Anthrax – Music of Mass Destruction
So, it’s been a few days, but we’re picking up where we left off with Anthrax’s 2nd live record, ‘Music of Mass Destruction’, recorded during the 2003 ‘We’ve Come for You All’ tour. This would is the one and only live record to feature Jon Bush on vocals and his second to the last release to be featured on with the band. In many ways, it’s is my favorite album from his time with Anthrax, particularly the DVD release. It was the songs featured on this release that got me interested in exploring the Jon Bush records. In fact, it was seeing the band live during this tour which sparked my interest in revisiting this band in the first place.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times in this series I worked with Anthrax for their show at Metropol in the summer of 2003. Though I still technically liked the band, I hadn’t bothered to check any of their records in nearly 10 years at that point. And though I may have played my cassette copies of ‘Spreading the Disease’ or ‘Among the Living’ once or twice through the late 90’s, I never gave the band much thought. They were simply just a band from middle and high school years that I didn’t think about anymore. So I can’t say I was particularly excited that I was going to be working one of their shows. I seem to remember being skeptical about whether Jon Bush could sing Joey Belladonna’s songs. Their voices were so different I just couldn’t picture Bush doing to those songs justice.
So anyway, the day of the show finally arrives and for the most part, it’s a typical day at work for me. We load sound in first, then Anthrax’s crew shows up and we load them in. I don’t remember there being anything special about the load in. I seem to remember the crew being cool and easy to work with, and them not having too much stuff. In this business, if you can’t remember anything about loading in a band or dealing with their crew, chances are it went smoothly and was an easy enough day.
The only thing that sort of stood out during load in was briefly meeting Scott Ian. It wasn’t like we had much of an exchange, he just got off the bus and came into the venue and said hi to all of us stage hands and thanked us for helping as he walked by. But what stood out for me was how short he was. He’s shorter than me, in fact, almost the whole band was. That may sound weird, but it was one of the first times I met a band I grew up with, and I guess I always pictured them as being taller. Aside from that, there isn’t too much to talk about with the load in.
Opening the show was Lacuna Coil, a band that I was somewhat into at the time and I was more interested in seeing them than I was Anthrax. Again, I don’t really remember there being much of an issue with getting them in and on stage.
Eventually, the show started, Lacuna Coil played their set, which was good, and we started to load them out. Due to limitations of space, we pretty much loaded all their gear out into the street and broke everything down out there. That was pretty much the case for most opening bands at this venue. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it was ok. Anyway, while we were finishing up with Lacuna Coil’s trailer I could hear Anthrax start their set. The opened with a tune I didn’t know, (What Doesn’t Die), but they sounded good. The second song, ‘Got the Time’, I did know, but couldn’t really judge because I was busy packing a trailer. By the time were done we could go back inside and watch Anthrax’s set, they were on to their 3rd song, ‘Caught in a Mosh’, one of my favorite by them. I remember walking in just as they were going into the first chorus and being blown away with how awesome it sounded. My worries about Jon Bush being able to sing Joey Belladonna’s songs evaporated. Not only was he nailing it, he was doing a better job. In that moment, I was sold on Jon Bush and became a fan.
Amway the rest of the set was pretty much of mixture of songs from the band’s entire catalog. They played at least a song or two off every record except for ‘Spreading the Disease’. Overall, they did favor the Jon Bush era, and the new record, but at the same time they pulled out a song from ‘Fistful of Metal’ and their cover of ‘Bring the Noise’. They really did their best to play a little bit of something for everyone, no matter what era or singer you preferred, you got at least one song for you. As to be expected, they performed everything to near perfection. They were tight as hell, full of energy, and engaged the crowd between every song. Even one of the door guys working the show, who was not a metal head at all admitted to me they were great and highly entertaining.
Unfortunately, the load did not go as uneventful as the load in. Thanks to one of my useless co-workers, we nearly dropped Frank Bello’s rack’s, worth tens of thousands of dollars, off the ramp. It was saved only by me and another stage hands effort to stop it from falling. Plus, the runner for the show decided to get all fucked up during the show and got into an argument with some of Anthrax’s guys and broke a beer bottle on the stage. Needless to say, it was a bad vibe during load out. Which is a shame because it didn’t need to be that way. Anthrax’s guys were cool and didn’t deserve to have their equipment destroyed, or their bus driver killed because the runner was all fucked up. Thankfully none of the happened, but the potential was there. Ultimately, I walked away from that gig embarrassed by the actions of a some of my co-workers.
Remember in one of my earlier posts when I said I wanted to ask Charlie Benante about getting hit in the head with a cup at the Clash of the Titan show? Well, the best chance I had for that happened that night. I found myself walking with Charlie out of the venue and down the street for a few minutes. He was walking toward his bus, and I don’t remember where I was going. Anyway, we were walking next to each, not saying anything, and I was so tempted to ask him about that show. But I chickened out. Oh well.
So anyway, ‘Music of Mass Destruction’ was a CD/DVD release for that tour I worked, and it pretty much the exact same set they played that night. Which is why I can remember it so well. Essentially, it’s a greatest hits record covering their entire career at that point. If I were to recommend someone just one record from the Jon Bush years it would be this album. You get the best songs from his time with the band, plus killer versions of the classic songs. Though the CD is great, I prefer the DVD because there is at least a half hour or more music on it. Most of the extra songs cover the classic tunes, including a killer version of ‘Bring the Noise’. Unfortunately, this record came out on Sanctuary records and isn’t available on Spotify and is somewhat hard to find. But the DVD is available in full on YouTube. So, if you’re interested you can check it out there.