When he is not busy touring and recording with ANTHRAX, Joey Belladonna plays drums and sings for a classic-rock covers band called CHIEF BIG WAY. The upstate New York-based group, which also features Dave Mickelson on bass, Joe Precourt on guitar and John Goodwin on keyboards, plays versions of songs from JOURNEY, AC/DC, ZZ TOP, BOSTON, CHEAP TRICK, FOREIGNER, PINK FLOYD, VAN HALEN, COLLECTIVE SOUL, THE WHO, THE DOORS, SHINEDOWN and BON JOVI, among others.
CHIEF BIG WAY has scheduled the following tour dates over the coming months:
Jul. 07 - LakeHouse Pub - Skaneateles, NY
Jul. 10 - Township 5 - Camillus, NY
Jul. 12 - Rocky's Pub - Liverpool, NY
Jul. 13 - Davids Hideaway - Central Square, NY
Jul. 19 - Blue Spruce Lounge - Liverpool, NY
Jul. 20 - Finnegan's IRC - Scranton, PA
Jul. 24 - Bands at Barnard - Rochester, NY
Jul. 25 - Pasta's on the Green - Baldwinsville, NY
Jul. 26 - Kosta's Bar & Grill - Auburn, NY
Aug. 16 - Blue Spruce Lounge - Liverpool, NY
Aug. 17 - Lizards Tailgator Lounge - Waterloo, NY
Aug. 20 - Clam Man’s Party House - Seneca Falls, NY
Aug. 23 - Kosta's Bar & Grill - Auburn, NY
Aug. 25 - Blue Spruce Lounge - Liverpool, NY
Aug. 30 - Revolution Bar and Music Hall - Amityville, NY
Sep. 01 - Swiftys - Auburn, NY
Sep. 06 - UNC - Auburn, NY
Sep. 10 - The Nest Tavern - Apulia Station, NY
Sep. 28 - Octoberfest - Weedsport, NY
Nov. 01 - Sammy Malone's - Baldwinsville, NY
Dec. 20 - The Gig at Turning Stone - Verona, NY
Dec. 27 - The Wildcat - Camillus, NY
Dec. 28 - Sammy Malone's - Baldwinsville, NY
In a 2011 interview with Attention Deficit Delirium, Belladonna stated about CHIEF BIG WAY: "It's a three-piece, sometimes a four-piece with keyboards. We play TRIUMPH, DEEP PURPLE, RUSH, VAN HALEN, LED ZEPPELIN, THE WHO, PINK FLOYD, HENDRIX, CREAM, all classic stuff. We also do PRIEST, SABBATH and DIO. It's all older, straight-up-hits-type stuff. I'm on the drums with the [vocal] headset. There are no props and no gimmicks. I sing the whole night."
Asked if it's difficult to sing and play drums at the same time, Belladonna said: "It's not an easy thing. I never thought that I would sing and play 'Tom Sawyer' [RUSH] at the same time. Something that you think is easy to play is often not. 'Heartbreaker' by LED ZEPPELIN has so many different [drum] accents that have nothing to do with the song vocally. It's a good challenge."
Regarding whether singing different styles of music in his side projects is good for him, almost acting like "exercises" to keep his vocals in shape, Belladonna told Tricia Weight: "Yeah, it [is]. I mean, now I've got more projects than I've ever had. Even at home I sing to records, that's how I learned to do it anyhow, I used to pull out the coolest records and sing to 'em all day long, before I went out [on stage]. And I do it now, even [on the way] to the gig. If we've got an hour drive tonight — I'm rocking the stuff on the iPod all the way there!"
Back in 2005, Belladonna was asked about by MusicDish about the rumor that he came to the table with a JOURNEY tune during his 1985 audition for ANTHRAX. "Actually, what happened was I went into the room and they said, 'Just go on in,' and they hadn't heard me sing," he said. "They'd heard of me and they asked me to come in, but we were going in to start tracking and stuff, to get the mic set up and all that and they said, 'Let's get you in there and get you warmed up.' I hit the mic and belted out some JOURNEY… I think it was [the song] 'Lights'. I didn't know what the hell I was getting into in the first place. I just wanted to lay some vocals or something. Just to kinda give an idea and that's what happened. It wasn't really anything more than that. I just kinda belched it out. I think I did 'Oh Sherrie' [written by JOURNEY singer Steve Perry], too, or something. I dunno why, but I just did. It was something off the top of my head I could do a cappella and it was kinda challenging. I thought maybe in range or something that would be kind of intriguing. It was definitely one they weren't expecting."
ANTHRAX's 2013 EP "Anthems" EP included the band's cover version of JOURNEY's "Keep On Runnin'" alongside classics by RUSH, THIN LIZZY, AC/DC, CHEAP TRICK and BOSTON.