Bassist Frank Bello, best known as a longtime member of iconic thrash metal band Anthrax, hosted a free live performance, Q&A, and meet & greet with fans at Guitar Center Manhattan on Monday night. This event was part of a series of free workshops Guitar Center’s all over the country are having in celebration of “Metal Month”.
During the course of the event Mr. Bello shared stories of his experiences touring and recording with Anthrax, performed a few songs on bass while the rest of the instruments were fed from a digital music player to two P.A. monitors, and gave tips on how to warm up before a gig. He further engaged the audience with jokes, cuss words, and answered all the questions fans had for him.
One particularly touching story he shared was about his last words with the late Cliff Burton (original bassist of Metallica). Anthrax was on tour with Metallica in 1986, and a running joke the members of both bands had with each other was they would say/ask one another, “Hey, catch you later, maybe?” Frank asked Cliff this question on that fateful night after their tour bus had crashed and Cliff responded back with, “Yeah, maybe.” Those were the last words the two would exchange with each other as Cliff suffered serious injury and soon lost his life. Frank was visibly emotional while sharing this story as you could imagine.
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, and Geddy Lee of Rush have been major influences of Frank and he explained to us how their styles can be heard in his playing. He said when he gets stuck writing a bass line, he’ll turn to his influences for support and will try to imagine what they would do in the situation. After an amusing story about how he tried taking formal lessons but it didn’t work out, he suggested that the aspiring musicians in the audience should learn the parts from their favorite bands and musicians on their own instruments and incorporate that into their playing style. Most importantly though is the will and that burning desire to want to keep practicing your instrument of choice on a daily basis. Frank admitted to this day that he’s still hungry to learn new material (thanks in part to a bassist he highly suggested, Victor Wooten.)
At the conclusion of the hour and half event there was a drawing for a Hartke A35 bass combo (which Frank Bello proudly supports) and a meet and greet where Frank met each fan individually and enthusiastically took pictures and signed memorabilia. The clinic was pleasantly informative and interesting for both fans of Anthrax and musicians. I highly suggest attending one of these events this month if you can. Check your local Guitar Center store for information on future clinics. Below you will find two short video clips I shot during the event.