IconsOfPunk.com recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. An excerpt from the chat follows:
IconsOfPunk.com: You made a rather big announcement recently with Dan Nelson being named as the new lead singer for ANTHRAX. How has the reaction been to that announcement? Are things going well?
Charlie: "Yeah, you know what? To be honest with you, and it sounds funny for me to say this, but I didn't want to make a big announcement about it, because we are still in the early stages. We were almost kind of forced into making the announcement now because of the Internet; it ruins every surprise. One asshole finds out about something and they post it somewhere. You know?"
IconsOfPunk.com: Have you guys started recording, and if so, will it be a 2008 release?
Charlie: "An '08 release looks right, but we are still in the early stages right now. Dan has kind of jumped into this, so we just want to take it slow. I know that we haven't had a record out in years but, right now, I just want to not rush into things and take my time."
IconsOfPunk.com: ANTHRAX has had amazing career longevity, playing for more than twenty five years now. At any point have you all ever discussed throwing in the towel or do changes such as this give you a swift kick in the ass and help to reignite that flame?
Charlie: "I had this conversation yesterday with somebody, which it's pretty funny that it's coming up again. When I was born, I came out a musician. I didn't learn to play or anything like that. It was in me and there is no stopping that. My mother always said that from an early age that you could just tell that it was just in me. That's all I've ever wanted. Between art and music, that's pretty much my thing. That's my area, that's what I know the best, that's what I want to do. Music is a part of my DNA; I will never stop doing music. It was never a question for me to stop doing it...maybe it was a question to stop in this type of music, this band. The hardest part for me with this type of music is leaving it, because I have so many other different types of projects that I want to see come to fruition. But if I sit down with an electric guitar, this style of music comes out of me. If I sit down with an acoustic guitar, it's a totally different world. So to answer, it never dawned on me to stop. It dawned on others to stop. Others who have come from this band decided not to do this anymore; their priorities changed. I mean, my priorities changed too, since I have a little girl now. It definitely changed for me, but the music that's inside of me? That just never stops."
IconsOfPunk.com: Where do you think that ANTHRAX fits in today's metal landscape? Does your "new" sound tend to stay towards that old school thrash, or do you guys feel that you need to show that you are more relevant, so to speak, with the amount of new bands that are now out there in the metal world?
Charlie: "This is the thing about the way it happens. Nothing is ever really forced; it's all pretty much organic. The way a riff come out or a song comes out, it just comes out. It may unintentionally be inspired by somethingby a movie, by something that happened to me earlier on or a song that I heard, but it's never sit down and, 'OK, it's 2:00 and I've gotta write this riff and it's gotta be a throwback to the '80s.' It's really never like that. There's a song that's called 'Fight 'Em Till You Cant Fight No More'. That is the most thrashiest song right now. It's kind of like 1986 thrashy kind of thing."
IconsOfPunk.com: I am wondering if there are any more surprises or anything that we can expect from ANTHRAX? Any sneak peeks that might be available?
Charlie: "I'm sure there's going to be a clip from something on our website, at some point. Yeah, there'll probably be a surprise or two, somewhere. For me, I like doing that, but I don't want to hear the bullshit that happens after. There are people out there that are such miserable pricks and everybody feels that they have to give their opinion. Now if you have a keyboard in front of you, you can do that."
IconsOfPunk.com: Yeah, all of these people safely placed behind their computer monitors must feel really big bashing everyone all that they can.
Charlie: "For me it's like, what have you accomplished in your life that gives you any credit to criticize anyone in music, or in anything? It just kind of fucking freaks me out sometimes. People think, 'Well, my voice needs to be heard about this!' Who gives a fuck about you? The people who do that should probably pay more attention to what's going on in their city, their country and fucking start protesting. The way they used to do it in the '60s, about shit, you know? This country, to meI'm a proud American, but when I see bullshit about fucking sixteen-year-old girls getting pregnant and I read comments from stars like, 'I fully support her,' I'm like, 'Fuck you.' Don't fully support her. Kids look up to her because she's on a fucking television show. And try explaining that to your sixteen-year-old kid. I wish that whole thing would all come to an end. All of them, I just wish it would end. It's just gossip and it's disgusting."
Read the entire interview at IconsOfPunk.com.