#1044: What current Anthrax singer had a role in 1988’s ‘Pledge Night?’

Q #2,040: What current Anthrax singer has a role in 1988’s ‘Pledge Night?’

A.

Current, and formerly former, Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna makes his film debut in the 1990 indie horror release, ‘Pledge Night.’ Seen briefly in the trailer being submerged into a tub full of acid on a fraternity initiation prank gone awry, Joey’s character Sid is back for revenge in this campy endeavor.

‘Pledge Night’ was marketed as containing music by Anthrax, but it does not appear that any new music was created specifically for the movie. One can likely assume that there was some sort of deal made to package some Anthrax in alongside Belladonna’s agreement to appear. Despite his most excellent portrayal of “the hungry one” on Married With Children (Joey and the rest of the band would later make a television appearance on a 1992 episode of Married With Children entitled, ‘My Dinner With Anthrax’), Joey’s dismissal from the band in 1992 did not see him go onto Jon Bon Jovi levels of acting, as seen in ‘U-571.’

Every Anthrax album released with Joey Belladonna handling vocal duties has had a higher chart position than the previous, with this year’s ‘For All Kings’ reaching the #9 spot. By these projections, it may be a safe bet to put some money down now for an Anthrax #5 album on the next go around.

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#1036: This soundtrack goes with what horror movie?

Q #2,032: This soundtrack is from what 1998 horror movie?

A.

The soundtrack belongs to Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, from the 1998 film, ‘Strangeland.’

Written by Snider, the film’s main villain (Captain Howdy, portrayed by Snider) uses the Internet as a means to lure his victims to his home for a party. Once they show up Captain Howdy inflicts torture through body modifications, including – but not limited to – stitching a mouth shut. This particular image – spoiler alert – is the main cover art for the film. As more of a humorous twist, and I suppose to further separate himself from other films of similar interest, ‘A Nightmare on Elm St’s’ own Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, portrays an activist set out against Snider’s Howdy. The film grossed three quarters of its budget at the box office, and received almost entirely poor reviews.

Musically you get a veritable “Hall of Fame of MTV” in the late 1990s, with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Pantera supplying the old school, with a few unknown (at the time) up and comers like Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Marilyn Manson, and System Of A Down to help round things out. If anything, the film provides a soundtrack that is a greater time capsule to the era than perhaps the movie itself.

While the main character’s overall image and look (a tattooed, body-modded metalhead) might still provide some scares for small town folk across the country, the Internet isn’t as scary as it once was. Now, the real horror is small town folk gathering and gabbing on the Internet. Wow, we’ve come full circle!

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#957: Half of the “Big Four” have released albums with what German record label in recent years?

Q #1,954: Half of the “Big Four” have released albums with what German record label in recent years?

A.

Slayer’s ‘Repentless’ was released on September 11th, 2015 through Nuclear Blast Records. The band’s first album with their new label came six years after their previous effort, ‘World Painted Blood.’ Slayer had previously released every album from 1986 to 2009 on American Recordings. Perhaps a new label helps to drive new life into the band, as their first American Recordings release was the legendary ‘Reign in Blood,’ and their Nuclear Blast debut ‘Repentless’ made it all the way to #4 on the Billboard Charts, the band’s highest charting release to date.

Anthrax’s Nuclear Blast debut, ‘For All Kings’ is a partnered release with their original and long time label, Megaforce Records. Anthrax has been through a much more turbulent and inconsistent run with record labels as opposed to their Slayer counterparts, seeing Megaforce and Island Records release all of the Joey Belladonna era albums, 1985’s ‘Spreading the Disease’ through 1990’s ‘Persistence of Time.’ Elektra Records released the inaugural John Bush fronted album ‘Sound of White Noise’ in 1993, which remains the highest charting Anthrax record coming in at #7 on the Billboard charts in the US. Perhaps another instance of “new label heroics,” ‘For All Kings’ became the second highest charting Anthrax release, hitting #9 on the charts.

Nuclear Blast has been making a great amount of waves in the metal world, with many other legendary bands signing to the label in recent years. It was recently announced that Swedish prog metal giants Opeth were signing with Nuclear Blast, as well as Gotherburg legends In Flames. The newest Carcass album was their Nuclear debut with ‘Surgical Steel,’ another legendary act’s return to form. Fear Factory’s newest release, ‘Genexus,’ is another first on the label, and was helmed by renowned A&R legend, Monte Conner.

Conner was the Senior Vice President of A&R at Roadrunner Records, having started working at the label back in 1987. Overseeing some of metal’s most legendary artists via the label, Monte Conner was responsible for bringing many European bands over to the US as well. He left the label in August of 2012, and announced a partnership with Nuclear Blast in the same month. If you look closely you can see a great deal of Monte-era Roadrunner bands making their way over to Nuclear Blast.

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#914: Name the band and song from this 1987 video clip!

Q #1,910: Identify the band and song from this 1987 video clip below!

A.

‘Indians’ appears on the legendary Anthrax album, ‘Among the Living.’ Released in 1987, ‘Among’ is the third Anthrax full-length, and is considered by many fans and critics alike to be their best effort of their early catalog, if not to date. This album undeniably serves as the launching point for Anthrax’s popularity, as it is the first of four straight certified Gold releases for the band. Not too shabby for a band that could be described as the lesser and overlooked of the “Big Four.”

The second studio album to feature vocalist Joey Belladonna, ‘Among the Living’ capitalized on the band’s rising popularity, and brought in the talents of a producer by the name of Eddie Kramer. Kramer is a South African producer and engineer, who has been a part of collaborative efforts with artists including the Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. It’s no mistake that when you mix a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer with Anthrax, that you get some of their best and most accomplished work. Still, ‘Among the Living’ wouldn’t be certified Gold until 1990, three years after its release, and a year after their next album, ‘State of Euphoria.’

