Frank Bello was born on July 9, 1965, in New York City, the nephew of Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. Bello started as a roadie and tech for the group. However, in 1984, he replaced Dan Lilker before the band’s first album, Fistful of metal, was released. Since then, he has been with the band, except briefly joining the group Helmet, a New York City metal band. After a year, he reunited with Anthrax. Some of his influences are Steve Harris, Gene Simmons, Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, and Chris Squire. In 2012, he played Richard Hell in a Tim, and Jeff Buckley production premiered at the Toronto Film festal. He’s also had minor roles in Joe’s Apartment and Law and Order. He even played himself in an episode of Married With Children. Despite his wide range of talents, his passion is music. Besides pursuing creative arts in many different ways, he also supports Little Kids Rock. This non-profit works to restore music education in public schools, even visiting classrooms to answer questions. These are 10 things you didn’t know about Frank Bello.
1. Plane ride to remember
In an interview with Bass Gear magazine, Bello talked about being on Iron Maiden’s plane, Ed Force One. He admitted he did a bit of fanboying throughout the flight. He tried not to keep thanking them, but he was overwhelmed being on the iconic plane. He elaborated by saying, “They couldn’t have treated us better; they are the best people-they still are the best people in the world.”
2. Outside Interests
Bello studied theatre in New York and has also done plays. Unlike his fame with Anthrax, none of his plays were famous. In fact, he still goes on auditions and still studies theatre arts because he is passionate about honing his craft. He has also done several movies. He feels that theater and music mirror each other since they are about getting on stage, knowing your lines or music, and performing.
3. Death in the family
According to Metal Head Zone, Bello decided to write a book during quarantine. In it, he details his tough childhood, including the death of his brother at age twenty-four. He described the process as organic; each memory kept bringing up another one, even though he’d forgotten many of the stories. In the end, he enjoyed reliving everything that happened. In his typical style, his stories end up being funny and witty, not morbid and tragic.
4. Family first
Although Bello feels grateful that Anthrax is still famous and is touring more than they did in the 80s, he feels the strain of balancing his family life. One of the things he enjoys is new technology like Facetime to keep in touch on the road. Even though he loves performing music, his family is always his top priority. Once he gets home, being around his wife and kids helps him unwind, and the rhythm of being around the family helps him ground and center.
In an interview with the young folks, he was asked which of Antharx’s lyrics he would choose if he got a tattoo. His candid response was none. He doesn’t like tattoos and wishes no one would choose to tattoo any of the group’s lyrics on their body. He suggests reading the lyrics and memorizing your favorite ones. His favorite is “live for today,” his mantra even though it’s not an Anthrax song.
6. Horror fan
He is a big fan of Stephen King. In fact, many of the group’s lyrics focus on his work. At one point, they contacted King and asked him to come to one of their shows. Although King couldn’t come, the experience was memorable.
7. Not a hero
Even though he crushes the base on stage, he can’t play Guitar Hero. Recently, the iconic game series added Caught in the Mosh to its lineup. He recalled being at Best Buy, embarrassed because he couldn’t figure out how to play the game. A tween came over, nailed the song, and then showed him how to play.
8. Music is important
One of the things Bello does is bass clinics. Although unlike other bass clinics that he feels are boring because they only teach the basics, he focuses more on engaging the people who attend. He thinks giving children early experience to instruments in life is one of the best things because it allows them to have an outlet for all the emotions they’re feeling. He is hoping his son will learn to play. Currently, he sings, which Bello feels is a start. However, he thinks that he will have a better creative outlet if he learns to play an instrument.
9. Reliving the early days
Even though it feels different being back on tour with Anthrax. He still feels the initial excitement from the band’s early days. Bello is astounded the group’s success has been multi-generational. During an interview with Knac, he recalled that in the early days, it started with Metallica. Even though the group was relatively unknown, the group took them on the road for the Big Four. They are still playing to packed houses with an energy that doesn’t quit.
10. Baseball fan
Bello is a huge New York Yankees fan. Recently, the group played a sold-out show at one of their stadiums. When asked about the experience in The Aquarian, Bello responded, “where do you go from here?” He thought playing Madison Square Garden would be the height of his career. Yet, sharing the same stadium as his favorite sports team was an experience second to none.
It’s hard to believe Anthrax has been a part of the music scene for 35 years. However, they are still releasing many new recordings and are still focused on their fanbase, which has grown. Even with all his success, Bello still remains humble. He has immense gratitude for the group that skyrocketed him to fame.