It’s not often that a band finds themselves going through a career renaissance 30 years in, but Anthrax isn’t just any band. As they continue to tour in support of their Grammy-nominated Worship Music, they’re also about to release covers EP Anthems and will be playing their 1987 album Among the Living in its entirety on the Metal Alliance tour. We caught up with longtime drummer Charlie Benante to discuss all of the aforementioned, plus what Rush thinks of their cover of “Anthem” and the news that rhythm guitarist Rob Caggiano, who’d recently left the band, had joined Volbeat.
I’m not going to dwell on this, but I’ll start by addressing the elephant in the room, which is Rob’s departure. Did you know he was creatively unsatisfied with Anthrax, or did it come as a surprise to you?
It was a bit of a surprise to me. I was bummed. He said that he wanted to pursue more producing options, and that was his reason for leaving. He had other reasons, so I guess it was something that he’d been thinking about for a while. He wanted to get back to producing and getting off the road. And you’re probably going to tell me, ‘well you do know he joined another band, right?’ That makes it a bit confusing. I know a lot of our fans were sad to see him go, but were like ‘if you want to go produce, we understand that.’ But when you read that he went to go join another band, that makes it seem a bit sketchy.
Let’s talk about your covers EP. Wasn’t it supposed to initially just be for a special edition of Worship Music?
It was talked about as that. But we had some of these songs and we wanted to do something with them because we really liked the way they came out. We wanted to add a bit more, so we talked about doing three or four more songs. Joey really liked “T. N. T.,” so we did that. Then we did the Rush, Boston and Journey songs, which was another one Joey really liked as well. So we went back and recorded them and they came out really good.