‘Among the Living’ features a number of lyrical pop culture references, and is accompanied by an album cover that some believe to be directly tied to the lyrical subject matter.

  • The album’s title track focuses on the Stephen King novel ‘The Stand,’ and many believe the character of Randall Flagg to be the character depicted on the album cover. The character also bears a resemblance to the character of Rev. Henry Kane from the film ‘Poltergeist II: The Other Side,’ but there are no known direct lyrical connections to the story in the lyrical content.
  • The track ‘A Skeleton in the Closet’ is also inspired by Stephen King, this time taking its cues from the novella ‘Apt Pupil.’
  • ‘I Am the Law’ is a tribute to the comic book character Judge Dredd, something that guitarist Scott Ian holds very near and dear to his heart. In his liner notes of the greatest hits release, ‘Return of the Killer B’s,’ Ian says, ‘Fuck that lame movie that was made (Judge Dredd). Go back and check out the early Dredd stories from ’86 & ’87 and you’ll feel the true essence of the character.’ If my math on this checks out, then Dredd in ’87 should be on par with Stephen King.

Anthrax dedicated this album to the late Cliff Burton, who was killed while they were on tour with Metallica. Scott Ian talks about that dark moment in metal history on Chris Jericho’s podcast:

“I remember getting off the bus and walking into the lobby and I saw our tour manager and he was talking to some guy … and he said, ‘This is so-and-so, the promoter of the show tonight’ and then he told me. He was like, ‘There was an accident last night. Metallica’s bus crashed and Cliff Burton was killed in the accident. Lars was hurt and everyone else is kind of on their way here now. But Cliff died.'”
Scott Ian, ‘Talk is Jericho’ Podcast Episode #13 (2014, via Loudwire)

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#885: Which of the “Big Four” bands has the fewest founding members on its roster today

Q #1,880: Which of the “Big Four” bands has the fewest founding members on its roster today?

A.

Out of seventeen active members in all four “Big Four” bands today, Scott Ian of Anthrax is the lone original member in his band Anthrax. The two Dave’s (Mustaine and Ellefson) are the two originals in Megadeth, metal’s dynamic duo of Hetfield and Ulrich are still providing “YEAHS,” and questionable snares in Metallica, and Slayer’s Tom Araya and Kerry King are still reigning.

It’s hard to argue this group of bands’ continual impact on the always present state of affairs in the metal world, as they continue to headline tours and festivals around the globe, while continuing to release new material that managing to sell enough to keep the metal train moving along.

Seventeen current members of the “Big Four,” and seven of them are original members. We are all more than well aware of Dave Mustaine being in Metallica prior to Kirk Hammett, and this sort of leads me to a point I’ve seen wildly disputed all over the bowels of the Internet.

What degree of participation does one need to be considered a founding member of a band? Mustaine received writing credits on the first two Metallica records so, yes, he was more a part of the band than not, despite not appearing on the band’s debut record. But if you’re merely a body in the room at the point of inception, no more than a William Murderface attempting to snag credit to material being created around you, what is your true degree of involvement?

Anthrax’s Scott Ian being the sole founding member of Anthrax initially confused me, and if you’ve read any of my emails before, my metal six-degrees-of-separation is usually pretty on point. So after discovering an entire page dedicated to Anthrax members, I was pretty shocked to see that there was such a list beyond the 48 (not really 48) members I could already readily name in Anthrax.

There were four lead vocalists in Anthrax before Neil Turbin showed up on ‘Fistful of Metal?’ Three in the same year? Did these guys really help found a band, or shape the sound of what they would release to the world? I’m not saying that musicians can’t help found a band and help shape its sound, only to depart before an official release. But for me, there has to be some sort of qualifier for people to be given a greater amount of credit than merely “was in three rehearsals, had a pulse, drank some beers.”

A band like Anthrax WASN’T Anthrax until certain members added the fuel to take it to new places. I’m going to go ahead and say that drummer Charlie Benante was integral to the formation of the sound of Anthrax. When they went into the studio to record the debut, the songs weren’t even said to have sounded the same way from the last rehearsal to the first roll of tape.

The band in the studio shaped the band that everyone has come to know, not the list of guys that happened to be there beforehand. Sure the band existed before ‘Fistful of Metal’ was recorded, but Dan Spitz’s lead guitars laid the foundation of the band that everyone knows.

If the list of members doesn’t change so heavily around 1983, maybe the word anthrax remains lowercased and only appears in scientific journals and terror-threat press releases. If Scott Ian and company had changed the name prior to the debut release, would that adjust the founding members even if the material was the same? Does it come down more to who wrote the songs and who played on the albums? If you didn’t write the songs, and didn’t play on the albums, are you more of a member or employee? Maybe employee would’ve been scoffed at in 1983, but it’s 2016 and it’s hard not to see these bands as anything but businesses.

I just saw a “press release” circulating about a former AC/DC singer that thinks his fans and fans of the band would like to see him return during vocalist Brian Johnson’s unfortunate hearing loss situation. My first reaction was, “satire site? Who is this? Am I having a stroke?”

Apparently this guy sang with AC/DC from 1973-1974, but he’s listed as only being a member next to Angus and Malcolm Young. Nobody else was even in the band. Is that even a band? No releases, and no complete lineup, but he gets to say he was in AC/DC? Is that mix sounding thin to anyone else?

What do you loyal Skulltoasters think? Who do you think of when you think of the founding fathers of the Big Four? Is it more about who was technically there first, or who is actually responsible for the first works that launched the band forward to success?

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