Anthrax's Frank Bello Hails Slayer: Pranks, Partying and Brotherhood | Revolver

Anthrax's Frank Bello Hails Slayer: Pranks, Partying and Brotherhood

"Maybe one day there'll be another Big 4 show and we'll be able to pull them out of retirement"
anthraxlive_frankbello_courtesy_of_anthrax.jpg, Courtesy of Anthrax
photograph by Courtesy of Anthrax

After nearly four decades as revered pioneers of heavy metal and one of the best live acts on the planet, Slayer are nearing the end of their farewell world tour. What will they leave us beyond the fruits of their uncompromising vision: songs, videos, shirts, posters and other memorabilia? For one thing, stories. Lots of stories. So for Revolver's new issue, which features Slayer on one of its multiple collectible covers (you can purchase a copy via our store), we tracked down a few of their many famous friends and fans to compile some of the best.

Here, Anthrax bassist Frank Bello tells tales of the thrash OGs, involving lots of Jägermeister, one enormous fish and his quiet hope for another Big 4 show.

ANTHRAX WERE PART OF SLAYER'S FAREWELL TOUR. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
FRANK BELLO It's crazy because it's family. People say the Big 4 and the whole thing with competition. It's so not competition. Maybe that was in the Eighties and stuff like that, but we've toured so much together that I can't believe that I'm not going to be touring with Slayer anymore. It hit me after the touring, because we've done so much. Just recently on this farewell tour, it's kind of weird that I'll be seeing all my friends, but it'll be weird not being in that environment of a tour — hanging out every day and then going for drinks and dinner on the days off and stuff like that. We're not going into the dressing room of Slayer and getting hammered with Jägermeister. It's a strange thing that that's not going to exist anymore for me, for us, for all of us, really.

YOU MENTIONED JÄGERMEISTER — DO YOU HAVE A JÄGER-RELATED SLAYER MEMORY THAT COMES TO MIND?
Well, there's a lot of Jägermeister stories. If you're around Slayer, there's going to be Jägermeister in that dressing room. I remember, one time I got away from the dressing room. I mean, I escaped from the dressing room because Kerry [King] likes to throw them down my throat. I went to the bus, he goes, "Come on the bus." This was in Europe a few years back. And I couldn't believe they had a Jägermeister — fresh Jägermeister in a cold machine on the bus! I got hammered in the dressing room. I went out to the bus, got more hammered. I was stumbling into my bus that night ...

I remember not getting away. [Laughs] Like I said, "All right, I just did my piece. I did my part in the dressing room. I'll go chill out with them on the bus for a little while and be cool." Don't you know, they had a machine on the bus. And let me tell you something, that Jäger was delicious, but I paid dearly the next day. Dearly. I was hugging the bowl. I was hugging the toilet bowl of my bus. I think I slept in there for a while, hugging it because I was throwing up so much.

OH, AND ON A TOUR BUS, TOO, THAT'S NASTY.
Nasty. Imagine all the pee and me. I call it the "pee-and-me time." It was great. I smelled great the next day, too. It was a wonderful time.

SO, THE PARTYING IS A PART OF IT, BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR FANS TO KNOW WHO THE SLAYER GUYS ARE AS PEOPLE, OFFSTAGE. CAN YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT THEM?
I'll put it in a real way as it's coming straight from the depths of me — they're just good people. They're just really good people. They're buds you can hang with and have a beer and have a laugh. You know what the greatest thing about this? I'm talking individual guys. Each one of them are good people in their own right. I mean, God rest his soul, I miss Jeff [Hanneman]. Jeff was a good person, man. He was also a lot of fun. Jeff was ... I loved his laugh. It was an infectious laugh. Not only a great player, a great writer, everything, all of the above that everybody knows, but he was also a cool dude. His laugh, I can still hear it right now.

Going down the line, Dave Lombardo is a great dude — I'm talking about the past here now. Because I've grown up with these guys through the dude. He's still a good friend of mine. When I see him, we hang, we talk. Paul Bostaph, he's a great dude, great drummer. All sincere. And Gary, I mean, Gary Holt, you might as well say he's like my brother. I mean, we're very close. We've been through this thing, the whole from the Eighties. All of us have been through this thing since the Eighties. It's not a lot of businesses that you can come all this time, over 30 years, and still be really good friends and maybe acknowledge that you've been through this thing together. It's like maybe you went through high school and then you got a job together and you're still doing it — and in a great way, in a big way. I'm very thankful that I had the time with Slayer. I want people to know that they're good people.

WHAT'S THE MOST UNIQUE THING ABOUT SLAYER AS A BAND?
Their intensity. They're intense. It's embedded in their music. It's the people they are and you expect that. When I see a Slayer show, when I think of Slayer, I think of intensity and it gets me roused up and it gets me in that vibe — in that energy, almost chaotic kind of mode when I hear that music. I think their shows pay off with that. That's what I'm going to miss that pay off at a Slayer show. Not only because they're my friends. I'm going to miss hanging with them in a band environment.

WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU'VE SEEN AT A SLAYER SHOW?
I remember when we did Clash of the Titans  back in early Nineties, we were having a good time on that — there was a lot of booze, a lot of good times just hanging out at the hotels and all that fun stuff. [Laughs] I remember one time we set up Tom as Slayer was on, because those guys never used to smile onstage. We wanted to get Tom to smile. I remember where a bunch of us with the crew — big production — and we had this really enormous fish come down. It was on a wire, hidden in the lights. It was very well done by the crew. They lowered it down very slowly, had a spotlight on it. I'm pretty sure it was during "Raining Blood," and down came this humongous fish right in front of Tom. He didn't know it was coming and it had come right in at the beginning of the song when he was singing, and he just broke up. It was hilarious, man. We got him to smile. And now, when you see Tom, his smile is ... I mean, it's priceless. I'm always smiling with Tom Araya. He's the best.

HE IS, AND THAT IS HILARIOUS! IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A LOT OF FOND MEMORIES, AND THE IMPACT THEY HAD ON YOU IS DEEP.
The whole farewell tour, it's even hard to even think about that now. After November, if you think about this night now — and it's coming — November is coming fast. There's a date for the last show of Slayer, which is crazy.

I'm glad you're doing something like this because, you know what? I think they deserve it. I don't think they'll ever not be a Slayer. And I'm hoping one day — this is my quiet hope — that maybe one day there'll be another Big 4 show somewhere and hopefully we'll be able to pull them out of retirement for that. Maybe James [Hetfield] and the guys from Metallica will put a Big 4 show together and we could nudge Slayer guys to come out to have some fun with us again.