The Thrash Metal Scene Wouldn’t Be Anything without Anthrax!

Being one of the most popular bands of the 1980s thrash metal scene New York City go getters Anthrax has spent the past 29 years touring and creating music. If that wasn’t enough having the return of original vocalist Joey Belladonna makes this even bigger and better than ever. Percussionist Charlie Benante spoke to me over the phone about the band’s musical career as well as what they have in store for the end of this year leading right into next.

1. Can you give me a brief summary on your musical career?

Charlie:  A brief summary on my musical career? Wow… so brief in just 20 years. I guess I was outa high school and fell into a band that band was called Anthrax. We did our first record went on tour and got signed to a major label in 85 did more touring. It become part of a movement known as thrash metal and then part of “The Big Four” with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Then went on to have some platinum records a had a cross of musical boundaries when we did something with Public Enemy called “Bring the Noise” that started a whole different genre of music. We’ve have been going on ever since.

2. Which drummer has inspired you the most?

Charlie: Uhhhh boy that’s a hard one. I think I can never give one name I mean there are so many different drummers that I’ve respected and looked up to everyone from John Bon, Neil Pert, to Alex Van Halen all of these drummers are a part of the drumming that I do.

3. Do you have any tips for up and coming drummers?

Charlie: Ummmm…. It’s funny because I see so many up-and-coming drummers some of them really have something and some of them have something that somebody else has used. They don’t have any bit of originality to their style; you can just tell how they’re going to play by the way they set up their kit. That’s the funny thing as soon as I see them setting up in a certain way I’m like “Oh is he really influenced by that?” But then they are some that come out and completely blow you away.

4. What's it been like playing alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer?

Charlie: Those shows were awesome. It’s so hard to sometimes live in the moment because it happened so fast and beforehand I wanted to appreciate every moment I had with doing this. But before that I had watched the documentary and started remembering things this experience and what not but for me to be around other musicians that play the same style of music as I do but they do it in a whole another way is unbelievable.

5. Are you looking forward to touring with Megadeth and Slayer this fall?

Charlie: Oh yeah that’s going to be great. I’m actually going to see them tonight they’re playing here so I’m going to go down there and say “Hey”.

6. You've toured all over the world is there a spot you have yet to tour or visit?

 Charlie: I’ve never been to China. I don’t know how they would take us down there.

7. When can fans expect a new album from you guys?

Charlie: Ummm I would say there will be a record out next year during the spring time because that would be the best possible scenario for us. For having Joey returning to the band he plans to bring a whole another element and will definitely change up the style and sound a bit.

8. Have you been involved in any other projects lately or have anything in the works?

Charlie:  I still do side projects from time to time there’s this band from Chicago called Heavy the Fall. We’re trying to finish their first record and it’s taken a while to get it completed. Now we’re going to start working on the vocals but they’re a really good band with some really great songs.

9. What does Anthrax have planned for the remainder of this year leading into next year?

Charlie: We’re going to do this tour in September/October then we’re going to South American in November and continuing to work on the new record.

10. Is there a message you'd like to say to your fans?

Charlie: All I’d like to say is thanks a lot for sticking with us and for dealing with the loss of music for a while it’s been a little hectic and we’re trying to get everybody back in shape and we’re be back in shape better than ever.

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