Who Should Sing For Anthrax (No.1): The Case For Neil Turbin
Although Joey Belladonna is back as the vocalist with Anthrax, the debate is raging as to whether the band have made the right choice. So, we thought it’s only fair we should have our say. Over the next three days, we’ll be putting the case for the three men most associated with the ‘Thrax, and why each would be a good choice…
Of course, we’ve left out Dan Nelson – it seems the current bitterness between him and the band completely rules out his chances – but Dave Ling will be defending the return of Belladonna, while Xavier Russell makes the case for John Bush.
Right now, Malcolm Dome kicks things off with some rhetoric on behalf of the original metal thrashing madman, Neil Turbin. Get moshing, Malc…
So, now we know. Joey Belladonna’s back fronting Anthrax. But is that such a good idea? Not that I’m dismissing his crucial contribution to the ‘Thrax in the 1980s. However, it does seem to be a Bill & Ben syndrome with both he and John Bush. Those of you old enough to recall this BBC flowerpot kiddie classic will definitely remember the famous Was It Bill Or Was It Ben? song. It happened towards the climax of every episode, as us children (I wasn’t always 859) were asked to guess which one of them had been responsible for a particular piece of nefarious activity. In the case of Anthrax it’s more like, Is It Joey Or Is It John? Just whose turn is it now to be the band’s singer?
Quite honestly, this has become predictable and boring. Both are fine talents – no question about that – however isn’t it time for the New Yorkers to be bold, bright and inventive? Time for the return of Neil Turbin? To my way of thinking, the arguments for this are indisputable. For one thing, he’s neither Belladonna nor Bush.
Nobody can knock what these two have given Anthrax. However, don’t you just know the set list you’ll get with either? Belladonna’s back now, so all you’ll hear are songs from his first go around with the band. Great! Just what we (and they) need – another wallow in nostalgia. Is this what being part of The Big Four is all about? I think not. Turbin would offer something totally different. Wouldn’t we all love to mosh to some stuff from that often overlooked debut album, Fistful Of Metal? He could also bring a fresh slant to both the Belladonna and Bush eras, thereby giving these tracks a major boost. Hearing him blazing through Indians or The Black Lodge would be fascinating.
Now, there will be some who’ll mention Paul Dianno, and how his return to Maiden (were that ever to happen) would probably be embarrassing. And going for the original isn’t always clever. But, unlike Dianno, Turbin can still deliver, as he’s shown with current band Deathriders. He still has that rampant, hollering thrash voice – oh, and that’s another thing. Anthrax are part of the Big Four. They make a huge deal themselves about it. But this is the Big Four…of thrash. And, when it’s all said and done, the most thrash-style album they ever did was with Turbin, right? Belladonna gave them an almost AOR approach vocally, while Bush has never been about this genre.
Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer (the other members of The Big Four) still have their original vocalists, so why shouldn’t Anthrax follow suit? They never played in the UK or Europe with Turbin, so that would also provide another interesting twist. And there’s one final, compelling reason for his return.
If you saw the band live with Dan Nelson last year, then you’ll know they were really getting back to the Fistful Of Metal approach. High energy, harsh speed with a brutal clout. This gave Anthrax a really contemporary slant, and everyone was excited to hear the album they’d done with Nelson. Well, he’s gone, but is that any reason for the band to abandon this route, one which invigorated them as much as any fan? It’s actually the Turbin style, so isn’t it logical to bring back the man himself? No need to try another unknown, just go direct to the source and carry on where Nelson left off.
So, let’s kick all this nostalgia nonsense into an incinerator. Now Anthrax must break the Belladonna/Bush cycle, and move on, with the man they had when they were a startling young beast, out to snap off your toes. It’s metal thrashing Turbin time!
Just to show you what he’s capable of…