Anthrax Bassist Recalls Odd Live Prank They Pulled on ’Very Serious’ Slayer Members

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello looked back on some of the fun times the band had back in the early 1990s when they were on the road with Slayer. Speaking to Ultimate Guitar recently, Bello remembered the legendary “Clash of the Titans” tour that featured Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, and Alice in Chains doing almost 70 shows in 1990 and 1991.

In particular, Frank was reminded of how the Anthrax guys always do their best to have fun on the road, despite grueling tour schedules. Along with that, he was asked to bring up ” the best prank you’ve played on other bands through the years.” Bello then replied:

“Oh, my favorite prank of all time for Anthrax… There’s been a lot because we’re ball-busters. We’re New York guys, we’re sarcastic, but in a fun way. We don’t want to hurt anybody, but it’s called ball-busting to keep it fun.”

Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Alice In Chains - Clash Of The Titans MTV Special (1991)

“I guess that’s all because we’ve been together for so long, that’s how to keep it fresh and keep each other on their toes and stuff.”

Going back to the early 1990s, Bello recalled this prank that involved Slayer, particularly the band’s frontman Tom Araya:

“My favorite of all time was, I think it was on Clash of the Titans, with Slayer and Megadeth, and Alice in Chains opening. I don’t know if it was the last show, it might have been the last show of the tour. This is on YouTube, you guys can look this up.”

Clash Of The Titans Tour Mini Documentary

“Slayer was on, I think their last song, I don’t know if it was ‘Angel of Death,’ where we wanted to sit up in the rafters with the lighting rig and all the big metal pieces, we had a line come all the way down, and we bought the biggest fucking fish we could, right?”

What’s really important to note here is that they guys from Slayer had this reputation of being extra serious when they were performing. The no-bullshit attitude has always been a part of the show for them that complemented their music. So getting them to crack up on stage was a challenge that Anthrax members gladly accepted:

“So the thing with Slayer back then, you could never make them crack up on stage, it was very serious and stuff like that. Our thing was to bust balls and make them crack up.”

Clash of the Titans (1991) - Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer

“So I think it was during ‘Angel of Death,’ I’m pretty sure it was, but I could be wrong. They’re into the song, it’s fucking brutal, and I love Slayer, they’re great friends of mine. They’re into it, everybody’s fucking riffing out and all that stuff.”

So what did they do? Frank adds:

“Tom is at the vocal mic and right in front of Tom’s mic, slowly, this huge fish comes down, lowered right in front of his face, like out of nowhere. It looks like it descended out of the fucking sky, right?”

Slayer - "Dead Skin Mask" (Live in Donington, Monsters of Rock 1992), MTV Russia

And, as it turns out that their plan worked as Slayer’s Tom Araya

“It just comes right in front of him. He looks and all of a sudden you see him look to the side, he sees us, we’re fucking crying. He broke up.”

“And Tom, if you know Tom, man, he’s got the best personality in the world. He’s hilarious. It was just one of those great pranks that worked really well.”

“It was just exactly what you wanted to happen. It all worked out. It came out so slowly and deliberate. It was so slow and deliberate the way they did it. And dude, it was right in front of them so you couldn’t get away. It was so good. So yeah, that’s still to this day, my favorite prank. Yeah, one of those great end-of-tour fucking things, you know? It was fun.”

Slayer - Decade of Aggression (1991) - Full Album

Frank’s story checks out as the footage of this is actually available on YouTube. Unfortunately, the video quality isn’t exactly the best one out there. However, according to what was said on the legendary MTV show “Headbangers Ball,” the prank that Anthrax pulled was to get back at Tom Araya after he ordered a swordfish at a restaurant, wasn’t satisfied with it, and then threw it at Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, hitting him in the back of the hear.

Here’s the clip of that episode of the “Headbangers Ball”:

Headbangers Ball 1991 Slayer Swordfish Prank from Clash of the Titans - Friend at Large segment

During the chat, Frank Bello also reflected on his new autobiographical book “Fathers, Brothers, and Sons.” Asked about it, he said:

“My co-writer, Joe McIver, I have to give him props, because without him and a bottle of vodka right where I’m sitting right here, I don’t think I would have gotten through that book because it brought up a lot of stuff.”

“The great feedback and the great reviews we’ve had and the sales, thankfully, [people are realizing] it’s not just your obligatory rock and roll book. I wanted to connect with people and stuff I’ve been through. And apparently from the feedback we’re getting and the reviews and the great emails and letters and comments I’m getting, people are really connecting [to it].”

Anthrax & Megadeth Bassists Frank Bello & David Ellefson Chat Bass Riffs & Technique | Reverb

“My trials and tribulations I had through my life, with the death of my brother, the abandonment of my dad — he took off when I was 10 years old, people are really connecting with that and really digging in on the essence of the book, which is really, it’s about family. It’s about how to, when you get pushed down enough times in your life, you’ve got to pick yourself up and brush off, and the only way I knew how is just to keep going forward.”

“And I think a lot of people are connecting with that because a lot of people get shit on, but you’ve got to rise up and move on and I guess this book is helping people do that, which is great for me to hear.”

Photos: Alfred Nitsch (20140614-088-Nova Rock 2014-Anthrax-Frank Joseph Bello and Joey Belladonna), Jonas Rogowski (01-08-2014-Tom Araya with Slayer at Wacken Open Air-JonasR 07)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.