Anthrax's Frank Bello is a respected bass player in the metal community: he hosts bass clinics and has his own custom ESP bass guitar. But everyone has their influences. He recently sat down with the Music Experience's Squiggy to talk about the bass players and bass lines that inspired him to pick up the four-string.

The first song he mentioned was Rush's "Freewill" from 1980's Permanent Waves.  "But for the metal thing," he says, "it was this," as he plays the title track from Iron Maiden's 1981 Killers album. He cited his holy trinity of bassists as Rush's Geddy Lee, Iron Maiden's Steve Harris and Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler. "They were instrumental in making me pick up the bass, specifically."

"I tried guitar first," he says, but recalls that future Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante pointed out, at the time, that he was always playing the bass lines on his guitar; eventually he made the switch.

"I learned every Rush song I could, every Iron Maiden and Sabbath [song]."

The first song he learned how to play on the bass was another Maiden classic: the title track to 1982's The Number of the Beast. He laughs, saying that Anthrax still hit the stage to that song every night.

Other bass players that he cites as favorites are Gene Simmons of KISS and Paul McCartney. "Paul's one of the best writers ever, but listen to his bass lines! He plays bass for the song. That's what it's about. You learn after a while that it's not about what you can do: it's about what's good for the song."

Regarding his custom bass, he says, "I want the availability of this tool to make your life better. This thing made me get out of the rut that I was in: no father, no money, all that stuff. And this thing, made me feel better about life."

Anthrax is on the road through December, and they'll release the 30th-anniversary edition of their State of Euphoria album on October 5. Get information on both at their official website. And learn more about Squiggy's Music Experience here.

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