ANTHRAX has announced that it will not hold auditions for guitarist Rob Caggiano's replacement.Following an overwhelming numberof enquiries from fans aspiring to become the veteran metal band's new lead axeman, ANTHRAX released the following statement via its official Facebook page: "We love you all, and are confident you shred like Yngwie Malmsteen after a case of Red Bull, but to answer all 57,000 messages at once, WE ARE NOT DOING AUDITIONS for lead guitarist. \m/" Caggiano announced his departure from ANTHRAX on January 4 to focus on his other passion: producing records. The remaining members of ANTHRAX said in a statement: "Rob has been an integral part of ANTHRAX for so many years, as our lead guitarist, in a production capacity, but most of all, as our close friend. His contributions to the band have been enormous. While we are sad that he is leaving, we wish him nothing but great success going forward, and hope to share the stage with him again sometime down the road."
Caggiano — whose two stints with ANTHRAX ran from 2001-2005 and 2007 to now — stated about his decision to leave the band: "We accomplished so many great things together over the years and I shared some of the best times of my life with these guys. As a band, we also weathered quite a few storms along the way. It's been a wild ride (to say the least) from Day One and I wouldn't change one single thing about the last 12 years."
Caggiano added that, "This is an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me to make, but my heart is just steering me in a different direction right now. I've always been one to follow my heart in everything that I do and while this might be one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it feels like the right one for me at this time. Scott [Ian, guitar], Charlie [Benante, drums], Joey [Belladonna, vocals], Frankie [Bello, bass] (and [former ANTHRAX singer] John Bush) will always be part of my family and this decision doesn't change the way I feel about that in the slightest. I would also like to say thanks to all the amazing fans I've met and hung out with worldwide over the years. You guys always were and always will be the reason why I make music!"
Meanwhile, former ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz, who took part in the reunion of ANTHRAX's classic lineup in 2005 and 2006 but left the band after ANTHRAX's last split with singer Joey Belladonna, has been retweeting fan requests for him to rejoin the group. He also released the following statement on January 4, the day Caggiano announced his exit from ANTHRAX: "Thank you ALL for your outpouring of LOVE today regarding my musical direction and the events that have transpired in the metal world. I feel so blessed to call all of you my family. I am truly touched down deep into my repaired heart. At a time when I needed LOVE so badly, HE delivered. As usual in HIS time. "Please know my guitar, my soul and the art I've been given to give to all of you will prevail, and hopefully touch many on my road to help children in the autism community as well. "Keeping up the fight. . . . Feel free to pray for my family as well. "I love you all."