JOHN BUSH LEFT ANTHRAX FOR EXACTLY THE REASONS WE ALL THOUGHT HE DID
Since Anthrax announced last week that they’re bringing Joey Belladonna into the fold, we’ve had one burning question at the forefront of our minds: What the fuck went wrong with John Bush? Scott Ian said “we needed a total commitment to Anthrax, and [Bush] knew that wasn’t what he wanted,” but that’s fairly vague. The rumor was that he didn’t want to tour anymore, but we also recklessly speculated that he didn’t wanna be just a session musician and re-recorded Dan Nelson’s parts for Worship Music – which is perfectly understandable.
Now Blabbermouth’s Ryan Ogle has scored the interview of the week by hunting down Bush and getting his perspective on things. And as it turns out, the rumors and reckless speculation were both kinda true.
Bush tells Ogle that “I never really envisioned myself coming back to the band permanently,” explaining that in the years since he initially parted ways with Anthrax, he’s become quite comfortable not being a working musician:
“When I left Anthrax in 2005, I didn’t want to go on the road anymore. My daughter was just about twelve months old at the time and I started for my wife and her business doing voice-overs, which has been really taking off over the last three and a half years. I’ve been very fortunate in that respect. During that time, I had become used to the idea of not doing music anymore; at least not for awhile. I really didn’t know if I was done with music. All I really knew is that I wasn’t in a band. I think it was a good time for me to figure some stuff out. I never really thought that I had to put something out because people expect it or if I don’t I’ll feel insecure about it. I never really felt that way. I just felt it was a good time to take a break. I was sure that I would find my way back one day.”
And he did find his way back – when he his old buddy Joey Vera called him up, and they started working on new material for what would become Armored Saint’s recent release, La Raza. Then Anthrax split with Dan Nelson and (for the second time) asked Bush to come back to the band – only it sounds like they were dead set on re-recording Worship Music:
“For me, the idea of just re-singing this record just wasn’t something that appealed to me. I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I just felt like it wasn’t my record to make… I just felt like since I wasn’t involved in the writing process, which I have been on every previous record [I did with Anthrax], I was completely detached. It felt like to come in and redo things or to write or rewrite stuff, even those guys gave me the green light to be creative, it wasn’t something I felt like I had in my soul. I entertained it at one point. I thought maybe there was some money to be made there, but those are the wrong reasons. It wouldn’t have felt right to do it because of that.”
Holy shit do I love John Bush even more because of this quote. Can you imagine how much awesomer metal would be if more people turned down the opportunity to make money in favor of doing something creatively stimulating? He even says that “it makes sense” for Belladonna to return to the fold and admits that “a lot of people are interested in hearing what [a new Belladonna record] sounds like,” and doesn’t rule out the possibility of a re-reunion with the band some day (“I’m the type of person that never says never.”). What a classy dude.
But here’s the most fun part of the whole thing – Bush commenting on the divide amongst some Anthrax fans between his devotees and Belladonna’s devotees:
“I’m flattered and I’m grateful and appreciate anyone who enjoys anything I’ve ever done. I’m honored, quite frankly. I think that people who just like Anthrax songs in general, whether I’m singing them or Joey is, are beneficial to the band as a whole. Hopefully they’ll start playing some of the songs I sang on. I think it’s time for Joey to step up and play some songs from my era. I played songs from the whole catalog, including Neil Turbin’s stuff. I think fans should still get to hear songs like “Inside Out”, “Room For One More” or “Only”. There are lots of amazing songs and they should play them. It would be weird if they didn’t, quite frankly. Like I said, I’m grateful for the people who support me, but it’s all about the timing. The timing is right for him now. Joey has been nothing but nice to me the times that I’ve met him. He’s a sweet guy. I think all he really wants to do is be in Anthrax and it’s a good time for him to reassume the position. I wish him luck.”
It’s hard for me to imagine Belladonna singing “Only,” but, uh, I guess I’d be willing to give it a shot? I dunno. That’s probably another thought for another blog.
ANYWAY, in conclusion, it sounds to me like Bush really didn’t need the stress of being back in a band, didn’t need the money, and didn’t wanna re-record Worship Music – but if the band had offered to write a whole new album with him, he might have stayed. (Again, that’s reckless speculation.) Which is a bummer – in the time it’s gonna take them to get a Belladonna’d Worship Music out, they probably could have just written a whole new Bushtrax release. Oh well.
I’ve been re-visiting Anthrax’s entire discography these past few days. It’s been interesting. I really feel like Belladonna was the worst thing about those old albums, but at the same time, I really do love a lot of those records nonetheless, if that makes sense. I’m trying to look for a silver lining in all of this. The best one I can come up with is this bootleg of the Worship Music track “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t.” It sounds pretty rockin’, and while I can easily hear Bush singing over it and killing it, I can imagine Belladonna singing it, too: