He left in 1992 and was replaced by John Bush, who led the band through what many fans feel was a same-but-different era.
But in the last six years the thrash outfit faced difficult times, after a proposed double-header with Belladonna and Bush wound up with Bush refusing to take part then Belladonna leaving after an anniversary tour.
They hired younger man Dan Nelson, but just before his debut Anthrax album was set for release they dramatically fired him. Bush returned to stand in but didn’t want to commit – until, finally, Belladonna was confirmed as permanent singer once more, and taped over Nelson’s voice for the Worship Music album.
Now Ian tells Straight.com: “I’ve gone on record saying this will be the only version of Anthrax until there is no Anthrax. That’s how I feel, absolutely, in my heart.
“I don’t see why we would do anything different. This band sounds so great – we made a great record. I’m super-excited about the future of this band creatively.”
The guitarist believes Belladonna’s stage performance helped gain them attention in their early years, leading them to be listed as one of the Big 4 of thrash alongside Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.
“There’s a certain maniacal energy that Joey has,” says Ian. “That’s his thing. If I compare him to our contemporaries in the Big 4, between James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine and Tom Araye you’ve got three frontmen that are all attached to the microphone.
“But Joey’s all over the place on stage. He’s a maniac. I always felt that was one of the things that gave us the kick in the ass we needed to be able to break through and make it.”
-Classic Rock Magazine