Last Updated on 30.12.11 Written by John Guarnieri
Charlie Benante, the drummer for the East Coast thrash legends, Anthrax, took some time to answer questions for Fallen Blue, and we discussed everything from the new album, the upcoming tour, and the recent 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Mr. Benante and his fellow metal mideons, Scott, Joey, Frank, and Rob are currently celebrating their aforementioned latest release, Worship Music, out now on Megaforce Records. Not only is the album one of the best metal albums released in the last couple of years, but it quite possibly may be one of the best albums released this year, which is a grand achievement for a band that has gone through so much in their storied history.
The new album, Worship Music is an incredible piece of work. The new songs, to include 'Fight'em 'Til You Can't' and 'Judas Priest' are killer tunes, but before you even get to the music one must admire some incredible artwork done by the great, Alex Ross. With a concept conceived by Charlie, Alex was able to create a memorable piece of art: "I have always been a horror movie fan, and zombie movies are the best, so it made perfect sense to do something along those lines. For the single, 'Fight'em T'il You Can't', the artwork consisted of us battling the zombie versions of ourselves. I have this concept of somehow tying all of our previous album covers together in some way, maybe in some sort of comic book."
The mighty Anthrax took part in NY Steel, a fundraiser to raise money for the families of police, firefighters, and first responders affected by 9/11 in New York City, ten years ago. And now, recently, the band ,along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, took part in the recent Big 4 show at the historic Yankee Stadium in New York City. Charlie commented on the mood of New York City during the 9/11 ten year anniversary: 'During the week, while I was in New York City, leading up to the 9/11 anniversary and our big shows on the 12th and 14th, I walked around the city and felt a weird vibe. It was like a melancholy feeling. But as the anniversary date came, it felt as though the negativity had lifted from the city. Playing at Yankee Stadium was an incredible feeling for us, since many of us our from the Bronx. Hearing and seeing the fans scream and mosh was an incredible sight, we will never forget."
Charlie and the rest of the band do whatever they can to help others, whether its through donations or concerts, to raise money. The band has helped Fallen Blue in the past with some awesome autographed memorabilia. One event the band took part in was a hand gun control event, in which Charlie had this to say: "Some people thought we shouldn't have taken part in such a event, as they felt we were advocating the removal of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, but that wasn't the case at all. Some people are very ignorant and negative for no reason. We wanted to lend a hand put the message out there that we support the right to bear arms, but not illegal gun usage. We were promoting the notion of solving the major problem of unsupervised households and to keep guns out of the hands of kids."
The band, along with fellow thrash metallers, Testament and Death Angel, will embark on a U.S. Fall tour, where they plan to mix it up on stage: " It would be awesome to go out there and play the entire Worship Music album, but for this tour we will incorporate a little bit of everything we have done through our careers. We are all good friends with the rest of the bands, and have played some festival dates with them, but this will truly be the first time in awhile we can spend some time with them on the road, as this is really an extension of the Big 4 concept." When asked if there would ever be an entire day of thrash bands, Charlie said: "You never know. It wouldn't be something you just throw together. it would have to feel right."
As we wrapped up the interview, we discussed 'In The End', one of the songs off of their new album. In an album of some great music, this song stands among the best, and according to Charlie, it is the best song we have ever written: "This is a very personal song for me. The working title for the song was 'Epic', which described what this song meant to me. After my first stab at the song, I sent it to the guys and we all agreed that the chorus wasn't perfect. They wanted me to try again, so i did, yet it was still missing something. On the next attempt, I let Scott know that I had Dimebag on my mind and wanted to put that in the lyrics, and so he went ahead and did the rest of the lyrics, to encompass words for Ronnie James Dio. When we got it finalized, I listened to it the first time and said, 'We F@#%-ing hit it on the head.' We now have a 7 minute song that is the best song we have ever written as a band."
Fallen Blue can't thank Anthrax enough for their support. Go pick up the latest album and be sure to catch the band as they stampede into a city nearest to you on their upcoming Fall tour.
For more information on the band, check out: www.anthrax.com.