‘They Hired a Puppet’: Anthrax’s First Vocalist Was Not a Joey Belladonna Fan

Joey Belladonna WikiMedia Commons
Published on:

It’s never easy to fire someone from a band.

Even though musicians might have a 3 Musketeers mentality, not everyone’s going to make the cut for the classic lineup.

When Neil Turbin was let go from Anthrax, he didn’t go quietly. 

While Turbin worked well on Fistful of Metal, Scott Ian mentioned Turbin being too cocky saying,

As soon as we started touring to support Fistful Of Metal, Neil got ultra-cocky. He felt like he was the boss man and he became inflexible. Whenever we opposed any of his ideas, he threatened to quit. We hated his guts, but we were powerless to do anything about it.”

Turbin had also initiated the firing of original bassist Danny Lilker, with Ian saying,

“The biggest dick move Neil ever pulled was when he fired Danny Lilker behind our backs after Fistful came out in January 1984. The main reason he did it, in my opinion, was because Danny is taller than him.”

Despite Ian’s recollection, Turbin had a bit of a different story saying,

“I was into metal… focused on music while Scott Ian and Charlie Benante formed an alliance and Dan Spitz just followed. In a matter of months, it was simply a case of them versus me. It was obvious that we wouldn’t get along and they were also more interested in other things than music… at least back then.”

Although Anthrax soldiered on with Joey Belladonna, Turbin said he wasn’t impressed with his replacement’s chops saying,

“I didn’t think they put in someone who could sing with more passion than me, or who had the range that I had. They didn’t put in someone who had a connection with the fans or audience. Basically, they hired a puppet.”

Regardless of his thoughts on Belladonna, his voice is the driving force behind Anthrax’s glory years. 

Why Some People Thought Joey Belladonna Was 'Nuts' For Rejoining Anthrax

Scott Ian Says Big Four Shows Aren't Happening Anytime Soon

The One Anthrax Song Scott Ian Refused to Play On