ANTHRAX - SOUND OF WHITE NOISE
Episode 122 of Mars Attacks Podcast brings you another entry in the Classic Albums series, the episode focuses on Anthrax’s Sound Of White Noise. Not only will you be able to hear several current and former members of the band discuss the album, but you’ll be able to read a Q&A interview with former Anthrax guitarist Paul Crook below.
During the podcast, you’ll hear current members of the band Charlie Benante and Frank Bello discuss the album. You’ll also hear former lead singer and vocalist on the album John Bush. You’ll hear his Armored Saint bandmate Joey Vera discuss the album, plus what it was like to be in the Saint when everything went down. For those that don’t know, Joey also filled in for Frank when he temporarily left the band. Joey is also a part of Scott Ian’s side project Motor Sister. Andreas Kisser is most known for his work in Sepultura, but Andreas filled in for Scott in Anthrax around the time his wife gave birth to their firstborn. Carl Canedy is best known for his work in The Rods, but he is also a producer and worked with the band on Fist Full Of Metal, Armed And Dangerous, and Spreading The Disease. Ross The Boss is best known for his work in Manowar and The Dictators, he actually produced the band’s first single and was the first person to work with Anthrax in the studio. The Shred Lord Joe Stump also has a connection to the band, as he worked with Joey Belladonna when he moved on from the band, he discusses working with Joey at length. Josh Christian and Bill Bodily of Toxik discuss being from the same area as Anthrax and how that affected their band. Others that discuss the album include Alan Tecchio former lead singer of Hades (whose guitarist Dan Lorenzo claims that Anthrax stole the idea of covering “Got The Time” from Hades), Gene Hoglan who previously filled in for Charlie (the interview was done before Gene did so), former Watchtower and Dangerous Toys lead singer Jason McMaster, Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer, journalists Mitch Lafon, Martin Popoff and Bob Nalbandian who has a long history with John Bush.
Here is the Q&A with Paul Crook
There is so much incorrect information on the internet. As a result, I wanted to ask how you first become acquainted and began working with Anthrax?
Rick Downey (tour manager) called me and asked if I’d be interested in working as a guitar tech for Dan Spitz. My first gig with them was in New Zealand (1989).
You had been Dan Spitz guitar tech for some years before the Sound Of White Noise writing process took place, at what point did you become privy to some of the material that would wind up on the album?
I wasn’t around ANTHRAX when WHITE NOISE was being put together. At that time, I was working on trying to get MY band recognized.
I do remember being on the ANTHRAX/ PUBLIC ENEMY tour a year prior. We were staying at an EMBASSY SUITES… Charlie Benante called my room and said “check out this riff” and starting playing his guitar over the phone. I got excited… I ran over to his room. He started playing it again… That riff later became the song “ONLY”.
What were your initial thoughts about the album’s material?
SOUND OF WHITE NOISE is an incredible album. Still enjoy listening to it.
Are there any tracks that stand out to you from the finished product?
ROOM FOR ONE MORE
HY PRO GLO
Wow… Thinking now… I like almost every song.
Once Dan left you became a fixture in the band for a few years. Did you make it known you wanted to take over Dan’s spot, or was this something that was presented to you?
It was the beginnings of STOMP 442 … The band was working out of their rehearsal studio.
I remember stopping by on my way home from New England. Charlie was there by himself.
He played a song for me (not sure what song)… From there, I think the conversation went something like this…
CB: “Wanna record a solo on this?”
ME: “What about Danny? He’s gonna get pissed.”
CB: “He hasn’t been here in weeks, I need to get this done.”
I then plugged in…
Months later I received a call from Charlie asking me to stop down to the STOMP 442 sessions in PA.
I ended up recording a few solos.
From there it turned into a tour, then another album: VOLUME 8, THE THREAT IS REAL, then another tour, etc…
What were some of your favorite tracks to play live off of Sound Of White Noise?
ROOM FOR ONE MORE
HY PRO GLO
Were there any tracks you wish you could have played off of the album that you didn’t?
1000 POINTS OF HATE
There is a stigma amongst some metal fans that the 90s were a dark period for the genre. Yet you played guitar, engineered, and helped co-produce two albums, Stomp 442 and Volume 8, that obviously prove the opposite. What do you usually tell people when they approach you and state “90s metal sucked”?
I honestly do not have a problem when I hear that rhetoric. My response is usually something like “I understand..’.
I think it was Nikki Sixx that said (right before Nirvana hit) “The music biz needs an enema”.
Yes, I do prefer 70’s – 80’s Metal but the 90’s produced some awesome music from bands like PANTERA – TOOL – SEPULTURA – KORN (just to name a few).
Yes, it was a tough time for METAL with regard to making a living. But we were fine on the creative end. It just went back underground.
You’ve been praised by some legendary guitar players over the years, two names that come to mind are Brian May and Dimebag Darrell. How do you react to having them discuss you in the press, or compliment you in person?
It is an incredible feeling when you read or hear people say nice things about you/ your art.
I received a flattering Facebook email this morning from a young kid (UK). It totally made me day.
