JOHN BUSH of ANTHRAX continued

"We're on a break right now. We just got an offer to do a big festival in the beginning of April in Spain. Sepultura's gonna be on it, too. Maybe southern Europe-a couple of shows it Italy, because we haven't really done that. We've only played Milan once during the last tour and I'd like to do more shows in Italy. Maybe even get to Greece, because Greece is metal-mania. My band members hate going to Europe. It's harder; the traveling accommodations are a lot worse. You know, you're not at home, not in your own country. The busses suck, although our last bus was killer. It's cold, it's rainy, especially this time of year. Man, you go up to f**king Finland in January-man, it's about the coldest place on the earth.

"But I like it. I don't want to go for [only] three shows, though. It ain't like going to San Diego-we're talking about f**king Spain.. Usually when you travel that distance, you want to have a few shows in there, you know? It ain't like you're going to Riverside or something. It's far. The audiences are incredible, very passionate. Any Latin audience is always gonna be good. They're just a little more passionate about everything."

The rock & roll lifestyle is not without its trials and tribulations, however. Problems with their old label, Elektra, forced Anthrax to join Ignition Records. "The first record I was on [Sound of White Noise] sold over a million records. Elektra didn't do anything for our follow-up [Stomp 442]. They didn't even get into our core audience, and that just f**ked us. Ignition is a small, independent label and they're really enthused.

"The problem is, they recently left their distribution company, which is Tommy Boy. So we're waiting for them to get this new distribution deal. In the meantime, we're with ADA, which is a small distribution company. We don't want to go out and tour and not have the proper support for the record, because it's pointless. We're trying to sell this record, that's the logic of it. You go sell the record, play the shows, kids go buy the record... It all goes hand in hand. You want all that shit to be together. Regardless, we're gonna do these shows, but you want all these pieces to fit perfectly, and that's true with any business. I'd rather have somebody say, 'Your record sucks,' than, 'I never even knew your record was out.' To me, that's unawareness, and that shouldn't happen with a hard rock fan. Everybody should know Anthrax has a new record. Whether they like it or they don't, it's up to them. Those are the kinds of things that frustrate me. That's the negative side about Anthrax.

Like all great, idiosyncratic CDs, Volume 8--The Threat is Real comes with its share of weird stories, told by Bush with the refreshing casualness of a kid in a garage band: "We were on a plane going from Ireland to Scotland. It was, like, nine in the morning and on the plane there was nothing but rugby fans because Scotland and Ireland had this huge match the night before and, thank God, Scotland won. And so they were shitfaced, man. It was, like, nine in the morning and they were hammered. It was literally us, the crew, and all Scottish rugby fans. And they broke out into this song, and Charlie taped it, so we put that in [the record]. "We wanted to make the album not just song, over song. We wanted to--not in a conceptual way, by any means--but we wanted to make the album interesting to listen to as a whole."

That it is. The shortest song on the CD is called "604".
Can't stop eating, she's so fat
604 Katrina

That's it. That's the song. Imagine those lyrics jammed above an angry speed guitar riff for 34 seconds. It must mean something but I forget to ask Bush about it, so we'll all have to wonder together.

"One thing that's cool about Anthrax is Anthrax has never been the conventional heavy metal band. Anthrax is known for the Public Enemy 'Bring the Noise' collaboration, doing stuff that was a little off-center from the average heavy-metal band. That's why, for me, when people say this CD is really different, when you think about it, people shouldn't really be that surprised. It's Anthrax."

Yes, it's Anthrax: Volume 8--The Threat is Real. F**king Anthrax, man. When we don't support those on the cutting edge, the cutting edge gets pretty goddamn dull. And considering what's out there, don't we deserve something a little off-center from the average heavy metal band? So let the lemmings listen to Rage Against the Machine droll on and on about how tough life is when you're born rich and go to Harvard. I'll listen to Anthrax and know I'm supporting what may be the last great heavy metal band--a beacon of originality, wit, and musicianship in the sea of platitudinous rock hybrids which seem to be the industry's flavor of the decade. While I knock these stupid mothers off the road.