Anthrax’s Frank Bello Thanked Metallica’s James Hetfield For Hosting ‘Big Four’ Shows: They ‘Didn’t Have To Do This’
ANTHRAX bass player Frank Bello returned to Rock City Music Company in Livonia, Michigan on November 20, 2021 for an intimate Q&A, acoustic performance, and book signing to celebrate his memoir, “Fathers, brothers and sons: surviving anguish, abandonment and anthrax”, which was released earlier that month. At the event, organized by Merger from Detroit radio station WRIF, Franc answered questions from the audience, shared stories about auditions for ANTHRAX, learn to play bass, go on tour with METALLIC, his last fiery memory METALLIC bass player Burton Cliff, and even participated in a rare acoustic performance of the ANTHRAX classic “Only”. Franc then took the time to sign copies of the book as well as other keepsakes for all the fans in attendance.
bello, whose book tells the story of his father’s abandonment of their family when he was 11 years old and the damage it caused to Franc emotionally, said he was partly inspired to write about the experience by METALLICit is James Hetfield, whose father left his family at the age of 13. Hetfield previously opened up about his family history in a 2011 documentary titled “Absent”, a film made by justin hunt, which examines the impact on society of growing up without a father.
“We were playing with METALLIC on Sunday [November 14, 2021 at the Welcome To Rockville festival at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida]”, Franc said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I bought the book for james. I wanted to hand it to him and say ‘thank you’. After the ANTHRAX together I was ready. I made a beeline for my friend james. And I said, ‘I want you to know that this book wouldn’t have been possible without getting the ‘go’ from you, without having this ‘okay, I can talk about abandoning my dad ‘by what words you said in ‘Absent’.'”
bello also talked about the so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal – METALLIC, MEGADETH, KILLER and ANTHRAX — who performed together for the first time in history on June 16, 2010 in front of 81,000 fans at Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland, and again split a bill for six more shows as part of the Sonisphere series that same year. They reunited again for several dates in 2011, including the final “Big Four” concert, which took place on September 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Since, METALLIC, KILLER and ANTHRAX had played a number of shows together, including the 2013 Sound wave party in Australia. They also played at the 2014 MTL heavy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
“METALLIC didn’t need to do the ‘Big Four,'” Franc noted. “They could sell these stadiums on their own. It’s arguably the biggest group in the world. [When I spoke to James at Welcome To Rockville], I said [him], ‘Look, if no one has told you already, and I don’t know if they have, thank you. Right away, thank you. Dude, thanks. You didn’t have to do this. And he says, “I get it, man.”
“james is one of those big, humble guys,” bello continued. “He knows what he’s got and he knows he’s the deal, but he’s humble enough to say, ‘I get it, man. It is a party. That the “Big Four” was a celebration of this upcoming thrash movement. That’s what it was for all of us; it was really – the bands and Fans. So, yeah, man. I said, ‘Thanks, man. You didn’t have to do this. I to know you didn’t have to do that. You did it to celebrate. Now I just wanna let you know, from Frank Bello talk to my friend james…'”
The traveling rock festival “Big Four” was immortalized on the “The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria” DVD, containing footage from June 22, 2010 Sonisphere cinecast of the trek stop in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Three years ago, bello said he believed KILLER would come out of retirement to play more “Big Four” gigs.
“I think if you call my friends in KILLER [and tell them], “We do the ‘Big Four,’ I think they would play gigs,” he said Graspop metal meeting. “I think they would be fine. I think [they would come out of retirement for it]. The ‘Big Four’ is special enough that we all live up to it. I hope they will. I mean, I would definitely try to convince them.”
METALLIC guitarist Kirk Hammett said in a 2017 interview that he thought the idea of the “Big Four” would be revisited again. He explained: “I see these shows as a kind of celebration – a real celebration of each other, and a real celebration of the music we all make, and a real celebration of the audience embracing [what] we have done. And why not have more?”
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