ANTHRAX recently tapped SHADOWS FALL's Jon Donais to play second guitar on all currently scheduled tour dates following the departure of Rob Caggiano. Donais will temporarily fill in for ANTHRAX's upcoming shows in India, the series of Soundwave festival dates in Australia, and the North American Metal Alliance Tour.
Caggiano announced his departure from ANTHRAX on January 4 to focus on his other passion: producing records.
Asked if Caggiano's departure was a surprise, Ian told MTV Hive: "We didn't know he was planning on leaving while we were tracking [the new covers EP, 'Anthems']. He was literally finishing solos in Berlin on the last days of the tour. It wasn't until after the tour ended and we started having conversations, and just to put it in a nutshell, he just needs to do his own thing at this point in time. We knew he had a record that he was going to be doing possibly [referring to the new VOLBEAT album, which Caggiano is co-producing. — Ed.]. We had already told him, if you need to take a hiatus, that's fine. The best thing I can say is that he's on a mission to do his own thing at this point. And I'm certainly not going to stand in his way."
Regarding how ANTHRAX ended up picking Donais to fill in for the upcoming tour, Ian said: "It was actually Rob. He had already spoken to Jon and had kind of filled him in about what his plan was. He didn't want to leave us hanging. As much as it sucks, this whole thing has been friendly. I may think Rob has made a mistake by leaving the band, but at the same time he's my friend and I back his decision all the way in whatever he needs to do. He feels the same about us. We all know Jon. I've actually worked with him before on [comedian] Brian Posehn's record. We all know he's a great lead guitar player. And Jon said absolutely he wanted to do it."
Ian also revealed that ANTHRAX has started compiling ideas for the follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music", which recently passed the 100,000 sales mark in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"We did demo a song while we were over in Germany," Ian said. "We thought might get used in this TV show. So that kind of gave us the kick in the ass to start working. We also had a song that we never finished for 'Worship Music', because it just needed some rewriting. At the time, we were happy with the album and didn't think it was missing anything, but then we started reworking this track on the tour in Europe and we finished it. I'd say it's about 90 percent now. Once that one gets finished, I can say we started writing. I'm pretty sure this song will be on the next record. And I know Charlie's [Benante, drums] got a pretty good vault of ideas built up from over the last year, and I certainly have ideas. It's just a case of getting together at some point in 2013. We're not doing much touring this year. By August, we're done and the rest of the year we're off, so we'll be in writing mode and hopefully in recording mode by the end of the year."