Five Questions with Anthrax’s Frank Bello (Web Exclusive)

Anthrax's Frank Bello sat down with Freddy Villano of Bass Player to answer five questions.
By Freddy Villano ,

Anthrax's Frank Bello sat down with Freddy Villano of Bass Player to answer five questions. Here are his responses...

On writing Anthrax’s melodies...

I’ve always loved a great melody. It’s just as important as a great riff—they go hand in hand. If you have a great riff, that’s great, but what’s going to make that into a great song? Anthrax’s writing is like baking a cake. Charlie, Scott and I put the music together, I put the melody on top and Scott puts lyrics on top of that. And then Joey Belladonna comes in and kills it on vocals. It’s a very tight knit vibe that really works.

The importance of a catchy tune…

Music is a way out. It’s my way out of daily life or just taking you away from a shitty day. Say you had a bad day, if you put on a great song it’ll take you away. It’s so important. I’ll listen to anything with a good melody.

On what he helps to impart at clinics…

I want to pass the torch. It’s mostly young kids that come to my clinics. I bring them up on stage with me. There’s nothing better than handing my bass, with my strap, to a 15-year-old kid and just watching his face. It means so much to me that this will be passed on to the next generation. Not that I’m the greatest teacher in the world. All I can do is show someone how I learned, what I learned from my heroes. That’s all I got. And if it can help you the way it helped me, then that’s what it’s all about.

How studying acting influenced his music…

Playing bass is like an improvisational monologue. It’s all you all the time. And acting is like writing a song. You’re putting pieces of a character together. You’re giving them the verse, the chorus—a character has all those little nuances. It’s the same thing with a song.

On the importance of touring…

We did well over 300 shows for Worship Music. We haven’t done that since the ‘80s. Every time we tried to get back into the studio someone offered us another tour. And so, it expanded our fan base. The great thing about the Anthrax fan base now is that it’s anywhere from 13-year-olds to 50-year-olds. And there’s nothing more rewarding than that. And that’s because we toured so much. We did every tour that we thought would expand our fan base.

Catch Bass Player's full feature on Frank Bello in the August 2016 issue that is on newsstands now!