Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian released the following update earlier this week on his opinion of the best song on their new record: “‘In The End’ Is a song on our record. I think it’s the best song on the record. I think it’s the most important song on the record and it’s the centerpiece of Worship Music.
This song started out as something completely different back in 2007 and over the last four years it went through revision after revision. We were never satisfied with it, always just missing the mark. Even the ‘finished’ version (it had a different title at the time) in 2009 was not as good as it could’ve been and actually may not have even made the record.
It was this song that we wanted to write as a tribute to (Dimebag) Darrell and Ronnie (James Dio). This being our first chance to say how we felt about these guys in the context of what we do and what they influenced. Musically this was the one, epic in scope, the right balance of melancholy and aggression, a proper tribute to two guys that meant so much to us except, it wasn’t perfect. And it had to be. It had to be perfect to honor them.
Darrell was our friend first and foremost. We’d been on this crazy path together since we met in 1986. His impact on our lives will never be forgotten and will always be missed. He played on three Anthrax records. He was truly the sixth member of the band. Getcha’ pull! Ronnie, what can I say? I started out as a fan from Rainbow and then of course followed him to Sabbath. I saw Ronnie for the first time on the Heaven & Hell tour in 1980. He was incredible. On the Mob Rules tour my friend Jimmy (who knew Ronnie) was able to score us some passes and we literally got them from under Ronnie’s hotel room door! We met him after the show, I had a brief chance to stammer a hello, or at least tried to as I was so sweaty and nervous. Cut to years later and I’m meeting Ronnie again and he remembered me from that short meeting years before. That’s who he was. He always put you at ease. He always had a kind word and a smile. He was a mentor to us in so many ways, mainly how to be so fucking cool. On tour in 2004 I remember standing on the side of the stage night after night blown away by the power he possessed and also giving him Yankee’s scores between songs! Yes, Ronnie was as fanatical about the Yankees as I am. To have had the privilege to become friends with one of my hero’s was an incredible experience and I will never forget my moments with either of them.
We were still fighting with this song, the arrangement just not right and then Charlie found the bells. He sent this melody idea to Rob and I with a new arrangement that had these bells playing this really dark melody and it was soooo close. Rob suggested Charlie tweak the chorus combining his new idea with some of the previous idea and that was it. It was one of those moments of clarity when you just know something is right. The song was finally the song it was supposed to be. So now, words to match the power of the music.
I wasn’t sure how to even try and express what I felt. Everything I came up with lyrically just sounded cheesy to me. I finally had the music that lived up to the task of honoring our friends, now I needed the words to convey the emotions. I kept hitting a wall and then Charlie sent me a line… “Lone star was dark tonight.” That line opened the door for me and the words came naturally. The feelings translating into lyrics that I felt did Darrell and Ronnie justice.
I’ll leave the rest to you my friends, you’ll be able to hear it in 11 days. Enjoy it and I hope it fucks your world the same way Darrell and Ronnie fucked mine!”
Worship Music is released on September 13th on Megaforce Records.
Check out this footage of Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna singing Foreigners “Double Vision” and Journey’s “Separate Ways” with the backline crew during soundcheck at Foreigner and Journey’s concert on August 30 at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York.
Belladonna regularly performs Journey and Foreigner classics with his Syracuse, New York-based power trio Chief Big Way in which he plays drums and sings.