During an appearance on “Talking Bollocks”, the monthly metal podcast hosted by ACID REIGN frontman-turned-stand-up-comedian Howard H. Smith, former ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz spoke about the new thrash band he formed with ex-JOURNEY drummer Deen Castronovo. He said: “We have a singer; I just can’t say who it is yet. But it’s pretty monumental. It’s killer. And it’s not a project; it’s a band. And, of course, Deen is one of the world’s most incredible drummers walking the planet. You first think of him as [having played in] JOURNEY. Deen‘s also a lead singer. He sings three or four of the JOURNEY songs live as he plays [the drums]. He sings the ones that Steve Perry wouldn’t even sing live. He’s quite an incredible singer. He’s the lead singer for REVOLUTION SAINTS and just a great guy and a monster, monster, monster drummer. He got his start in SOCIAL DISTORTION, and he’s just a metalhead, really. [He spent] seventeen years in JOURNEY, he played for Ozzy [Osbourne], he played on early Ted Nugent albums. I mean, it goes on, dude. He’s pulling out stuff, and I’m, like, ‘Are you kidding me, dude? I used to sit and just do bong hits and blast my guitar listening to that album. Are you crazy? I didn’t know it was you.’ [Laughs]”
Asked if the vocalist in Spitz‘s and Castronovo‘s new band has a thrash background, the guitarist said: “I’m not gonna say anything. ‘Cause what I create is always new. Was [ANTHRAX‘s] Joey Belladonna a thrash singer when I found him in a JOURNEY cover band in upstate New York? We can take someone like Joey and get him to sing and fit in. I don’t hold any barriers to anybody.”
According to Dan, “the whole cycle” for his new band with Deen “will be starting in the beginning of July as far as all [of us being] in one room.” He added that he has already completed writing “about an album and a half” worth of material for the project, with plans to have “about two albums’ worth” of songs to choose from.
Spitz, a born-again Christian and Messianic Jew who frequently cites his faith as an influential component to his life, explained that he decided to launch a new group with Deen because “it’s just time now to play again… I have a lot more music in me. I don’t know where or what. I don’t ask questions and I don’t sit around the table and whatever. However God gets it to fall into place, it is what it is, and away we go.”
Dan also talked about his decision to leave ANTHRAX for the second time after taking part in the reunion of the band’s classic lineup in 2005 and 2006.
“We were all in at that point in time,” he explained. “We did, like, two, three years [of touring], and we wanted to make new music [with the classic lineup]. And it was difficult. In the very end, we decided to stop touring, and it was difficult to get Joey to commit [to making a new album]. Me and Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] were going back and forth talking to Joey, and I’d call Charlie afterwards and say, ‘Did you get an answer? Did you get a ‘yes’?’ And he’d say, ‘Did you get a ‘yes’?’ And I’m, like, ‘I don’t know what I got. I just got talked to for an hour.’ We couldn’t get Joey to commit for a very long time, and they couldn’t stand still for very long. Obviously, it’s a business; you can’t just not do anything — you have to know: are we continuing, or are we not? So I was in to make another album as the real ANTHRAX. And we just [could not come to an agreement with] Joey. And you saw what happened thereafter. So I decided to just go back and chill. They continued on, and whatever they did, they did.”
After leaving ANTHRAX for the first time, Spitz became a world-renowned, prize-winning watchmaker who hand-lathed his own replacement parts for antique watch restorations.