To celebrate ANTHRAX's 40th anniversary, the band's social media accounts recently offered a series of video testimonials sent in by former bandmembers, fellow musicians, colleagues, and industry veterans sharing behind-the-scenes stories of working with the band and what ANTHRAX's legacy has meant all these years on. These videos honored each album in chronological order beginning with the original release, "Fistful Of Metal". The 11-week series included video contributions from former ANTHRAX bandmembers Dan Lilker, Dan Spitz, John Bush, Neil Turbin and Rob Caggiano.
Turbin, who sang on "Fistful Of Metal", told the "That Metal Interview" podcast about his involvement in the ANTHRAX video series (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There were some interesting things said in that docuseries that was on YouTube by the members currently in ANTHRAX and also by people that are not any longer in ANTHRAX. I was actually kind of surprised that Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist] said what he said and also Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] said what he said. So I thought there were some positive things there. I was very surprised, actually, when ANTHRAX's management, when I was contacted to be included in anything that had to do with ANTHRAX officially, after not speaking with anyone officially since '84-'85 time frame. So it was kind of shocking, really, to me that I was even… I'm just trying wrap my head around why I'm even part of this conversation at that point. But honestly and earnestly speaking, I just went at it with a very good-faith attitude and just walked into it trying to tell stories. That was all that I was doing — just telling stories. 'Cause that's what I was asked to do — 'Tell some stories of your experience recording 'Fistful' and the first album and the first tour and anything you can think of that is a story that would be interesting or something worth knowng about.' So I have a lot of stories, and I didn't even tell a fraction of those stories. But I did tell quite a number of stories. We were on video for about two hours, at least — I mean, that's how many stories. And there was a lot of detail to those stories. Not 'cause I'm trying to overtalk or overspeak but just because there was some interesting stuff. And these stories included METALLICA members, it included MEGADETH members, it included people from other bands, like THE PLASMATICS. It talked about the Roseland show that we did, it talked about the tour that we did, the recording process originally when we went to a number of studios and how we came across working with [producer] Carl Canedy and how the process with [our record label] Megaforce was and also those experiences. So there's a lot of stories that I thought were certainly historical at the least in terms of that. And it wasn't included — it didn't end up in their docuseries — but I still know the stories. And what I found interesting is that they did use some of what I said in between, and even some of the things I said seemed to be clipped or edited out.
"I felt that it didn't represent me in my best interest or in the best light that it could have," Neil continued. "I think it did portray others and trying to make them look like a hero, so to speak. Some of the things that were said were inaccurate. I will point out that what was said by Dan Spitz [former ANTHRAX guitarist] when he said that I punched all my vocals in, that's just complete, utter nonsense — that's not truthful at all. He said that, and he tried to portray it that, or the editing portrayed it with what he said that… in other words that I couldn't sing a line or something, that I had to punch in every word or something, which is just absolutely just nonsense. And it just comes across to me like some toxic attack."
Turbin also discussed the personality clashes that took place during the songwriting process for "Fistful Of Metal" and how it eventually led to his departure from ANTHRAX.
"When I was writing those songs, there was a lot of pushback about, 'Oh, we wanna do hardcore punk' or 'We wanna do it this direction or that direction,'" Turbin recalled. "It's, like, well, 'Armed And Dangerous' is not hardcore punk — I'm sorry, but it's melodic. It's just, like, whenever I would have an idea, I would get… They just didn't want my ideas to be included. That's all. It was not a matter of whether it was a good idea or a bad idea or even a mediocre idea. It was, like, 'We have our own idea. We don't like that you have an idea.' It was more like a jealousy thing.
"When I was in the band, there was a tremendous amount of emotional abusiveness from certain people — very much so," Neil claimed. "When you're in a situation where you're being abused, it's a difficult workplace to be in. And when other people allow it and they accept that because they're okay with it… This was something that an accepted behavior in ANTHRAX towards me. So that was already something that I was trying to work around and deal with for the longest time. It just got worse. After Greg Walls left the band, it got a lot worse, because other people came into the band that also treated me in a way that was very abusive.
"I went into this interview for ANTHRAX in good faith, and I only told stories — I wasn't there to put anyone down or to throw them under the bus," Turbin added. "But I feel like to say that Dan Lilker [original ANTHRAX bassist] wrote 80 percent or 75 percent of the songs? I guess he must have written 'Metal Thrashing Mad' and came up with the idea and the lyrics and the title. But actually he didn't. That was what I came up with. He had some riffs. But, actually, Greg Walls was playing riffs with those guys before he left. So I'm just trying to understand how other people's names got on to songs when… Some people just put their name on a song that they didn't even write a riff on, but they gave themselves credit and they wanted to get the royalties and that sort of thing. I think there was a bunch of that kind of behavior going on."
Turbin performed and recorded with ANTHRAX on the original demo recordings and "Fistful Of Metal". He wrote the lyrics to all songs on that LP with exception of the cover of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen", and also has writing credits on five of the seven songs on the band's "Armed And Dangerous" EP, as well as two songs on "Spreading The Disease".
ANTHRAX has had a number of vocalists — including Turbin, Joey Belladonna, Dan Nelson and John Bush — over the last four decades, with Ian and Benante remaining the sole bandmembers who have appeared on every one of the group's studio albums.
Turbin sang on "Fistful Of Metal" before getting booted and being replaced by Belladonna. Belladonna performed on four ANTHRAX albums, including the fan favorite "Among The Living" (1987) before he himself was fired over creative and stylistic differences. Bush fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005 but was sidelined when the band reunited with Belladonna for a 20th-anniversary tour. When that collapsed, and relationships disintegrated with next frontman Nelson, Bush returned for a time before Belladonna took the job back in 2010.
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Jam Night