ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante recently appeared on the “Iron City Rocks” podcast. The full interview can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On being a part of SLAYER‘s farewell tour:
Charlie: “Honestly, in the back of my mind, I know that for them the end is coming. I don’t know when it’s the end — I’m not sure if they know either. I don’t know how long they plan on extending this for, but I think they’ll stay within the realms of, ‘Okay, this is it — we’re going to do it for this amount of time, and then we’re calling it a day.’ I’ve seen them in dressing rooms here and there walking around. We don’t talk about that stuff — we say, ‘Hey, how’s your back doing?’ [Laughs]”
On his work ethic:
Charlie: “For me, I push it sometimes, but I only push it just to get motivated more. Then there’s times where I just want to zone out, whether it’s taking my daughter to a movie or taking her shopping and we’re just driving in a car, and she’s doing her thing and I’m doing my own thing, and then boom — something will just hit me, an idea or something. I’ll grab my phone and I’ll just him it into the phone, and I’ll get home and play it back and transpose it from my wonderful humming style to guitar. A lot of times, I feel very blessed that I have something with me that I can capture it with, because back in the old days, you’d be driving with nothing. You would try to write something down, and by the time you’d get back and realize what it was, that rhythm is out of your memory. I do like to keep thinking of all different things. My brain usually goes toward the ANTHRAX zone, and then sometimes it goes to a more mellower side of things. I have 40-something years of other tunes that will never be ANTHRAX material, but I would like to put them out somewhere at some point.”
On his writing process:
Charlie: “Every song is different, but the majority of the time, it starts from a guitar riff that triggers another guitar riff that triggers another guitar riff, and before you know it, I’ve played a four- or five-minute thing that consisted of seven different riffs. You can attach a caboose to each one of these riffs and make a tune out of it. Sometimes it starts with a drum beat, a drum groove, a drum fill. The song ‘In The End’ started with the melody of the song, and then a riff was built around that. I love when that happens, because it’s very peculiar. Sometimes the melody does go along with the guitar riff, but sometimes it’s the counter-melody that works better.”
On the “dark” cover art of “Persistence Of Time”:
Charlie: “With ‘Persistence Of Time’, I was way into my Salvatore Dali phase at that point. The record was very dark because [on] ‘State Of Euphoria’, the sun was shining and we were all happy. With the record after that, we went way darker because there was a bit of a backlash against us for being so happy and wearing shorts and this, that and the other thing. It was really strange to us why a year before this, these writers were praising us, and now they’re trying to tear us down. I think it really did a number on our heads.”
On when fans can expect to hear new ANTHRAX music:
Charlie: “I’ve already started some demos and stuff. I think once this whole touring cycle ends at end of the year, maybe we can… start thinking about creating a new album.”
On pre-show fan meet-and-greets:
Charlie: “Usually on show days or days off, we would do signings at record stores. We don’t do those anymore, but we do do these things which are called meet-and-greets. A lot of bands do them now because you don’t sell records… it’s also what I feel is something for the fans who want to come and be a part of it and meet you and have a couple minutes and get a picture. I kind of equate it to the whole record store [signing] thing, but it’s definitely different now to the way it once was. I just see what certain bands charge for their little packages, and I think that it’s a bit over what they really should charge. I think you shouldn’t bleed these kids. I’ve seen what these prices are, and I’m just like, ‘Dude, if you have ten people doing it at that price, why even play? Just go on tour and do meet-and-greets.'”
On the possibility of future “Big Four” shows before SLAYER wraps up their touring:
Charlie: “I don’t know about that. I hear rumblings, but I couldn’t say right now for sure, yes. But I hear things, so I guess I’m being optimistic.”
ANTHRAX‘s upcoming disc will be the band’s third full-length release since the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, who came back into the fold for the “Big Four” shows, in the process helping inspire a new wave of creativity.
ANTHRAX is supporting SLAYER on the first two legs of the latter outfit’s last-ever North American run of dates. Also appearing on the bill are LAMB OF GOD, TESTAMENT and BEHEMOTH (with NAPALM DEATH replacing BEHEMOTH for the second leg).
ANTHRAX‘s most recent release was the live-in-concert DVD “Kings Among Scotland”, which came out on April 27 via Megaforce.