ANTHRAX, STILL METAL THRASHING MAD AFTER 40 YEARS.
ANTHRAX DRUMMER CHARLIE BENANTE TALKS TO DARKUS.
Article by Steve Harrison
Anthrax are celebrating over 40 years in the business, yep they’ve been metal thrashing mad across five decades and there’s no sign of them stopping.
Over here in the UK starting a run of dates celebrating that fact, we caught up with long time rhythmic powerhouse of Anthrax, drummer Charlie Benante for a little chat about being in the business for that long and why the UK has a special place in the bands heart.
What are your earliest memories then of the UK?
I'm always excited to come over to London. Not just London, but I'm always excited to come over there. Because since day one of this band, my goal was to c
ome to see England because so many of my heroes, that's where it all begins for me. Yeah, you know. And so for me, I was a very, you know, an English loving kid.
So the first time we came there, we played one show, and it was at a place called the Hammersmith,
and our record label at the time, which was brand new was Island Records. And Debbie Walker was the head of the publicity department. And she knew that I was a big Motorhead fan and some of the other guys too. And she got me to come to the show. And Lemmy he was there in the dressing room. And I was I just couldn't believe that. I was seeing Lemmy like right in front of me in person because like I said, I was a Motorhead banger. I would send away for stuff, it was because of them that I got a bullet belt. Yeah. So that's, that's the type of person I am if I love something, man, I just fucking go all out and I'm loyal. So, throughout the years of knowing Lemmy and getting to know him, you have to understand what that meant to me. So later on many, many years later, we toured with Motorhead and one day I said to Lemmy at some point. I would love for you to sign, I have like every Motorhead single, we're talking every Motorhead single even from like a Plexi disc that was on a magazine.. So it was one of the couple of days left of the tour. And I said, Hey, I got some stuff. He's like, Okay, go get it. So I, dude, I brought the fucking arsenal. And he looks, he looks at it all. And he looks at me. And he looks at it all. He looks at me again. He's like, pick five. Pick five of my favourites. And you know, he, you know, just sign them all. And I was so happy about that.
The fact that it's a testament to the music and the longevity of anthrax. 40 years. I'm not going to say five decades, but you’ve been playing through five decades? How does that make you feel?
Old? No, I always joke around with that. I'm, I'm one of those people who doesn't handle age very well. So I get very, like if I can crawl under a rock when someone says it. Because I don't really I don't feel old at all, I still think like, like a 20 something year old. And I really think the music is the thing that kind of keeps me young and keeps me going. And that's it basically, you know, I have to say, I'm pretty grateful. And, you know, I don't take it for granted. You know, there was a time I think in our career in the latter part of the 90s When we were questioning things because especially in America, heavy metal was such a bad word. Yeah, bad two words, you know. And we had to ride it out. And I think that was the time when I felt most. Like it could be the end of doing this. I mean, but the music was the thing that that kept us going. And we just strive for something better, and just that perseverance, and it's so it's so New York, you know, and that's the thing about us, we still have that New York mentality where if you fucking get knocked down, you just get back up and you do it 10 times better, you know?
Was it ever a case of thinking, I want to still do music, it might be down a different sort of pathway for you? Did you ever think that at the time?
I actually, I didn't think about a different path, I still was very much driven by music. And what that did for me, was, like I said, it made me work 10 times harder and write better songs. And what happened was the result of that the late 90s, stuff resulted in us making a record called, ‘We've Come For You All’, which people felt was put us back on, on that kind of steering the ship. Yeah, in that way. And because of that record, it gave me the momentum to do and write ‘Worship Music’, which then gave me momentum to do for all kings. So that's the way it's always been. There's one thing about momentum, you really can't stop it, once it's for the good part of it, or the bad part of it, you can't stop bad momentum. And you can't stop good momentum, you have to continue to push, and, and fight. And I often say sometimes, to the guys in the band, you know, sometimes I'm so sick of the game. Yeah, in this business. And we try to skate around it. But at the end of the day, there's sometimes you can't. And I don't want to get too too much into what I mean about the game. But there's a certain element in this, that if a band disappears, for 10 years, I don't agree that they should come back and be on top. I think that they should have to start a bit lower and work your way back to the top. I don't think you should just give them the fucking business class seat. Let them start back in coach.
You’re certainly keeping busy so far in 2022. So is that going to be the same for the rest of this year and 2023 as well?
2023 is going to be a crazy. I have so much going on right now, I haven't stopped. I feel like I haven't stopped but more, more, more. So like, since the mid middle July of this year till the end of December. I am, like, swamped and like, crazy. But I'm looking forward to it though.
Pantera? I imagined that's going to take a substantial amount of time of 2022 and into 2023?
Yeah, that's, you know, that is a very, I keep using the word emotional, but that is the truth about it. Yeah. For me doing that. Because I've known these guys, for so long. And I was such good friends with the brothers and I, I am going to represent this in such a great way that I'm going to honour their, you know, their legacy. Yeah.
Will that include UK dates with Pantera?
I hope so. I can’t see us not, you know, coming over there, yeah and doing something. I mean, UK loves Pantera, and I'm sure they want to hear these songs again, like everybody else does. Yeah.
Anthrax are currently on tour in the UK celebrating over 40 years in the business. Check out the links below for ticket details and band information.