this tour compare to “The Big Four” shows, especially the one at Yankee Stadium?
ROB CAGGIANO: That was just big! Big!
FRANK BELLO: Well, yeah, that show was everything you think it was. This (Mayhem) is summer-camp for us. This is great; but that thing was that and more in a bigger way. That’s just the stadium kind-of vibe: it’s a special, special thing. We want to do more and they know it. It’s up to Metallica. It goes over really well, though! And we’re all ready… and we’ve been out with Slayer… forever! We’ve toured with them forever! We’re used to it at this point.
ROB CAGGIANO: It’s been a great run, this tour. This is more about expanding the fan base, though, and getting new fans.
ROCKSALT.MX: Rob, you were talking about… it was on Blabbermouth recently…
ROB CAGGIANO: Uh-oh! (laughs)
ROCKSALT.MX: …about Randy Blythe and I wonder if you can share….
ROB CAGGIANO: Honestly, I just found out this morning (August 3rd, 2012) that they released him! I didn’t know, and Scott’s staff told me!
FRANK BELLO: Yeah! The press release is going out soon I think, but he’s actually in -or on his way to- New York then going on another flight to go home.
ROB CAGGIANO: So he’s doing Knotfest and then they’re going to tour – I think. But it’s all over and thank God for that, and now they can go out and tour! (laughs) And the lawyers take over as usual, so…
ROCKSALT.MX: Anthrax has been through a lot over the years, but the band started in New York. I understand Scott, who’s from Queens, is now based in L.A., but you’re still on the East Coast?
FRANK BELLO: We’re both in New York. I’m in Westchester and Rob’s…
ROB CAGGIANO: I’m in Manhattan.
ROCKSALT.MX: How does that work when you want to record or rehearse?
FRANK BELLO: Oh, yeah, well… now with recording you can do just anywhere, pretty much. And we never rehearse!
ROB CAGGIANO: (laughs) We don’t rehearse – ever!
FRANK BELLO: We know all the songs now. I think when the record first got done, we rehearsed a little bit. Before it came out, before the tour, we rehearsed the new songs, but… if we don’t know the old songs by now, then…
ROB CAGGIANO: Shoot us!
ROCKSALT.MX: Going back to touring, is this the longest you’ve worked a record by touring?
FRANK BELLO: Yeah. There were some issues there to begin with, we had some personnel changes, legal things and that stuff. But now that’s all passed us. It took a long time to get our shit together, and you know, that “Big Four” thing really kicked us in our ass to get it done.
ROB CAGGIANO: Right.
FRANK BELLO: So that was the catalyst to really get this done and move on this. And we released the record around the Yankee Stadium show and it’s all been great. We’ve been on tour together…. (turns to Rob) how long has it been?
ROB CAGGIANO: Three years, actually. Because, you know, we were touring even before the album came out. So yeah, we’ve been out here a long time.
ROCKSALT.MX: Now, Rob, you produce records and you did this one. Are you still able to produce or are you lining up things for when you get done touring?
ROB CAGGIANO: Yeah. There really hasn’t been any time off at all since the Anthrax roll-out. I’m still into producing and at some point I’ll get back into that, but for now, we tour.
ROCKSALT.MX: Are either of you thinking about writing songs at this point, considering how much attention you’re devoting to the album and tour?
FRANK BELLO: Eventually. That’ll come, but there’s so much more to do yet. We have all these songs on this record that we want to play, and the fans are asking us for them. So it’ll be fun to jam those again and just get on stage with those songs. But then eventually it’ll come out, organically. It’ll come out. Everyone’s got their lives to get together. So touring, then everyone getting their lives together… and then we’ll do it.
ROB CAGGIANO: Exactly.
ROCKSALT.MX: All right guys, I see your tour manager is heading over. Thanks so much for your time, and we’ll look for you on tour this fall!
ROB CAGGIANO: Thank you. And take care – maybe we’ll see you back in New York!
FRANK BELLO: Yeah, come down and say hi! Thanks to everyone and tell them we’ll see ‘em out there!
Upcoming Anthrax tour dates (with Testament and Death Angel):
14 Ace of Spades, Sacramento, CA
15 Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR
16 Toyota Arena, Kennewick, WA
17 Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
19 The Showbox @ The Market, Seattle, WA
20 Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC
21 MacEwan Hall Ballroom, Calgary, AL
22 Events Center, Edmonton, AL
24 The Odeon, Saskatoon, SK
25 Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, MB
27 Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL
28 Harpo’s Concert Theatre, Detroit, MI
29 Danforth Hall, Toronto, ON
30 Capitole du Quebec, Quebec City, QC
2 Metropolis, Montreal, QC
3 State Theatre, Portland, ME
4 Webster Theatre, Hartford, CT
5 Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ
6 House of Blues, Atlantic City, NJ