Altitudes and Attitude

Live + Signing

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Rough Trade NYC

Doors 6:30pm
On-stage 7:00pm
Signing after show

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Join us on Friday, January 18th for a live performance and bass clinic from Altitudes and Attitude (a Frank Bello of Anthrax and David Ellefson of Megadeth collaboration), to celebrate the release of their new full-length Get It Out, with signing to follow.

All Ages // Purchase Get It Out for entry
Doors 6:30pm // Start 7:00pm

On paper, Get It Out, the new full-length Megaforce debut from Altitudes & Attitude, might imply something other than a collection of smartly crafted melodic hard-rock songs. After all, A&A is a collaboration between Anthrax’s Frank Bello and Megadeth’s David Ellefson—two virtuosic bass players who’ve anchored some of the fiercest thrash records of all time. But Get It Out reaches far beyond the boundaries of an all-star metal outing or an instrumental chops fest. Tuneful yet aggressive, fun yet thought-provoking, the album is a testament to the expressive strength of rock songcraft. Boasting producer Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther), drummer Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, Devo, Filter) and a deep bench of guest stars including Ace Frehley and Gus G., the record also represents the fulfillment of a lifelong but little-known ambition for two uniquely gifted artists. As Bello puts it, “All I ever wanted to do was write good songs. I’ve always been a melody guy. I love hooks; I love catchy songs with a good riff.”

A kind of rock ‘n’ roll primal-scream therapy, Get It Out is the result of nearly four years of writing and recording sessions—and decades of touring, searching, striving and living. “I’ve learned that writing songs is very cathartic,” Bello says. “A lot of these lyrics are about the inner struggles of my life, and about the rage that has built up from my life experiences—my brother’s murder; my father abandoning my family when we were young, leaving us with no funds to pay the bills. … The ups and downs of life in general. I’ve always had an anger inside that music really helps me deal with.”

“The album has the perfect title,” Ellefson adds. “This is music that has been living inside of us for so long.”

The Altitudes & Attitude story begins in 2010, when Bello and Ellefson started touring together to lead bass clinics for the amp manufacturer Hartke. In need of backing tracks to support their demonstrations, they embarked upon some writing sessions and soon found that their talents and chemistry transcended play-along music. Ellefson revealed himself to be a brilliantly melodic bassist as well as an unshakeable rhythm guitarist whose song ideas featured the singable, hit-savvy lessons of early musical loves like Kiss, Van Halen, Aerosmith and the new wave of XTC and Joe Jackson. Bello had similarly striking abilities on both bass and rhythm guitar, plus a data bank of influences—Kiss, Boston—combining hard-rock intensity with the studio and songwriting knowhow that goes into a flawless single.

What’s more, as Ellefson quickly noticed, Bello harbored a robust, affecting singing voice and an extraordinary capacity for turning his life’s joys and pains into compelling musical narratives. “Frank is a really great singer, but he’s also a really great artist,” Ellefson says. “Emotionally, he’s deep inside his work.” Part hobby, part aspiration and part self-discovery, Bello’s songwriting has long been a daily practice, and he regularly heads downtown from his home to test out new music at open mics. “This is what I do when I’m off tour with Anthrax,” he says. “I sit in a chair with a guitar and I sing.”

Bello and Ellefson debuted Altitudes & Attitude in early 2014, with a self-titled three-song EP that earned the duo airplay on SiriusXM and an appearance on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show. Those tracks—“Booze and Cigarettes,” “Tell the World,” “Here Again”—are included on Get It Out as bonus cuts, in remixed and remastered form, along with 10 new songs that are at once combustible and reflective. “Late,” the album’s first single and a showcase for Ace Frehley’s trademark guitar leads, is both a message of self-empowerment and a rumination on the challenges of fatherhood as a touring musician. Additional lead guitar on “Late” comes from Miki Black, who provides backing vocals on that track and “Talk to Me.” “All There Is” is a similar midlife meditation, this time about confronting the long-festering problems we let control us. “Out Here,” featuring blazing guitar work by Jon Donais of Anthrax and Shadows Fall, is an opportunity for Bello to tackle the abandonment issues he faced after his father left without warning when the bassist was 10. On “Slip,” Bello tells another tale of his Bronx childhood, about a friendly neighbor who fell into the depths of alcohol and drug abuse. “Booze and Cigarettes” also finds its roots in Bello’s youth; its chorus lyrics are an inside joke that he used to comfort the grandmother who raised him. “Get your booze and cigarettes,” Bello would tell her on their way to her chemotherapy treatments. “Do what you want; forget the rest.”

Throughout this finely wrought contemplation, A&A never turn their backs on hard rock, and Get It Out often plays like a shred-guitar fan’s dream session. Nita Strauss, who currently has a solo spot in Alice Cooper’s legendary live show, plays pure fire on “Part of Me.” Stone Sour’s Christian Martucci offers scorching lead and melody parts on the title track, and Ozzy guitarist Gus G. astounds on “Here Again.” On Ellefson’s majestic instrumental, “Leviathan,” Russ Parrish—a.k.a. Steel Panther’s Satchel—contributes both artful nylon-string playing and exhilarating electric leads. Bassists will find much worth savoring here too, especially Bello and Ellefson’s live-wire leads on “Here Again” and the low-end thunder that Ellefson delivers via an ESP eight-string—the album’s secret weapon of sorts. (Be prepared to transcribe his opening bass parts on “Leviathan.”)

As Ellefson says, “[Get It Out] is very much an important musical statement from Frank and me. There’s a big musical part of each of us that doesn’t get heard anywhere else.”

He also explains that “A&A could have only happened at this moment in time”—when the titans of thrash metal’s Big Four are older, wiser, kinder and more open creatively. “When you’re still climbing up the hill,” he says, “there’s no room for friendly competition. But once you’ve been to the top of the hill and you’ve seen the view—which all of the Big Four have—it’s OK to break bread, hang out, have a drink.” Or, in the case of Altitudes & Attitude, delve into hard-rock songwriting in a profound way. “To hear other sides of us as artists—not just as musicians and performers, but as artists,” Ellefson says, “I think it’s something that we needed to go to the grave feeling like we’ve scratched that itch.”