ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante believes that the lack of crowd responsiveness to the band's new songs at the group's recent shows in Texas suggests that heavy metal's popularity in the U.S. may be on a decline.
"We've felt that the audiences in Texas really didn't know the new material that well, that tells us that they don't have the new [ANTHRAX] album," Benante wrote in a recent online posting. "What's going on here?? San Antonio, Dallas and Houston have always been KILLER places for metal? We're witnessing a decline and demand an answer! Has everyone gone country or Hip hop?? Tap your friend or family member on the head and snap him or her out of it! They're being programmed!
"This is not the way it is in Europe, they love and appreciate music, especially hard rock/metal. I know it's hard out here, ticket sales and record sales are way down, that's why we're keeping our ticket prices down. I'm hoping this will all pass and we will all rise above the shit that's being forced down all our throats. I would love it if you guys would try and turn someone into a fan of ANTHRAX or any other form of ROCK music. I think this will be our way of TAKING THE MUSIC BACK, my ears can't take much more of this... CAN YOURS????????? WAKE UP AMERICA!"
In a separate posting to the band's official web site, Benante revealed that PANTERA guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul came down to ANTHRAX's headlining show in Killeen, Texas on Saturday (May 24). "Dime, Vinny [sic] and the gang came out last night as well as the DROWNING POOL guys," he wrote. "We opened the bar on the bus and we talked and laughed our asses off. We got to hear some of Dime and Vin's new shit [NEW FOUND POWER] and it was KILLER! I wonder if we could do some shows together in August?? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm??"