Veteran rock act Anthrax returns to Rocklahoma with new music

Veteran rock act Anthrax returns to Rocklahoma with new music
Photo Credit:
Clockwise from Left/front: Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Joey Belladonna, Jon Donias

Anthrax returns to Rocklahoma’s festival lineup this year, and guitarist, lyricist and vocalist Scott Ian promises that Saturday’s gig will be better than it was in 2009.

Not that the appearance was especially controversial, or bad, for that matter. This time around, though, longtime lead singer Joey Belladonna is back at the helm.

“This show will better in every way possible,” Ian said. “This is the real Anthrax.”

Indeed, it is. The band recently released a new single “Soror Irrumator,” featured on Catch the Throne: The Mixtape Vol. II, filled with songs inspired by hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

“We’re all really big fans of the show,” Ian said during a recent telephone interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “We got a call, and we said yes. Metal bands, we don’t often get those kinds of offers. So, yeah, we agreed to be involved in any way possible.”

It’s a song fans will hear live at Rocklahoma. Ian also promised fan favorites spanning the thrash and speed metal band’s decades-long history, including “I Am the Law,” “Anti-Social” and “Madhouse.” The rock ’n’ roll music and camping festival runs Friday-Sunday in Pryor.

The way the band got its return gig at this weekend’s festival quickly becomes a familiar refrain in almost every answer Ian gives.

“They asked us if we’d play, and I said yes,” Ian said and then laughed.

Ian founded the iconic speed and thrash metal act in 1981 in New York. Belladonna joined in 1984 (prior to Anthrax’s second studio album release, Spreading the Disease) and toured and recorded with Anthrax until 1992.

He rejoined briefly in 2005 and then returned full-time in 2010, giving weight and momentum to a Big Four reunion show with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth in Bulgaria. The one-off show was recorded, made into a live film and shown in more than 800 movie theaters across the globe in 2010 before its DVD release.

A new album, Worship Music, dropped in 2011, debuted at No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

Anthrax was back.

The punk and thrash ethos of “any time, anywhere, any place” helped launch the early careers of many bands of Ian’s era. Decades later, the thought of touring without new material is an anathema to musicians like Ian.

Anthrax, after all, is a working band, and creating and performing music is Ian’s career.

“I never really thought about the years ahead,” he said of his younger days with Anthrax, “and I still don’t. I look forward to a lot, but we live in the moment.”

But that statement comes with a qualifier: “I kind of know what I’ll be doing through 2016,” he said, referencing tour scheduling, recording, writing and album release dates.

In other words, he’ll be saying yes to many, many things.

The band also is working on a new album tentatively set for release in October.

“In a way, touring interrupts the recording process, definitely,” Ian said. “But we’ll get away for a full month and will probably finish the recording part in June.”



Catch the Fever Music Festival Grounds

1421 W. 450 Road, Pryor



Camping: Weekend camping passes are $75-$95, and campgrounds are open through noon Tuesday.

Note: This festival is all-ages.

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Print headline: Persistent poison, Veteran rock band Anthrax returns to Rocklahoma with new music to go with its enduring hits.


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