Although thrash metal’s “big four” – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax – have been in competition (both friendly and not-so-friendly) with each other for 30-odd years, bassists from two of the opposing armies have jumped ranks. Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson has teamed up with Anthrax’s Frank Bello to form Altitudes & Attitude. Supported by drummer Jeff Friedl of A Perfect Circle, the band is getting ready to release their self-titled debut EP, preceded by “Booze and Cigarettes.”
Despite the band’s thrash pedigree, “Booze and Cigarettes” is firmly rooted in hard rock. A riffing guitar leads the proceedings, switching from a soaring lead to a down-in-the-dirt rumble, revealing the influence these guys have had on modern guitar-rockers. As the riffs snap about, Bello commands, “So get your booze and cigarettes/ Do what you want, forget the rest!”
Despite the song’s party-hardy refrain, the bacchanalian message has a somber background. “My grandmother never smoked or drank a day in her life,” Bello tells Rolling Stone. “When she was receiving chemo, I would wheel her to treatment and jokingly say to her, ‘Come on, Gram, get your booze and cigarettes for the ride,’ and that would make her smile. It’s a tribute to my grandmother, who passed in 2012.”
Altitudes & Attitude will be released on January 14th.