Frank Bello, bassist with the legendary New York thrash metal band Anthrax since 1984 – one of the “big four” of thrash metal – has sold over 10 million albums, travelled the globe more times than he cares to count and enthralled audiences from the world’s biggest stages. He and his bandmates have even been awarded keys to the Bronx in recognition of their status. His long-awaited memoir would be a gripping read even if its pages only contained stories about his life as a recording and touring musician. While those stories are indeed included—and will blow your mind—Bello also focuses on deeper subjects in Fathers, Brothers, and Sons. Once you’ve heard his life story, you’ll understand why.
Born into a family of five, Frank grew up in difficult circumstances. His father abandoned his wife and children, and Frank’s mother moved heaven and earth to keep them fed and educated. Left with no male role model, Frank found inspiration in heavy metal bass players, following their example and forging a career with Anthrax from his early teens—first as a roadie, and then as the group’s bass player. International stardom came Frank’s way by the mid-to-late 1980s, when he was still in his early twenties, but tragedy struck in 1996 when his brother Anthony was murdered in New York. Although the case went to trial, the suspected killer was released without charge after a witness, intimidated by violent elements, withdrew his testimony.
Two decades later, Frank is a father himself to a young son. Like many men who grew up without the guidance of a dad, he asks himself important questions about the meaning of fatherhood and how to do the job well. This is the wisdom which Fathers, Brothers, and Sons offers readers. Despite the emotive nature of these topics, Fathers, Brothers, and Sons is a funny, entertaining read. A man with a keen sense of humor and the perspective to know how surreal his story has been, Frank doesn’t preach or seek sympathy in his book. Instead, he simply passes on the wisdom gained from a lifetime of turbulence, paying tribute to his loved ones in a way that will resonate with us all.
Frank Bello is an American musician, most notable as bassist for the legendary thrash metal band Anthrax. On hiatus from Anthrax, he briefly performed with Helmet, but he has appeared on every Anthrax release since 1985. He lives in New York.
Joel McIver is the bestselling author of Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica, which has been translated into nine languages, and several other books. He has written for Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, and he is the occasional guest on BBC. Classic Rock magazine has called him “by some distance Britain’s most prolific hard rock/metal author.”
Fathers, Brothers, and Sons is scheduled for worldwide release in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook on November 2, 2021, will retail for US $28, and a percentage of sales will be donated to charities assisting abandoned families. (Adrenaline PR)
I had a chance to chat with Frank, about his amazing musical Journey, his book and life.
DD: Please let us know your musical journey starting with growing up in the Bronx, being a roadie and guitar tech all the way to current times being the bassist of Anthrax?
FB: I grew up in the Bronx, Ny, where I lived in my grandmother’s house with my uncle, Charlie Benante who is the drummer of Anthrax. I would learn to play guitar, then bass, and would jam with Charlie growing up. After Charlie got in the band Anthrax, I would hang out with the band and be a roadie/tech for the band until the band was auditioning bass players. I auditioned and got in the band, and the ride continues..
DD: I have read that Gene Simmons, Geezer Butler, are some of your influences. Who were some of your other musical influences?
FB: Steve Harris, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, there are a lot more..
DD: Who are some of the current bassists and bands you admire?
FB: Robert Trujillo is awesome, Robert DeLeo, Flea- there are a lot of great players out there.
DD: Aside from being the bassist for the legendary thrash metal band Anthrax, you’ve had, and have, a lot of other projects, and interests. Aside from the new book which we will talk about in a little while, can you tell us about some of the past projects, and ones you are working on currently?
FB: A few years ago I did a project with Dave Ellefson called “Altitudes & Attitude”, which I sang and wrote a lot of the songs on, which was a lot of fun. We went on tour with Slash in Europe which was a blast and did a small tour in the US also..A lot of people don’t know that I’ve studied acting/theater for the past 20 years and have done stage & film work..I am currently writing/recording solo songs that I plan on releasing in the future..
DD: How was it playing the role of Richard Hell in Greetings from Tim Buckley?
FB: It was a lot of fun and intimidating at the same time. I wanted to do it right so I put a lot of work into it- thankfully people were very kind and liked my take on him.. I was always a Jeff Buckley fan, but after I got cast as his father Tim, I became a fan after listening to his songs.. It was an amazing experience..
DD: Do you have any more plans with regards to acting?
FB: I’m always up for auditioning for anything that my agent thinks is right for me, so I look forward to doing more in the future..
DD: You just released a new book Fathers, Brothers, and Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, and Anthrax, Can you tell us more about the book, and what led you to write this memoir at this stage in your career?
FB: The book is a very raw, honest story of my life and the journey it’s been.. My co-writer Joel McGyver and I have been talking about doing a book for years, and when the covid lockdown happened- we knew we would be home and could really focus on the subjects and stories. I just felt like this was the right time for it. The people who have read advance copies of it are saying the book is very motivating, which is really what I wanted to accomplish with it and maybe show that no matter how many times you get knocked down in life- you can still pick yourself up, move on and live a good life..
DD: How can people get a copy?
FB: Anybody who wants a signed copy can go to www.rarebirdlit.com, and it’s also on Amazon, and wherever else you buy books (unsigned)
DD: Thinking back on your long career with Anthrax, you have toured with many different bands. What band that you toured with stands out as the most enjoyable and why?
FB: We have been very fortunate to have been able to tour with many great bands in our career, but my favorite is still Iron Maiden because we’ve toured with them so many numerous times around the world and have become close with them and their crew. It’s family.
DD: Which tour stands out as the most enjoyable that you remember and why?
FB: Iron Maiden/Anthrax South America tour because not only were we playing sold out stadiums every night, but we also got to fly with Iron Maiden in their own airplane “Ed-Force-One”. Definitely one of the biggest highlights of our career.. Another highlight for me was “The Big 4” tour- an incredible experience for all of us..
DD: The music industry has changed a lot from when Anthrax began. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians in today’s fast- paced and changing world?
FB: Yes, a lot has changed in the music world, but the only advice I would give is that you have to live it everyday and don’t be afraid to be yourself, because that’s what’s going to separate you from everybody else. Play what you feel in your gut- it will drive you.
DD: The world has changed a lot due to Covid and all the restrictions. What are some of your hobbies, and what have you been doing differently to pass the time?
FB: Writing songs, being with my family and trying to fix things around the house- which I am not very good at. Like everybody else- just waiting to be able to tour again..