Drummer Charlie Benante of ANTHRAX, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2016, spoke to Fargo Monthly about the band's longevity. He said: "When you're trying to keep it together, I would say it is important that you love what you're doing. Throughout the years, we can see other forms of music take form and become popular. We are living in a time where the climate is telling you that rock music is done and that you need to make way for other genres. We're, like, 'no.' Everyone is still here and you can see that. Just look at AC/DC or IRON MAIDEN — they stuck to their guns and they're still relevant; that's what we are too."
Benante also talked about fellow thrash metal veterans SLAYER's decision to call it quits after completing one final world tour.
"For me, being the same age, playing the same form of music, we were outsiders back in the day," he said. 'We were different and we choose a form of music that you have to love if you're going to do it because it's not music that is played on the radio, it's not friendly. Watching all of this play out with them is really bittersweet. It's like retiring a player's jersey."
Asked about the differences in the musical approach of each band within the "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — ANTHRAX, METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH — Charlie said: "The thing about us is we call ourselves a heavy metal band but we also love rock and roll. We enjoy different forms. Like I love funk; especially as a drummer, that type of music is very primal. When rap hit, I was one of the first to bring it into what we were doing. Then we ended up working it into a song with PUBLIC ENEMY, which was one the highlights of my career. I think that's what makes us different — we are not afraid to push boundaries with different forms of music."
You can read the entire interview at Fargo Monthly.
ANTHRAX is supporting SLAYER on the first two legs of the Tom Araya-fronted outfit's last-ever North American run of dates. Also appearing on the bill are LAMB OF GOD, TESTAMENT and BEHEMOTH (with NAPALM DEATH replacing BEHEMOTH for the second leg).
Last month, ANTHRAX released "Kings Among Scotland", the band's live-in-concert DVD, via Megaforce. Captured on February 15, 2017 at the band's sold-out concert at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom, the two-hour "Kings Among Scotland" incorporates the band's entire live show along with interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other B-roll shot on the band's tour bus, backstage, in hotels and elsewhere. The DVD also includes a "gear rundown" from each of the band members.