So I have already covered this record in a previous series, and going back and reading it says pretty much everything I wanted to say, so once again I’m just going to reprint as is, and add a little more commentary afterward.
“Next up we have 1991’s ‘Attack of the Killer ‘B’s’. Though it was sold and marketed as an EP, it’s pretty much a full-length collection of B-sides, singles, covers, live takes and random unreleased stuff that supposedly was never intended for release. It’s somewhat of an oddball release by the band, and though one of my favorite records from them, it’s not really considered a classic release by most fans.
I seem to remember a lot of people dismissing this album because it was just another record of their “rap shit”. At least that is how almost everyone I knew at the time put it, and a lot of people since then have said the same thing to me. I suppose it’s somewhat understandable because the first and only single off it was their cover of Public Enemy’s ‘Bring the Noise’. But when you take a closer look at this EP you’ll see there are only two rap songs on it, ‘Bring the Noise’ and a redo of their own ‘I’m The Man’, and that’s it, aside from that it’s mostly bad ass covers of cool tunes, incredible live version of songs from ‘Persistence of Time’ and a goofy ballad. Truth be told most of the material on this record, is way heavier than some of their most recent records.
I must admit I sort of fell into that same camp for a while there. After falling in love with the band upon hearing ‘Among the Living’ I sort lost interest in the band after ‘State of Euphoria’ came out, and lost, even more, respect for them when ‘Persistence of Time came out. Both of those records I felt were weak and simply didn’t care for what they were doing anymore. I mean I still liked the old stuff, but sort of felt that they “jumped the shark” at this point. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t impressed with the Public Enemy cover (even though I never bothered to listen to it). But for whatever reason, I decided to pick this tape up and give it a chance. I think it was because the song ‘Starting Up a Pose’ was causing so much controversy and there were pressing where it was excluded, so when I saw it with that song, I picked it up, because I thought it was going to be a collector’s item someday.
I’m so glad I made that decision because it ended being my favorite Anthrax release for a long time. I was immediately won over with the opening track ‘Milk’, an S.O.D., cover that’s a thousand time heavier than anything they’d ever done before. After hearing ‘Bring the Noise’ I loved that too. In fact, I loved every song on this EP, every cover, every live original, the rap songs, and even the goofy ballad at the end, the whole tape was great beginning to end. For many years, it was my favorite album by them after ‘Among the Living’ and ‘Spreading the Disease’. Though I don’t hold it as quite high anymore, I still like it a lot more than ‘State of Euphoria’ and ‘Persistence of Time’.
Again picking highlights is difficult, but I’ll go with the above mentioned ‘Milk’, the live version of ‘Keep it In the Family’ and the Venture cover ‘Pipeline’. But to be honest the whole thing is great. The only song I say that doesn’t hold up for me anymore is the ‘I’m The Man’ remake, but I’ll say that song is worth a listen just for Charlie Benante’s drums. And since it happens to be playing at the moment, I have to throw ‘Starting Up a Pose’ in there, but I must warn you, if you’re easily offended, then you definitely need to hear it and get off your liberal PC high horse and learn to take a joke and pay attention to the message, because actually, that song does carry an important message, they just do it in a fairly offensive manner, which makes it awesome.”
So yeah, that’s ‘Attack of the Killer B’s’. As I stated before, I pretty much said everything I wanted to say about in the original post, but there were a couple of things I wanted to add. Mainly that this was the last new record I bought by Anthrax for nearly a decade or more. This release would be the final album to contain the classic line-up and sound. With the next record ‘The Sound of White Noise’ found the band completely reinventing their sound and switching vocalist. Even though in theory I should have embraced this new sound, saying it was a lot closer to the styles of music I was discovering and enjoying than their previous work. I just wasn’t interested in what they were doing, and wouldn’t be for another ten years when. It took working one of their shows in 2003 to rekindle my love of the band. The first CD I bought after that show was ‘Attack of The Killer B’s’. Within a few years, I would pretty much own almost everything the band ever put out, including live records and “best of” compilations. If I found it used and cheap, I bought it. Over the years, I would trim that back a bit, but not by much. As I stated in the ‘Fistful of Metal’ post I still own 17 CD’s and record by the band. So even though I forgot about this band for a decade, once I rediscovered them, they ended up very high in my all-time favorite bands list and will probably remain there for many years to come.
So, I have one last little anecdote to share before signing off. I couldn’t find a way to insert this in the rest of the post, so I threw it at the end. Anyway, though it would be months after its release before I heard this record, I first became aware of it being out when my friend Rick mentioned that it came out while we were heading to Darien Lake to the Clash of the Titans show. The legendary thrash tour of the early 90’s featuring Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer, with then completely unknown band Alice in Chains opening. It was that show that would redeem Anthrax in my mind as being a great live band. Though Slayer’s set was epic beyond description, Anthrax was by far the tightest band that night. I was completely blown away with how awesome they really were.
The story I want to tell happened during Anthrax’s set. For whatever reason, the venue was selling all beverages in large souvenir plastic cups with plastic caps and bendy straws. Though at a normal show that probably wouldn’t have been a concern. But for a crowd of thousands of metal heads with three of the heaviest bands in metal on stage, it might not have been the best decision. All throughout Anthrax’s set people were throwing those cups all over the place, and at one point Joey Belladonna asked the crowd to stop throwing them toward the stage because with the lights on their face they couldn’t see them coming. Two songs later, during the intro to ‘I am The Law’, I saw someone holding one of those cups by the straw and start swinging around. Next thing I know I see them let it fly right toward the stage. I watch as this cup flew across the stage, bounce off one of Charlie Benante’s cymbals and hit him in the head, just as the Joey belladonna was about to sing the first line. Benante immediately stopped playing and walked off the stage. With that, the whole band just stopped and Joey went off on the crowd for a few minutes motherfucking everyone. A minute later Charlie came back out, agreed to continue, Joey counted off and the band picked up on the exact note they stopped on. It was one of those funny, not funny moments.
Since then I have worked with the band a few times and have been tempted to ask Charlie whether he remembers that moment. But I usually chicken out; one because stage crew bothering band members is unprofessional and frowned upon, two being what would he say really? “Yeah that sucked, I was pissed”, it’s not much else to say beyond that.