Who Should Sing For Anthrax (No. 2): No Beating Bush
Yesterday, we kicked off this three-way debate (it’s like the General Election all over again!), with Malcolm Dome putting the case for Neil Turbin’s return. Today Xavier Russell gets on the soap box to promote John Bush…
Joey Belladonut is back in the ‘Thrax, and rightly so as some may say. But I still think Armored Saint’s formidable frontman John Bush holds all the aces.
He’s by far and away the most accomplished of the four singers that have emptied their lungs with the Anthrax virus over the years. Neil Turbin was a bit like a tin of Ronseal. He did what it says on the tin. In other words, he had a full throttle thrash voice that worked well in the early years. Then came Belladonna with his slightly more, how shall I put this, AOR style of screeching.
John Bush’s reign in the ‘Thrax ran from 1992 to 2004 and again in 2009-10. Then there was Dan Nelson who, like Turbin, favoured a more thrashy growl. But Bush was something else again; he can hit high and low notes with a minimum of fuss. I reckon he could even handle opera, and would have no trouble belting out Wagner’s complicated Ring Cycle, such is his vocal range.
Just listen to John’s powerhouse vocals on such ‘Thrax albums as The Sound of White Noise (1993), Stomp 442 (1995) and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (1998) -
he’s different class! Now that Belladonna is back, it’s interesting to note that once again the band will probably have to drop all of the material which isn’t from the albums on which he sung. Well that’s childish and stupid. Why will it happen? Because Joey can’t do those songs. He simply hasn’t got the vocal range and has been Caught In A Mosh!
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a put down. I still think Belladonna has a fine voice
and I still love the way he sings Indians or Efilnikufesin (NFL). I just think Bush
is better suited to the overall ‘Thrax style. Just listen to the way he bends his larynx round the likes of Drop The Ball, The Black Lodge (a nod to cult ’80s TV series Twin Peaks), Hog Tied and Alpha Male.
It’s not just in Anthrax where John Bush excels. He’s on the new Armored Saint album, the critically acclaimed La Raza, one of the best heavy metal albums of recent times. On it, you can hear the great man’s wide vocal range.
Sadly, Armored Saint have not had the success over the years they so richly deserved. It’s a well-known fact that Saint bassist Joey Vera (who did fill in on a couple of ‘Thrax shows) was always Metallica’s first choice bassist when Cliff Burton sadly got Trapped Under Ice (as it were – I knew Cliff well and he’d have laughed at such a reference), but he turned them down to keep the Saint cause alive. And I have a feeling with such a strong new album under their belt John Bush would probably not leave Saint right now. As Jimmy Greaves would say, ”It’s a funny ol’ game, this metal, Saint”
Mind you, if Armored Saint aren’t touring much and their new album stiffs, then there’s no reason why Bush could not get re-diseased in Anthrax! And that’s the latter’s best bet!