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MySpace brings metal band Anthrax a new singer

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, guitarist Scott Ian and new vocalist Dan Nelson, in the band's studio rehearsal space. REUTERS/Chad Lee

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thrash metal band Anthrax has plucked a new singer from obscurity, with a little help from MySpace, the group said on Thursday.

Dan Nelson, 31, who had fronted several local bands in the Long Island/New York area, contacted Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano through the social networking site.

“We sent music back and forth, got together, and jammed for 10 hours straight,” Nelson said in a statement issued by the band’s publicist. “After 10 hours, he said, ‘I think you’d be right for Anthrax.”

Nelson fills the slot last held by Joey Belladonna, who joined Anthrax in 1985, after it recorded its debut album, and helped lead the band into the history books as one of the most influential practitioners of speed metal.

But Belladonna was fired in 1992, and replaced by John Bush. After a promising rebirth with 1993’s “Sound of White Noise,” the band was dogged by label problems and personnel changes. It has not released a studio album of new material since 2003’s “We’ve Come For You All.”

Belladonna rejoined for a 2005 reunion tour, but talks to enter the studio with him fell through, paving the way for Nelson’s addition.

Anthrax, rounded out by guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Frankie Bello, and drummer Charlie Benante, is working on a new album. No release date has been set, but the band also said Thursday that it will sell expanded versions of “Sound of White Noise” and 1995’s “Stomp 442” on iTunes, from December 18.

Reporting by Dean Goodman