Sonic Excess recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Sonic Excess: "Worship Music" has been an album that has been a long time in the making. Were you worried that it might not ever see the light of day?
Charlie Benante: Yeah. There were thoughts at some point here and there, with some real concerns about it, but something happened that changed all of those thoughts, and we were on track again.
Sonic Excess: What was it like recording with [singer] Joey [Belladonna] for the first time in 20 years? Did everyone record collectively and did John Bush lay down any tracks before he left again?
Charlie Benante: No, he [John Bush] was not involved at all.
Sonic Excess: OK, when you were in the studio with Joey, did everyone click like they did back in the day, or did a comfort level need to be reached first?
Charlie Benante: Last September, we went on tour with MEGADETH and SLAYER here in America. Every day we worked on the record, and we would change a bunch of shit. Joey had a good idea of what he was going to bring to it and his approach and when it came time for him to go into the studio. None of us was even there. It was just Joey and Jay Ruston (mixing and additional production), and they worked together really well.
Sonic Excess: Critics and fans have been calling "Worship Music" ANTHRAX's strongest release since "Persistence Of Time". Did everyone have the mindset to out-do ANTHRAX's previous releases?
Charlie Benante: The reviews for the record have been great. It has been amazing how well received it has been. We knew we had something really good. No one knows how something is going to be received until it's released. You get the feedback and then you really know it's good.
Sonic Excess: On "We've Come for You All", some tracks were written around your drum riffs. Was that the same case with "Worship Music", and did you take a new approach while tracking?
Charlie Benante: The only new approach I took was that some of the songs that were recorded in the studio, like maybe four or five of the songs, some of the guys weren't even in there, and I was on my own. We would map out the songs, and I would get in there and play it. I would actually record a scratch guitar track just to play off it, because Scott [Ian] was away. We were working on another project, and I just did some of these things on my own.
Sonic Excess: How did you draw inspiration while writing "Worship Music"?
Charlie Benante: It really depends. I could be driving in my car and a thought will come into my head. I usually carry around this little recorder, and I'll hum the idea into the recorder. When I get home, I'll work it out on guitar. That's how it usually happens. I'll have an idea, and I'll just go in and record it. Or, I'll just go play guitar for an hour or two and capture as many ideas as I possibly can. That's basically the way it happens.
Read the entire interview at Sonic Excess.