The comments you are referencing from Brian May and Dimebag bring tears to my eyes, even now as I type this.
Dimebag… My heart explodes. Such an incredible talent. Such an awesome human being. He was a wonderful friend to me.
Brian May… I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this man. Just the thought of him taking time out of his insanely busy day to think about me for just a few seconds is mind-blowing.
How has your time in Anthrax helped make you a better musician?
Well, for starters, the guys gave me confidence. Well, except for Bello… HAHAH!!! Endless chop-busting… HAHAHAHAH!!!
I had no REAL/ BIG STAGE performance experience prior to them taking me under their wing. They believed in me… I still feel a strong connection with them even though I haven’t played a single note with any of them in over 15 yrs.
Landing a gig like that opens doors. People begin to pay a little more attention to what you are doing. This obviously brings about more work, which in-turn makes you better (hopefully).
Having said that… ANTHRAX is incredibly important to my entire professional career. This influence will remain in perpetuity.
Is there anything you’d like for us to plug?
Recording Front: I am currently in Nashville, TN, Producing the new MEAT LOAF album titled “Braver Than We Are”.
In case you didn’t know… Scott Ian is ML’s son-in-law.
Business Front: I am a founding member of DEVILSTAR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP.
HERE ARE COMMENTS SENT BY OTHERS ABOUT ANTHRAX AND SOUND OF WHITE NOISE
THE COMMENTS ARE DISPLAYED IN THE ORDER THEY WERE RECEIVED
Jon Leon – Would rather see Spreading the Disease or Among the Living here….Better records. That said, though I dig the earlier Anthrax much more…I do not consider any record of theirs top 25 all time. I prefer the SOD album to any Anthrax and an argument could be made for it that making the list. The most original thing Scott Ian ever did……classic record.
Ron Scalzo – Metallica were kings of the mountain when I had first truly embraced metal, and for me, Anthrax were high level royalty, just a cut below. I dug that they were from New York, hairy Italian dudes with names like Benante & Bello. They were my goombah idols. Sound Of White Noise was a huge turning point for Anthrax fans what with the exit of Joey Belladonna and then-Armored Saint frontman John Bush behind the mic. I, like most of those still wearing ‘Not! Man’ t-shirts, was skeptical. And not an Armored Saint fan. But I liked Sound Of White Noise, probably more than the previous two Anthrax albums with Belladonna. They changed up the production bigtime, it was bolder and brighter – and the vibe fit Bush’s voice well. “Room For One More” & “Only” were big hits for a band whose biggest hits to-date were a goof rap tune (“I’m The Man”) and the tune that was primarily responsible for all the terrible rap-rock that would follow (“Bring The Noize”). Unfortunately, I remember “SOWN” being the last truly solid album Anthrax would release.
Joel Gausten – This is by far my favorite Anthrax album. “Black Lodge” remains a true masterpiece, and the video is extraordinary. One of the few Thrash bands that “grew up” with grace. There isn’t a mediocre second on this thing.
Erik Kluiber – Only good album with John Bush
James J. LaRue – I’ve been into Public Enemy since I was 10. And I first heard Anthrax do a song with them, and I saw their cameo on Married with Children, even tho I wasn’t allowed to watch that show. I liked their image and later bought Attack of the Killer B’s or whatever it’s called, not realizing it was all obscure stuff more of a novelty for fans, and I don’t think it was the best introduction to the band. So I never listened much to them, but I did collect all their Rock Cards. Theirs were some of the best photos in the entire Rock Cards series.
JL – I really didn’t really get into the band until someone made me a mixed tape with songs by the band. Sure I had heard songs here and there, but I could never understand why people were so hung up on the band, till it clicked. Sadly it took me a long time to discover a true gem like “1000 Points Of Hate”.
Mikey Pannone – I remember every one of us waiting for this release after the vocalist change. And these guys came back as a beautifully remodeled, well-oiled machine that just destroys everything in its path. I played the HELL out of this cassette, had to buy another one, and then eventually bought the CD!
Sean Bryant – We used to live on 6th south and 6 east in the trolley square area of SLC. The first night we were there was gunshots across the street. I remember it being on the news and all of our parents calling the house and questioning whether or not we were in a good neighborhood, which, was clearly questionable. However, we decided that the best deterrent to unfavorable neighbors was to blast heavy music during the day, with all the windows and doors open. I don’t think there were any murders across the street. I cannot say it was because of blasting this album amongst the many others that came out that year. One could only hope.
Will Carroll – Not Anthrax’s best by any stretch of the imagination. When it came out I was a HUGE Anthrax fan and got swept up in the hype and thought it was great. Hearing it now it definitely sounds dated and not in a good way. I prefer John Bush in the Saint.
Steve Smyth – The first one with John Bush, and to be honest, I liked Stomp 442 better! There were some good songs on this one, “Room For One More”, “Only”, and “Burst” are favorites of mine from this album.”
Patrick Kennison – Even with their singer changes I always thought ‘Thrax stayed true to themselves even when they experimented with Public Enemy or when they messed around on “I’m The Man”. Very few bands can successfully do that without alienating fans.