Vinny Cecolini of JAM Magazine recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
JAM Magazine: While overcoming numerous obstacles during its career, ANTHRAX has somehow managed to maintain a rather unique sense of humor about everything it's gone through.
Charlie Benante: It's our New York attitude. Hit us and we're just going to come back. It's what has kept us going. We don't look back; we just move forward. Comparing ANTHRAX to other bands, however, I'd say METALLICA has had some pretty back luck itself, including the 1986 loss of bassist Cliff Burton during a horrific bus crash. Yes, we've experienced ups and downs that have been well documented. I wish they weren't well documented, but they were.
JAM Magazine: Did previous singer Dan Nelson's short tenure actually help the band create such a great album?
Charlie Benante: It was an education. It made us realize what was important and what wasn't important. Some of us needed the kick to mature us; to bring us back down to earth; and to make us refocus on what we set out to do in the first place; to create music we enjoyed. I don't know why we were put through a tornado. Maybe that is what it took to make such an important record.
JAM Magazine: You attempted to reunite with Joey Belladonna [vocals] on several occasions. Did both occasions fail because it happened too soon or was the timing just off?
Charlie Benante: The last reunion was a half-baked idea. The people who were working with us didn't do the right thing. It was a thought that quickly became a reality. We were put in a room, told to repair our relationship and then told that we were going on tour. It was a whirlwind that no one was prepared for. There was a honeymoon period that eventually ended. Individuals who did not get along in the past had not put those differences aside, and thus did not get along in the present. Boom, it was over.
JAM Magazine: At what point did ANTHRAX decide you should write the majority of the music?
Charlie Benante: Once our original vocalist, Neil Turbin, was out of the band, we started to rehearse and write what was going to become "Spreading The Disease". I had written songs for the first album, "Fistful Of Metal", but once we started working on the second record, I took a bigger role as a songwriter. I wrote more of the music, while Scott [Ian, guitar] wrote more of the lyrics. The other guys in the band also contributed, but I would usually come in with the basic framework of each song.
Read the entire interview from JAM Magazine.