ANTHRAX Drummer On 'Death Magneitc', Lineup Changes, Upcoming Album

March 9, 2009

Mark Eglinton of The Quietus recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Quietus: Joey Belladonna sang on arguably your most commercially successful material. What exactly happened with Joey?

Charlie: "Honestly, I could name lots of different things on lots of different days but all in all the differences were musical and the direction that ANTHRAX the band wanted to go and the way Joey wanted were two different things. As far as being in contact with him I am not, but I mean it's not like Joey doesn't have all my numbers and everything..."

The Quietus: While we're on labels, you guys have had a pretty mixed time with them over the years. Do you think it's easier nowadays to succeed without the support of a big label?

Charlie: "You can't be as successful without a big label 'cos you don't have the same music business presence, you just can't have. If you release a record on the internet it is gonna be a lot quieter, unless you are someone like RADIOHEAD, who I like a lot. They have a lot of clout and masses of fans, so for them to do it like they did, it works. It's much harder for a smaller band to achieve that kind of impact."

The Quietus: So I take it you don't just listen to metal these days?

Charlie: "No, I listen to nearly everything to everything. I heard the new LAMB OF GOD online and I liked it. I think that the last record AC/DC put out was the best thing I have heard from them in a long long time. It's exactly what I wanted to hear from them. Some black metal is OK too but most of it I couldn't put on my main system and freak-out to at home, apart from DIMMU BORGIR. I like the way that's produced, the orchestration is like the soundtrack to a horror movie."

The Quietus: What did you think of [METALLICA's] "Death Magnetic"?

Charlie: "Well, it's right back to what they do, isn't it?! They haven't really made a true thrash record since maybe '...And Justice For All'. Anyway, but yeah it's a good album, no doubt."

The Quietus: Do you think that if bands released records like "Among The Living" or "Master Of Puppets" now, people would buy them like they did?

Charlie: "Yeah, absolutely."

The Quietus: You've had your share of line-up change over the years. How much damage does that do?

Charlie: "You know, our main changes were singer changes, the early one then from Joey to John Bush. Then after the reunion tour in 2005 that's when things started to go a bit wrong. But people change and what they want changes, and I'd never blame anyone for that. It hurts the chemistry but also having someone new can add a whole new dynamic to the band... You have to remember that in heavy metal, people don't like change and are like, 'If it ain't broke please don't fix it!'"

The Quietus: Have there been moments where you thought "Fuck it, I've had enough?"

Charlie: "Seriously? Not really as bad as that. But there are times when we're on a plane to London, then Amsterdam, then back to London, then to Australia and back to L.A., when I wonder if there are better things to do. It's all about being an adult and dealing with more adult subjects now. You might think that missing something your kid does at school doesn't matter, but it definitely does."

Read the entire interview from The Quietus.

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