Things to do: Read the book Father, Brothers, and Sons by Frank Bellow of the Anthrax Society and Joel McIver

As an anthrax bassist for the vast majority of their careers, you’d expect Frank Bellew’s musical influences and likes to include the usual suspects like KISS, Iron Maiden and Motörhead.

But the man who holds the low end of one of the “Big Four” of Thrash Metal (along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer) readily admits that he’s also a huge fan of the late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, the rock heroes of the U2 stadium and even the artist he and his wife paid for. $700 for concert tickets to see them in 2000 at Madison Square Garden…Barbra Streisand!

It turns out that New York-born Bello is a guy with broader tastes and talents than you might think (he does yoga! He’s an actor!). He is determined to this day not to allow the bad parts of his past to shape his present or his future. He tells his story in his memoirs he wrote with Joel McIver, Fathers, brothers and sons: the rest on anxiety, abandonment and anthrax (208 pages, $28, Rare Bird).

The first part of the title relates to the horrific 1996 shooting of Belo’s brother Anthony – added to this the fact that the case against the killer collapsed and was dismissed. And the second from the time his father decided to get up and leave his wife and family when Bello was ten, leaving them with no financial support, parental guidance, or emotional connection.

As an author, Bellow is definitely a fickle guy, and brutally candid about how these two events led him to some dark times. But they also cemented the resolve to be the man he never had for his wife and son. His uncle was in the tight-knit Italian-American family who ran a delicious restaurant giving him business and direction, as did his mother and grandmother.

Music lovers, of course, will want to learn about anthrax. Bello tells story after story about the band’s choppy beginnings and tumultuous heyday in the ’80s with records such as Spread of disease among the living And euphoric state. Then the grunge and no metal era when the band lost popularity, only to come back as a kind of “older statesman” for Rush.

And although Bello was not an original member, he joined quickly (partly via drummer Charlie Benante, actually Bello’s uncle despite their close age), only leaving the band briefly after tensions prompted him to join Helmet.

Bellow’s commitment to music even as a young man was all-consuming. How else would he explain that he chose not to accompany a neighborhood group of Tony Maneros for a night of drinking, dancing and chasing the girl after he got paid Friday night. Reason? Rush . album Animation He was out the next morning, and wanted to be first in line at the record store.

Early on, Bellew wrote about how obsessed he was with KISS, so much so that he and his friends would practically chase the band (out of their brand makeup) to management offices and recording studios across New York. KISS bassist Gene Simmons (who also gives the book’s preface) took on a special luster for the ragtag group, spending time with them and even memorizing their names. It’s a fan service he’s never forgotten, and he’s trying to extend to today’s anthrax fans.
Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris did another sweet treat with fellow bassist who stuck to Blue (probably the most famous bass line being the premise for their unlikely cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got Time”). And he offers plenty of stories about hanging out or just notes on others in the club like Jedi Lee, Lemmy, Adam Clayton Jr., Geezer Butler, Paul McCartney, and Cliff Burton.

In fact, Anthrax was on tour in Sweden with Metallica when the band’s last bus crashed in 1986, killing Burton at age 24. Both groups crashed, and Bello wrote how he and Benanti walked the streets trying to console the unbearable James Hetfield Metallica singer/rhythmic guitarist.

There are other stories about tours with teams like Pantera (which should have had several AA advisors), but they tend to be brief. And then some additional insight into his relationship with Benante, surprisingly few thoughts have been given about Bello and his interactions with the rest of his Anthrax bandmates over the years. Or so much about the songwriting/recording process that fans would like to read more about.

In the end, Fathers, brothers and sons fast reading. But even in its short length, Bello tells a fascinating, open-ended story about his journey so far in music and life. And it might not be too late for him to get that one-off party with Streisand.


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